To clip DS's wings after yesterday's "issue"

(81 Posts)
topbannana Tue 09-Apr-13 17:00:01

So DS got lost yesterday. Not a bit lost, a whole lot lost sad
We had gone to a local Forestry Commission site where there is a 7 mile cycle trail but on arrival it transpired my bike had a puncture and I am shit with the spoony tool and rubber plasters Therefore I walked with the dog while DS (9 in a couple of weeks) cycled. He was instructed to follow the numbered yellow posts, not to leave the track unless he was sure it was the correct route and to return regularly. Unfortunately he took it into his head to surprise me by doing the whole circuit and returning behind me hmm
I came to a slightly ambiguous fork in the path so waited for him to return, which he did not. Eventually I had to get the FC man to help me. After an hour (a whole fecking hour!!!) he was returned to me in the back of a pick up truck. He was a bit tearful but maintained that he was not lost as "he knew where he was" (true but not really the point of the conversation hmm) I was so relieved that I did not punish the complete disregard for important instructions.
Today he wanted to go up to the fields behind our cottage. This activity also comes with a similar set of rules, all of which have been adhered to in the past. Today though I would not allow him to go, partly as a consequence of yesterday and partly because I am still a little shaken and don't think my nerves would cope with it.
He is incandescent about it and has spent all day moaning about the unfairness of it all and how he is "bored"
AIBU to do this? He WAS worried yesterday so it's not like his escapade left him untouched. I just feel he needs a little reminder of his foolishness but not to make it into a big deal.

BlueberryHill Tue 09-Apr-13 17:33:02

I think that whether or not it is OK for 9yo to be in parks themselves depends on the park and area surrounding it. My DS is too young yet but the park in the village is somewhere that he will be able to go to on his own, actual age depends on him, but it is a sleepy village park and the older kids keep an eye out for him. I assume the older kids that Bengal are referring to are doing underage smoking & drinking?

I don't think YABU, he was given some freedom within set bounds and he exceeded them, there was a problem and he has to take the consequences. Trust needs to be earned, he needs to earn yours back again.

HotCrossPun Tue 09-Apr-13 17:33:14

bengal38 All you have to say is ''YANBU, I agree with you not letting him go off by himself today OP''

You don't need to accuse everybody who gives their kids a bit of freedom as 'wanting to get rid of them.'

Chocoflump Tue 09-Apr-13 17:33:56

Bengal- I think by 12 your child should have a few 'life skills' and should be allowed a bit of independence! The world is full of bad things, but keeping your child by your side won't stop these!

Are you never going to allow him to learn to drive? Car crashes happen.
What about getting a job? There may be work place bullies.

Children need these 'life skills' to develop into young people who can cope with the big bad world!

Anyway, OP I think you have acted very fairly!

Aside from the not allowed no wheregrin can I ask if you were allowed out as a child Bengal? Because neither kidnapping, paedophilia, murder, or the bogeyman has increased in the last 30 years. It's just the media that has increased. Not incidents.

Op- yanbu, yesterdays reaction of relief is normal, Todays consequence may mean that he thinks just a little more about the result of his actions.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Tue 09-Apr-13 17:34:36

to the OP, DS1 is 9 in a week, I would be clipping his wings too if he did that. He has small amounts of freedom now but this is because I trust him, at the point that trust is broken we have to start to rebuild it, and that for me would mean going back to basics.

But then I am an old meanie so.. hey...

Machli Tue 09-Apr-13 17:35:14

Bengal do you live in London? We are like that where we are too. Kids (mostly) get ferried about, if they are going out to play, they are taken to the park etc. It might not be popular on MN but where I am it's just how's its done, you would be considered neglectful if your dc do anything alone under age 12 or early teens.

roughtyping Tue 09-Apr-13 17:35:26

grin we get loads of family time actually! He just wants a bit of independence, which is perfectly normal at his age.

At the school I work at, the kids are out playing (without parents) from after school til tea, then after dinner. It's admittedly a very safe area, but lots of independence walking around streets/exploring woods/ going to park/out on bike etc.

roughtyping Tue 09-Apr-13 17:35:58

(Oh I know that about the school I work at because the kids come to the playground and wave at me through the window!)

HariboAndWine Tue 09-Apr-13 17:36:09

Bengal How on earth will your son learn to judge risk and learn independence with that level of paranoia and overprotectiveness!! Well done for being brave enough to offer your child the opportunity for some independence op. Shame he wasn't able to follow your instructions but here's hoping he's learnt a valuable lesson. I'll bet he was more scared than he made out.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 09-Apr-13 17:36:20

My 11yo was mortified when his dad took his forgotten PE kit to the bus stop for him...

And he has to get himself home from school because both DH and I are at work.

OP, you sound very reasonable.

BlueberryHill Tue 09-Apr-13 17:36:25

Plus OP, when he is older and going out and has an 11 pm curfew, he will know that you mean it and not strrrrreeettttccccch it out.

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 09-Apr-13 17:40:14

Can't quite believe the comment that people are palming their children off by allowing them small pieces of independance.

My son sees it as a huge positive trust acknowledgement that he is allowed to play outside. I asked if he wanted to go to the village shop to get some bread and he was super proud that I thought he was capable. I just used a walkie talkie to check he had left the shop ok.

So Bengal when your DS's friends come round to play on their bicycles do you go out and cycle round with them? And play tag?

Or do they have to stay in and play computer games because it's too dangerous outside.

