I recently read a blog written by Nigel over at diydaddyblog.com asking whether we protect our daughters more than our sons. It made me think and wonder for a moment. But I can’t relate to Nigel as we have four daughters and no sons. I can’t say whether I would have treated a son any differently than I do our daughters.
Myself, I am the only boy of four siblings. But, all my sisters are older than me – the closest being 8 years older. I have thought back to my childhood and can’t recall any scenarios where I could say my parents protected my sisters more than me. My childhood was free and fun, I would play out until dark, climb trees and generally just crack on with childhood. But of course that’s my perspective, so I ask my sisters what they thought.
What my sisters think
I was a bit surprised by their response if I’m honest. Apparently, two of them say they saw me as being protected more than them! The other didn’t notice any difference but was glad to not be the middle child anymore!
This does support my view that I didn’t see them being protected more than me, but I can’t remember feeling that I was protected. But I wouldn’t have the time, would I? It would have just felt normal to me.
Do we protect our daughters?
We protect our girls as our children, not because they are girls. I would die for protecting my girls – fact. Of course, we assess situations and ensure they are safe. But we also allow them to fly. They have to spread their wings and learn to take risks.
Taking risks is ok in my eyes. Risks are something that you assess and control. Being reckless is something else, I am never reckless.
We’ve recently returned from our first foreign holiday to Kos with the girls, we took a boat trip to some other islands.. The photo at the top of this post is of Delilah leaping from the concrete pier in a bay on Pserimos island. Prior to this, we’d been snorkelling and swimming. She’s not a strong swimmer but I assessed the risks. I want her to feel confident in her own ability and doing this she now knows she can do it and cope with deep water. Already in the water were two of her cousins so I was happy she would be safe.
I could have been the over-protective parent and not allowed her to do this. What would that have achieved? Maybe it would have created some resentment in her towards me for now allowing her to try things. That would not have been helpful. She knows she can trust me to allow her to try things. But failure is also okay too.
It’s okay to fail
On the same trip, we visited Kalymnos island. Here, people were jumping from a ledge on the cliffs into the deep water below and I wanted to try it too. The jump was about 20-30 feet into the crystal clear waters below, but it seemed much higher from the cliff edge than it did from the ground!
Lydia, Grace and Ewan had joined me on the cliff. Grace wasted no time, she stepped forward and lept off. She plunged into the water, there was a moment while I waited to see her surface and a little relief when she did and swam back to shore. Although I knew she would make the jump, she surprised me with the confidence she showed it just doing it.
I went next. I smacked the water before turning around to film Ewan jumping on my GoPro. It was then Lydia’s turn.
She was nervous. She really tried to jump but fear held her back. We tried to encourage her. Other people tried to encourage her. But ultimately she decided to climb back down the cliff.
I wasn’t disappointed in her at all. We give them these opportunities to test themselves. Only through this process do we learn not only our strengths but also our weaknesses. I am proud she assessed this situation for herself and had the strength to say “no” and come back down in front of lots of people.
Here’s a little video clip of the cliff jumping.
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We’ve got rather a lot of footage and almost 2000 photos (not including the 1200 from the wedding) from our week in Kos. This is my first video edit. Its Grace, me and my nephew Ewan jumping from a cliff on Kalymnos island. We docked in Vathi, a small fishing village, now given over to the tourist boats. Its a beautiful place. This island is famous for its natural sponges, and of course we bought some. @yorkshiremumof4girls @xox_gep_xox
Protect your kids by letting them fly
My final words are this: parents will always protect their children. Allow girls to be equal to boys because they are. Let them fly, take risks, learn through failure. Let them find their own strengths and weaknesses.
Thanks for reading.