My kids get hurt a lot, mostly because of their own ridiculous shenanigans or those of their siblings. It doesn’t really bother me. I’m fine with kids having a lot of bruises and scrapes, and I have learned the difference between a real distress cry and one that says, “It hurts but I will be OK in a second.” I only respond to the first. We let most things ride and we have some pretty tough kids.
I know that is not how it works for everyone though. My grandmother was all in when we got hurt. If I got even the smallest scrape she got out the saltines and ginger ale, the cold packs, and all the bandaids my heart desired. She probably threw in a back rub as well.
My dad, on the other hand, was not. here. for. that. Pain is just weakness leaving the body. Second is just first loser. There is no “I” in TEAM. Rub a little dirt on it! All the expressions. I lived them with my dad. We shared a competitive nature and a grit that went deep. He did not believe in doctors… or really most quality care. He pretty much knew what they would do for me and figured he could do that himself just as well. So when I severely injured my ankle sliding into third base in high school, he bought an air cast and duct taped my foot into a lead block. Then said I had to play the next day because it was a tournament and I was the only first baseman… I could have a pinch runner. But this is how we lived so it was normal to me. He kept cold spray in his truck and would just numb me up if I got injured, and we played on.
I grew up on 8 acres, and we had horses. When you got hurt that far away from the house you just figured it out if you didn’t want to be left behind. I remember I was cow-kicked by a horse when I was trying to get on it. I just punched him in the shoulder and got on him anyway. I was 13. I had a purple bruise the size of a softball from his hoof on my thigh for weeks and never thought to tell anyone. As much as it sounds funny and backwoods – and it was – I appreciate now the knowledge I have of what my body and mind can do.
I find myself now allowing natural consequences for my kids and just giving them the “look” when they get hurt doing something I told them not to do. I generally avoid letting the “serves you right” comments that are going on in my head come out of my mouth, but they know. One of the things I appreciate most about this is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. When someone falls in a funny way or something crazy happens, they are able to be a little hurt and still see the humor in it and we all laugh together. Much crying avoided.
Sometimes that tendency has affected us negatively though, like putting off taking my kids to the doctor thinking something will resolve, only to find out waiting made it worse. Or not coming quickly when my kids were really hurt because I just figured it was another one of those drama cries. Balance is the eternal carrot in my life.
Just to be clear, I support taking your child to the doctor or ER in case of a serious injury. I’m not sure it was the best idea to not head to the doctor for that ankle. I mean, it SILL gives me trouble. There needs to be balance and obviously I’m still working that out.