What's so horrible about it?

Caitlin - posted on 11/19/2010 ( 47 moms have responded )

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My husband was in school and I decided to go into town with him, and drive about 10 mins down the road to go to an awesome park with the girls that I remember from when I worked in the area. It's a "hoity-toity" neighbourhood, let's say about 70% of the adults there are nannies - the live in kind... So my younger daughter is 9 months old, so she sits in the stroller to watch, it's too cold to just set her in the sandbox because she's all bundled up. 2 weeks in a row I strike up a conversation with another mom (an actual mom - not nanny) about whatever, and both times I get the same reaction from them about my 2 year old daughter.

She's a little dynamo, very independant and brave. On the younger kid play structure, I let her go on her own. Both times the kid of the mom I was talking to was older.. once I estimate maybe 4, the other at least 3.. Either way, both their daughters are in my mind OVERLY cautious.. the 4 year old wouldn't go down the dinky little baby slide without holding her moms hand and the other stood there for at least a minute evaluating it, and then sat down and looked incredibly afraid every time she slid down. My 2 year old is running up the ramp and jumping onto the slide, laughing and then running around and going up again. Then deciding the little slide isn't enough fun and climbing up the strais to jump onto the twisty slide (on the same play structure).

One mom actually said "Wow, she's fearless" and I proudly responded "Yes, she loves trying out new things" and the mom actually responded "I would never want my daughter to be like that (all condecending tone), I much prefer her cautious and careful"

Seriously? People prefer that their kids are afraid of these things, what, so they can feel like their kids need them for longer? I for one love that my daughter will try anything at least once, and doesn't always need me to hold her hand. Do you guys have a preferance?

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Becky - posted on 11/19/2010

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Some kids are just more cautious by nature, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's when the parents are trying to instill their own fears in their kids, instead of letting them have new experiences and take some reasonable and adequately supervised risks, that there is a problem.

Charlie - posted on 11/19/2010

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I hate it when parents try and put fear into kids for stupid reasons .

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Lady Heather - posted on 12/07/2010

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There are upsides and downsides to both. Here is an example - my daughter is terrified of pretty damn near anything. No idea why. She's also very cautious with her movements and just learning to cruise at nearly 18 months. I was not like this and I have no idea where it comes from. But anyways, we put up a Christmas tree. She is scared of it. At first she would scream and cry. Now she is used to it, but still won't go near it. So on one hand it sucks because the simplest things like that upset her. On the other hand, I have friends who can't even put up a tree because their toddlers will tear it down. So the bright side is that we can actually have a tree in the house!

I think the main downside to having a cautious kid though is they don't get hurt much. Sounds like an upside, but when my daughter bumps herself on something it's like the end of the world because she never feels pain. More adventurous kids just brush it off I've noticed.

Caitlin - posted on 12/06/2010

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Sometimes I wish she was cautious though.. lol, we were at the park a feew weeks ago (about a week after I posted this) and she decided she was going to climb a 6 foot ladder onto a play platform designed for 6-10 year olds, and she slipped on the top wrung.. Well, of course I was right there, when she's doing things WAY beyond her ability, I'm there to make sure it's okay. Too bad for my broken finger though...

Julie - posted on 12/06/2010

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I'm with you. I never want a child of mine to be afraid to try new things. Cautious, maybe. Afraid, no!

Amanda - posted on 12/06/2010

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I think it's great when a kid develops their own independence! For one it helps the parents out and gives them a well deserved little time out, and two it teaches them that they are actually capable of doing things on their own! I've been places where my 4 kids will be off doing their thing like at a playplace outside the waterpark close by, and my almost 3 yr old has no fear of anything and she was climbing up the slide her big brother who is almost 7 was on! This mom next to me was like "OMG where is that little girls mother?!" I said, "Right here actually, she's fine so I don't know why you're overreacting?" and she actually replied, "Well obviously someone has to or the state will become involved you're obviously not parenting in a mature way!" I almost let her have it and then remembered my one yr old was sitting next to me, so I smiled and said, "Ah a day at the park with another so called know it all who doesn't know anything except how to make herself look like an idiot. Society." I thought it was hilarious as she dropped her jaw!!! So yes I prefer independence. I don't want to be that mom at another childs birthday party with my 4 yr old clinging to my leg wanting me to go play with them, or begging me by pulling on my shirt to take them down a slide. Negative! Embrace the independent ones!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Gina - posted on 12/06/2010

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Every child is different, some are more cautious than others. Plus, older children have a better understanding of what can happen to them than a two year old, so they tend to be a little on the cautious side. My son was like your daughter, while my daughter is more cautious. I don't have a preference, I just try to guide them as individuals.

