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To wonder what an "overprotective parent" is?

(72 Posts)
Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 09:24:26

As an example:

My ex tells my son (14) I am overprotective because I won't allow him to go fishing near rivers or lakes where there is no one else around but he can go to his local fishery where there is a bailliff, cafe and he knows the owners really well and most of the other people who fish there.

Yesterday he went to the park with a friend, this is only the second time he has done that this holiday, might be third but within the hour, he had fallen into a pond (doing something silly), was sinking into black silty stuff, his friend had to pull him out, as he couldn't get out by himself, which thankfully he managed then friend called me as he was waist high in dirt and needed me. I was naturally scared that he had got so close to getting into some very real bother. Park manager drove me from carpark to field where the pond is and told me that the pond was their worst nightmare, that they believed there would be a fatality there one day.

I've had the chat about "what if you had been on your own?" and he gets it now after weeks of telling me (repeating ex husbands words) that I'm overprotective.

So AIBU to wonder where the line is drawn between an "overprotective parent" and when is it just a parent who is using some old fashioned common sense?

ragged Mon 22-Aug-11 09:28:16

Did you really never get into any scrapes when you were a teenager?

pjmama Mon 22-Aug-11 09:29:26

I think to a teenager, anything which involves not letting them do what they want is "overprotective"! I think you just have to go with your instincts and trust your own judgement, you know your own child. I guess there are parents who over do it, but the "line" will be different for everyone.

Shutupanddrive Mon 22-Aug-11 09:31:37

I think it depends on the child. Ds1 is very sensible for his age, but ds2 will run in without thinking of the consequences

Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 09:31:48

Fell off a slide once going up in the wrong way and broke a bone, but surely it's common sense not to let a kid alone in a place where they can't ask for help and no one else is around near fast or slow flowing water?

Maybe it is just me. I wasn't cross or angry at my son he realised himself that if he was on his own he'd have been stuffed, so lesson learned and no harm done, apart from to the car which now needs a major clean out.

ragged Mon 22-Aug-11 09:33:46

It's his job to keep testing himself & the risks, it's your job to keep thumping him (metaphorically) on the back of the head about how close it all came to horrible outcome. I don't think there is a perfect strategy, you probably just have to keep slogging on.

My mother fell into a famous tar pit and got dragged out (saved) by her dog.

Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 09:34:45

My son has HFA but I really thought he would know better than to do what he did, he was with another child who doesn't have the sense to know better, same age, so it's sons fault, not blaming the friend at all.

I told them both off for acting so stupidly but thanked sons friend profusely for getting him out and then calling me. Then took them out for the afternoon. I'm good friends with son's friend's mum so it was easy for me to tell her what they'd been up to.

Shutupanddrive Mon 22-Aug-11 09:36:25

Oh god I dread mine being teenagers, they are only 1 & 5yrs at the moment!

lifechanger Mon 22-Aug-11 09:39:12

What's HFA? Sorry for ignorance.

lifechanger Mon 22-Aug-11 09:39:34

Oh worked it out - high functioning autism?

Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 09:44:08

PJmama I think you're right, I swear if I hear the wail "But I'm 14" again this holiday I'll scream. Doesn't help that ex supports son in letting him do what he wants but he is totally irresponsible at the best of times.

Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 09:46:28

Shutup I think knowing where the boundaries are with teens is really hard and they pressure you too. "X can go out till midnight and you want me home by dark" forgetting the X is smoking down the park while swigging tinnies at 14!

Whatmeworry Mon 22-Aug-11 09:47:35

Wasn't this the OP who agonised for days about kids camping in the back garden and then left the intruder light on all niight?

Sofabitch Mon 22-Aug-11 09:50:13

When I was about 13 I got stuck in the creek. I lost my shoes in the mud. Me and my friends thought it was hilarious. Risk is a part of life. A part of growing up. Children and particularly teenagers need to take risks in order to learn how to manage them.

Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 09:56:51

Sofa it's where you as the parent draw the line at the risk and where you put the boundaries in for teens that's the hard bit. You can't just let them do what they want because they'll learn from it, because sometimes they don't get to go back for a second chance.

