We all deal with the pressure of trying to do our best to keep our children safe. Not everyone always agrees on the best way to do that — and often those disagreements can take place within the same family. One mom on Reddit is receiving flack after using extreme scare tactics to get her son to protect himself.
When Anon26291’s 13-year-old son refused to wear a bicycle helmet, even after injuring himself at a local BMX park, she began taking desperate measures.
“I pulled up the laptop and showed him some videos; people not wearing helmets on bikes and crashing, dying,” she wrote on the AITA subreddit this week. “I wanted him to see the blood and the screaming and all the pain he could cause to himself and his family. It’s harsh but I’ve had enough.”
Justifying her fear by saying she saw her “best friend fly down a hill, tumble, and crack his skull,” she wrote she had already spent $5k on medical bills stemming from her son’s accident. Her husband had a very different reaction.
“My husband is pissed at me. He yelled at me ‘what you did was overkill and borderline abusive,'” she wrote. “I am holding my ground on this. My son is not biking anywhere until we find a solution. It looks [like] I’m driving him wherever he needs to go. He started crying, saying I traumatized him and now I’m taking his freedom away. I don’t know what to do but I can’t trust him.”
After this admission, readers had a mouthful to say.
Some readers thought she went overboard because of the accident she witnessed as a child.
“I do think you went to an extreme,” wrote Bscrolling. “Did you show him that because you wanted him to understand the possible consequences of not wearing a helmet? Or did you show him that because you wanted him to understand what you were afraid of? It sounds like your sons bike riding may be activating your childhood trauma.”
Other readers agreed with her husband and thought she needed to give her son room to make his own mistakes.
“While it is incredibly important that your son wears a helmet, this isn’t a situation where you show your kid the BMX version of Faces of Death,” wrote Ishithefishi. “If you wanted to send a message, you should have shown him the aftermath of when people survive those horrific crashes and how they cope with a brain injury after.”
Some readers could relate after experiencing the loss of a loved one, or suffering injuries from an accident themselves.
“My husband’s friend lost his wife a few years back, when she was cycling down a deserted village road. Weather was ok, it was getting dark but not pitch black,” wrote TipsyMagpie. “Nobody knows whether she lost concentration or was distracted, but she cycled straight into the back of a parked car. She was dead before the ambulance got there. No helmet.”
Many readers saw her choice as extreme, but necessary to keep her son from hurting himself or worse.
“Yes, what you did was extreme. But he is literally risking his life. Showing him the consequences of his choices apparently worked,” wrote Kindlefan12. “This isn’t a matter of him refusing to study so you let him fail a test as a natural consequence. The natural consequences here could be fatal. And even if there not, he could end up with permanent life-altering injuries.”
If there is one thing everyone can agree on, it is that we all have different parenting perspectives gained from our own life experiences. We are all just trying to parent the best way we can, but hopefully, this mom can find a way to make peace with her husband and son.
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