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No Fear! (when does that happen?)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

DS is 20 months and is not a high-needs kiddo, but he's very active... climbing, bouncing, lunging, jumping, etc. I work at an organization that is also an Interactive Museum, so there are a lot of physical play things - slides, jumps, things for balance. His presence always seems to scare other parents, because he just bounds in with no fear... face-first down the slide, before I have a chance to stop it, spins on the spinning thing, jumps onto that bouncy thing, whatever have you. I work there, so he knows where he's going - which is difference #1. Other parents don't know that he actually knows where he is. But they look at him like he's still a baby... and yet, he's aggressive with these "toys".


Today we went to a park never ventured to before and the smaller structure had two kiddos on it, which made DS freeze and hold on to me like there was no tomorrow. So I walked him around the park and he found the older kid structure, with big huge "5-12yo" signs on it. Since no one was around, I let him down and to take a glance... he ran up the stairs, past the "small" slide, to the spiral slide and Face First. I was at the bottom, no worries. But he was so excited, he ran back up the stairs... back to this HUGE slide. Again, face first.


I guess I'm just curious... when does the Fear happen? Not that I want him to be scared. but the way he was bounding around this 5-12yo structure today, with huge gaping holes (for poles and other jump-down fun), it scares me. Obviously #1 is... I shouldn't allow him on such structures. Ultimately, I get that I have to make sure he's safe. BUT, when does fear happen?


And I'm interested (never seen this before today) that he is a little intimidated when other kids are around. He goes to PT daycare, so he's used to other kids. But just having kids there, he wouldn't leave my arms. So he has Some Kind of fear... but it's not of falling; it's shyness, in a way.

post #2 of 11

I only have one DS (25 mos), so I'm certainly no expert, but mine is also very "no fear" in terms of aggressive physical play, though let a train go past and he'll turn into a crying hysterical mess. From what I've observed of relatives' children, it just appears to me to be a personality thing. I've seen lots of other (boy and girl) children DS's age, and most of them are more reserved physically, but not all.


I'm assuming your DS is also very physically adept if he prefers the older kids' structure? Mine is--he runs circles around the other kids his age and can do way more than most of them in terms of climbing, etc. He does also occassionally fall and hurt himself, but he's very tough, and just bounces right back and goes back to doing whatever it it was he was doing before, if he doesn't get hurt too badly. My brother was the same way when he was a kid--climbed everything, no sense of fear--he was always giving my parents' heart attacks. He kept right at it till he was a teenager, though he did NOT become a real adrenaline junkie--just played lots of organized sports in HS.

post #3 of 11

I had a fearless 2yo too.


I now have a fearless 5yo.  I'll be sure to post when the Fear arrives though ;)

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

The lady at the kids museum says.... kiddos have to be a bit older to establish some long-term memory... Ooh that hurt me last time, I won't do that again.


Do you think that has any relevance?


For the child who had no fear at 2yo and still doesn't at 5yo, doesn't seem like long-term memory is an issue... just an active kiddo. :-)


DS is certainly active.

but this week I've also realized he will bombard out of our garage and STOP and look right, to look for cars, before he goes any further. I think the neighbors have helped with that. it's the first time I've seen him do that. So, maybe he does have some understanding, just maybe not on climbing structures :-) (hate the idea that the only time you learn is when you fall, but again.... I'd imagine that's how I learned!)



post #5 of 11

my 15 month old has no fear. He is also high energy!! superhero.gif

post #6 of 11

I have five children, and so far, it seems that each child develops a risk analysis ability and uses it according to his/her own understanding of genuine limitations, unless this process is hindered by outside influences of course. It also seems that outside influence can go in both directions in the case of my children.


I have a child for whom a rule had to be made when he was 18 months old, that he must not jump from higher up than the seventh stair, because it put other members of our family in potential danger because of how the stairs were set up. It was an east jump for him. This child had already jumped off of 5' platforms on outdoor play structures, burying his legs in gravel upon landing because his feet were proportionate to his small body, which was like a torpedo. He quickly adopted the standard Olumpic dismount posture, though, so it wasn't, and still isn't an issue. He's 5 now and has had no more than a surface scrape on him; his physical coordination is slightly less than impeccable, and he was this way from birth- running in his eighth month, building block towers taller than himself ay 9 months old, handwriting that looks like the examples given on forms to indicate how to print for clarity, etc....


