Fear Not! (Or At Least — Fear Less!)

So, after dithering for a mere five years or so (and blogging about it, below), I finally got my boys — 10 and 12 — a skateboard.

I didn’t dither out of laziness. Well, not just laziness. I really avoided it out of fear. The idea of a kid upside down in the air, no matter what the centrifugal force at work, sounded pretty bad. (And those posters of Tony Hawk!)

But anyway – the whole point of this site is that if we don’t start examining our fears and whether they really make any sense, we’ll just keep cutting “dangerous” activities out of our kids’ lives without even thinking twice.

It’s like being on a diet that restricts any foods you have ever heard may be harmful, no matter what the source — actual scientist, quack, morning news show — or how it applies to you. So you cut out all salt, all fat, all carbs, all dairy, all eggs, all peanuts, all wheat, all meat, all tap water (in case it’s carcinogenic), all bottled water (in case it’s carcinogenic), coffee (because it’s so wonderful, something must be wrong with it) and pretty soon you are eating unsalted popcorn three times a day with nothing to wash it down with.

Meanwhile, think of how we’ve restricted our kids:  they’re not allowed to walk to school (cars!), bike to a friend’s house (perverts on the way), play in the park (those perverts again), the woods (scary), the creek (drowning) the lawn (ticks), the tree (gravity) or dirt (dirt).  All they are left with is a selection of supervised, sanitized, often pricey activities that allow zero room for creativity. And at the end – I know because I’ve been there – they get a trophy.

So I got my boys the skateboard which, it turns out, if you’re not Tony Hawk, really does not go very fast and has yet to make any kind of airborne loop. The kids love it, they wear their helmets and it gets them out of the house a little.

Then they come back in and whine that they’re bored.

Rome was not built in a day. 

— Lenore

46 Responses

  1. Good for you and your kids. We put out the word to the family that Razor scooters and skateboards were NOT allowed when our son was young. Then before he turned 8 we lifted the ban.

    He got a skateboard for Christmas that year under the condition that he spent some of his birthday/Christmas money on pads and a helmet. It’s been been about 3 1/2 years and he’s probably ridden it 30 times.

    He’s become more interested in bicycling the last two years because it’s a more effective form of transportation and I think he knows he’ll never be Tony Hawk.

    The “subway experiment” has become a constant bug in my ear whenever I think about saying no. It makes me stop and think, “is it really as bad as I think?”

  2. Good for you and your kids! Too bad the children in
    wheelchairs can’t ride one but I am sure you will get
    a laugh out of that. Good luck!

  3. Congrats. Lucky kids. Watch out, next they might start developing an obsessive work ethic. Trying to perfect a trick, over and over and over again until they get it. Next up, snowboarding.

  4. No-one will be surprised – except the cowering naysayers – when your son grows up to be a confident , adventurous adult who views the world as a wonderful place to explore. I noticed from the video how his eyes were constantly checking his surroundings – no mugger will ever be able to creep up on HIM! You get my vote for Best Mom of the Year, Lenore – what a lucky little guy he is to have a mom who cares so much for his present and future happiness.

  5. Once I have kids, I have every intention to teach them to snowboard. It has done wonders for me and my self confidence since it is not an easy thing. Of course falling down hurts, but I think the gain they will get from having a skill like that will out weigh the risks by far. I would say the same goes for skateboarding.

  6. Good for you!!! And them!

    @bryus:

    “He’s become more interested in bicycling the last two years because it’s a more effective form of transportation and I think he knows he’ll never be Tony Hawk.”

    And…it could easily be something that he enjoys the rest of his life. I know a 70 year old bike racer, and many of my 40+ year old peers that have rejuvenated their lives on a bike🙂

    Kevin

  7. I can understand the fears of the these parents who harshly critized Lenore Skenazy (or any parent like for that matter). But I don’t think she did anything wrong. I believe she’s an open-minded parent, who thought all of it through, and trusts her son to remember what she and her husband have taught him. Not to mention that it was her son’s idea in the first place.

