Be careful! You’ll fall!

I don’t know about you but I say this a lot! At least 5-10 times a day. My eldest loves to pirouette and jump and dance like a jellyfish but her balance isn’t the best and she often falls hence The Warning. But I hate it. Here’s why…
By saying ‘Be Careful! You WILL fall!’ I’m turning my warning into a fact. When I actually don’t know if she will fall or not. And even if she does, she may or may not get hurt badly. What I’m doing though is instilling a sense of fear in her. I’m making her doubt her ability when instead I should be encouraging her to test her limits and be adventurous (within reason).
I actually didn’t realize how often I said this phrase until I started noticing that before she would jump off a step or climb over the couch she would turn to me and ask ‘I’m going to fall?” I don’t want her to be afraid of things like this. Yes, I want her to be self aware when it comes to playing with a knife or jumping off the roof but not for normal kid stuff. I want her to try and climb the tree out back. I want her to pretend the low wall is a tight rope. Her imagination needs these mini adventures to grow. Even if she falls and scrapes her knee it’s really not that big of a deal. Nothing some Savlon and a cute plaster won’t heal. That bruise will be forgotten in a day but the joy of walking on a tight rope over hot lava will last for ages.
It’s a difficult habit for me to break because she is my baby and I don’t ever want to see her hurt. As our firstborn I’m extra protective over her and unfortunately learning through trial and error. Every time I learn a new lesson on parenthood I hope and pray I haven’t already screwed her up. I guess what’s important is that I’m realizing my mistakes and rectifying it. Or trying to anyway.
What I do now, if I am worried she’s going to hurt herself badly, is I say ‘Be careful, the couch could topple over if you stand on the edge’ or ‘Be careful, your dance is cool but you’re a bit close to the wall and you could trip’ Notice how I changed WILL to COULD? I’m trying to warn her of the possibility of being injured and what would cause it. So that she’s aware of the danger but it doesn’t stop her from what she’s doing. I want her to be aware and not afraid.
Its not easy watching your child grow and letting them go a little bit more each day. You just have to try your best to make sure they are equipped for the outside world when you aren’t there to issue warnings.

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18 Comments

  • Chanene Ablett

    I am definitely changing the way i word things around my girls. Words are powerful and we forget that and with that I think in time we need to be there to support. Just so hard on a good day #lekkerlinky

  • High Heels & Fairy Tales

    Reading this, I realized just how often I say this! I love that you’ve shared this – it’s a much needed reminder to evaluate how I go about keeping my little person safe, because as you so aptly put it, I want her to be aware and not afraid. x #LekkerLinky

  • Mom Of Two Little Girls

    Hardest job in the world. I always feel so torn between keeping them close and safe and letting them test their boundaries and learn for themselves. This might in fact be the definition of motherhood. Great post. Thanks for linking up to the #lekkerlinky

  • Laetitia Corder

    Thanks so much for this. This sparked an interesting conversation between my husband and I the other night. I never say You’ll Fall, but it got me thinking about many things I do say. The alternatives to “You will fall” that I use is simply “Careful” most of the time. And “Mind the…, like “Mind the stones”, “Mind that gap there” and so on. Careful is probably my go to. It kinda says “Proceed with caution, there is a potential risk.” But, here is another one we use often. My husband often says “I don’t want you getting hurt.” And I’ve kinda started saying the same thing occasionally. I’ll say; “Mommy doesn’t want you getting hurted, I will feel sad.” Hurted a family word hahaha, we say hurted, bolly button, key cars, and all sort of funny things. No doubt she’ll come home one day and say; “It’s NOT a bolly button, it’s a BELLY button!”
    Anyway, I don’t want her feeling that she can’t share something with us one day because she got hurt by a boy or someone hurt her feelings. She may feel “My parents don’t want that”. I discussed this with my husband and he said that us women sometimes overthink this whole parenting business 🙄
    I think he is underthinking it. I’ve stopped telling her that I don’t want her getting hurt. I believe that even when she understands the context, the subconscious mind can create feelings that may inhibit certain things. Thank you for this post.

    • The Non-Adventures of a Stay at Home Mum

      It’s funny you mention that because we had a very similar conversation the other day regarding School. My daughter is having a hard time making lasting friendships at school and it’s breaking her little heart. When she has a good day we get so excited but when she has a bad day we have sometimes said ‘poor baby, I’m so sad that you’re sad’. She is such an emotionally intelligent child that there are days when she acts happy when we pick her up just to make us happy. But by bedtime when we’re laying there talking then the truth comes out that she played alone and it made her sad. So now as much as it breaks our heart we don’t link our emotions to how she feels in any way. We don’t want to pressure her to feel a certain way to make us happy.
      So yes. As women we do overthink things and that’s not a bad thing. If it makes us self aware so that we can help our kids then three cheers to us! 😉

  • Spirited Mama

    Thank you for this. I too use this phrase way to often for my liking. I guess it’s an instinctive parenting trait! Let me work on rewording my phrase too 🙂

  • Jeannette Wentzel

    I am like that too. Trying to protect her. I have been trying to just close my eyes a few times to let her learn a bit by herself. Difficult, but probably necessary to allow her to become independent . #lekkerlinky

  • thesaltymamas

    I never thought of the difference between “you could fall” and “you will fall,” but it’s actually pretty important. Thanks for the reminder- I’ll try to make the shift, too!

  • Melissa Javan

    It’s so hard letting go. I keep on scolding my toddler too, using the same phrase “you’ll fall”. You’re being mindful, so you are doing good I’d say.

  • Anni Harry

    I’ve done this since my oldest was little – simply because I immediately recognized his personality would challenge me on “you said it would, but it didn’t.” So, the automatic warning in my head for the past five years is, “Be careful, you run the risk of… x,y,z!” Silly, but important, parenting points!

  • Kay

    Thank you for this! Just made me realise I do the very same thing and I wasn’t even aware. Now I am.

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