My oldest is three. He loves to climb on rocks at the beach. The rocks tend to be slippery. So of course, it’s only natural for me to be nervous when he is on them. I either run to hold his hand, or cup his bum in case he falls, but whatever I do nine times out of ten I say, “Be careful, baby!”
Now, my boy is a good climber, and he LOVES it. I should just trust that he is aware of his body and his balance, is cautious when he needs to be, and will call me if he needs me to help him. By exclaiming, “Be careful,” it could spark a suggestion of doubt in his mind that maybe he is in trouble or should be scared, which could therefore affect his confidence, and as a result, could make him actually more likely to fall, than if I hadn’t said anything.
Thinking more about this, the exclamation of ‘be careful’ could sometimes be more for myself than for my kids. I need to remember that if this is the case for me, it’s more a mechanism to try to soothe my own worries than anything else. So next time my boy is climbing the rocks at the beach, I will be there to support him if he needs me but will hold my tongue when I feel the urge to say, “Be careful!”
**Disclaimer: Please note, I am not claiming to be an expert on this matter. I too am just a mom, gathering my own research & sharing the information I find with you all.