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Husband encourages dangerous play

post #1 of 110
Thread Starter 
My husband and I just had the 5 billionth argument about this and I feel at a loss...

We have a swing in our (very large) tree. My DD (3yo) loves to swing. Because of the height of the tree and length of the ropes, this swing can go very high, I mean VERY high (DH is 6'2 and she will be at least 6 feet over his head). (It also swings out over the sidewalk toward the road=concrete) 3 different mothers in the neighborhood have commented about how high and crazy the swing is. The owners actually took it down when the house was empty (we live in a rental) because neighborhood kids kept playing on it and they where worried about safety.

Over 7 months ago, when we moved into this house, I asked DH not to push her so high as I am nervous that she could fall. I have continued to catch him pushing her extremely high. I have calmly asked him to stop, I have tried writing him a note asking for him to stop, I have said "fine" just dont do it when I am around, I have explained how scary it is for ME to see, I have cried, I have yelled, I have asked at a later time when I was not heated about it, I asked him to stop every way imaginable to no avail.

Tonight I saw him push her even higher...actually running as fast as he could pushing the swing. I asked him to stop and he laughed at me. He told me I am being ridiculous, that its just a swing, that there is no way she could fall out and that its silly for me to be scared of the swing.

DH has always been extremely caring and respectful of me and my feelings. Which is why I am so confused.

Am I being silly? Is it just a swing?

(FYI- Its not just the swing, he encourages (in my opinion) very dangerous play: Climbing over 10ft chain link fences, climbing bookcases, jumping from the top of the monkey bars. And its even worse if people are around to see. If someone says "Oh my!" or "I cant believe she is doing that!" He encourages it even more!)

I know that I can be too safe sometimes and am trying to recognize when I am. But if something still bothers me after 8 months???
post #2 of 110
How does your child feel about it? Has she gotten hurt? Is she scared? My husband did the exact same thing when the boys were little, he kinda pushed it to the limits. But the BIG BUT, he would not do it if the boys did not want to, then they would say no and he would respect that. And I am proud to say, they are 29 and 32, and they only time they got hurt when they were out of our sight in their teens. I know this doesn't help, more of a been there done that.
post #3 of 110
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by LVale View Post
How does your child feel about it? Has she gotten hurt? Is she scared?
She LOVES it. And, no, she has not gotten hurt and is not scared.

He will push her limits a bit, but does respect her wishes to stop if she asks.
post #4 of 110
I personally think three is too little to be so high (and with force) over a person's head. Your dh could never catch her if she did fall and she's likely to at least break an arm, hopefully not her skull.

I would really lay down the law with your hubby. If he cannot be tamer with her, you'll have to find other things to play.

And really, what kind of husband doesn't at least carefully consider a mother's wishes of safety for their child?
post #5 of 110
The only one of those things that you listed that I'd talk to my husband about is the book cases (unless they're built in and very sturdy) because of the tipping.

My kids are 5, 3 and newborn and the older ones are encouraged to listen to their bodies when it comes to risk assesment. They've never gotten injured doing something THEY want to do. Being aware of what their bodies and minds can do is a VERY good thing!

That said, some of the stuff they do scares the bejeezus out of me and I choose to look the other way or watch with my phone in hand to call 911 if need be (I haven't had to yet.) As kids both dh and I would jump off of single story homes. As a parent, this terrifies me, but as a kid it was just a big thrill! And I was only injured once (when some kid stepped in the landing zone mid-jump) and dh was never injured.
post #6 of 110
I gotta say, it doesn't sound too bad. The risk of actually falling is pretty minimal, if she knows to hold on tight. I was pushing DS1 (4yo) on a similar swing recently. Yes, it scared the bejesus out of me but honestly, there are alot of things that both boys do that scare me to death. I try not to let them see because I want them to be able to trust themselves and I find that if I get scared they start doubting themselves halfway through whatever they're doing and that's when they're likely to get hurt.

As Mother's it is soooooo hard to see our kids doing things that might hurt them but it's also our jobs to let them go. Mainly you need to decide between what's really dangerous and what is just scary. Honestly, I remember the first time we took DS1 in a car, I almost died I was so scared of having an accident! Things are scarier when you have kids!

I think you need to trust that your DH loves your daughter and wouldn't do anything she didn't want, or he obviously didn't think she was capable of.
post #7 of 110
I think it sounds awful and it would freak me out too. I think I would resort to sabotoging the swing in some way so it could not be used!!!
post #8 of 110
What's the seat bit like? Unless it's bare rope or rotten wood I wouldn't worry about it, personally. I think a childhood without a few broken bones would be a sad one (yes i know, incredibly unpopular view, but i spent my childhood and teens being thrown off crazy horses so maybe i have residual brain damage from that! ), and it sounds like your DD is a very keen participant. In my relationship if i'd said "fine, don't do it when i'm around" i could then come back from that and say "actually just don't do it". Also, my relationship with my dad was thwarted throughout my childhood by interference from my mum, and i feel i really missed out because i only got to spend time with the version of him SHE approved of. IF he took it too far and IF she hurt herself that lesson is going to be way better for both of them than you just talking about it, no?
post #9 of 110
my husband does this too. I don't have an answer for you but thought I'd commiserate. Is your child a boy? It seems in my situation my dh wants to make darned sure our son is "tough enough" or "boy enough". maybe because we're a bit hippy-dippy and we're vegetarians it compromises his own internal beliefs on "being a tough man" and therefore he is makiing sure to get my son "tough". who knows.

