Recently I watched a TED Talk titled 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do by Gever Tulley.

Gever Tulley’s 5 dangerous things:

  1. play with fire
  2. own a pocketknife
  3. throw a spear
  4. deconstruct appliances
  5. two-parter

To get full explanation of all 5 click on the above link or read the transcript 5 Dangerous Things.

Can kids become happier by living a bit more dangerously?

Today’s society sees kids being constantly watched/supervised while being on a playground.

Wherever they go kids are watched. There is an assumption for a child today that they are being watched in whatever they do.

Is this healthy for a child?

It seems to be a total reverse from when I grew up. Parents rarely supervised then and perhaps now parents supervise too much. I think that is societies view as well.

It seems that we think kids can’t handle their own risks, they feel the need to ask an adult for permission to do anything and therefore perhaps losing their independence.

I think kids need more freedom to manage their own risks and when kids achieve that risk they feel a sense of achievement, leading to happiness.

This is not a post that is saying today’s parenting style is wrong.

I am no parenting expert. It is just comparing from when I grew up in 80’s and 90’s to today’s parenting styles.

The post is written to create conversation.

I recently came across an article by Hannah Rosin, titled  The Overprotected Kid. 


cool climbing kids

She shares a similar opinion. It’s an interesting read.

Here is an extract what Rosin thinks about today’s kids:

“What’s happened now is we’ve swung way too far in the other direction such that we’ve become preoccupied with safety, and that’s really having an effect on the culture of childhood so that we’re stripping children of their independence, of their ability to take risks, which are key to a happy childhood”.

When I say dangerously or risky I don’t mean necessarily doing parkour, where kids jump across buildings. I mean giving them ownership and responsibility of activities with an element of risk

For example, I teach javelin and gymnastics in my PE lessons. I know that many PE teachers will not teach these 2 activities because they think they are dangerous. I totally disagree.

Yes, there is some risk involved but in my 10 years of teaching them I have never had an incident in Javelin and less than a handful of awkward landings in gymnastics (no serious injury).

I set the rules, I emphasise the importance of being safe and responsible. The pride the students take is very evident and you can clearly see the students taking responsibility.

I have never measured children’s happiness from being given such responsibilities, but I have observed kids get a boost of happiness from such achievement.

I think this is a very interesting topic.

I would love to keep the discussion going.. I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below.