I was in a parking lot the other day after getting some groceries. As I was loading my car a mom and her toddler were loading up in the next car over. The toddler was at that age where she could move around fine but was obviously new to walking on two legs. In fact, waddle is a better definition than walk for how she moved.
The mother set down the toddler as she was loading the car. Of course the toddler did what toddlers do. She started slowly walking around the car and quickly was over talking to me. The mother had only set her child down for a few seconds, and there were a couple of adults around. I talked to the toddler and kept an eye on her for those few seconds, so its not like she was ever out of site.
I’m Not a Bad Parent
The mother realized her young one had toddled over to me and came to pick her up. As she picked her child up to load her into her car seat the mother apologized to me and said “she wasn’t a bad parent.” It struck me how this mother went so quickly to defend herself as not a bad parent. I wish this was an isolated incident, but I often see young parents with near terrified looks as their children get out of reach. This is not in situations where the child is inches from a busy highway, but safe places like a playground in a mall.
Do We Need Bubbles?
The desire to explore is part of being a kid. Is it bad parenting to let your child do a little exploration? Is letting your child out of site for a few seconds bad parenting? It feels like too many people would say that those are examples of bad parenting. Nevermind that those passing judgement may not have any children of their own, or that they had their children raised by a nanny.
Life is dangerous. No one gets out of it alive. Their are great joys out in the world, but also a lot of scary stuff as well. If we truly want to protect our children we can always lock them away in a bubble, but is that good for the child? An apprentice spends time slowly being exposed to more of a job. Would it be better to through the apprentice into the full job from the start?
No Apology Needed
A scraped knee or bumps and bruises are part of life. I would argue that a good parent finds ways to allow a child to get bumps and bruises enough to help them learn how to avoid more painful injuries (physical or otherwise).
Let’s face it. Parenting is hard and all-consuming work. Kids do random things at random times and no parent can supervise them all the time. Allowing a child to have a little freedom and not holding their hand is a necessity for them and for the parent. The whole point of parenting is to raise children that do not need constant supervision. Thus, don’t apologize for letting your child take a few steps on her own. You are not a bad parent, no apology needed