On Compromising With A Daredevil Child

Donnie had a race at Grayson Highlands State Park this weekend so we built a long weekend trip around it. Nikki ended up being invited on a trip with a friend to Kentucky so it was just Wesley and I hiking around the park while Donnie raced and it was LOVELY. I just love time in the woods with that guy.

BUT.

He is a bit of a daredevil and there are a lot of wonderful overlooks in those mountains and he wanted to climb to the top and OH MY GOD COME BACK DOWN RIGHT NOW BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.

Sorry. A bit of a flashback just thinking about it.

Hiking with Wes is always a bit of a lesson in how to cope with parental fear and worry because he wants to run on the trails and I finally see what everyone else sees when I say that I run on the trails: TRAIL RUNNING IS A TERRIBLY DANGEROUS HOBBY!

When we are on our home trails the rule is to wait for me at intersections and if he suddenly finds he’s not on a trail he is supposed to FREEZE and not move a muscle and just holler at me until I find him. That works for us on my home base where I can navigate the mountains in my backyard.

But these trails I said I really need him to stay within sight so I would holler “RED LIGHT!” when I couldn’t see him anymore. He actually didn’t mind too much because I was carrying the backpack with the water so he didn’t want to get too far from me anyway.

AND THEN THE CLIMBING. Oh my god. These overlooks were amazing but they were also terrifying and it took everything out of me not to FORBID HIM from leaving my side.

He allowed me to give him “stopping points” – where I didn’t want him to go any further. When he would resist I would remind him: “This is our compromise. I’d rather you stay below on the trail where you can’t see anything but I’m letting you climb a little bit, please accept the boundaries I set before I start crying.”

He could tell by my voice I was serious and no one wants to see their Mom cry on a mountain in Virginia.

He was also proud of me for climbing up with him for pictures as he could tell that I was TERRIFIED. It’s always fun to do things that make your kid proud of YOU, make sure you find those opportunities when you can.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend with my boy. He loves video games and anime and I struggle to find things to talk with him about sometimes, but we always have fun in the woods together and I hope we always have that.

Get yourself to Grayson Highlands if you can. We didn’t get to see the longhorns but Donnie did on his race. There’s waterfalls and ponies and beautiful views and we just adored it. I would love to go back again for longer some time, we only had a few hours to explore because we were also trying to see Donnie at certain times on the race. (We failed. Only saw him at the finish line!) I would love to have a full day or two to explore next time!

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