Their most common response is to be perplexed and mystified: "What are you worrying about?," these kids will ask. Dare Devils are optimistic - so optimistic that they overestimate their own abilities:
|Protecting Daredevil Children|
- "Sure, I can jump off a wall that high and still land safely on my feet."
- "Sure, I'll be fine walking home alone after the party."
- "Next time I'll know to roll when I land."
You are not going to wean these kids away from the thrills and the spills. Instead, we need to find positive forms of risk taking: camping, motocross, bungee jumping, video games, paintball, other extreme sports, and visual/drama activities.
Even with positive forms of risk taking, there is one absolutely essential piece of advice: get good medical coverage!
Calming down their environment is essential. These kids do have calm times, but only when things around them are calm. Use lighting, music, movement, and food as your allies.
In moments of conflict with Dare Devils it is necessary to remove any audience of peers before trying to resolve an issue. These kids have a reputation to uphold as the wildest, coolest, freakiest kid around. Far better to say, "Can I have a word for a moment?," and take them away from their audience of peers than having a ding-dong battle that gets nowhere.
The love these kids have for intensity means they don't think things through. Many of them have difficulty, getting things in the right order. Help them to develop the skill of sequencing by asking lots of questions when they are planning something:
- "So tell me what the first thing you will do is ..."
- "And what happens next?"
- "And then what happens?"
It is wise to develop a code of clear nonverbal signals with it this child. For example: "If you hear this whistling sound, it means I need you to come to me right away," or, "If you see me on the beach with one hand raised over my head, that means you have swum too far out to sea."
Mr. Noble's son was nicknamed "Leaping Leo" by the kids at school. Leaping Leo was a legend, not only in his own school but also in the surrounding towns. According to the rumors that served as Leo's personal public relations kit, Leo had leapt from the roof of one school building to another on more than one occasion. Mr. Noble was alarmed. It was true that Leo had been involved in a jumping incident, but over a very short distance.
By the time this leap had gone the rounds of the rumormongers, Leo was almost at Olympic long-jump status. The trouble was, Leo was beginning to believe his own press.
"We are worried," explained Mr. Noble, "that if Leo is pressured into leaping, he might seriously damage himself." That night we talked to Leo and told him that every good sportsperson needs training. We took him for long-jump training and insisted that before he even contemplated a leap, we needed to have at least 24 hours' notice. This way we get advance warning and can channel his energies into other areas. To find out more, you can check out Protecting Daredevil Children.