Here’s a hint: it rhymes with “earful”
When you’re a mom of two young boys, you’re either a nervous wreck 24/7 or a cool cucumber who’s used to getting mini-heart attacks three times a day. In the beginning, especially with my first, I was the former. And then one day, I stopped. I started trusting my boys more and they became more confident.
Many times, I still find myself worried that my 3-year-old is climbing things too high for a kid his age. But here’s the thing — I noticed that when I stopped saying “Be careful”, he seemed to be more fearless. Yes, my heart beat a tad faster, but I also became impressed by my son’s physical skills.
Saying “Be careful” all the time makes it less meaningful
But, really, what’s wrong with saying “Be careful?” Apparently, a lot — especially if you say it all the time. Experts say that because kids learn words through context, if used too much, a word could lose it’s meaning.
It also makes them scared
The more you tell your kids to “Be careful”, the less likely they’ll take risks or try new things. It makes them scared that bad things might happen — and while they might — it’s always a good learning experience.
So what should we do?
Instead of blurting out “Be careful” every five minutes, take the time to evaluate the situation and see if it warrants worry. And if it does, make sure that you use meaningful language to help. Let them engage in risky play and problem solve on their own.
Although it’s easier said than done, letting our children take the lead is one of the best things we could do for their development. It shows that we trust them to manage their own risks. And while it’s natural for parents to want to protect their children from harm, we need to remember that all these are part of growing up and discovering the world.