Parenting can be likened to a battle ground at the best of times.
There is usually an ‘us’ and a ‘them’.
You usually have an allegiance with one side or the other.
You usually go into battle having a strategy or five up your sleeve.
And when it just gets all too hard, you want to lie down and play dead.
I have long lived by the creed, ‘Pick your battles.’ Salient advice for anyone, particularly parents, I think.
Take the time and consider, in the big scheme of things…
- Does it really matter?
- Is anyone at risk of any harm?
- Are my loved ones going to think any less of me?
- Am I inadvertently reinforcing the values and ethics that I don't want to espouse?
If you can honestly say ‘no’ to all or any of the above…then refer to creed number 1…Pick your battles.
Inherently, I do believe that kids want to please and do the right thing. They do need the security of firm boundaries and limits, however. They need consistency. They need this and more to be confident beings, so that they are empowered to take risks.
But most of all, they need to know that significant others will go into battle with them.
I recently read an article that made me think long after reading it. I don’t think it was meant to be provocative, but it became an interesting discussion point nonetheless. Written by a parent, it posed the argument that compliant, law abiding, ‘good’ kids were not risk takers. I actually disagree. I don’t see them as mutually exclusive. Quite often ‘good’ kids have the self-confidence and resilience required to take educated risks. And herein lies the difference.
Many kids can and do take risks.
Some risks are educated, others are not.
Some risk taking behaviours are provocative, others are not.
Some risk taking is purely about learning and exploring beyond the normal range.
There is healthy risk taking and there is unhealthy risk taking.
Perhaps it is more of a question of the motivation behind the risk taking that needs exploring in the first place. Don’t immediately assume the behaviour needs a counter attack.