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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading over on Pioneer Woman's blog today and she is getting some flack because of a picture of her kids asleep in the vehicle with no seatbelts on. There is a comment by another Melissa-but that isn't me, I sign in as Melissa N on there.

I was thinking about how people who don't live in the country probably don't have the experience of their children doing potentially dangerous things. Our kids ride horses, drive tractors and mowers, run power tools, drive 4-wheelers, run chain-saws, climb trees, muck stalls and chicken barns, lots of potentially deadly activities. I admit I am a worrier, but I decided a long time ago that I didn't want to raise my kids to be afraid to try new things. I wanted competent, mature, hard-working kids. And how will they learn unless they get to try? Yes, we teach them basic safety standards and watch over them at first, but eventually you have to let them experience things on their own.

I remember once when Brady was 6-7 years old and I went outside to see him at the top of a very tall tree(or so it seemed to be-in retrospect it was smaller than I imagined it) with a rope, Cale calmly looking on. I asked him, "Isn't that dangerous!?!?" He grinned at me and said, "Yea, probably." I had to walk away! But Brady learned that he can get to the top of a tree and back down again, and I learned to let go a little bit. Was it completely safe? No, probably not. However I want to raise a man, not a boy so sometimes they have to try things that are not completely safe.

I watch these young farm boys around here 9-10 years old driving tractors like they were born doing it, Dad keeping an eye out, but letting them make the decisions about where to go and how to get the job done. I watch my girls on their horses, and yes they get thrown off sometimes, they dust themselves off and get back on. We have had broken bones, bumps and bruises, they all heal.

I know sometimes kids are killed in accidents and that is very sad. But we can't put our kids on a shelf somewhere because we are afraid they might get hurt. Practice increases competence, and competence increases confidence. Let the kids try, they might get dirty, they might get banged up a bit, when they fall let them dust off their britches and climb back on. You'll like the result.
 

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I wish you were my neighbor, Melissa -- our kids, I'm sure, would love each other, and I know I could very happily live next door to you.

When I was a kid, my brothers and sisters and I got up to stuff (that our mother was NEVER witness to, but I'm sure she knew all about -- that woman knew EVERYTHING) that could, potentially, have gotten us killed. We survived with the scars to prove it.

Having said that -- there is "letting go" and allowing them to experience things in order to grow, and being just plain stupid. Lots of "just plain stupid" out there, and it's too bad that their kids get to pay the price.
 

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Driving a tractor, shooting a gun, riding horses, etc. are fine activities for kids - responsible parents teach safety precautions while they're teaching any new skill. Letting kids live and learn while taking reasonable safety precautions is the smartest way to be. But using a seatbelt while riding in a car would be considered a reasonable safety precaution, wouldn't it? So the other Melissa has a good point.............Or maybe the kids in question weren't in a moving vehicle, in which case I'd wonder what the other Melissa was griping about? :shrug:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I should have been clearer, in that case the woman snapped a picture of her kids asleep in the back seat of the truck after they had been helping with cattle. They had no seatbelts on, but there was no indication that the vehicle was actually moving and it was on their own private ranch.

Here is the picture that sparked the controversy and you can read the replies if anyone wants to:

http://www.thepioneerwoman.com/confessions_of_a_pioneer_/
 

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I've noticed that whenever Pioneer Woman posts photos of her children riding their horses she gets at least one person complaining because they're not wearing helmets. :shrug:
 

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The phrase:

"It shows two of my punks on the way home from a long cattle working a few weeks ago."

is what leads one to the assumption that the children were in a moving vehicle.

Melissa, I agree with everything you said about allowing children to both foster a spirit of adventure and become competent at tasks, even if includes an element of risk. My own 13 year broke both her foot and her arm last year in two separate "adventure fostering" escapades.

However, I simply don't understand not being buckled into a seatbelt when one is traveling in a car. I think when one allows their children to buckle up sometimes and not others just leads to confusion on the part of the children. Children shouldn't have to be faced with to a judgement call every time they get in a vehicle ( should I buckle? should I not?)

By making children buckle up EVERY time goes a long way in creating a habit of buckling that may very well save their lives one day.

Back to Pioneer Woman. I understand that more than likely they were on a private road on their own property and that the children were not at great risk. Possibly, she snapped the photo while the car was parked and just embellished the part about "being on the way home". Either way, when one has a blog as big as PW's and is constantly putting her life out in the spotlight, one has to expect a little criticism from time to time.
 

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This thread got me thinking of last Saturday. Our church put on a tractor pull. A few drivers were young teenagers. I leaned over to Roger and commented that one could tell that they'd been driving a tractor for a long time.
 

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It almost looks staged to me. (the pic)
My dh lets his 12 yo son ride his beater truck across the pasture- he does make him buckle up- it drives me nuts though..... he hit a tree last week and busted up the front fender it took two years for dh to find the part, it is a vintage ford and parts are hard to come by- the boys (my son included) did not tell dh for fear of his wrath- then dh gets all like your son didn't tell me! Well my son didn't crash the car, and don't be mad at me - thank God they are OK!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In PW's case I figure if they are on their own property it is no more dangerous than riding a horse or driving a tractor. I don't see many tractors with seatbelts on them, although some of the newer ones may have them. My kids have driven the truck for putting up hay and I think the people putting the hay on are on the wagon are in much more danger. I think using common sense is the key.
 