My son didn't find it hilarious (though he pretended to when relating it to another friend later) at the time he thought he was going to die and was terrified but he also has anxiety issues with the OCD and ASD. As it turns out the Park Manager is convinced there will be a fatality in there some day.

Though my son has learned his lesson big time, I think I may write to my local councillor see if they can fence it off or something. Then again might be a waste of time as if kids want to get in there they'll jump the fence anyway.

ChippingIn Mon 22-Aug-11 10:02:39

Whatmeworry - why are you talking about the poster when she's here on the thread? Why not ask her? hmm

Scuttlebutter Mon 22-Aug-11 10:05:16

Dealing with and learning to manage risk is one of the most important aspects of growing up.

I can't find the reference unfortunately but one of the saddest things I read recently was about road accident statistics in children. Apparently there is a big spike in casualties around the 11/12 age as this is when children start secondary school and for many this is the first time they get to go out unaccompanied, but because they have no experience they are then very vulnerable.

Small amounts of managed risk from a younger age will help children learn to manage and assess all sorts of hazards.

diddl Mon 22-Aug-11 10:09:46

Does he do silly things when alone, though or could he be trusted to just fish?

Shutupanddrive Mon 22-Aug-11 10:10:17

whatmeworry yes I think it is, but that's a different thread, so why bring it up here?

Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 10:11:44

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 10:18:40

Scuttle you're right but I also think there has to be the child factored into the equation too. One of my brothers couldn't be controlled and got into a life changing accident at 12. I am sure today decades on he'd probably be under CAMHS for something or another. My parents were convinced he'd never make it to 18 and almost didn't. More lives than a cat.

A child at my son's old school he'd be 12 or 13 has suffered brain damage after being ran over on his way to school, another child was killed on our estate a few years back by a bus. It's just too awful but we can't stop them getting to school (though son has to be driven noise issues on buses with the ASD)

Diddl he's quite complex, he normally fishes for hours and hours as it chills him out but if he got a big fish on he'd do anything not to lose it. He is incredibly focused. At the local fishery the other fishermen and women would help him if he needed it on a river by himself, he could end up going in.

I'm not prepared to let him take the chance to be honest.

bumpsoon Mon 22-Aug-11 10:28:32

When i was 14 ,my friends and i would go swimming in the local river , the one with the dont swim signs on the bank . I think the park ranger was a bit off to say that about a fatality to you , any body of water is a risk , if the pond is that silted up then perhaps he should be reccomending it be dredged . Going back to your op ,i dont think yabu about letting your son go fishing on his own ,it would be an entirely different story if he were with friends though .

Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 10:36:53

Bumpsoon I was glad he told me that as I can now warn my son but lesson has already been learned there. If the park manager knows there is a danger there, he should be doing something about it before it happens if he is aware.

I was too busy being grateful for the lift to the pond go make sure my son was OK at the time. I must be bad if son couldn't get himself out without his friends help. It was black filthy silt and he was up filthy up to his waist but not sure how much of that was from being slid out of it by his friend.

Amazingly I've managed to clean the clothes after hosing them down in the garden first.

LeggyBlondeNE Mon 22-Aug-11 10:48:18

Mitmoo - I think the key thing here is your son's personality etc. My brother was fishing in streams etc all around our village on his own from about 13. But although he was scatty and daft and ruined countless pairs of (expensive, size 14!) trainers in the mud, he was pretty savvy about his own safety and wellbeing. Your son has the ASD fixation issues and you've said is not always going to be 100% aware of safety when focussed on the catch.

So, no in your son's case, clearly not overprotective. In my brother's case you would have been, but then if your son wasn't on the spectrum you'd probably take a different approach.

Might well be worth a consistency-of-message chat with the ex?

Mitmoo Mon 22-Aug-11 10:57:45

It would be leggy if he'd listen but he gets off on trying to put son in the middle which is so very unfair of him, not to me but to his son. He may only see him a few hours a month other times it might be a day, it's when he feels like it but then tries to undermine my parenting.

Then I have a very distressed child who is very literal in his thinking being told two different things and he doesn't know who to believe. On this one my son now gets it why I am "overprotective" and "treat him like a baby" as the ex is so fond of telling him and gets it now that there are reasons for rules other than just "trying to spoil his fun". Another exh message to son.

Irresponsible plonker.

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