Is Keeping Your Loved One Safe Detrimental to Their Growth?
There seems to be tension between safety and independence that we experience as families.
Many families I’ve spoken with believe that if they allow their loved one to develop their independence, they experience dangerous or vulnerable situations. And when we hold this belief, we overprotect our loved one and do not allow them to grow their independence. So our way of keeping our family member safe blocks developing independence.
I want you to think about giving your loved one the dignity of risk (first coined by Robert Perske). So, the dignity of risk is the idea that we need to experience a little bit of risk in our lives because that gives us fulfillment and agency. It empowers us.
What does this look like with your loved one? Well, it is your loved one taking managed risks. You’re not going to put your loved one in a situation where there will be severe detrimental consequences if they fail.
But what are the opportunities where loved one can take small risks and grow? With these managed risks, if they fall… they dust off, get a pep talk and try again. That’s what the dignity of risk is all about. It doesn’t mean that you do not have a safety net or have safeguards in place. So I invite you to think about how to give your loved one the dignity of risk so that they can continue to grow.
If you’re hesitant with trying this idea, consider this; wouldn’t you rather your family member experience these managed risks with your support vs. waiting until a time when you can no longer provide any protection?
If you want to learn more about supporting your loved one to grow, you can visit empoweringability.org.
- Empowering Ability
- From Special to Ordinary
- Fostering Healthy Relationships
- Letting Go – Allowing Your Child to Be Independent – Accepting That They May Fail:
- Fostering Healthy Relationships Part 2: Establishing Healthy Boundaries for Touch
- Sex Education: Teaching the most vulnerable
- Puberty and Hygiene: How to Support Our Children
- The Importance of Teaching Children Body Safety
- BODY SAFETY BE AWARE: Some General Tips and Guidelines
- Body Safety be Aware: Some General Tips and Guidelines
- Precautions to Take Before Allowing Anyone to Care for Your Child!
- A Complete Guide on Positive Behavior Support for Children With Special Needs
This post originally appeared on our March/April 2022 Magazine