Costa Brava Have a Go Parenting Spain

Would you push a kid out of a plane?

Windoor - Realfly EmporiaBrava Indoor Skydiving
Written by Kirstie Pelling

Talking Point: Would you push a kid out of a plane?

Kirstie Profile SmallWhat do you think about child skydiving? Would you push your son out of a plane? And if not why not? Because you are worried for their safety? Because that kind of thing isn’t for kids? Because you are scared of what the Daily Mail might say about your judgement as a parent? Or is that just me? Before I realise what I’ve done I’ve said yes….

I will do it

Yes. To a skydive. From a plane. Totally out of character for me. I’ve never even done a bungy jump and the only way I can handle zip wires is to close my eyes and pretend I’m not on the platform.

Then suddenly I find myself suggesting that Matthew does one too. Matthew who is twelve. Matthew who I worry about if he rides his bike to scouts. A skydive. From a plane.

“Your husband might not sign the waiver,” says a fellow blogger, who senses my shell shock at what I’ve just volunteered to do. But I know Stuart.  He believes in facing your fears. He believes that challenging children to go beyond theirs makes them stronger more confident people. He will happily sign the disclaimer.

And he does.

Costa Brava near Cadaques - child skydiving

Matthew has decided he wants to fly… but am I a bad mother if I push him out of a plane?

So the ball is in my court

Do I let my son jump out of a plane? Would you let yours?

While Matt gets excited about it, I worry away at the issue overnight. I am not concerned about his safety. It’s a tandem jump. Skydive Empuriabrava are a certified company with an exemplary record. The tourist board is organising the whole thing and I have gone overboard in questioning Jaume Marin, Marketing Director of the Costa Brava Tourist Board about the company’s record and reputation. There are double, even triple back up systems and the area of Costa Brava where we will be jumping is one of the best places in Spain for skydiving. The weekend after I am there, they will even be hosting skydiving championships nearby.

I’m not worried about Matthew traumatised by it either. My kids are adrenaline junkies. They love (in no particular order) zipwires, waterslides, cars that go fast, white water rafting, biking down a mountain, roller skating and hanging upside down from anything at all.

Windoor - Realfly EmporiaBrava Indoor Skydiving

Indoor Skydiving is one thing…. but proper skydiving is something else
At Windoor – Realfly Empuriabrava

So what am I afraid of?

I am scared of about what other people will think and say about my parenting. That they assume I’m being casual with my child. That they will think I’m literally the world’s biggest helicopter parent. That I’m trying to prove something.  I’m specifically worried about what the Daily Mail would say were Matt’s parachute to fail and he broke his legs or worse. To lose a child is a tragic accident. To lose him after you pushed him out of a plane is..well, that’s just bad parenting. I can see the headlines now.

What’s going on here?

So what’s this all about? My son is being given the chance of a lifetime and I’m holding back because I’m concerned that Liz Jones is going to say I’m a bad mother. Is that what it’s come to? I don’t even buy or read the Daily Mail! And then I have a flash of something really unpleasant. My mother reads the Daily Mail. I would have my mother ringing me up to tell me what Liz Jones has said about me pushing my son out of a plane.

Peak excitement

By the morning, I have banished my demons. The sun is shining, it’s a good day for a tandem jump and I’ve never seen Matthew so excited about anything. We have breakfast and someone asks me if I’m nervous. I’m not. In all the worry about Matthew, which is now resolved in my head, I forgot to worry about actually jumping out of the plane. But there’s still time for that. On the way to the plane. A lifetime of fear packed into an hour followed by a lifetime of fun packed into a minute.  That’s about the ratio isn’t it?

It’s not to be

Over breakfast we are told that the jump is cancelled. The wind is up, and conditions aren’t right. I am surprisingly disappointed. But Matthew is much more than disappointed. He is furious. With me. The wrath of the Daily Mail is nothing compared to the wrath of a teenager who was looking forward to something. The weather is my fault. The cancellation is my fault. The fact that he now has to go indoor skydiving instead is my fault. His entire life is my fault.

Windoor - Realfly EmporiaBrava Indoor Skydiving

We make up over a spot of indoor skydiving. Not the ‘real thing’ but at least it’s a thing.

We go indoor skydiving instead

The Windoor-Realfly Empuriabrava is filled with the ariel equivalent of surf dudes. And  a few beginners like me. I whizz around the tunnel attached to my good looking instructor Pali Rovnan. I relax and enjoy it because there is no real sky involved. Not really. I’m in a perspex tube with a coffee shop outside. I’ve done it before in Florida. I know what to expect. It is safe. It is the kind of thing families do together. When you enter the wind you don’t stop breathing and there little chance of breaking bones. It is great fun.

And yet…

I wish we were both jumping out of a plane.  Does that make me a bad mother after all?

Talking Points

Would you push your son out of a plane? Do you make decisions based on imaginary fears of what the papers might say?

Join the Conversation

Talking Point is our series of short Photo Friday posts. Each week we pick a photo and post a talking point and invite you to join the conversation. Do leave a comment with your thoughts.

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.


  • Well, obviously there are first-hand considerations involved, which you checked off – is it, within reasonable bounds, safe? Not as in absolutely safe. One can lose a life in a variety of occasions, yet many people lose their lives in a moment they didn’t very much think about before, and all lose it in the end. But I would look twice at “reasonably safe”. Your Spanish hosts, excuse my wording, have a reputation that even rental cars might well be less safe than we are used to. (And I am talking first-hand reputation, not hearsay, I sat in one.) That checked, I would certainly skip the part of what the Mail would write, be very worried about the part what my mother would say, still set it aside, and turn right to whether it is OK for the child concerned. I know this isn’t the right sort fo thing for mine, but you made it clear it is right for yours, so all is well. Go jump ahead!

  • My son has been asking me to do this with him for years. This May be the year we do it. Granted he is 18 now. But yes. I would have done it when he was younger if I had the gusto. Because I know: the place where we would jump is ultra safe and two I can help to teach my son to live fearlessly in a beautiful world that is full of change but has so much awesomeness to experience. Kids don’t learn by what you tell them but how you live your life. Guessed you helped answer my issue. Looks like Im jumping. 🙂

    And hopefully the day will come again for you, too.

  • My sons are 6 and 7 and fully aware that mummy once jumped out of a plane out of choice, not even tandem! If they wanted to do the same I’d be extremely proud of them, it takes bucketfuls of guts to do but it’s definitely an experience they’d never forget. Everyday life is much more dangerous than jumping out of a plane…. isn’t it?

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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