    I grew up with such freedom. Mind you my parents were pretty strict on what I could and could not do. But because of that, I knew right from wrong (most of the time), and I always stayed out of trouble. As well as knew what to keep an eye out for. My first year in school (5 years old) my parents took me to school for the first few weeks. Then it was just me and my sister (a year older) from there on in. I walked and took the transit around downtown Toronto, at 10 years old. I played outside till the lights came on. And I’m no more “crazy” now then I was at that age. I don’t think I’d be the confident, assured, and street smart person I am today, if it weren’t for my parent’s up bringing. I also don’t believe it was such a different time then. It wasn’t, the same pervs and crazies that people read about today has always been around. They just have more exposure now than 30 years ago. And all due to more and more people being fearful.

    What people fail to understand is life is dangerous…period. Whether you are 9 or you are 40, anything can happen at any given time. But that is no excuse to be paranoid, and to instill such paranoia in your child. You do more harm mentally that way, than encouraging their natural behaviour of curiousity. The key thing to remember, is teaching your children how to be smart in this world. Not sheltered. Sheltered children grow more to be rebellious, and have more of mental instability. ie. shy, fearful, no confidence.

  8. If not breaking any laws and the child is developing well then it’s no one else’s business how someone chooses to parent!

    People can be criticised for under or over-involved parenting, giving their children too much or too little, teaching various different values or faiths, any of the methods of discipline…at the end of the day it’s a judgement call for every parent what is best for their individual child, their own family.

  9. Yay! I’m glad he had a chance to ride, but even better, he got the opportunity to make the decision by himself as to whether or not he should actually skateboard (you said he found it somewhat boring after a while).

    Naysayers seem to have the holier-than-thou attitude that is present in every conflicting situation, such as stay-at-home moms vs working moms, or homeschoolers vs public schoolers, etc. I’m dismayed to see that others would rather tear down than build up.

    And that attitude is how I am raising my child- he will be brought up in the world, not held down by my fears.

  10. YAY for skateboards!! I know they’ll enjoy them🙂 And if they ever get a broken bone, at least it will be doing something fun!😉 teehee

    My kids love to play outside. And I don’t even “supervise”! I know, *GASP* I am awful. But I know I was NEVER in my house in the summer time when I was a kid. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Those were the best times of my life. Oh the imaginings that went on in those woods and fields… I live in the country, and my kids play in the exact same woods and fields that I did as a kid! I know. We’re lucky😉 Well, except there is no place to skateboard! LOL

  11. Couldn’t agree with you more! Our girls (12 and 15) walk to and from school in an inner-Sydney suburb, and often ‘roam the streets’ in their free time – taking their dog for a walk, riding their bikes, visiting our local park for a swing or visiting friends.

    They have also walked to and from a major shopping mall several kms away.

    They now have an excellent sense of independence!

    When I was a kid (I’m 53 now), I rode all over the district in my home city of Wollongong, and my mates and I often spent the day in the bush on the escarpment above our city. That was when we weren’t at the beach, or riding to and from each other’s places for a lazy Saturday afternoon get-together.

    I also used to ride my bike to and from school – about 2 miles each way. Then, by the time I was 16, we were riding the trains, and coming up to Sydney for a day ‘on the town’ – a trip of 50 miles each way.

    Also when I was 16, three friends and I took a week’s holiday in far north-west NSW – at a town called Bourke – where we holed up at a cheap guest house! Needless to say, we had to ‘train’ it there too – riding the all-night Dubbo Mail, before catching a connecting train to Bourke.

    My wife, Faye, and I are all for allowing our kids to be as independent as possible – and learning the responsibility that goes with that.

    Oh . . . and as a journalists myself, I’d have to say it’s interesting that other journalists have ‘slagged’ you. It’s good copy for them – and some cheap shots at your own publication!

    Chrs!
    Pete . . .

  12. Good on you Lenore! I’m all for kids growing up free range – I walked to school on my own from the age of five (I actually told my mother not to take me or come get me) and by the age of nine, was paid fifty cents a week to walk the five year old kid next door to school as well.

    I definitely had misadventures in the woods with my friends (getting chased by teenagers on motorbikes). It terrified me, but I learned to look after myself. I’d say it made me SMART – and has to be the reason why I think it’s okay to travel the world by myself.

