Should I let my kids get sick?

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I’m thinking about letting my kids get frostbite.  Not quite that extreme of course, but I am tired of fighting with them to “Put your shoes and coat on!”  Gloves and hat are optional still, although I highly recommend these items.

Maybe I should take full responsibility, since I trained them to love going barefoot.  I don’t know.  I DO know that they’d run around naked outside if I let them!  Now!  In the freezing cold!  I don’t understand their aversion to warmness.  I really don’t. WHY would you purposely go outside without a coat in weather that turns your ears blue and makes your nose drip?

I’ve tried the, “Well, you just can’t go outside then!” route.  It turns into an argument, after which I end up feeling like a child myself.

“But I WANT to go outside!”

“Well then, put your shoes on.”

“But I don’t WANT to put my shoes on!”

“It’s cold.  You have to wear shoes or you might get sick.”

“It’s not cold.”

“Yes it is!”

“I won’t get sick!”

“But you might get sick.”

“Well can I try?”

“No, you have to wear your shoes.”

“But Mommeeee!  I don’t want shoes!”

“Then stay inside.”

“But I want to go OUTSIDE!”

“THEN PUT YOUR SHOES ON!  NOW!”

Sometimes I even throw in the mommy trump card:  “… or maybe you should take a NAP now!!!”

I’m thinking maybe I should just let them freeze, and catch a cold.  Learn a lesson.  But then I’m thinking, that’s a lot of work for ME!

Cboy slipped into the burn pit today and singed his foot in the ashes.  (He was barefoot I think!)  I could barely see a pink spot, but he was obviously in pain.  Oh, the tears!  I almost didn’t feel sorry for him though.  And then I felt like a bad mom for not feeling more empathy, but he KNOWS better than to play around the burn pit!  (There was no fire, for curious folk.)

Where to draw the line between safety and letting the kids learn from their mistakes?  Obviously, I’m not going to say, “No, don’t climb on that windowsill!  It’s not safe!”  and then let them fall out because they didn’t listen.  No, I’ll manhandle them down if I have to!  Same with stoves, or pools, or whatever.

Maybe it’s just selfish, but I don’t want to FORCE my kids to make good choices all day long!  It’s exhausting.  I want them to choose wisely — all by themselves!

So, do I let Moosies burn her tongue on my hot cup of coffee after I say, “No!  It’s hot!”?  (Not scalding.  I would never intentionally let my kids hurt themselves!)  Do I let Kbug eat more cake after I warn her she might throw up?  Do I let my kids go OUTSIDE without a coat, even though they might run back inside crying?  Is, “I told you so!” an acceptable thing for a mom to say?

Maybe I’m just letting my kids toughen up to be missionaries to some cold, desolate country?

Maybe I need to toughen up?  Just deal with it… the constant reminding, re-checking and reinforcing of “the rules.”  I’m sure moms from the beginning of time have grown weary of saying over and over and over again, “Put a COAT on!”

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6 responses »

  1. Ruth, I am actually trying to toughen up my kids — especially since they are boys. I have been known to say, “You don’t want to be girlie.” My boys hate the cold. Some days, I have had to force them outside. Once they are outside, they are better; but it is quite the struggle to get them to play outside when it’s cold. So long as your kids aren’t getting sick a lot, it just might be good preparation for them. 🙂

  2. the best definition of a sweater “what you wear when you mom is cold”

    TJ goes outside in sock all the time, drives me crazy, shoes or barefoot, but socks? Chases after his brothers in a hurry and forget a coat or even a sweatshirt! The right thing to do is probably let them learn, and then when they finally come in asking for a coat, or shoes quietly help them. I know if I was smug about it, or even hinted an “i told you so” my children would be so stubborn they wouldn’t even think about asking me for things again and would totally rather get frostbite then ask for shoes!

    Have fun when it finally snows!

    • LOL! Thanks! I’ve gone barefoot in the snow many a time (like, even last year), so… I guess I can’t yell at my kids, can I? =) Sounds like you go through a lot of socks!

  3. Ashley’s been running in and out of the house in a sundress this afternoon, and barefoot. Crazy kids:) I hear you! Let me know if you find the perfect solution! Besides giving your kids benadryl and putting them down for a nap:)

  4. You make me laugh because I’ve totally been there! Or should I say, I’m there now! I told my children the other day that from now until next summer they will be wearing shoes outside and I don’t want to hear them ask to go barefooted ever again! It has helped the last couple days. We’ll see if it continues!

    And on the practical side, I found that having easy to pull on shoes REALLY helps. So I usually tell them to put on boots. They can pull them on themselves and it saves the sneakers since my tribe is magnetically attracted to any puddle on the property!

    Gina

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