Is Outdoor Adventure Too Risky For Parents? Part 1

Outdoor Kids

Lately, I have been getting these questions a lot: What kinds of risks am I willing to take in the outdoors now that I am a mother? Has my approach to the mountains changed?
Photo by Paul Ziska

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography (

Risk is a complicated topic and one that can’t be covered in just one entry (hence “Part 1″), but I think it is important to discuss. Parenthood aside, how we evaluate and choose to take risks in the outdoors is already a rather heated, or at least passionate, debate. Add kids into the mix, and that heat turns to blazing inferno.

I haven’t yet been able to answer those questions, but I have given them a lot of thought. For this entry I’ll be referring to situations where parents go off and adventure on their own, not situations where they expose their children to risk.

To begin exploring this topic, I turned to a woman I previously interviewed for The Adventures in Parenthood Project because I knew she was in the midst of that delicate balancing act between being a mom and pursuing her outdoor passions. Caroline George is a mountain guide and the mother of 15-month-old Olivia. Though she was concerned about the impact motherhood would have on her outdoor pursuits, as her interview for EpicTV Women’s Weekly revealed, motherhood hasn’t changed her approach to the mountains. “If you’re really passionate about something, then you’re still gonna do it and it provides you with the balance that you need to be a good parent,” she explained.

Continue reading at The Adventures in Parenthood Project.

Last modified: July 29, 2013

2 Responses to :
Is Outdoor Adventure Too Risky For Parents? Part 1

  1. Rob Bignell says:

    I appreciate your insights on this topic, Meghan. All too often, parents give up their passion (I myself thought I’d never backpack again after my son was born.) in fear that they will endanger their children. Modifying one’s hobby (I switched from overnight expeditions to day hikes, for example.) allows parents to still pursue our passion while passing it – and all the benefits it brings, such as exercise, exposure to nature, and relieving stress, to name a few – on to our children. I’ve also found that much more advanced planning is needed when children are involved. But if you can modify your activity a little and plan ahead, you don’t have to give up anything…and you’ll enjoy a new family experiences that parent and child alike will cherish for many, many years to come.

    Rob Bignell
    Author, “Hikes with Tykes: A Practical Guide to Day Hiking with Kids”

  2. Looks like you’re a real expert on the topic, Rob! Thanks for your comment. In this post I really focused on the kinds of risks we take as parents when we head out without our kids. I’ll have to dig a bit deeper into what risks I’ll be willing to take with the wee one in tow. I know I will definitely tone down my adventures when I bring her along, but I do hope to do some overnight camping with her! At the end of the day, it just needs to be fun, I think!

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