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If my daughter wants to go down the twisty slide, I'd happily let her do so. If she wants to try new things, I will certainly be the last person in the world to tell her no, if it's not going to hurt her somehow. Those moms seem way too protective. How do they expect their children to grow up in this world if they keep babying them?

I can understand being cautious sometimes, but let your kids have fun! Don't make them paranoid for no reason! Gosh.

Corinne - posted on 11/21/2010

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I love fearless kids! My two will try almost anything without hesitation. The eldest is now 4yrs old and is a little more cautious now following a trip to hospital after falling down the stairs (just a slip, not from going nutty). The little man is 2yrs old and had some Mums in fits the other day cause he was determined to get onto a ladder and the first rung is at his shoulder. He's done it tons of times before, but I just love the 'you will not beat me!' look in his eyes when he gets started. I had to have words with my M.I.L cause she won't let my kids actually play on the park. She thinks they should hold my hand and wait to be told what they are allowed to go on, when to run....She does like to think she's a little well to do though... :)

Laura - posted on 11/21/2010

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My sons are the exact same way. My 2 year old has been climbing and going down slides since he could walk. This summer at 18mo he was climbing up a type of ladder the 5 year olds have a hard time doing. The first few times I would stand under him and freak out if he sipped but he never fell. He's been climbing up on our kitchen stools and up to the counter for what seems like forever. He can literally run up the stairs without holding on to a railing at 24 months. He is absolutely fearless. They've had more bumps and scrapes than I can count but no major injuries thankfully. The only thing I've ever tried to scare them from doing is running onto the road but even the little one knows that if a car is coming you get off the road and don't move until it is past you.

JuLeah - posted on 11/21/2010

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Your daughter will have a big life, she will trust, she will experiance, she will make a mark on the world. That woman's child will live small. I know a woman raised like that. She teaches school at the high school she attended. She married a boy from her high school class. They live two blocks from the neighborhood where they grew up and they have never left, not even to go to the coast.
In the evening, the go home and watch TV or read. On weekends, they watch TV or read. Sometimes, they go to a movie.
You are right, people do this to their kids so they can feel needed. It is so wrong.

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My SIL is someone who projects ALL of her fears, opinion, beliefs etc. onto her two girls without realizing how much it truly changes/affects who they become. Even when it comes to food.....drives me nuts. They'll hear their mom going on and on about how GROSS (for example) quinoa is....."Eww, look at it....it looks disgusting. No thanks, I don't want to try it"........does she really think her children are going to want a taste after they hear their mom? GAH! I remember one time (I think this is a wee bit off topic but whatever...) her girls were at my house for lunch and, in front of her, I made the mistake of telling them we were having grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Despite their enthusiasm, she decided we should have soup instead because she insisted they wouldn't eat whole grain bread. ACK! I told her, they always eat it here AND at my moms but she insisted that they only eat soft white bread.

End rant\

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That's sad. I'm really cautious and I actively plan to make sure my daughter isn't a complete wuss like me. It's hard to tell what she'll be like at the moment because she's young. She has no concept of falling (probably because she never has) and would gladly crawl off the edge of our very high bed in pursuit of our cats.

I think a lot of parents put their own fears on their children. And sometimes they are justified, but other times? No, let your kids explore and do things for themselves. If they fall, as long as its not from too far, no worries, that's how they best learn what they can and can not do and how to minimise fall. Great example from work, we had this little girl who had just turned one who had no idea how to fall on her butt from standing (when she was just learning to stand and walk by herself). At home her parents hovered over her and caught her every time she fell. She never learned to bend her legs and take the impact on her nappy cushioned butt. So what did she do at least once a day at daycare? She'd get knocked or just lose her balance and she'd go stiff as a board and would bash her head every time.

Johnny - posted on 11/20/2010

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My daughter sounds much like yours Caitlin, very adventurous, willing to take a chance and independent. She LOVES to climb. I've had remarks of surprise at the playground, but never yet experienced condescension in that way you describe. My father has though, when he's been with her at the playground. It is funny that you mention that it is sort of a "hoity-toity" neighborhood because that is similar to my dad's area. Around where I live, the parents are pretty laid back. My dad says that when he's got her at activities or at the playground, it is either nannies or complete helicopter moms. My dad has the advantage of being an old man though. When they make snotty statements like that, he just responds with something along the lines of, "oh, when you are a bit more mature you learn to relax." That pretty much shuts them up. He says its jealousy, they can't let go and relax, even though deep down, they know they should.

