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Kids Doing Dangerous Things

A friend of mine works every year at the local State Fair. Now if you are like me and only go to this type of event every so often, there is something you have probably noticed: from time to time an announcement will come over the loudspeaker, "Would the parents of Harvey Brown or Sally Boyston please collect your child from Lost and Found?"

Kids Doing Dangerous Things

According to my friend, it is the same kids who show up time and time again at Lost and Found. At first she thought the parents of these children were neglectful or careless, and then she realized they all had similar characteristics: they were Dare Devils. They belong to the Steve Irwin club. They are forceful and exciting children to parent! In fact, parenting them is often an extreme sport in itself!

Characteristics and behaviors 

About 15 percent of children are fearless, with little regard for their own safety or the safety of those around them. Don't worry, this is not a product of your parenting style - it seems they are born that way.

These kids are high sensation-seekers and they love a challenge, thrills, and excitement. These people often do well long-term in careers that give them an outlet for their daring nature, such as emergency services workers - firefighters, ambulance officers, emergency room nurses, police officers, stunt people, and extreme sports participants.

You can pick these kids. They often have limps, bandages, or plaster casts! Their parents are often seen filling out insurance forms. They are not usually gifted in the art of forward planning. You will rarely if ever hear one of them say, "Hang on a minute, I'm just going to pop over and see how far I can slide down that banister." No, these are impulsive children - they just do it. As a result, disappearances from home, getting lost in shopping malls, and scrapes and cuts and bruises are common events in their lives.
They are often very sweet-natured people whose intent is not to worry or alarm you. In fact, as they experience little fear themselves, the thought that you might be alarmed doesn't even enter their heads.

One mother described a trip to the local fairground with her Dare Devil: "At one point in the afternoon, the Ferris wheel stopped as people looked anxiously upwards at a child standing and swinging out from his seat. As I looked up, a sense of familiarity crept over me .... "

Why they need help 

The Dare Devils of this world try out things that make the rest of us tremble in fear. I suspect that many explorers of the past, Walter Raleigh, Christopher Columbus, Isabelle Eberhardt, James Cook, Vasco de Gama, and David Livingstone, all had a healthy dose of Dare Devildom. It allowed them to go where few others would.
Parenting these children combines admiration and fear for their survival. Becoming immune to the censuring looks of other parents can also be a useful talent to develop when parenting a Dare Devil.

Dare Devils need help in staying as safe as possible. They are not good at assessing risks and deciding not to do things. They need adults who are prepared to say things like, "No way are you climbing that tree, you are staying right here!"

Common adult responses to misbehavior 

Frustration and exasperation are common responses to these kids' exploits. This comes out of fear. One father told me he spent more time in medical rooms than at his own work, and then turned to his son and said, "There we were, back in the doctor's waiting room, all because you had to see what would happen if you tried a triple backward-spin off the diving board!" It's not just boys that do this. Girls can also involve themselves in risky ventures, either physically or socially.

Throwing a protective blanket over your child can be tempting ... and, unfortunately, disastrous. These kids need to immerse themselves in life so they can learn to make wise judgments and decisions. Sure, they may have a worried parent nearby to help them avoid too many diabolical outcomes, but they will need to take some risks. To find out more, you can check out Kids Doing Dangerous Things.