Munchie is two an a half now… and for the better part of his life, he has been scaring the crap out of adults who are unaware of his… (unique? daring? risky? different?) abilities. Why? Because we encourage risk.
Since the moment my husband and I started talking about children, we were reading and researching and discussing all sorts of different parenting methods, ideas, attitudes. We discussed how we would discipline, rules we wanted our kid(s) to follow, morals and beliefs we found important to instill in our offspring. Important things, right? As we continued to dive into books and articles about everything from getting our baby to sleep for 12 hours (I still think they drugged those babies) and infant led weaning, to how feeding your kid organic foods will crush their risk of cancer, but also probably lead to malnourishment – because you don’t have the time, money, or energy for that nonsense.
In the end, we came up with a general idea of things we didn’t want Munchie to do/be… and a list of things we DID want for him.
1. Be a good human.
2. Be awesome.
For obvious reasons, we probably won’t share our master parenting plan with him until he graduates. Ultimately, these two key points have a lot of little guidelines attached – but at the end of the day, that’s what it boils down to. We want him to be the best version of himself… and a genuinely good person.
The “genuinely good person” part of that is pretty easy to explain… but teaching my child how to be “the best version of himself,” is slightly more complex… and has a lot to do with teaching Munchie the importance of risk taking. Believe it or not – it’s actually neutralized a lot of typical parental fears, too.
- We didn’t freak out about Munchie climbing the stairs. Why? Because we taught him how to go DOWN the stairs before he could really climb them.
- We don’t freak out when Munchie jumps off the couch. Why? Because he has been jumping off things since he first expressed interest. We started with something small… and he has worked his way up. Along with this, he’s also learned how to safely fall if he isn’t going to stick the landing.
- We don’t freak out when Munchie climbs rocks, trees, jungle gyms. Why? He’s grown to be aware of his body, how to balance, and has developed the problem solving skills to get down. Taking a page from his grandmother’s book… if you can get up there… you can get down. Could his decent be challenging? Absolutely. But, that’s how he learns.
This is where I need to stop and note that we are ACTIVELY INVOLVED and extremely vigilant while our kid is in “adventure” mode. We will spot his climbing and decent, coach him through it if he needs encouragement, and intervene if we feel his is in danger. He’s gotten pretty good at assessing whether or not something is within his level of ability (or safe for him) and will let us know when he wants to try something new.
The idea behind all of this is two-fold. Most importantly, we are teaching Munchie that by pushing yourself to learn a new skill – you will expand your world and improve yourself. Secondly, that you can master new skills through practice… and that when you don’t know how to do something – you just need to LEARN about it and ask for help if you need it.