I'm not sure that this sort of thing is really about the parents. Several of my mom friends have clingy kids, and they work hard to get their kids to have more confidence and independence. They like their kids to see the example that Michaela sets, they hope it will show their kids that there is really nothing to fear. I think that helicoptering is about the parent, they need to feel in control and to make sure everything is always absolutely perfect. Regardless of whether their kid is clingy or confident.

Krista - posted on 11/20/2010

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Sam tends to look a bit before he leaps. I know the first time I brought him to a big park with slides and climbing equipment, he just sort of hesitated for a bit, and then went and approached one part of it, but after about 10 minutes, and some encouragement from Mumma, he was off to the races, running around, climbing on stuff, and having a great time.

Bonnie - posted on 11/20/2010

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I have a fear of any insect other than a fly, lady bug, or an ant. My 4 year old has seemed to pick up on my fear and he has a bit of a fear too unfortunately. He will see the smallest ant crawling and he will come running, "Mommy, Mommy there is a spider. You have to kill it." Then I go up to it and it's the smallest possible ant, but he insists it is a spider. lol

Caitlin - posted on 11/20/2010

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I have a freaky fear of spiders, but try to hide it around my kids too.. Funny how that is.. My daughter has never really played with one as far as I know, but I would freak out if she brought one to show me.. They give me the heebie jeebies!

A - posted on 11/20/2010

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@ Jodi---

I put my fear of spiders aside too! My son (and dog) love to chase and play with them. Usually my son will chase them around with a football or shoe (whatever is handy) trying to kill them like whack-a-mole. Its hilarious!

C. - posted on 11/20/2010

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Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is as long as she's not being too rowdy. My son is 2 and when we do get to go out to the park, he loves doing things by himself. While I love that my son does that, I do wish he needed me longer.. BUT, I would much prefer that my son tried things on his own and grew up a little instead of having to hold mommy's hand throughout his toddler years. I really don't get why some parents don't want their kids to try things on their own. To me, that's like when the parents won't let the kids figure out the homework themselves and insist they help their kids.. Same thing, in my mind..

A - posted on 11/20/2010

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Well I think there's another factor to consider here. But for the most part I agree with you, Caitlin.

Let me play devils advocate for a second, though. Some children are very needy, clingy, high maintainence. THat's just the way they are. Or- they are great at home, but out in a public place they don't know or with people they don't know around- they change and regress a little.

Now, if a parent has one of these children- who its in their nature naturally to be less adventurous, or is a little shy and gets clingy in a new surrounding- That's all that parent knows. They can't imagine having another child thats different. It doesn't necessarily mean they think you or your child is doing something wrong (although they may be) but maybe its just hard for them to understand. For example, my son is 18 months old and still doesn't sleep through the night. When I hear of a mom whose child is STTN at 6 weeks, its hard for me to imagine and comprehend. It doesn't mean the baby or the parent is doing something wrong, its just so completely different from what my child does it amazes me.

That said, my son is very adventerous when he is with my and my husband, alone. I don't hold him back AT ALL. He's 18 months and he climbs up and down on our little tikes plastic play set with two slides all on his own. He did a somersault on the bed the other night. He is very coordinated and plays T-ball, soccer, basketball, etc. He's a mover and a climber.

If we go to the park (on our own when there are no other people around) he'll do anything and everything. Throw some other people in to the mix- its a whole other ball game. He just wants to be held and looks around. He's not very social or comfortable in new situations, and its not from my lack of trying or him picking up anything from me. Thats just what he does.

But honestly- it doesn't sound like thats what was going on with these other parents you were talking to, but I just wanted to throw that out there for a different point a view.

But I think its great to encourage a child to be a kid. Kids shouldn't have to worry and should be able to have fun. I mean of course there are certain things you need to teach your child for safety reasons, but if you're not willing to let the possibility of them fall of the slide at the park happen- why go in the first place? lol

I let my child do things, even if he could potentially hurt himself (within reason). He can climb on a chair or couch. He has fallen a few times, but nothing serious and he's not going to get any better if I don't allow him to try. I'm usually right there to catch him should something go wrong. I guess if its something I know my child will be able to master soon I let him have at it and try, instead of teaching him to be afraid. But if its something dangerous that could kill my child- like playing in the street- of course I wouldn't encourage that and might bring out the fear card if I had to because I'd rather have a scared child than a dead child.

