Last Friday, we took the kids to the park with their bikes. We decided that our daughter is now old enough to ride without her training wheels, and this is the second time that we’ve taken her without them. The first time didn’t go great, but she really enjoyed it. I think a big part of this is the fact that she’s really tall for her age, so the bike is a little heavier than she is able to comfortably handle.
On Friday, I came to a different conclusion. As I was watching CinC HOUSE support our daughter on her bike, I could tell that something was wrong. Every time that she would start to move over 3 mph, she would immediately hit the brakes. She was just very nervous and kept overcorrecting her balance. It was pretty obvious that she was just terrified of falling. She would look down at that sidewalk and see her doom, and it was really freaking her out. My wife and I both knew what needed to be done, but this falls more in my arena, so I took over.
We switched kids, and I took our daughter and her bike over to the grassy area. Once we were there, I proceeded to crash her about 20 times until she realized that falling off her bike wasn’t going to hurt her that badly. There may be scrapes or bruises, but it wasn’t really that bad.
I don’t know if that is what the textbook on parenting would tell you to do. If it helps, I will say that these were mostly “controlled” falls. I wanted her to get over her fear, but I didn’t want to traumatize her for life. Whether it was the proper method or not, the results turned out pretty good. Here’s what happened about 15 minutes later.
Was it the longest bike ride in the history of the world? Absolutely not. For an awesome little girl that was terrified of her bike 20 minutes earlier, was it pretty good? You better believe it.
After everything that I have missed over the years from deployments and underways, it’s moments like this that bring tears to my eyes. By far, my favorite part is when she crashes and then immediately jumps up and runs to her mother with a huge smile on her face. When we headed back to the car, I supported the bike on the sidewalk, but she was no longer scared of the speed. She just kept pedaling faster and faster. We’ve gone one more time since then, and she is just rocking it. These kids are already amazing, but when you see them make huge transitions like this, it truly is awe-inspiring. I am so incredibly proud of them every day.