    I have a 17 year old brother who has never been allowed to stay home alone while our parents go on well deserved holidays. He’s deadly scared of the things that go bump in the night. But if you’re not left to your own devices, how are you ever going to learn that houses creak, fridges squeak, the wind whistles in the windows… we need to create the opportunity for our kids to harden up.

  13. Hey I just stumbled across this site, and while I was a bit perterbed at first by the idea of a 9 year old finding his own way home from the city, I do believe in the process of ‘free ranging’ our kids.

    I am the first to think of the what if’s, but I do let my kids walk home from school, ride their bikes in the street (ours is a long cul de sac) and visit friends who live in the immediate vicinity of our house and street.

    Congratulations on a great site, and I will definitely be back to read more!

    Maisy
    Leda, Western Australia

  14. As a Swedish (Northern Europe for those who have forgotten) mother I get amazed that this discusson is so vivant.
    Of course we all want our children to get the most out of life, with good self estime and self assurance. Are they suposed to get that in a package the day they turn eighteen? No, in small steps we parents have to help them bulid it up.
    Walking to school, taking a bus in the home town, take the train alone to grand mother, riding a bike a little further away from home are small, natural steps in that direction.

    Our children must be prepared to take care of them selfs one day and make their own descisions then. By doing things on their own in childhood exercises them in an easy way in making descisions.

    But as an adult I also have to provide security arrangements: When walking to school I know that the school will call if my sons are more then ten minutes late. The have cellular phones and knows how to use them (911 etc). We have talked about being polite to strangers – but never trust them. Being home – or call – on the time agreed upon is important, otherwise we go out looking for them.

    As a parent I am not so afraid of perverts or kidnappings, they exists but statistically they are rare. Accidents and bullying friends are reality. Those awful thing we can try to vaccinate our children against by letting them learn how to handle their own lifes with us parents as coaches and guardians from a few steps behind.

    Pia
    Stockholm, Sweden

  15. All I can say as a swede is that all off this is silly. In Sweden almost all kids in Stockholm take the subway to school. every where ells we have school bus. Its like 0,5% of the kids who get a ride to school with there parents.

  16. Hi!

    This mentality of “fear of everything” is starting to contaminate even here in Iceland where I live. A lot of people won´t let the kids, especially the girls, walk very far when it´s dark. Hey, in Iceland it´s more or less dark 6 months a year! Beeing afraid of the dark isn´t an option… And why? Because of paediphiles lurking in the bushes… I say, everytime a mother gives me the evil “howcanyoubesocallousaboutyourdaughter” look, that it´s much liklier that her father, uncle, grandfather, teacher, neighbour or some other man we know and trust will commit unspeakeabels than ever a deranged rapist in the bush – am I to lock her in her room and only let her out with me? The traffic? Riding in the car with us is more dangerous.

    I was very proud of her the other day when she was visting her cousin in Reykjavik. They are both 11 years old an took the bus to our home-town some 25 kilometers away with his bike in tow. Then they picked up her bike, rode all the way back, nipping in to say hello to their 97 year old great grandmother. They, on the other hand, thought nothing of it – they have done this kind of thing all their lives (just not that far).
    In the end it all boils down to one thing: one day the WILL fly out of the nest and it´s our job as parents to coach them the best we know how to take care of themselves. Bringing them up in fear of everything and, even worse, everyone, is a bad, bad gift to give.

    I know, it took me the best of 20 years to overcome my own childhood where I was tought that everything was dangerous with led me to conclude that I was quite helpless and pathetic…

  17. I have to say that I think this is something of an American issue. I remember as a kid in Sweden if I hadn’t walked to school that would have been strange. I also rode my bike all over the place. I think this is true for many parts of the world and I have often found this American obsession with safety a bit strange and certainly overprotective. I was walking to school by myself at seven years old and I certainly knew how to get back.

  18. Thank you for continuing to write. I have your blog in my RSS reader with all the other daily reads, and it serves as continuous reminder of the parent I want to be to my 2 year old.

    That, and I really like making other parents upset. HA!

  19. Thanks! We need to challenge our fears, even as parents, even when it concerns our children. Most of the dangerous stuff are actually lessons in how to handle life and making it without suffering (much) harm.

