I wished minor injury on my daughter. Am I a bad father?

I was in the playroom at the museum yesterday with my daughter. There’s a short slide in the room, no more than three feet long, made to look like it was carved from stone, and Clara was insisting on running down the slide rather than sliding.

I asked her to stop several times but she refused.

I removed her from the slide, but eventually she found her way back to it.

I told her to stop again. She ignored me.

I removed her again.

Finally, I told her that she could slide down one more time and then we would have to leave to pick up my wife. Instead of sliding, she ran down the slide, this time tripping at the bottom and falling to her hands and knees.

A second later she popped back up. “Clara okay!” she shouted. “Clara okay!”

“Too bad,” I said aloud. “I was hoping for a natural consequence. A skinned knee or something.”

The woman beside me stared in horror. Her jaw literally dropped.

“I didn’t want her hurt badly,” I said. “Just a learn-your-lesson kind of bump or bruise. You know?”

The woman’s jaw remained unhinged. She looked at me as if I were the most wretched human being she had ever seen.

“It’s not as if my wishes come true,” I said. “There’s no genie involved. And it’s not like I pushed her down the slide.”

The woman remained stoic in her internal vilification of me.

But sometimes kids need to fall down to learn a lesson.


Is it wrong for a father to wish a minor injury on his daughter in the name of education?