Maybe I went too far!

How do we keep our children safe? We advise them, we educate them, but one of the most common things we do ( not necessarily the most ethically correct) is terrify them. We do this is to scare them away from danger.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/christaface/2815923086/">Christaface</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

Looking back I do think that on occasions I must admit I might have been a little guilty of over exaggerating in order to make a point, and I may have frightened the bejaysus out of them to do so.

A prime example of my method of ” teaching” my children about danger was to tell them a story, usually with a horrific ending to illustrate my point. Most of the stories I told had an element of truth to them.

One time I remember telling them about the young teenager who arrived in to casualty with his mother. He was clutching a bloodied cloth to his ear. On closer examination we discovered half his ear was missing.  Shortly afterwards his friend arrived in with the missing piece. This happened a while ago, in the days when an electronic car window just kept on closing, even if a finger or anything else was in it’s way.  I told my children this story in a matter of fact way beginning “Oh wait until I tell you about the poor little boy ( a lie but they had more sympathy for young children), who was playing with (another lie) the electronic windows. By the time I had finished my story my children were suitably traumatised enough not to touch those windows!

I never had a child lose their finger so it obviously worked. However maybe the stories were slightly too real. Fast forward ten years….

My son was nineteen and I asked him to cut back some of the ivy growing up the back garden wall. I gave him the secateurs and off he went. A while later he came into the kitchen as white as snow, with his hand firmly clasping one of the fingers of his left hand.  I thought he was going to faint.

I lay him down and raised his feet. Telling him to relax, I asked what had happened. He explained that he had been cutting away the ivy and by mistake he had chopped his finger, near the top. I asked him did he think he might have taken the top of his finger off. He went even whiter and said he didn’t small_12089468725know but it was very sore and he thought he might have.

I went to get a cloth to act as a compress and said he’d have to show me. Slowly he began to uncurl his hand from around his finger. It seemed to take forever. I was glad to see that there didn’t seem to be much blood. Eventually his finger was revealed.

He had his eyes closed. As I looked at the finger reality dawned. It was perfect. Not even a scratch!

I burst out laughing. He opened his eyes. The rest of the family, who had stood at a safe distance, all came over for a look. The colour began to return to my sons face and he reddened considerably. There was much laughter and jokes all directed in his direction.

The poor fella stared at his perfect finger, slowly turning it around.

Then he did the only thing he could to get himself out of the situation. He turned to me and shouted, “Its all your fault, you always told us that those secataurs would take our fingers off in a flash”.

Even as an almost adult he remembered my lessons. Surely any mother would feel proud?

However it is probably wrong to enjoy telling this story as much as I do!

photo credit: Laurence Vagner via photopin <a
photo credit: Christaface via photopin cc

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28 thoughts on “Maybe I went too far!

  1. I so much agree with you… I am 26 – so more and more of my friends, people who have up until yesterday partied, got drunk and got into complex situation with their risky behaviour are becoming parents. I see them…transform into this “thing” I don’t recognise, like they have to be more than human (not to mention, more than the previous them who had sex in the dirty public bathrooms). It is ridicilous. They don’t have to deny everything they were, but it is so silly seing them pulling on this mask of innocence and “being right” AND if other new parenting skills they developed fail – scaring the kids. I hate seing that but I can’t help it. Up until 3 years old, children arre most sensitive to absorbing their enviroment on an unconsiuos base. And scaring them in order to make sure they listen is a tricky thing. They won’t do it, but the fear stays irrational – because given from a highly autority – mother or father at such a young age. I hope if I will ever have kids that I wouldn’t have to use this method on my kid.

    1. Thanks. I think it is difficult to parent without at some time using fear, although it is not what we would want to be remembered by.

  2. hahahaha – well you were well intentioned ) the old fairy tales were created as cautionary tales to scare children out of the black forest, going with strangers, etc. and some of them have horrific endings, don’t feel so bad )

    1. Yes how true. And most fairy tales are definitely of a questionable nature, but very memorable. Sorry was away for a few days so I’m way behind on reading and commenting.

      1. no reason to ever apologize, we all have lives, and writing/blogging is just one wonderful part of it. we each come back when we are able and ready )

  3. Oh dear! What’s this they say about men being bad patients? I have a boy who goes into serious shock if he so much as scratches himself. He’s afraid to look too. He feels pain, physically and mentally, very acutely.

    1. Ha agreed. Although as a nurse I always found that men were great when they were very unwell, it was only as they began to recover they were hard work, where as women were generally better patients unless very unwell. ( very generalized I know).
      Not only do our boys feel pain, they like to let us know!

  4. When I was very young a great uncle once caught me sticking my finger in a fan. He held up his hand, revealing that he was missing half a finger. “I stick my hand in a fan once,” he claimed. I never did it again.

    I didn’t find out until years later that he lost that finger in the war….

    1. My grandfather told us so many stories about how he lost half his little finger. When he died I asked my mom how it happened and she didn’t even know for sure.
      Mind you the stories were fantastic. They involved smuggling, patriotism, kidnap and so many more.

  5. It all makes sense now. My mother used to tell me that pirates would go around our town disguised as ordinary men, kidnapping young boys.
    I would never go near the local pier to fish. I would always make some excuse and fish at the river.
    It must be a mother thing. Great tale.

    1. The poor fella was so traumatized. So were we if the truth be told. Our imagination can really mislead us. As I said, wrong but I enjoyed remembering this one. 🙂

  6. That’s hilarious! It’s a good reminder of how something small we do or say around our kids can have a completely unexpected influence on them years later. A healthy respect for dangerous things is good for keeping them safe though!

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