Parenting for the Real World

Second of three from Gus:
I parent this way: I’d rather teach knife safety than pretend that knives don’t exist and admonish my son from ever touching one. Same would go for firearms, if I could own any. Teaching proper safety keeps kids safe. Pretending dangers don’t exist, or forbidding kids from touching something that might be dangerous only piques the curiosity of many.
Boys like dangerous things, and love to play war with fake knives and fake guns. Its not a far leap to the real thing if they’re around. This is partly how you get kids shooting each other by accident. They are playing with something that isn’t a toy because they were never taught how to respect the danger of dangerous things.
Not in this house.
Same goes for alcohol. I think parents that hide their wine and liquor bottles only make it a fun game for the kids to find it. And when they do, many times they try it for themselves, because it’s forbidden. Unless a parent is a recovering alcoholic, or the kiddos are genetically predisposed to alcoholism (from family history, etc.), having alcohol in the house is pretty common. Hiding things from the kids only breeds curiosity and secret behavior that will fester and cause trouble later.
I’m not afraid to have a beer on the 4th of July in front of the kids. No, they can’t have a sip, but I don’t pretend like adult life doesn’t involve beer, either.
I face danger and harsh realities head on with the kids, because the real world isn’t made of cotton and foam. We don’t use knives for fun because knives are dangerous. However, even in my kitchen, my son hands me a cutting knife handle-first (his palm covering the blade) so I don’t cut myself or an unseen, playful little sister doesn’t accidentally run into it.
Makes me proud every time he does it.
Next: Laws Aimed at ‘Protecting Children’ Drive 15-Year-Old to Suicide


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