June 12, 2019

Letting Our Kids Feel Unsafe (In a Safe Way) with Guest Evangeline Lilly

How can we allow ourselves to allow our kids to experience the exhilaration of feeling just a little unsafe? How does risky play create more confident adults? Guest: actress and author Evangeline Lilly, author of the book series The Squickerwonkers.


Studies show that risky play creates what Dr. Ellen Sandseter calls a “motivating, thrilling activation,” building self-confidence and self-esteem. Message received: we’re supposed to allow our kids to take risks. But how risky? Like thin-ice risky? What if our kids are fraidy-cats? What if we are?

In this episode we discuss the differences between risks and hazards and how to bring healthy doses of risk into our kids’ lives. Our kids need to learn what discomfort is- and how to deal with it- in order to feel competent and confident in the world.

We also talk expanding the boundaries of what’s acceptable for our little ones with Evangeline Lilly— yes, that Evangeline Lilly! The award-winning star of TV’s Lost and films like Avengers: Endgame and The Hobbit is also the author of The Squickerwonkers book series, which Evangeline wrote to "open a portal for children of all ages to face and talk about the darker sides of their own natures.” Think Lemony Snicket meets Edward Gorey, with impossibly gorgeous illustrations by Rodrigo Bastos Didier.

Here’s links to research and other writing we discuss in this episode:

Jennifer King Lindley for Parents: Science Says Let Your Kid Push Boundaries

Dr. Mariana Brussoni: Risky Play: Losing a Childhood "Right" of Passage- and a Tool to Help Protect That Right

Dr. Ellen Sandseter et all: Children's Risky Play from an Evolutionary Perspective: The Anti-Phobic Effects of Thrilling Experiences

Susan Davis and Nancy Eppler-Wolff: Raising Children Who Soar: A Guide to Risk Taking in an Uncertain World.

Dr. Jim Taylor: Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child

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