I try to let him know that, if something happend, HE would feel SO GUILTY!
post #10 of 110
The dangers are pretty obvious, even to a three year old, so the chances of her forgetting to use the swing safely are pretty minimal. In my experience, it's the less obvious dangers that lead to trouble.

On the other hand, it sounds like that particular swing is built in such a way that worry is a reasonable response, and it sounds like your husband is being extremely dismissive. If it was me I would probably take the swing down and replace it with a shorter one, then simply look the other way and take some Rescue Remedy when he pushes her as high as possible on the shorter swing.
post #11 of 110
Gosh, that's a tough one. I can totally relate to the mama bear instinct to protect our babies. I would have to do a lot of self-talk with this one, and at the end of the day, I would do everything in my power to step away from the father-daughter relationship and trust both my husband and daughter to do the right thing.
post #12 of 110
Me and dh have the opposite issue. He is very worried about everything and me having been raised by a severely overprotective mom wants dd not to miss out.

Your dh may be feeling the same way. If he sees no major safety concerns he may feel that she is not getting to be a kid if she is kept from doing certain things. Can you try to talk to him about why he insists on the swing? Does he give you any input as to why?

I had some success with talking in detail about the actual dangers of various activities and we have been able to compromise.
post #13 of 110
men do tend toward rougher play and it is sooo good for the kids neurological development.

that said, if it is clearly dangerous risk-taking behavior, there are some thigns you could do. is the seat just a plank of wood? could you replace it with this?

this one has a higher weight limit.

other than that, i would just cut the ropes and be done with it.
post #14 of 110
My kids do some crazy things sometimes, & we currently have a rope swing in our garden that gives me heart palpitations. My DH has encouraged informed risk taking, but he does seem to have an inborn sense of when the risks are too high. I have learned to live with it, & even embrace it sometimes. I figure I would rather have them understand the consequences of risk-taking in a supervised environment, as opposed to us not knowing what they are up to.

And DS has come off the rope swing at high speed, & he was lucky not to break his arm (or worse). He was scared, cried a bit, learned from the experience, & is now much more careful about how he holds on to the rope. And the novelty wore off too, so he doesn't swing on it as much. He's moved on to other exciting things. I do draw the line at jumping off the roof- it's way too high & the kids do recognise that- they're adventurous, not completely mad.
post #15 of 110
I think if your DD was scared, she'd tell him. My DD is 3.5 and kinda a daredevil, but if you pick her up and try to hang her upside down she freaks. She let's us know what scares her.

The swing over the concrete is a bit freaky, but it sounds like if it really scared her she'd tell him and he''d stop.

I like the idea of replacing it with one of those toddler swings if it isn't, then it could be a safer swing and they he could still swing her high. That's what we have.
post #16 of 110
I get the being scared, but I think what your DH is doing is fine (well, the danger side is fine, the freaking you out/not respecting you isn't).

post #17 of 110
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post
this one has a higher weight limit.
I'd consider carefully what message it sends buying a developmentally normal child a swing seat designed to allow those with special needs to swing safely. I think i'd rather my kid fell off a swing once or twice than grew up thinking i felt she wasn't capable of being trusted to use such a basic play item without radically specialised equipment.
post #18 of 110
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
What's the seat bit like? Unless it's bare rope or rotten wood I wouldn't worry about it, personally.
That's my question. Are we talking plank with fraying rope or something sturdy?

I'm a thrill seeker myself. So is DH. The difference is that I cringe thinking of the kids getting hurt, and he doesn't. So, yes, there are lots of things that they do that I just have to look the other way if I'm watching. I try to assess whether they're prepared to do whatever it is and go from there.

I don't think it's fair for one parent to control the other's interactions. The bookshelves would bother me for safety reasons. (Plus, I'm not sure there's a legitimate reason to climb a bookshelf.) The other things wouldn't bother me. I've fallen off barbed wire fences, out of trees, etc., and I think it's okay to have a childhood with some risky behavior when your parents are around to comfort and help you.
post #19 of 110
If your dd enjoys I say let her and her dad go for it!
IMO, you are being a bit too protective. I did those things a ton growing up and loved it especially when my dad played with me like that. Many fond memories
post #20 of 110
Sounds too high to me. And the bookcase thing -- MAKE SURE they can't tip over. Sheesh.
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