His 3 yr old brother, however, has had a broken clavicle, fallen more times than I am comfortable with, nearly cut off his whole baby toe last summer, and is generally more willing than physically coordinated. This child is huuuge, though, and he cannot seem to keep up with his own growth, in a way. He is bigger than most 5 yr olds, which I know is also a significant factor. The others vary in their risk-taking, but all are consistent with their personalities and growth.


If he seems fearless to you, he's not, obviously, he just has different risk-analysis than most. He may always be very comfortable in his body. What a wonderful thing to experience. Our greatest challenge has been to protect our children from well-meaning worryers and liability-minimisers so that they can be free to explore and analyse their own true limitations.


Have fun! There's no other way. ;)

post #7 of 11

I think the fear develops when you become a parent...lol.  My kids are 12, 10, 9, 8, 6 and 4.  Sometimes it scares me half to death watching them play.  We have a lot of climbing trees on our property, and I'll tell you, they'd climb to the moon if they could!  We have to set boundaries on which trees and how high they can climb, because fear is not going to stop them.  They'll jump off a ladder onto  a rope swing on our huge oak tree and squeal with delight.  I, on the other hand, nearly have a heart attack just watching.  I've actually come to the conclusion there are certain things I just can't watch them do...hahaha.  I remember doing all of these types of things when I was a kid and it was a blast.  Now as a parent I imagine every worst case scenario possible.  I wonder how I survived my childhood, or how any kid does for that matter.  Yep, I'd say my fear is fully developed now.  ROTFLMAO.gif

post #8 of 11

Another thought - obviously as kiddo gets a little older you won't need to worry as much about playgrounds for 5-12 year olds.  But that's because we know they've learned that they could get hurt if they fall too far and such so he will set more boundaries on himself.  BUT that doesn't mean he won't be ready to explore some new, crazy scary thing (at least from mom's perspective).  I think most kids are always looking for adventure and the thrill moves them on to bigger and better things.  The reality is, I look back on things I did when I was 18 or 19 and think WHAT WAS I THINKING?????

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

I think that's my thing right now is just watching this Lil Kiddo do things that other kids are so scared of... he just dives in head first. I was an insane CHILD - I remember being five, naked, and up trees that seemed higher than the roof-line of my house. I had no fear as a Child either. But for a toddler...  I guess you're right kirstin, maybe it's just now being on the flip side of being a parent. It terrifies ME. And I really don't feel like an overbearing parent - my friends watch my son in horror sometimes, where most of my statements are "he'll learn"... yep, he's going to fall, And he normally does, but unless he's in true danger to himself, I don't normally step in. But that 10foot giant slide at the park that he just goes down head first like there's no tomorrow.... well, obviously, I'm letting him do it! But I cringe the entire time :-)


I guess I'm glad to hear that maybe the fear doesn't go away, because the alternative sounds worse. I'd rather him embrace a challenge (again, as long as it's not Real Danger) than be scared of it. He doesn't cry when he falls, he just gets up full speed ahead again. Definitely the alternative would be worse.


Thanks for your words!

post #10 of 11

Mine (about the same age) is much the same.  His older siblings were much more reserved, but not him!  He runs/climbs/bounces/flips with abandon, and though he does occasionally fall, he is rarely upset about it.  He stands back up and does it again just to see if he can.   Headfirst down the spiral slide- absolutely.  Jumping off our 4 foot high porch- what fun!  


It's hard to be the parent of a kid like this because normal limits don't apply the same way- if you give them toddler limits they get bored.  If you give them more space to test their limits they will usually do fine, but other parents who are watching from the outside are terrified and think you are endangering the child.  

post #11 of 11

Good question, and I'm hoping sooner rather than later!  My DS is 19.5 months and isn't afraid of much, he is all about climbing, jumping, flinging himself sideways, lunging, touching the untouchable, eating the inedible... no matter how much stuff I babyproof he can always find some way to injure himself or something to destroy!


My daughter had an entirely different personality and always had "the fear".  I remember her physical therapist telling me once when she was about 3 that half her gross motor delay was probably due to the fact that she spent all the time analyzing the various ways in which she could get hurt!  She's still like that at 5.  I think I spend as much time telling her to stop saying "I can't" as I do telling DS "don't climb up that" and "spit it out of your mouth".

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