I’ve seen a lot of articles lately about “being tough on your kids” and “let them bleed” philosophies. The idea: that life is tough, so get a helmet.

To each their own, but I’m not that mom.

I think there is a fine line between coddling your baby, and just wanting them to avoid unnecessary harm. I fall into the latter category.

When my baby is whining for no good reason, I let him whine. When he’s genuinely not injured and milking it, I let him whine. When he does NOT want to sleep, even though he’s tired… I let him whine. I’m not reacting to his falls unless they’re warrant attention. I’m not endorsing reckless behavior. I’m certainly not allowing him to dramatize situations merely for the attention of it.

You get it.

But the “let them bleed” mentality is not for me. If my toddler falls and is obviously in pain, I’m going to snuggle him until he feels better. Am I going to leave my child unattended to play outside? Not anytime soon. Am I going to let him crawl up the stairs without me right behind him? Someday, but that day isn’t now when he’s 15 months old.

My child is a pretty stinking independent kid for his age, and I think it’s important to let him play and learn on his own.

But I draw a line when being cautious with your child is somehow a bad thing. Avoiding unnecessary chaos? I’m all about it. We instinctively protect our children, and from an emotional and even biological standpoint it makes sense. Apologizing for my intuition to keep my child safe/healthy is not something that’s happening any time soon.

So here’s what I’m getting at: balance. Not coddling, but also not being cold to the fact that your child is just that… a child. They’ll know the harsh realities of the world soon enough no matter how you parent. And as my child gets older, I’ll step back, because I’m raising him to be a responsible, mature, adult that can choose caution on his own and will certainly make mistakes.

My son is our one and only. We struggled to get pregnant, and could have lost him so easily in labor had things gone differently. Perhaps a combination of these things has made me think day in and day out how much I want him to just live a happy, healthy, safe life. And, if that means my biggest vice is being too cautious… so be it. My parenting has in no way been a hindrance to his development and independence.

We’re all doing the best we can do. Parenting styles differ, and to say that being a cautious parent is a bad thing… well, if that’s the worst thing I’m doing then I’m doing pretty well at this parenting gig.