Topic of the Week: Parenting & How Risky is Too Risky?

Kristin Sinnott reviews the Mac Ride Child Bike Seat for BLISTER
Topic of the Week: Parenting & How Risky is Too Risky?, BLISTER

Parenting. It can be challenging, rewarding, exhausting, and … controversial.

What one person views as a risk may seem completely safe to someone else.

But are some risks too great? And where do you draw the line?

Case in point: this video (see below) that snowboarding and mountaineering legend, Xavier De Le Rue, recently posted of his friend taking his kid for a ride. 

Is this too risky?

And should we — the public — get to weigh in on other people’s parenting choices?

What’s your take? 

16 comments on “Topic of the Week: Parenting & How Risky is Too Risky?”

  1. I follow Xavier and Paul Forward for parenting ideas not to trash how they choose to expose his kids to fun activities. For me the important part is to know my own limits. I’m just not a good enough skier to put my 2yo in the carrier and get some pow turns. What I’m not looking forward to is when he starts to decide to take risks on his own while I just have to stand off to the side completely puckered. Lol

  2. This is quite odd from an European perspective. To me, what Xavier’s friend does there doesn’t really seem risky at all to me. Full control, slow speed and a clear trail with decent, safe purpose-built gear.

    Then again, here in Finland (I live in Helsinki, the capital) most of our kids walk/bike to school by themselves from the first grade onwards.

    My kids have learned to ride, climb & ski at their pace. Before that they rode with me everywhere on my cargo bike. Just the other day I saw a former downhill champ teach bikepark skills to his five year old.

    I seriously think we are doing a major disservice for our children by over-protection and preventing them learning important motor skills and experiences at a young age.

    We, the public, should probably focus on these positives instead of critiquing people who’s parenting choices make ourselves uncomfortable. And also remember ask ourselves why is this?

  3. Interesting topic!
    For my own part, I find that I have to be better with listening to my own feelings and back off when I am insecure. Not take the risk when I am out on adventure with my daughter. For me, it is a learning curve since me default is to power through those situations. When I decide to power through, when my daughter is along I always regret.

    In short, the line is where I feel safe, vs. where I feel resistance in myself.

  4. That video doesn’t show anything that seems risky. I don’t know how much fun the kid is having though. Looks uncomfortable!

  5. I think this is way too risky, but then I’ve seen how easily one can make a mistake and fall. It’s one thing to risk my own body and life, since that is a choice I make. It’s quite another to risk my child’s life, who doesn’t get a choice in the matter.

    But it’s not my child, so…

  6. Haha, instagram.
    I’m out shredding with my kids, and watching Crankworx.
    People think definitely on levels of how scary is too scary, same for kids.
    Every time I go skiing with my kids I’m more scared of them get run over by some crash test dummy, then riding my bike with them on a trail we ride all the time.
    Maybe people would feel better about them riding that trail if they had Blister+Spot insurance

  7. [Sigh] US parenting sensibilities are so screwed up and oriented towards shaming other people.

    Not particularly risky IMO. The guy obviously knows what he’s doing and is under very good control.

    But then again I’m the guy who decided that my 9 y/o was turning too much to have fun and spent last season coaching her to straight-line or at least carve whenever possible. My 12 y/o has already broken his arm and racked up a few other lesser injuries mountain-biking. I think that a certain level of risk (and attendant injuries) is part of growing up.

  8. I don’t see this as high risk however it doesn’t take much to have an incident. That rock ledge in one part of the video is borderline too risky due to possible consequences. The safe way would be to dismount and walk that section. Yes he’s a competent rider but things can happen. Wait until he or she is able to ride a bike and work on skills with your child. I feel the father is more into doing what he wants to do and using social media to brag and shock value.

    • That’s very true. The Instagram shock value is strong in this one. The one thing that I see going on here that I would personally avoid is using your kids as “Insta-props”, but even then I don’t have strong feelings and it’s frankly none of my business.