Jeez no wonder UK kids are getting so fat. Swiss kids have the childhood of the 70's - learning to play independantly, working out their relationships in a mature way and befriending the kids in the neighbourhood of all ages and backgrounds, fresh air and a healthy environment.

Feminine Tue 09-Apr-13 17:42:20

YANBU. I am facing a similar thing with our 9yr old.

he is much hungrier for freedom than his brother was at the same age!

I'm training him up quite quickly, my nerves are a little bit shred too grin

bengal I'm not going to have a go at you, but I'm wondering when will be a good age for your son?

He is at Secondary I presume? smile

MistyB Tue 09-Apr-13 17:42:42

I haven't read all of the replies but think about why what happened, happened, why you were scared and were your fears valid and then try and talk it through with your DS.

In theory his idea should have worked and I'm not sure if you left the path, if he did or if at one stage he stopped cycling round the 7 mile circuit to find you.

Anyway, perhaps, 'return to me every five minutes, have you got your watch', instructions might be easier to follow and an 'if you get lost, go to point A / find a warden (if they are around a lot) and wait there.

(I don't think you should clip his wings, I just think you both need to understand what went wrong and how to make it better the next time as he was obviously as concerned as you were!)

Euphemia Tue 09-Apr-13 17:43:41

DD (10.8) and her pal were allowed down to the high street by themselves for the first time a couple of weeks ago - they were so thrilled with themselves!

They bought themselves a £3 pair of shoes each from the factory shop, some sweeties and a bunch of flowers for me from Tesco! grin

It's lovely to see them gain confidence as they get that bit more freedom.

Their school lets them go to the high street for lunch on Fridays in P7 (next school year), which I think is a great idea. Sausage roll rampage aside, it gets them used to taking care of themselves out and about before they start high school.

reluctantmover Tue 09-Apr-13 17:44:06

If it had been an 8 year old never having been left to cycle alone before or never allowed to play in the fields before and got lost on the first time, then it might be judged pretty irresponsible. We don't have full family history, it might be this 8 year old has slowly been allowed independence and is normally quite trustworthy cycling ahead, in which case you couldn't really blame parenting skills. The biggest problem I can see with giving independence in the UK to children is actually leaving it too late and too quickly without being taught little by little how to look after themselves and calcluating risks themselves, to the time when their hormones rule their heads, ie adolescence! The end result is often catastrophic. The Swiss have it right, the children walk to and from school in groups, youngest looked after by eldest.

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 09-Apr-13 17:46:13

Sorry I should have said obesity not "fat", having a sizeable tum myself after Easter.

Apologies for that.

Feminine Tue 09-Apr-13 17:47:01

I have Swiss cousins and remember tales of their freedom. The country is set up for children to live like this, ditto in Norway.

To be fair, it is not so easy to be so laid back in the UK.

"Why can you not have 9 year olds wrappped in cotton wool?"
And with that little offering, I really have to think that bengal is trolling being deliberately contentious.

digerd Tue 09-Apr-13 17:51:17

I picked up on his " But I'm bored", and he probably is and needs to be engaged in more activities that interest him, get him focused, require self-discipline and organised planning.

At 9, I went everywhere by myself, my sis at 7 also.
However, at 16, I was forever missing the last bus home, we had no telephone, and the kind street bobbies < of that era> either took me home or hailed a lorry which happened to be going my way and they took me home.
But that was different times.

thebody Tue 09-Apr-13 17:52:06

Bengal where the hell do you live?

Op you were right today and I guess he will be more careful tomorrow. He sounds a lovely lad and ignore ridiculous posts.

whois Tue 09-Apr-13 17:55:27

Yeah bengal can be for real. If she is then I feel exceeding sorry for her kids :-(

OP it's right for you to have a talk with your son about why you were so scared and the importance about keeping to the 'rules' but don't clip his wings for too long.

A friend and I did a similar thing on a fammilair round walk round a lake once. Our mums said we could go ahead and off into the woods etc, we thought it would be fun to run all the way round and surprise them from behind. Anyway it didn't work out and there was lots of looking from both parties before we me back up. No major harm done!

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 09-Apr-13 17:55:37

Yes but it's a community that sets up a country in this way. I see people from the town telling children to hurry up and get to school or winding their windows down in the car to tell them not to mess around on the road. I think there'd be an issue with this in the UK.

When I lived in a rural area of England I would have been the same - DS could have played in the Cul de Sac or the fields behind the house.

When we lived in London, probably not. But you see kids travelling home on trams, buses and trains in Swiss cities and playing around the apartments in built up areas quite happily.

My UK friend lets her 8 & 9 year old travel home on the tram everyday from school and can't even believe it herself.

The op hadn't let him go to the forest by himself though, she was there. And to continue to enjoy their day she had trusted him to be responsible on his bike. I agree that explaining it in terms of how worried you were might make him see sense and think about your feelings a bit more.

Hope you are feeling a bit calmer now op. x

Kiriwawa Tue 09-Apr-13 17:56:08

Really Machli? All the London children I know have been getting themselves to and from school since they started at secondary. They do need to learn a little bit of independence by that stage rather than never having left your side until the age of 11 ...

fivesacrowd Tue 09-Apr-13 17:58:14

Feel for you OP, it's horrible when you give them a bit of independence and they take it that bit too far. All part of growing up though imo. I know I'm really lucky and live in a very naice area, but all 3dc play out, the older 2 walk about a mile to school and I let them go to the local shops very occasionally and I'm known as the most overprotective parent amongst my friends. I'm also very very clued up on child protection as I'm a childminder. Not sure what Bengal is on about tbh [hmmm]

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