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How would you react to a vastly different parenting method than yours?(10 Posts)
So, my question is how you would react to someone near you (family, friends, someone at your child's school) had a very different parenting method to yours.
In England, most parents do the "school run" and walk/drive their children to and from school everyday. In many European countries, for example Scandinavia, this appears to be verging on hysterical behaviour.
As an example, children start school at 6 or 7, and if they live less than 2 miles away from school, they walk or cycle. If they live further away, they get a free schoolbus organised by the school. Children are trained in traffic laws and know never to cross the road if they can see a car, unless the car has come to a complete stop. Traffic accidents do not happen more frequently to children because of this. It also helps that there is safety in numbers, and that drivers expect there to be children in the road near schools.
A child of perhaps 6 would also be allowed to go visit friends on their own, within a 15-20 minute (childs foot) walk, as long as the parents know where they are going, and they have a watch so will be home at a set time. It is uncommon for children to be supervised at the playground, after age 6. Before this it's common to supervise them unless they have an older sibling to look after them.
A 10 year old would often (depending on maturity) be allowed to get themselves up, have breakfast and leave for school, completely independent. Obviously, most parents get up in the morning for work anyway, so it is not that often the case. But a 10 year old would also be allowed to be at home alone for a few hours, as long as they do not use the oven etc. There's always clear rules.
I have never come across this from parents around England, although I am sure there must be exceptions. This is common in many countries around Europe, regardless of living in rural, suburban or city area. Also in areas with similar crime rates to UK.
How would you feel if for example a Swedish family moved in next door, and that allowed them much more freedom than you would feel comfortable doing with your own children, such as letting them walk to s
chool on their own, or staying home alone for a few hours. Would you judge them or accept there are different ways? Would you call social services and claim neglect, or see that there are perfectly happy and healthy children raised this way too?
If you wish to read more, here's a few articles:
I think you get differences in opinons of how to parent and how much responsiblity to give children even when all parents are the same nationality.
My son walked to school on his own in year 3 and the school did not like it one bit. (I had to pick him up, but he did walk to school in the morning.)
I feel that many primaries have overly dragonian rules about picking up children. It is not surprising that so few primary school children walk to school by themselves when only year 5 and year 6 children are allowed to go home without a parent.
Lack of independences extends to things like going to the shops, posting a letter and other life skills. When I was seven years old I was often sent out to buy a loaf of bread. Prehaps it was easier when there were more corner shops. I doult I would feel happy to send a seven year old to a large supermarket on their own. I did send my eleven year old and he had problems getting served when buying a bottle of milk. The cashier was in disbelief that an eleven year old might go to tescos on his own.
As far as the OP goes. I doult social services would care if you allow an eight year old to walk to school. You might get grief from the school, but its perfectly legal. It takes a brave parent to challenge the school though.
My school age children ( four aged 6-13 ) walk to tube and go into central London from end of district line to school everyday and back again in afternoon. We also come from european background and school is french system - the english parents who use school seem fine with this too as is school ....... Have been doing it for 2 years and seems perfectly safe to me. There is someone here ( au pair ) when they get in though as we have 2 pre- schoolers too !
to be honest, I think I would admire them.
I probably wouldn't do it myself, but then I hate that society is making me so unreasonably paranoid - so if you are comfortable doing it, more power to you!!
I'm following this with interest. We live on the main street of the village- we're at the bottom, and the school is at the top, about 10 minutes away. Every day numerous kids walk past our house on the way to school, and I notice that they're accompanied by their parents until the age of about 10. On a 5-10 minute, straight line walk, through the middle of a village where everyone knows them!
That sounds overly cautious to me, Stubbornstains but yes, I have seen it many times for very short walks, through villages with only a few cars, where everyone knows everyone. How can kids create a private space with friends, if they're always watched and supervised? I don't have kids of my own yet, but I worry that my attitudes would create issues with others, as I feel it's healthier for children to learn such independence from a young age.
i remember i used to walk to school with my sister to and from school. it was only a ten mins walk. i easy 6 & she was 9. i think it all depends on the child and if they are mature enough to do so. my son is 9 and he wouldn't even go to the corner shop unless i go with him but he can be trusted to be left at home for a few hours with his younger bro aged 8. i would like my kids to have more confidence in themselves and not be too afraid if it is safe.
I know this is an old thread but found it interesting.
I don't think we have any right to judge others parenting skills, either here or abroad. I agree with some of the original thread as I bet children are more independent and streetwise. I guess it depends on statistics of accidents, lost children, taken children, safety etc?
Working in a school, I see too many parents reluctant to let their children even walk in the school gates by themselves, not wanting to let the apron strings go. As a result, whenever they fall over or get into an argument, they cannot cope and are just a crumbling mess. Children need to learn to be independent at some point. I'm not saying do not love and protect your child as best you can but you cannot keep hold of them forever physically.
It is unfair and does not prepare them for the harsh world out there. When they start secondary or later on in life work, you can't be there for smooth things over if things go wrong or have a go at their boss for reprimanding them for something; they have to learn to stand on own two feet.
I think I was a little overprotective of my DD for a while .. now I feel I am too relaxed sometimes which makes me feel guilty. However, she deals with situations, doesn't cry at every little thing and is independent and mainly sensible. She is learning to stand on own two feet and it is hard sometimes but we have to let them do it sometime.
In original thread some of the things children are allowed to do seem a little young however it has obviously worked and if everybody else is the same, then I guess it is probably more reassuring for the parents.
I think we have become too over-protective as parents, but that's due to society influences I think. My 9 year old wouldn't be confident walking to school and back, however it is a 25 minute walk from our house to school. When I was 9, I took the bus to school, crossed a busy road by myself and walked up a hill to get to school every day, I don't think that really happens now.
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