An open letter to my precious child:
I love you, and I want to keep you safe. I know, though, that I can't protect you from every bad thing in the world for your entire life. Some day you're going to fall down and get bruised. You're going to have your heart broken, if only a little bit. You're going to fail, get hurt, and struggle. Everyone does.
Even if I could protect you from every hurt and pain right at this moment, I don't think it would be a loving thing to do. There are lot of lessons in life you just have to learn the hard way. You can't learn resilience without failure. You can't learn to apologize without being wrong. You can't learn to keep on keeping on to do hard things if you've always had every obstacle removed from your path. You'll need those skills for the road ahead.
Because of this, my little one, I've decided that you can make your own bad decisions.
I try to be wise as I let you choose. While I know getting hurt is inevitable, I don't want your body or your spirit to be damaged beyond reasonable repair. I will ask myself if you will need first aid or the emergency room, and if it's the former, I'll let you decide.
I will use my extensive life experience to help guide you and to inform you of likely consequences. I will say things like, "If you play there, you might get hit by the swing." And, "If you buy that, you won't have money for the other thing you want." And, "She's not nice to you in person, I'm worried what she'll say behind your back if you hang out with her." Then I will let you go ahead and stand there, buy that, and hang out with her. Later when you are crying, I will hold you and help you recover.
I will not say, "I told you so." I will, however, hope you've learned something, and the next time a similar situation arises, you can look back on your own bad decision and make a better one.