Some parents put up gates to keep their children from wandering near stairs and falling. I never used those. DW was allowed to crawl up and down the stairs when she was able to. She never really got into mischief when she was a toddler. Fast forward about 8 years…
I am not an overprotective parent. I like to encourage my daughter to get out and experience life for herself, in age appropriate ways. After all, I cannot and will not always be with her. She’s going to have to make decisions for herself that she’ll have to live with. I recognize that she could get hurt with me or without me. So I do what I can to prepare her, pray for her and send her on her way.
I said, “age appropriate,” but these days clothes are designed in her size that are risqué on an adult; music leaves nothing to the imagination either; and then there is the wonderful internet which is wide open territory for the curious mind. Now’s the time for some fences, gates, even some walls. Hopefully she understands that these barriers aren’t to keep her in, but to keep the harmful out.
Over the last couple years, to my horror, DW has been cruising down lanes that her young mind should not be on. She’s not even old enough to drive. So I’ve been navigating, at times not successfully, through parental controls for electronic devices. However, these are teachable moments too.
So while it may be uncomfortable to catch my child in inappropriate places; that’s where parental guidance comes in too. Yes, that thing that goes along with being a responsible parent. Even while my chest hurts and I’d just like to go to sleep until it goes away, I talk to her about it. Some ask the question, when is it appropriate to talk to your child about X, Y, or Z? Well definitely when they are showing signs that they’re curious.
I keep in mind who I was as a child. I found my way into accessing a few things I had no business looking at, listening to and perhaps even talking about. I read a lot and looked to books for guidance. I did not always feel comfortable talking to my parents about things.
At times, even when I warn her to steer clear, DW goes straight towards the very thing I’ve warned her about. She tells me she just wanted to see what it was all about for herself. <UGH!!!> I want to be the parent my daughter feels comfortable talking to, but realize that might not always be the case. So I try to surround us both with people I trust to speak words I trust and support into her life.
My daughter and I talk a lot, even when we don’t feel like it. At times I’m taking a deep breath, at others she is, but we get it all (I hope) out in the open no matter how uncomfortable we may feel at first. Afterwards, we usually feel better. For me, at least I’ve given her the adult perspective, the Christian perspective… I’ve spoken into her life what I’d want her to take forward with her as she makes decisions about her life.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
I take comfort in knowing that even though the world we live in is overexposed, what I’m modeling and speaking into her life will be taken with her as she grows. Yes there’s a chance she may wander off and fall. We all do at times. However, if we’ve been equipped with the tools and support to get back up, we will survive and hopefully thrive. I’m pouring into her. The good stuff is in there. As long as it’s in there, there’s a chance that that is what will come out of her in her words, actions; in her life. ❤