  20. Hi,
    Good on you for your bravery – not just in letting your son ‘free-range’ his way home on the subway (fantastic!) but also for speaking out publicly about it!

    As a child growing up in NZ, I used to spend entire days wandering in the bush, my mother having absolutely no idea where I was – the risks of injury, hypothermia, getting lost and imminent death never crossing either of our minds – and I had a blast. I grew up healthy, strong, with an insatiable appetite for exploring, lived for an entire year in Indonesia – by myself – at the age of 16, and have lived in more places than I can count at the moment.
    And I am happy! Deliriously so.

    Life is made to be lived ….. I live mine out loud.
    It is so sad that we are now so afraid – of everything – that we wrap our kids up in bubble-wrap, to protect them from all the worst imagined things, and yet in doing that we are denying them the very innocent rights we had as children – to be children, to be free.

    Just a though – Isn’t there something in your constitution about freedom??

    I think we, as a worlwide society, need to take a hard look at ourselves and the fear we live bound up in. The reason we don’t let our kids roam free is that we are afraid – not so much that someone ‘bad’ will get them, but perhaps more afraid that the someone ‘good’ will turn a blind eye and not help our child if needed.
    I think that is actually worse than the negative things that could happen.
    So if we all started being a bit nicer, caring for each other, if we all knew our neighbours first names – and called them by it – and if we all knew we could trust for someone good to be watching out for our children .. wouldn’t the world be a little nicer?

    Just a thought.

  21. Beautiful! Please keep up the good work

  22. My brother, now 22, was/is a thrill-seeker. Yet he never got hurt riding his bike, skiing/snowboarding, or skateboarding, though he did all these things very fast and with whatever stunts he could manage. But when he was younger my folks avoided giving him toys that could be construed as dangerous. Denied obvious means for adventure, he simply learned to be creative in acting out his death wish when the parents weren’t looking.

    – At 2, cutting his face jumping on the bed.
    – At 6, splitting his chin open by “surfing” using a pillow on the tile floor.
    – At 9, obtaining a 4-inch gash on his thigh by vaulting over the sofa, unaware of the sharp-cornered Fisher Price parking garage on the other side.

    As he got older my parents became less restrictive about toys, having learned the lesson that the most dangerous toys are still safer than a child’s imagination.

  23. This is a great initiative but if it doesn’t carry over into a community effort, you are fighting a losing battle.

    Play must have a social context to fulfill its role. With things the way they are, merely ejecting kids into the empty streets is not enough, local authorities need to be pestered into providing adequate youth services and sympathetic spaces for children to grow up in. We need a return to communities.

  24. Not all skateboards are equally safe…

    First, BEARINGS. A skateboard with high quality bearings goes much more quickly. Most toy store skateboards are slow compared to the “real” ones.

    Second, LONG vs. SHORT. A longboard is made for commuting: it is bouncy, slightly higher off the ground, and does not do tricks. A normal skateboard is shorter with curved up edges, and lower to the ground, to allow tricks.

    I’m 35 and only started skateboarding two years ago, when I realized that my town’s excellent bus system would get me within a few blocks of any place and a skateboard was easy to carry and made those few blocks quicker and more fun.

    For an adult who commutes, a longboard with fast bearings is desirable. For a child to learn skateboarding most safely, a longboard with slow bearings might be best.

    As you mentioned, Lenore, a skateboard is really not that dangerous if moving at beginner speed. It only takes a few days of practice for “falls” to turn into “I’ve found myself running a few steps while my skateboard just shot off in some direction”. That might send the skateboard into the middle of the street, but the rider is safe.

  25. “It’s like being on a diet that restricts any foods you have ever heard may be harmful, no matter what the source”

    That sounds like the list I got from my doctor’s office the last time I was pregnant. Lettuce was listed as one of the foods I should avoid.

  26. My kids taught me that they know more about their physical capabilities than I do. They are now 9 and 6, but were born when we were “older” and had been married for awhile…and after a few “mishaps” in the conceiving and carrying a child category. So I guess that made us a little more perfectionistic (is that a word?) than normal.

