No matter what stage we are in, as parents, we have to face our fears. If we don’t deal with them properly we can either become overprotective and stifling, or the opposite: nonchalant and careless. Overcoming these fears helps prevent poor parenting decisions. To help parents face their fears, we’ve come up with 5 things that we think are critical.  

Here’s the first one:

Be Cautious, Not Psychotic

As parents, charged with the task of guiding our children through a sometimes hostile world, there is a fine line between healthy caution and virtual psychosis. Yes, there are all kinds of threats out there that we need to be aware of. But as parents we can get so worried that we end up micro-managing our kids’ lives. This breeds children who are scared to take risks and incapable of standing on their own two feet. At the same time, the paranoia can cripple the parent every time their kids are out of their sight.

We can’t take the risk out of life. Even if we could, would we really want to? The most important lessons are often learned through disappointments and bad experiences. If we raise our kids inside a plastic bubble, we may keep them safe for a time, but we rob them of the opportunity to grow through trials.

What we can and should do is take reasonable precautions.

For example, rather than saying, “No trampolines, no toboggans,” we can show our kids how to play with these things wisely and safely. Instead of scaring them into never talking to strangers, help them learn how to observe people and watch for warning signs. Instead of forbidding them from getting their driver’s license, teach them how to drive carefully.

Talk to them about the dangers, but don’t immobilize them.

Written by Dave Currie

Former Director of FamilyLife Canada.