I think age plays a big factor too. At some point you're not always going to be there to prevent things from happening- so at some point you're going to have to teach a child to use caution.

Eliz - posted on 11/20/2010

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I think its important for kids to be a little cautious but also not affraid to try new things.

Jodi - posted on 11/20/2010

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Oh my! I get "looks" all the time at the park! When my daughter was say...15 months old, she was going up the steps and down the toddler slides without me anywhere near! You would think by others reactions that I was neglecting my child! She loves to go down the big kid slides as long as I'm at the bottom to catch her and has already, at 21 months, mastered the big kid swing! Some kids are cautious naturally, some are fearless (like mine) and some are coached into being scared of everything. There is nothing wrong with how your child is as long as you're not holding them back by making them scared of everything. I have even put my fear of spiders on the back burner to nto pass it onto my daughter...who LOVES spiders by the way. You should be proud of your daughter, I'm proud of mine, she's independant, not afraid to try new things and has FUN!!! (Be proud of your naturally cautious children too, they are assessing the situation and know their own personal limits...a great skill later in life!)

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Jenn, did I misunderstand you? Do you think it's lame if children want or need to hold their parents hand going down a slide?

Jenn - posted on 11/20/2010

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I let my kids play at the park and go down the big slides and whatever else they want and they don't need to hold my hand - how lame is that?!?

Lacye - posted on 11/20/2010

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I love my crazy adventurous daughter! She is just not afraid of anything! I live at an apartment building and when I take my daughter outside she goes and tries to climb up the stairs, we live at the bottom. now Lily is 18 months old, she climbs up the stairs like a pro (only so far though, I won't let her go as high as she wants) and she knows how to climb down the stairs using the railing! She does make me nervous sometimes but you know what, kids are going to be kids! They are going to get bumps and bruises but that is their way of learning in a lot of ways. It's not healthy to put a child in a plastic bubble because they are never going to experience life that way in my opinion.

Rosie - posted on 11/20/2010

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my boys have never been the hugely adventurous children, but they never really hold back to much after a while of getting used to things, and some encouragement from their mommy. there's a little rock climbing wall thing that is at our local park, and lucas had been eyeing it for weeks, never wanting to try it. he'd go on the same slides and go up the same stairs everytime. i always try to encourage him to go on different things and he finally started doing it. now he loves going on the big twisty slide, going up the rock wall, climbing UP the slide (i know, very naughty, lol) and being a normal little boy!!

Jessica - posted on 11/20/2010

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Oh jeeze... that would get a big eye roll from me. I think its great your daughter isn't afraid of everything, I certainly wouldn't want my kids to grow up afraid to try anything without mommy there...

Bonnie - posted on 11/20/2010

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I think it's natural for kids to want to try new things. Both of my boys are somewhat shy, so it naturally takes them a little bit to break out of it or to feel the fire before they jump in type of thing. My 4 year old is a lot more cautious than my 2 year old. More often than not, I just stand back. Sometimes I will be close to almost having a heart attack and then I have to mix in though lol.

ME - posted on 11/20/2010

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Miles is totally fearless, and doesn't seem to learn from his "failures"...he gets hurt doing something, and five minutes later he's back at it. I am glad that he is independent, but I have to admit, sometimes I wish he would not be SOOO dangerous...It's very scary, and going to the park (or anywhere else) with him is an exercise in anxiety...

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My daughter was doing a lot more at 2 then my son is now. Mind you my son has had a fractured skull with bleeding on the brain from a fall out a window. He is such a hazard it's not funny. Like yesterday he hit his head on a low counter but didn't stop playing. then 5 mins laster he was outside, stood a slide that wasn't attached to the set up and continued to slide down it even though it was so unstable.
I hate when we instil fear onto our children ( LOL as i type he just ran to jump on the lounge and somehow hit his head on his sister foot) athough it is bound to happen. I try so hard to avoid it. The latest my daughter has come out with is that she can't ride our horse because it might run to fast. I am furious that she thinks this and i wish i knew who told her.

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Ethan is a risk taker, he is so adventurous. I guide him because he is only 13 months and has no concept of danger. He loves climbing on anything. When we go to new places he is a little reserved at first but after 5 mins he is running around as if he is home, and he loves meeting new people.

