One of the assumptions leapt to in the interview today was that I must of course be an overprotective mother.
I squashed that pretty quickly. From a young age I was quite aware that I could potentially put my children at even more risk by not exposing them to hazards than by teaching them protective behaviours.
Their Father being a literal predator and the way he interacted with them stripped them of the protective behaviours most children develop naturally as part of normal development. It was brought to my attention very early on and regular suggestions made in relation to how to teach and develop their protective behaviours.
I am in no way a helicopter parent. I am more of the free range variety. Although I set rules and designate boundaries for their adventures. Although the age they are now boundary fences are no longer required and the rules are long established and the flexibilities able to be negotiated depending on circumstance provided mum knows in advance, not 2 hours past curfew.
They have learned that there is safety in numbers.
To travel as a group.
Leave no one behind.
Plan in advance.
This is how children are protected by building and reinforcing a support network and teaching them how to use it.
Also letting them have experiences, good ones and bad ones to learn from and practice communication skills and how to deal with agression. It isnt easy letting them face/deal with their bullies themselves but it is better for them if we do, these are things we ALL need to learn at some point not letting them experience it in childhood delays it til adulthood when the price of the lesson can be so much higher.
Today my daughters went out into an overgrown garden (yes it currently is quite feral though I loath to admit it). They picked blackberries, blueberries cherries, plums, apples and more. I noticed before they went in to wash that in the years they were supervised while raiding the garden they learned that the nightshade which grows there is not one to pick……it is poisonous and all attempts to remove it have been futile.
And just like their adventures watching mum navigate the world with them, they have learned while they had her there which hazards to simply avoid and which thorns may scratch but but yield delicious treasures.