Letting Children Take Risks: How to Judge

I read a post today called, “Face plants, scraped knees and tumbles are a good thing? Your advice SUCKS!” I enjoyed reading the article and had a few good thoughts while doing so.  I decided to write about one of these thoughts–letting children take risks.

While I believe that it is good to let kids discover things on their own at times, I strongly disagree with people who say, “let your child fall down the stairs to teach him a lesson” or “let your kids play with fire and experience getting burned.” I believe in the necessity of letting my kids take risks for learning and development, but I don’t think parents should allow their kids to take ALL the risks they will undoubtedly take without guidance.

Yes, taking risks is important for learning, but as parents, we need to make sure that we are encouraging calculated and smart risk-taking-especially with young children who might not be able to recognize what is safe and unsafe. To help you determine which risks you should allow your children to take, here are some pointers:

  • The experience should teach the child a new skill or new knowledge which will be valuable to him/her.
  • The experience should add to the child’s positive life experience.
  • The experience should make the child better able to manage similar situations in the future.