Skepchick Quickies, 1.18

Sorry for the delay, kids. I’m off work today and my entire schedule is off.


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. @Frisby: I played with fire.

    But I was in Girl Scouts. So that was normal.

    None of these activities look all that dangerous when you consider that they are to be done with parental supervision only.

    Having grown up in the middle of the desert, we did far more dangerous stuff WITHOUT our parents’ supervision.

    We had Go Karts which we road around the desert, without helmets, but helmets weren’t used much in the 80s.

    My dad always bought (technically illegal) fireworks. Of course, he was also a volunteer firefighter so he had some training in that area, and used it to teach us how to safely handle fireworks of all kinds.

  2. My Dad taught me how to make matchstick rockets, and made me help nail up a fence, and would shoot BB guns with me (at bottles), and set up an archery target in the back yard. I was allowed to go miles away on my bike without a helmet as long as I came back for dinner, and my fingers were constantly glued together from working with tiny lead miniatures. The LEGOs were always on the floor where the dog was, and I took them apart with my teeth. I had die-cast metal Corgy toy cars, that I threw at my friends. I’m sure I’m not remembering many of the “dangerous” activities I did as a kid.

    Total number of injuries? One. I have a scar on my left knee from playing chicken on bicycles when I was 10. Again, no helmet or any safety equipment. The lesson I learned was not to play chicken again.

  3. @Zapski: We had BB guns, too, and we even shot real guns on occasion.

    My nephew will be 8 soon, and he has been riding motercycles, BMX bikes, and other off-road vehicles since he was 5 or so. He wears a helmet, of course, becuase that stuff is rather dangerous. He also races. And wins, a lot. He’s gotten hurt a few times, but nothing major. I’m sure he’ll end up getting a broken bone or two before he gets older.

    Once he literally FLEW over his handle bars, smack on his face, stood up, put his arms in the air, said, “Oooooh, YEAH, baby!” … then stopped, looked around, dropped to the ground, and started crying, because he realized he was in pain.

    Hahaha, kids.

    Also, my younger sister hurt herself A LOT growing up. She broke her knee cap (!) when on the go kart once, had to have stitches 3 or 4 times, broke a front tooth, and got a few black eyes.

    But she could hurt herself sleeping.

    Some kids are just prone.

  4. @marilove:

    I didn’t mean to suggest Jen should say No. I suspect she’d say Yes, in fact, but just wanted to get some comments going. This page looked all sad and quiet.

    Indeed, if I may get anecdotal for a moment: Jen is one of the coolest moms I know, and hers is perhaps the most adorable child I’ve ever met.

    So, in summary: Jen fairly kicks ass at this whole “parenting” thing, and is one of the few people who don’t make my eyes glaze over when the topic comes up in conversation.

  5. I grew up on a farm, with horses, cows, pigs, chickens, etc. Sex and Death were learned about very early, and as much a part of my life as walking and talking. We heated with wood, so fire, chainsaws, axes etc. were also a part of childhood. Guns? check. We all learned how to drive just as soon as we could reach the pedals in case someone cut their leg off or was pinned by a tree or something and we had to get help. I was given my first pocketknife at the age of 5 (I think) I remember cutting myself within 30 seconds of receiving it as a gift, and trying to hide the fact. Valuable lessons often come with scars.

  6. @Frisby: Thanks! :) Although, I have to say, it takes a bit of work to train yourself to let your child do dangerous things, even for someone as curious and adventurous as I am. Not only does it go against your instinct, you spend so much time at the beginning of their lives protecting them from everything that it’s hard to learn that once they get older, you need to let them experiment.

  7. Steve, I looked at the link to the “50 Dangerous things” book, and from the table of contents, some of them looke like they could be really dangerous ;) like #4; Kiss Hello like the French.

  8. My wife let my 3 year old cook with her the other day using a real chef knife (previously, we let him help with a butter knife). She sent me the picture at work, where I couldn’t object. If it were up to me, I’d wrap him in plastic and stick him in the basement until he’s 18.

  9. The best lessons are learned from mistakes you make. If you don’t allow your kid to make mistakes or get hurt, it’ll take them a lot longer to learn another way that fire is hot, or that it does in fact effin’ hurt to burn yourself, or why exactly you’d want to avoid feeling that sensation at all in the future.

    Of course, the parental supervision is paramount at these moments, since you want you kid to find out why fire is dangerous, not how the hospital ICU works.

  10. As much as I enjoyed all the dangerous things I did as a child I must agree with Marilove that most of the time it was with friends, cousins or by myself. I’ll never forget one ass blistering my two cousins and I got for playing with fire at their lake place in North Idaho during a dry and hot August afternoon. The punishment was well deserved; we were being complete stupid dumb asses. On the other hand I spent many days going off with friends in the woods or the dunes at the beach when I was as young as nine or ten, and our parents only had a general idea where we were. And the rules were, be home by dinner and try not to hurt yourself or anyone else. We scrounged for nails and wood to make forts and structurally suspect tree houses and even dug a death trap tunnel into a hill side big enough for four of us to get in and play with matches out of sight. I think that was also a pretty dumb ass thing to do.

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