    My older son especially, INSISTED that he knew how to climb and jump and balance…and he’d tell me when he needed help. He now rides scooters, skateboards, and a Ripstik…have you seen those things? They defy the laws of physics. He also snowboards, water skiis, surfs, parasails, and rides ANY roller coaster that he’s tall enough to ride. He rode a two wheeler when he was barely 4, and used to scare the #@!! out of our neighbors in Iowa by riding at breakneck speed down our street and slam on his brakes a few inches from our garage door.

    I’ll have to admit that he broke his arm while wearing “Heelies”…but he also broke his arm while climbing a fence, and broke a finger while chasing a girl at a park. Many people questioned my decision to let him wear the Heelies again. What was I to do? Also, make him stop climbing fences and chasing girls?

    On a side note I’m convinced his broken bones (all suffered within one calendar year) were the result of a sorry medical establishment who refused to remove his tonsils even though they were swollen for nearly a year to fill up half his throat and caused reflux and (in my opinion) dramatically affected the nutrition that he received from the food he ate.

    So, Lenore, let them be kids….but make sure they wear helmets…I’ve seen the marks on my son’s helmet, I don’t want to see them on his head.

  27. Oh, I forgot to mention that BOTH times my son broke his arm he was less than 20 feet away from me. When he broke his finger he was under the watchful eye of his teacher, a teacher’s aide, and my best Mom friend.

    Our only other ER visit came when my now 6 year old was 1. He fell at my in-law’s house and was about 12 inches away from me and 12 inches away from my sister-in-law. His front teeth went through his lip and he had to have stitches.

    So I guess my kids are actually safer when they are AWAY from me. Imagine that!

  28. Just bought our kids a trampoline. I had been anti-tramp for years because all the docs and medical professionals said they were dangerous. More dangerous than my kids sitting on their rear ends playing video games for hours a week? I don’t think so. I’d rather they get some exercise and be outside with a little risk of injury than sitting overweight in front of the TV, losing their social skills. Just don’t want them to damage those expensive braces!🙂 Thanks for the good site that keeps us thinking.

  29. My son is now 13. I had to let go of my fear (not his) and agree to let him get his SCUBA certification when he was 11. My husband dives and, of course, this is not an activity to do alone. (Adults and kids must always have a “buddy.”) A few months ago he got his advanced certification, so can go a bit deeper and dive at night with proper equipment. They dive in the NW Pacific ocean where visibility is not very good and that makes me feel claustrophobic just thinking about it. But he talked me in to getting my certification to dive when we were on vacation in Hawaii so I could watch him. Nothing like the exhiliration of watching your child on his advanture to make you try one of your own.

  30. My son is now 13. I had to let go of my fear (not his) and agree to let him get his SCUBA certification when he was 11. My husband dives and, of course, this is not an activity to do alone. Adults and kids must always have a “buddy.” A few months ago he got his advanced certification, so can go a bit deeper and dive at night with proper equipment. They dive in the NW Pacific ocean where visibility is not very good and that makes me feel claustrophobic just thinking about it. But he talked me in to getting my certification to dive when we were on vacation in Hawaii so I could watch him. Nothing like the exhiliration of watching your child on his advanture to make you try one of your own.

  31. A hearty round of applause from me, the MadWoman. Did you also purchase a skateboard for yourself?

    It’ll be good for them…I’m proud of you for letting go a little bit more and giving them something like that.

  32. I wanted to link y’all to this post on “Keeping your Free Range Children” in check. I realize that today is the age of cell phones and such, but I can’t just let go of my own childhood when my dad used a super powered whistle to keep us from roaming *TOO* far, and also to get us home in a hurry!
    http://raisingexplorers.blogspot.com/2008/06/how-to-whistle-loudly.html

  33. I don’t see anything wrong w/skateboards for kids. But, like bikes, they should be wearing helmets when they use them – and I don’t think they do. As someone who saw a loved one fall right in front of me, and split his head open (and die after 5 days in the hospital), the horror of brain injury is all too real for me. But not for kids – plus they want to look cool and be free, thus the sans-helmets tendency on their part. No, you can’t keep kids wrapped in cotton, but Some risk-management should be in place. Kudos to Skenazy for covering all this, plus encouraging her kids to have fun! I’d tell my kid (if I had one): no skateboards/bikes/skates/whatever Unless you agree to wear a helmet. Hopefully he’d/she’d listen.