Becky - posted on 11/19/2010

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Ugh, she sounds like my aunt! She is soooo overprotective of her daughter! I remember, I visited them when she was about 3. We were going to the playground one evening, just around the corner from their house, and my aunt and uncle were saying how tired they were. I said, well, I could just take her to the playground and you guys could relax. I was in my 20s, not a kid, at the time! Most parents would welcome the break, right? But my aunt said, "oh no, she might get hurt or something." I was like, seriously? I've been looking after kids since I was 11! I think I can handle taking a 3 year old to the playground! But anyways. She's 12 now, and so timid with new things. It's really sad!
Cole and Zach are both little daredevils. Of course I encourage them to be careful and not take stupid risks, but you have to let them explore and try new things! And hey, sometimes kids get bumps and bruises in trying new things. It's not going to kill them!

Amie - posted on 11/19/2010

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Yes. Mine are independent and fearless too. Does it bother me? Yes, the fact that I haven't had a heart attack, to me, proves I'm healthy. Do I want them to stop being this way and cling to me? No, I get a grip and realize this (whatever "this" is at the time) is valuable for them.

Though I will say, even when being cautious shit happens. Our son broke his leg, twice, doing nothing more than running around the house with his sisters. He slipped, landed on his leg wrong and ended up with a spiral fracture both times. Second time (3 months later) happened much easier because his cast had come off too soon and his leg was still weak.

Sal - posted on 11/19/2010

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i love spunky outgoing kids....mind you after the last 18months of hospital visits i wish mine were a little more cautious, 2 broken arms, i head lump that needed hospitalisation and an er visit after getting a twig up the nose after a bike fall and more but i can't quiet remember them all.....nothing quiet gets on my nerves as bad as little ones who are sooky and won't go and ha ve fun

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Roxanne is hesitant and reserved or cautious you could say and while it makes it easy to manage her I often find myself encouraging her. She's not afraid, necessarily, more shy and cautious at first but once she gets goin' she doesn't wanna stop.

I would love it if Roxanne was more like your daughter, Caitlin!

LaCi - posted on 11/19/2010

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It just makes me wonder which way those kids will go. Will they be completely boring people who never take chances, or totally rebel and go completely wild when they're older. I'll put my money on the first one. When they get their first adrenaline rush its all over.

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Haha that's funny. The kids aren't cautious. They are playing off their mom's fears. SHE'S turning them into scaredy cats.

Krista - posted on 11/19/2010

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"Oh, you don't want to try that, it's soo big and scary.. Isn't that big slide scary? Why do you want to go down the big scary slide?"



That's terrible...poor kid. It's one thing to tell him to wait for Mommy to help him, if it's his first time, or if the slide IS a bigger one. But to deliberately try to scare him away from it? That's a little warped.



Heck, I was letting my 15-month old go down the slide. Yes, it was just a toddler slide, and I was at the top and my mom was at the bottom, but as long as you're being sensible, why not let them have fun, instead of trying to frighten them away from everything?

Caitlin - posted on 11/19/2010

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OOOOooo.. I fogot to mention the mom telling her 5 year old son "Oh, you don't want to try that, it's soo big and scary.. Isn't that big slide scary? Why do you want to go down the big scary slide?" All the while my daughter is eagerly awaiting her turn (she's not very clear on lineups yet.. she's 2..) That one was a GEM!

Krista - posted on 11/19/2010

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That's kind of sad. Yes, you want your kid to develop some common sense about things, but to want to quash any and all adventurousness? That kid, if her mother has her way, will miss out on an awful lot.

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Lol that mum sounds way too overprotective for my liking!!! It's natural for children to want to try new things and explore =] Fair enough I watch what Logan does but I don't stand over his neck breathing down his throat and don't plan to do when he's older. We go to stay and play and he just goes off and does his own thing. He's only one year old and I'm happy he is confident to socialise with the other children.

Hannah - posted on 11/19/2010

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Oh...some people you just have to shake your head at and say really, lol...

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My son is way more cautious than his sisters were at the same age. On the one hand I wish he were more confident (though he's definitely getting better) and on the other hand I'm grateful that he's not getting himself into situations that I can't get him out of (like when Sam climbed on my dad's roof when she was almost 3!). I definitely don't hold him back though. I let him try whatever he wants on those play structures and encourage him to do more. My only real rule is the one that I've always had.... you are not allowed to climb down from a part that you have not been able to climb UP on first.

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