Parenting: Balancing Your Fear with Your Child’s Safety

The following story illustrates how a parent can forbid their child to do something out of fear and the child may find a way to do it anyway without your supervision, creating an even more dangerous scenario. Carrie: The third scenario involved a mother’s horror when she learned what her eight year-old daughter had done. This mother, Linda, sent her daughter, Carrie, to swim camp. Carrie had been a swimmer for quite some time but this was the first time she was actually exposed to older swimmers at sleepover camp. She learned from them that a good way to take time off her record is to shave the hair off her entire body. Now what hair could an eight year-old have? It didn’t matter–Carrie was determined to shave everywhere except the hair on her head. Linda, in horror, forbid her to do it. What was Linda concerned about? It was a multitude of things. First of all, her daughter was too young to start shaving. Secondly, she was concerned that if she began shaving, then her hair would grow back very dark and course. (Of course, this is an old wife’s tale that many of my generation was exposed to.) Linda was shocked to learn that despite her refusal to allow Carrie to shave, Carrie later secretly went into the bathroom, took a dry razor to her skin, and shaved anyway. Unbelievably, at her next swim meet, she had the best time of her short life to that point. Did shaving help her or was it the power of her belief that the shaving helped? I can’t answer that question. However, the point is that what actually happened was worse than the original fears Linda had about Carrie shaving. Had Linda listened to the desires of her daughter and was willing to consider her request, Linda may have spoken to a pediatrician and learned that her second fear was unfounded. Then she might have been able to assist Carrie to shave safely instead of with a dry razor and no supervision at all. What parents often fail to realize is that just because they tell their child no does not mean their child will dutifully obey. Often a “no” means that their child will proceed stealthily without parental permission anyway. When this occurs, the child is doing something the parent doesn’t approve of and the parent has no idea and therefore, no opportunity to discuss the possible dangers and concerns. With Empowerment Parenting, you can learn how to negotiate with your child so you can get your need to ensure your child’s safety taken care of, while your child can meet their equally important needs of power, freedom, fun and love & belonging. To order our Empowerment Parenting Home Study Course, click here.

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