Will you let your little child climb trees unsupervised and use cutting knives in the kitchen? While many parents are shocked at the mere thought of such an idea, here’s why it may just be something you should do.
We parents have always been told that we shouldn’t ‘bubblewrap’ our kids from the outside world, nor wrap them overprotectively in the ‘cotton wool’ of our care.
Instead, we should allow them to explore freely and learn experientially. This totally makes sense, of course.
However, would you go to the seemingly alarming extent of letting your 3-year-old scale a towering tree, or deny a grouchy toddler his meal?
Are our parenting methods wrong? Christine Gross-Loh invites us to think about them.
Born in the United States with mixed Korean and American parentage, author and mum to 4 kids Christine Gross-Loh has travelled the globe and interacted with different parents around the world to come to one conclusion — most parents in her own society have been doing it all wrong.
The previously constantly-fawning-over-her-kids mum was very much similar to her American counterparts — eager, thoughtful and concerned.
Actually, it isn’t difficult to spot the similarities between an American mum and a Singaporean mum — both are constantly there for their kids, assisting them every step of the way.
What Christine realised after understanding how the Swedish, Korean and French parents do things, however, was that we could be parenting our kids wrongly.
How is this so? We explore a few points that Christine brought up — ideas that may initially shock you into disbelief!
Children can actually be trusted to use knives… and perform other ‘risky’ tasks
What first took Christine aback started making sense after she learnt that allowing young children to take certain risks at times helps nurture their judgement of their own capabilities.
While we are so busy childproofing our lives to eliminate threats, parents often forget that since tots are innately drawn to new (and dangerous) things, letting them learn more about them would naturally enlighten them on what they can and cannot do.
Contrary to what many think, there is nothing wrong with letting your toddler cycle down the street alone, like they do in Sweden, or your getting 5-year-old to slice some tomatoes in the kitchen, a common sight in German households.
To prove her point, Christine referenced a Norwegian researcher’s study on how Sweden, where kids were given the freedom to explore riskily, has the lowest rates of child injury worldwide.