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Learning to Fly

Parenting a tween today feels like a flashback to the ’90s, complete with flannel shirts, Doc Martens, and a penchant for questionable decisions. But shielding our kids from our mistakes robs them of life’s valuable lessons and epic stories.

It’s like walking a tightrope blindfolded, balancing protection with letting them spread their wings. As someone who’s taken the scenic route through life, I know parental guidance is essential, but so is letting them fall flat on their faces sometimes. After all, the best adventures start with a leap of faith, don’t they?

Take for instance the time a “friend” attempted a rooftop-to-pool jump, fully convinced they were auditioning for the next “Jacka$$” movie. It ended with broken bones and a bruised ego, but it also offered a valuable lesson on the importance of risk assessment and learning from others’ mistakes. 

Or the genius idea of sneaking out for a high school party, resulting in a police ride home and a lecture on the dangers of underage drinking… candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. But I also learned about my personal safety, rules, trust, and hangovers.

And every teenager should have a hooky-gone-wrong experience to realize that freedom comes with consequences. Sure, mine ended with the full school bus driving by as I got a speeding ticket. Still, it also taught me the importance of accountability, reputation, and insurance rebates.

Here’s the thing: life is messy, unpredictable, and downright chaotic at times. But it’s also beautiful, exhilarating, and full of endless possibilities. And if we never let our kids make mistakes, take risks, and embrace the thrill of the unknown, they’ll miss out on some of the most epic adventures life has to offer.

So let your kids fly, even if it means watching from the sidelines with our hearts in our throats and our fingers crossed behind our backs. Because in the end, it’s not about avoiding mistakes—it’s about embracing them, learning from them, and making memories. It’s in those moments of near misses and narrow escapes that they learn what it truly means to be alive, and grow into resilient individuals.


Janet Smith is a proud mom of one daughter and a marketing professional who is grateful for her rural roots in the London area. Follow Janet’s funny and honest journey at IG & TT | @re.marketable.janet or FB | @janetsiddallsmith


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