I don't like to sugar coat things for my kids. If they don't look both ways before crossing the street, they could die. If they don't wear their seatbelts, they could die. If they even play with their seatbelts while the car is in motion, die. If they kick the back of my seat just one more time... You see how this goes. My most basic message as a mother is "Be careful or die." (Also, stop kicking my seat, Devin.) My worst case scenario engine is highly developed, and I want the world to know it by observing my cautious and polite children.
Trevor gets it. He's careful. He'll opt out of fun if it seems too dangerous. Devin, not so much. I have to be careful on his behalf, keeping my eyes peeled for things that could be dangerous while not appearing to be the voracious helicopter parent that I am (is that working?) And, I think it's because he just doesn't quite get how easy it is to get hurt when you're not careful.
For example, yesterday, the boys were playing with the dog. They were playing rough as they do. And, the dog was biting, as he does. After one particularly bit of rough play, I told Trevor to stop! You're gonna rip the dog's head off! (I imagined it, so it must be possible.) Devin asked, "if his head was ripped off, would that be a medical problem?"
He just didn't inherit my worst case scenario engine. Where I see a deaddy-dead-dead dog, he sees a quaint little trip to the vet. It's no wonder his version of crossing the street has him CLOSING HIS EYES and shaking his head back and forth wildly before darting across the road. No wonder at all.