Daddy Talk: Children Should Not Break Their Bones
Even with writing a parenting column in a local parents magazine, I have never really been comfortable with giving parenting advice. So I hardly ever do, even in these columns. But today I do have a piece of advice that I think is legitimate and reasonable. I would submit, to all the parents of young kids out there, that it is in your best interest to not have a child break a bone.
I’ve heard about a lot of parenting styles that include allowing the kid to take risks, that kids mature through experiencing pain, that suffering a little now pays off with extraordinary rewards later. But, really, this cast/splint/brace thing is really annoying. I’m not sure that it’s worth the effort of all that, so it would be better for parents to just stop kids from cracking their skeletons to begin with.
My kid broke his arm recently just in time for baseball practice and spring break. Well, that scooter accident threw a wrench into those plans. He’s not supposed to hold a baseball bat at this point, let alone swing it in order to make jarring contact with a dense projectile. So baseball is off the table for now. At least we had spring break to look forward to, plans that included a water park and a high ropes course. Ha! That’s a good one. To my credit, I did try to sneak him onto the ropes course, but the employees didn’t buy my argument about his arm being completely protected and immobilized inside that splint. The manager did finally offer a free laser tag session as a consolation prize, so I count that as a “sort of” win. But after trying to re-think everything about what he can and cannot do with fragmented osseous tissue, you get exhausted and just want to let him sit with the iPad all spring break.
Plus, did you know that it takes weeks and weeks for a broken bone to heal? That lengthy timespan allows for all sorts of new opportunities to come up that you and your wife have to think through and finally say, “But with the broken arm and all, we might as well not try that.”
Also, broken bones tend to put people at odds with their doctors, which is really uncomfortable. The doctors clearly don’t understand that we have lives to live here and don’t have time to coddle fractured limbs. They refuse to give permission for anything that you want your child with the broken bone to do. I already mentioned baseball and water parks. Also on the “don’t do” list is any contact sport, trampolines, wrestling, climbing rock walls, anything that involves taking the splint/brace off, riding a bike, lifting heavy objects, and swinging from monkey bars. What’s a first grade boy, or his parents, to do?
And, of course, since I’m talking about a first grade boy in my case, what sort of things did I get onto him for doing today? Tackling his brother, getting on the trampoline, wrestling his sister, taking off his splint (the splint is actually a weapon), and climbing an actual rock—not a rock wall. (We went hiking. Thought that would be safe.) I don’t think he’s tried the monkey bars since day one of the broken arm, so that’s a plus.
Hopefully by now I have made my point that broken bones in kids are not good for parents to have to deal with. They cause disorganization in your plans, they require parents to think ahead more and make special accommodations, and they make supervising your children’s activities a bit more difficult. For these reasons among many others, I would advise that you not allow your children to splinter their calcified skeletal frameworks.
Tim Krason and his wife supervise their children in Clinton.