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The Great Boo Boo Debate: To Encourage Toughness or "Baby" My Toddler?

My husband and I have an ongoing debate. When it comes to minor boo boos of the every day variety (think stubbed toes or little tumbles), is it better to intervene with lots of sympathy and kisses or to encourage a little more toughness?

While I’m more likely to swoop in with sympathy, my husband’s attitude is to wait a moment, acknowledge the “owie” and say, “You’re ok!”

It’s really not surprising that we handle this issue so differently. I’m the sofite and he’s the disciplinarian. I often cut our kids’ punishments short and he’s the enforcer. But before you judge me for being too lax, I feel like I’m more in tune with our kids emotionally, building trust and encouraging communication. It’s just a personality difference and it’s consistent with how we handle other issues.

I see no harm in putting a Barbie Band-Aid on an invisible boo boo, and giving her some mommy love when she’s in need.

I recognize that bumps and bruises are just a reality of life for kids, and especially for toddlers who lack coordination and are fond of testing their limits. At the same time though, I know that before long my toddler will be a big girl. She won’t come running to me when her feelings get hurt in elementary school or when her heart is broken as a teenager. This is my time to “baby” her, and I want to take advantage of every opportunity.

I’m already seeing this happen with my 5 year old, who gets hurt and tries so hard to stifle his tears. Somehow he’s already gotten the message that expressing pain is a bad thing, and I’m not so sure I agree.

I want my kids to know that I’m always here for them— for all of life’s boo boos, big or small.

What’s your opinion? Do you agree with my husband or with me?

 Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

More by Mary Lauren:

Expert Tips for Tackling Tough Toddler Questions

Lengthening the Fuse: 5 Tips for Becoming a More Patient Mom

Why I Won’t Apologize for Blogging about My Family

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