  34. This is soooo true! We went through this a few months ago and when they went outside the first time I was bracing myself for the “big fall”. I was mentally going through how many bandages we had on hand, the doctor’s phone number and all my first aid training. Then …. nothing! lol

  35. You need a good hill to get any speed out of the thing. And then it takes weeks of hard practice to get it up to speed without falling off at a slow, harmless speed. All I got out of my skateboard and the 45 degree hill back home in South Africa was some skinned knees and elbows.

    Free range kids, we all grew up that way and look how well we turned out.🙂

  36. You might have to rethink your popcorn. I’m sure it has pesticides (carcinogens) and if you cook it in the microwave (RADIATION, RADIATION!)…
    🙂

    Skateboarding scares the crap out of me personally, but I don’t like scraped things (although I had enough of them as a kid). Surfing, on the other hand, is definitely something I will let my kids do, and do with them. Even though it hurts to fall, I like to believe water is softer than asphalt and therefore, more pleasant. Risk of drowning doesn’t phase me in the least – we’ll all be good swimmers (I already am) and respectful of the ocean.

  37. “Then they come back in and whine that they’re bored.”

    What’s wrong with kids being bored? That’s a perfect time for them to find out how creative they can be. There is a whole world out there to explore. There is no need for parents to keep their kids occupied so they won’t be bored. Boredom is a gift.

  38. Hi,

    My sister pointed out this site to me recently after reading comments on a news story about children being exposed to river water via a fireman’s hose and the parents upset that it was river water…. anyways to make a long story short the comments, at least 99% took your point of view and ofcoarse one of the postings had your web address so the rest is history i guess. Now enough of that though.

    I am posting on here something i read in an older book “Drifting Home” by Pierre Burton. The author relates a story from his youth when he grew up in Dawson City, Yukon during the 1930’s. He said that he disliked it when his dad would accompany him and his sister to the movie theater, (and this would normally be on the sligh where the dad would sneak in to keep an eye on them). The son only was able to appreciate it in later life when he realized that the buildings at the time where all wood and prone to fire. His dad was there just in case a fire broke . The author then goes on to list all the buildings he new that burnt in dawson at the time he lived there. So i guess different perspective from a different time.

    It all comes down to common scene.

  39. It seems American parents are much more cautious and worried than Europeans (never mind my adjective’s choice, is just diplomacy).

    Could that be a consequence of the claim-culture? You don’t want to be sued because your kid did something involving third parties and damage?

    Anyway, just before the holidays my 4-ys older pushed the daughter of an American friend in the dirtiest park-pond of Amsterdam you can imagine, and thanks god, after the scare, we both admitted we actually saw also the funny part of it. Of course we could not admit that in front of the monster.

    Still, with a Dutch mom I would have felt enormously embarassed. God bless my American friend.

    And, by the way, we have in front of the school a famous skateboard playground, I see kids stepping out the bus with a skate under their arm, or biking this way from the opposite side of the city. my kids love going there an run, by bike or foot, or to watch the big guys performing tricks. Which means we might be confronted with this issue sooner than we like it.

    Well, we already have dented biking helmets.

  40. Jumping in here. First time poster. Love the blog. Love Lenore.

    What about these parent-policed parties after high school graduation ceremonies? HIGH SCHOOL graduation. You know, where many kids are EIGHTEEN? Some of these pollyanna shindigs are all-nighters, with a changing of the guard every few hours of another team of parents– so that not for one nanosecond are the kids unchaperoned.

    As a kid who craved freedom, even though I often didn’t do anything interesting or scandalous with that freedom, I am still chafing years later at the excessive over-parenting going on these days.

