Things people say to me:
A few weeks ago while at Sand Beach on a chilly but sunny day in October. The older girls wanted to "go swimming" which means jump in all the way and get out. They are trying to get a picture of themselves doing this every month--we have already done this in March, April, May, June, July, August, Sept and they wanted October. So when we went to Acadia, I packed their suits just in case they wanted to. They did and as they were running down to the water, a woman said to me, "Are you REALLY going to let them do that??"
Answer: YES! It is their challenge, their body, their choice. Would I choose to do this?? Absolutely not! But it isn't about me "letting" them do anything, as if I'm the all-knowing Mother who simply knows what is best for them. I know what is best for me (swimming in the Northern Atlantic in October is definitely NOT best for me!) but I don't know what is best for them. I can use my experience to guide them, but in the end it is their choice. My experience suggests they will be cold. They knew this and packed accordingly (extra sweaters, socks, hats, etc.) but explained they really had the desire to just see if they could do it. Case closed. Was I really going to let them do that?? Absolutely!
It is amazing what kind of joy you can get from trusting your child to know what is best for them. Instead of leaving with warm, disappointed, angry kids who think they aren't capable of trusting their own choices, I left with happy, joyful kids who were, admittedly, slightly cold!