You’ve got one of those kids who just loves adrenaline and to push his or herself beyond the comfort zone. Most of the time everything is fine, but you do find yourself gasping every now and again — and you’ve become quite skilled with the antibacterial ointment and bandages. On one hand you don’t necessarily want to limit your adventuresome child, but you are worried about safety. How do you keep this kind of a child safe — or at least keep injuries to a minimum? And can you?
While you can’t totally control your adventure-seeking child and the risks he or she takes, you can work with your child to encourage responsible, balanced choices in the risks they do take. It’s not a foolproof strategy, but apart from strapping your child to the couch for several years, it’s what you’ve got. Think of it as trying to work with your child’s inherent nature, instead of against it.
Get instruction and channel activity
Whatever your child likes to do — however your child likes to push those physical limits — there’s a chance you could find professional instruction to help your child lean to do it better and more safely. For example:
- Is your child into skateboarding? Check with the owner of the local skate shop for an older skater who can teach the cooler tricks in a controlled environment.
- Does you child have a thing about jumping off high places? Maybe diving is the sport for her. Check with the local swim and dive team.
- Does your child love speeding down hills on his bike? Are you close enough to a mountain to get your child into a downhill skiing team? One with summer training options?
Learn about safety
No matter what activity your adrenaline-seeking child is into, learn all you can about safety measures you can take and insist upon them with your child. Pads, helmets, etc. — if it’s a standard for the sport or activity, make sure you get the equipment. Then let your child know that participation in the activity depends on the safety equipment. You may get resistance, but stay firm. And if you catch your child engaging in the activity without the safety equipment, apply appropriate equipment.
Keep up a dialogue
Talk, talk, talk to your child about why his or her safety is so important to you. Yes, your child may dismiss you to your face, rolling eyes and releasing exasperated gasps, but say it. Again and again and again. It’s a message of your love for your child and it will sink in. There’s no guarantee that your child will never make an unsafe decision, but he or she will know they are loved and wanted — and that just might make a difference.
Understand your health insurance
If you have an adrenaline-seeking child, you may well use your health insurance for this child more than for your other children. You need to understand what it covers — and what it doesn’t. Which facilities you can use, and which you can’t, and what copays go with which kinds of events. If, or when, you have to use it, you won’t waste precious time wondering about what, where and how. Hopefully it’s minor.
And if certain kinds of injuries or events are plain not covered? That could be reason enough to disallow your child to participate in certain activities. Shifting the “blame” to another entity may well make the enacting the ban easier. (Kids are funny that way.)
If you’ve got one of those adventuresome children, it can feel stressful and anxious as you try to keep them safe. Working with your child to do it in the safest way possible (though not totally risk-free) may be the way to go.