  41. all of you parents are dumbasses..wait till your kids get raped!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. Yeah whatever!~I have seven children,five sons two daughters,defiantly the last three are more watched over then the others.There is 20 years difference between my oldest and my youngest,it is a different world today.I even home schooled the last three and my daughters remain virgins at 17 and 19 and its not something that we discuss or something I made so voodoo.
    They weren’t under any kind of pier pressure.
    I know the difference in yesterdays kids and todays kids.
    My oldest kids had bikes too and rode the neighborhood.Its just a different world today.These kids dont,My 45 mile pr hour road has become 60 miles per hour,too dangerous now days!!!
    It does make them a little more dependent on me but thats the way it goes.
    I have prepared them to be confident and strong.We shall see!~!.Lord when I was growing up we werent even allowed to be seen before dark!~.Our parents let us have lots and lots of freedom and I got into lots and lots of unsafe situations I am lucky to be here,I was a wild child!~As long as we were home before the street lights came on we were safe!
    Holla Barbara Pensacola Florida USA

  43. About 4 months ago, my 10 year old came running in the house crying that he had fallen from his scooter onto his hand and his wrist *really* hurt. His dad and grandma looked after him while I hopped into the shower and then we headed to the Urgent Care.

    My 10 year old was laughing and we were joking that it better not be broken (I was in labor after all, I had his sister, at home a day later). I figured as cheerful as he was, he must just have landed on it wrong, but minutes later his x-ray showed he had a buckle break.

    The awe and fascination of his broken bone made me realize that scars, broken bones, and such are badges of honor. I remember on the playground with my friends explaining how I got this scar or that one and we all laughed at one-anothers stories.

    If I had now kicked him out that morning to play on such a *dangerous* toy so I could labor in peace, he would have missed out on one of the badges of childhood. I am still learning to let go, my husband is more likely to let the kids trot off to 7-11 than I am, but I am getting there!

  44. As a child I was never allowed to skate because of the possible dangers. Frankly, I was never allowed to do much of anything, but skating always fascinated me.

    My husband now was raised free range, a world I only dreamed of as a child. My husband is by day a computer tech and by night an aggressive inline street skater. Inline skating and skateboarding even if you don’t make it like Tony Hawk, is an excellent source of exercise. My husband tells me it is an incredible freedom to feel the wind on your face or nail a hard rail grind, or make it across a perilous gap. Although as he is getting older now, I think the gaps have gotten much smaller, lol.

    Skint knees and elbows are a certainty I am afraid, but our kids love to skate and have been skating since they were 5. They are now 7 and 10, and have had every birthday party at the skating rink since kindergarten. They have used the regular quad skates until this coming Christmas, and they don’t know it yet, but they are getting their first inlines. I know they are going to fall, but I believe they will do just fine.

    Being with a skater for so long, I have seen many types of injuries, but most frequently they are very minor scratches and nicks.

    At Skateworld, I have seen parents cover their kids from head to toe in padding in this small round rink. I tell my kids when they fall to get back up and try again. They haven’t given up yet and still love the activity. I have had to kiss quite a few bruises though.

    This year the kids have started even going to the skating rink by themselves much to the disapproval of others.

    I am glad you got the kids a skateboard.

    LOL. I tried skateboarding here while back, I was on the board, fixing to push off and pick up my foot to ride however far my little push would go, but in the blink of an eye I was laying on the concrete looking up at the sky. My butt hurt, I lived, my hubby laughed, and then I did too. You have to laugh when you fall and get back up and try again.

    Encourage your kids to try new things (positive ones ;))

  45. PS. Besides helmets, my husband (being the experienced skater, probably 20 years now) always wears wrist guards. Since you catch yourself most of the time with your hands when you fall, the wrist is the most common break.

    When the kids get their new inline skates at Christmas, they will come with helmet and wrist guards for street skating. (I don’t make them wear them at the skating rink, but if they are going to be out on a sidewalk or quiet street, they are a good idea.)

  46. That’s great! I am happy for you and your boys. They may be bored with the skateboard after a little while, but there’s nothing to stop them from taking it up again when the impulse strikes.

    I am a 31, female and a legal counsel, and no one that I know skates. But I still take my skateboard out to the park on some weeknights after work, and the thrill of mastering a new trick beats any antidepressant.

    When I become a mother someday, I will buy my children, boy or girl, a bike and a skateboard each. If you don’t have the opportunity to fall, you never learn how to pick yourself up and stop yourself from falling in future.

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