Every time children leave the house, all parents have the need to protect them, it is normal, this is being a father and mother, it is something instinctive. They want their children to exercise caution whenever they are not around them. For this reason, parents tend to tell their children ‘be careful’ whenever they are playing, for example, in the park. When they are older and they go with their friends they also tell them, when they are in the garden, when they are playing, at any moment it is an opportunity to tell the children to be careful.
Parents are naturally protective to prevent their children from hurting themselves and that is why they use this type of language. The problem to say; ‘be careful’ is something very vague and children have become immune to this phrase.
IT HAS BECOME A HABIT
Saying ‘be careful’ to children has become a habit. Parents since their children were babies have felt the obligation to watch over them all the time to keep them safe, when they are babies, they really need it. But as children get older, they need more freedom, and parents cannot control all of their movements. Supervision naturally becomes less frequent and parents find other ways to care for them.
Some parents indicate to their children some alternatives so that they learn to be cautious by telling them to walk instead of running, to look both sides of the street before crossing the crosswalk, etc. Other parents, instead of giving them these alternatives that will really make the little ones understand what to do, they only tell them; ‘be careful’, thinking that that way everything is said. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children need clear and concrete instructions to know what is expected of them and what they should do at all times.
WHY CHILDREN ARE TOLD TO BE CAREFUL
There is a reason parents routinely tell their children to be careful. Since we were little, that’s what we’ve been taught. It just seems like the normal way to warn kids. At home, your parents always told you “be careful” when you went swimming in the pool, or played with your friends. Even the teachers warned the students in this way whenever it was recess time to prevent the children from hurting themselves.
Apparently this is not a bad thing, because it is a phrase that is conveyed with good intentions. It is a way of warning children not to do or participate in dangerous activities. But the phrase; ‘be careful’, it will only be useful if it is explained precisely, if it is not done in this way, it does not make sense to children.
Therefore, that phrase may mean a lot or it may mean nothing. Without details or specific guidance, children don’t know exactly what to worry about, they need an explanation of what to do or what to watch out for. What will happen if they do not know how to act with caution because they have not been indicated correctly?
Without precise explanations, children can begin to perceive everything as a threat. The vague ‘be careful’ could translate to being careful with everything around them. Everything is dangerous with this phrase implanted in them from an early age, they can grow up thinking that nothing is safe.
This could even make children (and later adults) paranoid or overly conformist. They will be less likely to do things that involve minimal risk like playing sports , just for fear of injury. They will not learn to get out of their comfort zone because it will be too ‘dangerous’ and will cause them anxiety.