I had a bit of a drama with Son No 1 last night, not a big drama to me but to him you would have thought his foot had fallen off. It seems that while he was outside playing he had stubbed his little toe. It wasn’t until he noticed it, which was about 10 minutes later, the drama started. “My toe, my toe... Mummy it’s bleeding, it’s broken, Ouch, Ouch” followed by mock crying. Get the picture? The caring mother that I am went over to look at it, but he wouldn’t let me touch it. So I just declared “Well if you won’t let me look at it I can’t help. It’s not bleeding now so you are okay”, then went about doing whatever it was I was doing before. While he continued hopping around on one foot declaring it was broken.
So this got me thinking about a conversation I had with my friend K while on holiday. She had commented to me on how I let the boys do more i.e. attempt to climb trees, run around the pool, jump off things etc then she lets her children. This is a fair point as I know I do. I believe that as long as they can’t come to any real harm and they aren’t running riot than I should let them explore and test their physical capabilities and boundaries.
I would like to think the reason I let them to do this is because I want them to have the same sort of freedom and childhood adventures that both myself and Mr. P had when we were growing up. I know with society the way it is now we can’t replicate that “happy” childhood that we may have experienced but I feel I should give them the opportunity to do these things.
However, the question I keep asking myself is “Is it because they are boys?” I would like to think that the answer to that is NO! That if I had girls then I would let them do the same. After all, the feminist inside me would be outraged if I had little girls and I stopped them doing the things I did, like climb trees. But when I hear myself say things like “toughen up” “get up and brush yourself down” “you are alright there is no blood” I have to think that it is, simply because they are boys.
I want my boys to take (small) risks and learn by their own mistakes. I want them to understand the consequences of their actions, especially if these actions affect others. To be more resilient and aware, that the world is not always a good or safe place. At the same time, to be caring, sensitive and respectful to others and their needs. Especially as they grow up and become more aware of girls.
As when the time comes for them to leave home I want to know that we have done all we could for them and that they are ready to face whatever life throws at them, good or bad. That they will be able to cope on their own, to make the right decisions, take those little risks, and understand what the possible outcomes are. And finally to be loving and supportive partners, husbands, fathers.
So if that means as children letting them jump off a wall or climb a rather dodgy looking tree then so be it. I will be ready with plasters and hugs.