Sunday, September 22, 2013

Toddlers are NOT Dangerous by Nature

My son knew about "hot" things when he was around 10-months-old. He knows when a stove is hot and when it's not. If you tell him that a stove (or fireplace) is dangerous and hot when it's not because you think he can't tell the difference--he will immediately seek to touch it to ascertain what he suspects: that you are lying. After that, it's over. He won't trust you anymore and will seek to find out for himself whether things are dangerous or not.

Children are not dangerous by nature. We make them dangerous by lying to them.

And by not trusting them, by not putting them in charge of their own safety. I have seen this time and time again, whether it was the two-year-old I saw on vacation trying to touch every stove because her parents wouldn't let her near them and told her they were hot even when they weren't or the two children constantly running at a rushing river (one who eventually fell in) because their parents wouldn't let them anywhere near it saying it was dangerous or the girl I saw at the park running from her mom straight into the road: parents create these problems.

An example of what I do: with the rushing river I told my 18-month-old son it was not safe and showed him how he could lay on his belly and put his hands in or how he could stand on the bank and throw rocks in. Because he trusts me so much he actually wouldn't go near the river to do either of those things unless I was with him.

A great thing to read on this subject is Bulletin Number 14 by Dr. Emmi Pikler

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