  9. In that video, it’s less about the risk to me than it is the quality of the suspension under the child. Anyone who has ridden a hardtail through the chunk when they are too tired to stand knows how hard that is on the spine, and for a child who doesn’t have their hands on the bars and has relatively underdeveloped neck muscles, it can be damaging. I don’t know about the trailer the rider is using, but my son complained about comparatively smooth trails being too bouncy, so I spent more time on the roads and bike paths when the kids were in trailers and waited until they could get in the tagalong to hit the trails. (I may have taken that too far myself, as I once took a wrong turn on the local moto trails and ended up on a steeper descent than intended, such that braking sufficiently to control my speed put caused the tagalong to start to jackknife to the point that she was in my peripheral vision , and I had to step on the gas so we could safely send the descent.) There are better tools for bringing kids along on bikes these days, but I would tend to keep them off the rough stuff until they are old enough to have their hands on the bars and feet on either pedals or stirrups, unless the trailer comes with some plush suspension.

  10. We have to be careful as parents not to push it too far because we want to instill a love of the outdoors. It is tempting to do the things that we want rather than what the kid thinks is fun but that is for each parent to sus out. I say listen to yourself and listen to your child. Keep it safe-ish, so you don’t spoil the adventure (nothing is 100% safe). I wouldn’t do that with my 2 y.o. because I’m not a good enough mtn. biker but that’s just me. My son always asks to ride the commuter with me though, and I love skiing backcountry meadows with him on my back. His giggles are priceless and him asking for more after each lap lets me know that he’s having fun (it also keeps me in shape)!

  11. It’s not pertinent to this video specifically, but related to this topic, a struggle I have as a parent is how to “push” my kids to explore their limits while teaching them how to decide when they should bail. I grew up watching (mostly guys) trying to outrun avalanches and then hooting and hollering about how RAD it was. Trying to emulate those guys when we weren’t even being paid to be out there was just stupid in retrospect, but I managed to survive those decades. It’s trite to say it this way, but, “I don’t want my kids to follow in my footsteps. I don’t want them to be fearless. I want them to be able to control their fears rather than fears controlling them.” A problem I often face when trying to get my kids to push their envelope is leading us into situations where there’s no practical way for them to bail. I would never take them to a place I don’t know they can objectively handle, but blindly relying on my words and confidence won’t teach them to make their own decisions. I am physically capable enough that, when my kids were little, I could just pick them up, put their gear on my pack, and get us through sections if they were frozen with fear. When they got a little older (or when both kids hit their limit), this wasn’t always an option. More often than not, it has lead to yelling and crying. Those type of days aren’t the best days on the mountain. I don’t fault any parent for trying to expose their kids to risks and push them to do difficult things, but personally, I want everyone to build their skills, make it home, and say, “That was fun!” Sometimes, that requires a person to recognize when conditions too dangerous to allow them to achieve that objective. I’m still working on that.

  12. I can appreciate what the father is trying to enjoy with his child, but this is really way to risky when you look at it as risk/reward scenario. Plus the kid is being pummeled to sh*t in that trailer, just look through the window at what the kid’s experiencing. That is just ridiculous. Its one thing to put your child in a bike seat like in the picture of Kriston and go ride a conservative trail, but pulling your kid in a trailer you can’t see him in down a rough, steep slope is really pushing the limits. Wait till the child can ride his own bike and let him decide to follow you. As a active parent, I looked at it as “am I being very conservative for the safety of my child” and minimizing the risk. If yes, then fine. When the one time something goes really wrong, and your kid gets paralyzed from something you put him at risk doing, are you going to feel “that was a stupid thing to do, in hindsight”. Something can happen crossing the street, but if you as a parent upped the risk factor a lot, there will be regrets if it goes south. I had a bike seat like Kriston’s, and I rode with my son on the road a lot, away from traffic as much as possible. My son would always say to me, “dad how come we are going so slow up this hill, I like going fast”. So he was one I had to keep on a short leash for his own protection (and get in better cardio shape). All kids are different, so a parent’s approach needs to be tailored to their level of comfort and the child’s.

  13. Unnecessary risk exposure. Shit can happen,,,, despite skills and prep. No need to test the odds. Too many variables exhibited. As a parent who raised kids skiing extreme terrain and sailing their own boats, at young ages, we always study the “Plan B” for the unexpected,,,, no plan B here.

Leave a Comment