So we were at my parents' house last night where they have a stone patio with two steps down, also made of stone. The Smiler was having a wonderful time climbing up and down the steps as well as dancing and walking in circles up on the patio because Oma had music on. My dad was getting really uptight about him being up there, though. He would jump up any time The Smiler would get within even a few feet of the steps and at one point even hollered, "No no no no NO NO NO!!!!!" at him as he danced near the steps.
This kind of crazy reaction reminded me all too much of when I was a child. My dad would push me to try new things (that I wasn't interested in doing like driving the boat or snowmobile or sports or helping in the garage, for example) and when I'd finally agree hesitantly, he wouldn't give me enough information or instruction to be successful and then he'd react really dramatically when I wouldn't do it right. I was very sensitive and his reactions always made me feel embarrassed, frightened and/or admonished which would make me freeze up and not want to try it any more. As an adult, I still have trouble trying new things for fear I won't get it right and someone will make fun of me or I'll break something or I'll do something embarrassing. (In my dad's defence, he's got a loud voice and he was never taught to think of others' feelings by his own parents).
|The Smiler has been climbing up this slide since before he could walk!|
A little while later, I glanced over to see The Smiler climbing up the steps. As I watched, he got up on the top step but his feet were juuuuuust on the edge of the step and I could see he might lose his balance if he tried stand all the way up from having his hands down. As I walked over saying, "Your toes are too close to the edge, honey." the toes of his one foot slipped out from under him and he tripped back down to the first step, tipping over to one side a bit. It wasn't a bad fall at all and he wasn't even crying, though he did make a little whine at the initial realisation that his plan wasn't working out. I helped him up and said, "Uh-oh! See, we need to have our feet completely on the step before we stand up." As I helped show him, my dad turned around and snarked, "I told you that was going to happen."
I say look out for your children's long term health, keep them safe while they try new things and let them explore and climb to their hearts' content!