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About seatbelts. I only recently started wearing mine, and only so that the kids will wear theirs (example you know). I only do that because there is a law, and I feel like I should obey the laws if they don't require me to do something contrary to my beliefs. However, we grew up without seatbelts, and we all survived. Do people die in crashes without seatbelts? Yes. Do people die in crashes wearing their seatbelts? Yes. Personally, I would prefer the government quit trying to save me from myself, and concentrate on more important issues.

My kids are allowed to do many things that some would consider dangerous, but I also try to keep them from doing unnecessarily dangerous things. I know some people like to court danger, but I find it unnecessary. Many things that need to be done on a homestead or farm are inherently dangerous, but can be managed to be safe with care. Jumping from the roof of the garage (like my brother used to do) is really unnecessary, and dangerous.
 

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Cute picture, and no signs of , "will you stop touching me, daaad, he's touching me ", close family, Ihope my kids grow to be two peas in a pod.

Look carefully through the rear window, you can see a house, that truck is not moving.


My wife is always worried about the things I let the kids do, but I'm right there while they are first exploring, and it is done little steps at a time, confidence building is important and it's so much fun seeing their first expressions when new discoveries happen.
 

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Melissa said:
However I want to raise a man, not a boy

This would seem to be a lost art, and I am glad to see others with the same attitude.

When my boys were younger, my wife would call me at work. She would tell me what they were up to and ask if she should stop them. I would laugh and tell her to let them go. I could hear the fear in her voice when she would say OK, but like you, she raising boys into men.
 

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I think kids that start out with tractors and the responsibility that goes with them aren't going to be stupid about driving when they get to drive cars.

But you're going to lose a few along the way no matter what. I had a young cousin die from falling from a truck box--she fell in front of the rear tire and was run over. There were several other cousins/sibs in the back of the truck with her and her father was driving. I think she was 7 years old, but it was such a long while ago I don't remember exactly. Renee would have been somewhere in her 40's if she were alive today. It happened in a field on the family farm.

A man I know lost all of the fingers on one hand from getting it into a grain auger when he was 7 or 8. Another man I knew had his arm cut off as a child, hiding in the hay field when they were cutting hay.

My father drilled safety into our heads constantly when we were kids. Even today if I do something even marginally questionable in the safety line, I think of him yelling at me to stop doing it. And it went beyond the farm, too. I remember very clearly when I was learning to ride a bicycle that when I was on the paved road I was NEVER to have that bicycle any more than 1' from the edge of the road. No fooling around , stay at the edge of the road. All of us kids grew up, so it worked for us, anyway.

Jennifer
 

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Sherri C said:
I've noticed that whenever Pioneer Woman posts photos of her children riding their horses she gets at least one person complaining because they're not wearing helmets. :shrug:
None of the horses around our area wear helmets, but nobody complains.
 

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If people don't do stupid things as children, they're going to do stupid things as adults. Quite possibly, they'll do something MORE stupid as an adult on their own than they would have as a child with a parent supervising the activity, simply because they have never had a few painful learning experiences nor any coaching from someone else with more experience.
 

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I can understand no seatbelts on your own property but not off. If you have a kid riding a tractor, horse or motor bike there is an element of control and you can see and make corrections for potential problems. When you are a passenger in a vehicle, especially in the back, that line of sight is different and attention is different. I'm a stickler for seatbelt use. I don't care how old you are if your not buckled in then my car isn't moving...adults included.
 

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We moved out here three years ago. The number of potentially "dangerous" things that my children do has undoubtedly risen. Their rate of injuries really has not with the exception of stitches being needed but in the only one opf those cases farm related it wasnt anything dangerous, they just had a tussle with a sharp edge on a cut cattle panel. Interestingly enough, being out here and tending to injured or ill animals made the child (teen really) in question more chalant than I KNOW that she would have been in the city. We werent home. She called to ask a question about the amt of feed a new animal got and said "oh, by the way I cut myself...but I dont think I need stitches, I was able to get it to stop bleeding already". I looked and we went and she was stitched.

Now, we have had more trips to the ER...but it is not because we are out here but because when we moved out here we had one boy. Now we have three. But the ER trips have been all inside injuries. IT is just further to the ER.
 

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I was just commenting to my DH yesterday we force our children to wear seat belts everytime we leave the driveway. Still do even though mine are older and do it automatically, but I saw a little boy maybe 7yrs old yesterday on his father motorcycle, in the middle of one of NH busiest cities,, Sorry I wouldnt want to be on a motorcycle in down town Manchester, Was he safe probably, did he have seat belt,, dont think so. My kids dont wear seat belt when were inthe hay field, when the 11 yrs old is drving the hay truck or when the 9 yr old drives one of the tractors. Farmers teach there children different than city kids get taught they face different dangers, its a whole different lifestyle. People shouldnt be so quick to judge if the kids had seat belts on or not,, especially if they werent going any where, or if on own property. We take responsibility for our children we keep them as safe as we possible can , at least a responsible parent does, dont get me wrong I know alot of parent that let their kids run wild and those kids usually end up paying some type of price for their parent irresonsiblity. But if you teach a child right from wrong from day one, and carry through with it they will learn and have respect for what they have ,the equipement they use,It will be second nature to them.. So people who want to jump down someone throat becuz she might not have a seat belt on lighten up there are a whole lot worse things a child could be into,, than sleeping in a truck with out a seat belt, they didnt look abused, negelected, they looked like good healthy kids who are tired they were outside getting that fresh air. Sorry just my point of view.
 
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