19 responses

  1. Dave
    January 9, 2012

    couldn’t agree more, Dave -Lovebike Munich

  2. Stuart (Family Adventure Project)
    January 9, 2012

    @Dave Great to hear from you. Still feeling grateful for your chain rescue when we were in Munich!

  3. Karen Etchells
    January 9, 2012

    Great points. Wonderful photos too!

  4. Gav
    January 9, 2012

    I agree. Whilst the world is slightly different than when we were kids, it’s not changed that much. Mountains are still mountains.
    It is difficult knowing the balance though as a parent, and society tends to frown on things that are not the norm, regardless of being right or not.
    One thing we do is choose small relaxed campsites with a slightly wilder feel. At these places we can let the kids go off and explore. If they need some encouragement we ask them to find certain things (e.g. Find a pink stone, a brown feather, etc.). We set boundaries and try and let them get on with it.
    This year we are planning some wild camping. The kids will get to plan and lead aspects of the trip so they build their knowledge and experience.

  5. Stuart (Family Adventure Project)
    January 11, 2012

    @Karen Thanks

    @Gav It can be difficult knowing the balance, especially with the different cultural norms that seem to dominate today. In an oblique way I’ve just been writing about this in another post about Republic of The Moon, about how what may seem crazy to some is not madness but sanity.. sometimes we need to ‘ignore’ the naysayers and trust our intuition and judgment. Your wild campsites and wild camping sound great. One of my favourite experiences, although it’s hard to be stealthy with three kids! Thanks for commenting.

  6. Fiona @ Bosinver Farm Cottages
    January 12, 2012

    Hear hear!

    You make some important points (backed up by some inspirational and atmospheric photos!)

    Keep up the good work!

  7. calgarymom01
    January 12, 2012

    We need to raise a generation of self-disciplined, responsible, motivated and happy individuals and the only way to do that is to let them explore the world, learn how to learn and find out who they are for themselves.

  8. Mystic_Mom
    January 12, 2012

    We raise cattle, ride horses and quads, we walk in the wilderness and teach ourselves how to survive, to be safe and to thrive! We do tracking and understand watching the animals and the skies for warnings of danger. Being conscious of our environment lets us enjoy wonderful blessings of seeing 15 eagles or the baby jays playing, pulling a calf or watching frogs and snakes by the pond. Seeing a storm approach and knowing what to do! Great post thanks for sharing it!

    • Stuart (Family Adventure Project)
      January 12, 2012

      Your lifestyle sounds wonderful and so in the moment. These seem like skills and blessings the world’s at risk of losing…. so important that you share and pass them on.

  9. Jenn Miller
    January 12, 2012

    GREAT article and you’re bang on! My kids are big now… two teenagers… and the nail biting nerves of letting them adventure and grow and become all of the things you outline have paid off in ways we’d never have imagined. KEEP GOING… it IS worth it!! (and your kids will thank you!)

  10. susie
    March 2, 2012

    I try to avoid the cotton wool with my nearly 2year old son and get a lot of comments that are negative. “don’t you realise he could hurt himself climbing …(whatever it is)” or “what if he falls/trips/pokes his eye out on a branch” yet my son seems to be very aware of his limits already and although not afraid to try new things, he will watch and assess first to see the best way to tackle the new adventure. And he very rarely hurts himself because he knows that if he is truly stuck we will help show him HOW to get out/down/up rather than ‘save’ him.

    This article is very inspirational and I hope we can continue to parent like this in spite of our occasional nerves and anxiety!

    Susie, New Zealand

  11. Amy Moore
    January 6, 2013

    I hadn’t heard the term “cotton wool” parent but it seems the same as our overprotective or “helicopter” parenting in America.

    I do my best to allow them to be independent, and when I have to overrule them based on safety I explain why.

    Great post!

  12. Jo
    July 26, 2013

    It is all about balance and offering children the opportunities and risks which are appropriate for them at each stage of their development. I was harmed by being given too much freedom and responsibility at a very young age. I did however encourage my own children and now grandchildren to take risks and make decisions for themselves without seeing the world through rose tinted glasses.

    • Stuart
      September 26, 2013

      Yes Jo, I agree, finding the balance is what it’s all about and that’s not necessarily an easy task. Our own attitudes to risk are influenced by our own upbringing and experiences, and on top of that it can be a struggle to figure out what’s right for this kid, at this age, with this personality and experience! Perhaps more important than any absolute decision is that encouragement to assess risks, take them and decide things for themselves. Thanks for commenting.

  13. Leonie
    September 26, 2013

    Your post (and your site) moved me. What I don’t think parents always understand is that older children appreciate how hard it is as a parent to let your children take risks, and they are very grateful when you let them try. At the age of (just) 17, never having been away from home by myself before, I announced to my mother that I was going to cross Russia and trek round South East Asia for 8 weeks. I saw her swallow, pause, and then she said brightly ‘Well, that sounds like an interesting trip’. I could see how hard it was for her not to object and I was deeply grateful. Now I have two children of my own, I hope that I can bring them up as self-reliant, confident and energetic people who can determine their own route in life without being dependent on me. Currently planning a walking LEJOG with family in tow…

    • Stuart
      September 26, 2013

      Thanks Leonie, it’s useful to be reminded that kids have a view on this too, and if we ask and listen we may learn. Like you I want my kids to grow up self reliant, confident, energetic and independent and sometimes when they are it wrankles too. Your family LEJOG walk sounds interesting. We biked it, but I think biking is way easier. Always wondered how we’d get on with a big long distance walk. I like the simplicity of the idea. Be interested to hear how you get on.

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