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to feel anxious when my 5 year old DD is out of my sight in playgrounds etc?

(33 Posts)
RooTwo Wed 24-Aug-11 13:42:34

I can't work out if I am massively overprotective or pretty normal. I really don't like not being able to see my 5 year old DD when we are out in playgrounds or open spaces for playing in - whereas lots of parents I know seem remarkably chilled about this and happy to plonk themselves down and just let kids run around and reappear at various intervals. I get pretty anxious if I don't see her for a couple of minutes. But I know it is impossible to have your eye always completely fixed on your child, especially as I also have a 3 year old (who certainly needs to have an eye kept on always). Also, when my DD is with her older friends/cousins (age 7 ish) then I know, again, I ought perhaps to be more relaxed about not having her in my sight, but I still freak out a bit about it! Generally I reckon I probably do need to get a bit more relaxed, but wondering what other parents think ...

MorelliOrRanger Wed 24-Aug-11 13:43:40

I'm the same. I'm ok as long as I can see her. But then I admit I'm a neurotic mum. :D

RooTwo Wed 24-Aug-11 13:46:48

Thing is I have never thought of myself as a neurotic mum, MorelliOrRanger - I'm really pretty relaxed and easy going, but this one thing about being out just really bothers me. I know it's mostly irrational, cos children mostly DON'T get abducted from playgrounds, but I have an overactive imagination. I really really want to get more relaxed, but it's so hard ...

mummytotwoboys Wed 24-Aug-11 13:49:55

YANBU i think you will find most of the mums who look chilled are probably panicking on the inside - thats me. I have a 4 year old DS who constantly runs off in parks etc. I know he is safe and cant go anywhere so I let him do it - so that he can be a bit more independant but i hate it. . . . I REALLY hate it sad

Mitmoo Wed 24-Aug-11 13:51:18

It's not about being abducted for me, but falling off the slide, getting trapped under the roundabouts, (saw that once years ago), going too close behind the swing and getting knocked out. I just think it is common sense if you are in a place that is fun, but also a high risk area for accidents.

Then some places have the problem that the teenagers take over the parks in the evening and there's broken glass or could be. It's wise to watch them when they are so small. I don't think you are overprotective, just "normal".

RooTwo Wed 24-Aug-11 13:52:11

I just hate feeling neurotic: my friend with a 7 year old is always telling me to chill out, but I bet that when her daughter was 5 she was the same. We were down at the sea recently and the 7 year old and another 5 year old (not mine) were right out of sight down on the beach while we sat up on the promenade, and I found that downright odd and unnerving, but no one else seemed to think so!

DontCallMeBaby Wed 24-Aug-11 13:54:55

5 is still pretty young to be out of your sight. And when she's withthe 7yos - well, it's one thing when someone has let their 5yo go off with THEIR 7yo, but you presumably don't know QUITE how far you can trust someone else's 7yo (even if they're your nephews/nieces/friends' kids). And of course 7yos can do daft things. I was nice and chilled a few weeks back when in charge of 7yo DD and her friend in the park, until I realised they were NOT in the park. <<gibbers>> They'd slipped through a gap in the fence into the woods beyond - came back pretty quickly when I shrieked calmly called them, but I had to confess to friend's mum when I took them home, as it was her local park and no doubt next time they went it would be 'ooh, DCMB let me and her DD go off into the woods'.

Mitmoo Wed 24-Aug-11 13:55:22

TooTwo I find that irresponsible parenting. You are not neurotic, small children should be watched and by the sea is another high risk area.
I remember watching a programme on Australian lifeguards by the sea and the number of children they saved was unbelievable. One Chinese woman nearly lost three of her kids as she was lying down sunning herself.

The lifeguard was really frustrated with her and trying to get through that her children had nearly died and they were around 8 or 9.

sparkle12mar08 Wed 24-Aug-11 13:56:11

I think you are a little over anxious to be honest OP. If she's with a bigger group of friends and you can still hear all the noise they inevitable make, and they are in a defined or enclosed purpose play area, then I can't see the problem. But then I have boys, and am far more relaxed than most of the mums of girls in our personal circle, if that means anything at all. It's GOOD to give them independance, and I certainly don't want to follow his every move around a park when he's having fun, just so I can keep him in my eye line.

itsallgoneabitMrBloom Wed 24-Aug-11 14:27:53

a person I know lets their 5 year old go to the park on there own its only a 2 min walk but u cannot see it from their house and just goes over every now and then to check... I must admit I was a bit [hmmm] but thought I was probs a bit nurotic but maybe not from reading this...

jellybeans208 Wed 24-Aug-11 14:28:42

I am like you OP and I think that makes you a responsible parent. Round my way no one bats an eyelid to kids 3 upwards in the park on their own or parent over road at pub in garden (they can see them I suppose but its still dangerous to me). We had a 5 year old ran over with a broken leg a few years back as he just ran out the park gates in to the road.

No one thinks anything of kids being left why their parents are over the road or sitting miles away. Its renowned down my local park for 6 years olds + to be smoking rollys and rolling their own with their own packs of golden virginia. I would rather be protective and keep my eye on my child tbh

MumblingRagDoll Wed 24-Aug-11 14:32:40

YANBU she's 5...it's tiny. She's seen 5 summers! 5 Winters! No time to learn anything....I keep my7 year old within sight. We live in a city and our park is huge.

If you're BU then so am I! My dd1 is nearly 5 and I get very anxious if I can't see/hear her. I've relaxed a little since my dd2 came along because I can't be in two places at once, but I don't like it at all.

She's due to start school next month and they do a foreign trip in year 5. I'm already hyperventilating about it.

Strangely though, I don't worry about her while she's at nursery at all. Although I guess that says a lot for my trust in the nursery.

Anyway, I know I'm neurotic, so 'hello' from one helicopter parent to another, you are not alone smile

Ragwort Wed 24-Aug-11 14:53:48

I'm with sparkle (I also have a DS - maybe its a boy thing) - I was happy to let him play in the park etc whilst I had my nose stuck in a book.

I don't think there's a 'right or wrong' - just do what feels natural for you and your DC. Although I was amused yesterday at dropping my DS (now 10) at a summer camp for five nights and some of the parents hovering round; checking telephone arrangements (which were clearly written down) etc etc! My DS just ran off without a backwards glance grin.

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Wed 24-Aug-11 14:57:04

My DS is nearly three and if we are in an enclosed play area I let him go off and play with a vague eye on where he is. I wouldn't go 20 minutes without seeing him, but nor would I worry if I hadn't seen him for 3 minutes. Maybe chill a bit, depending on the location you are in.

jellybeans208 Wed 24-Aug-11 14:59:04

eric, ragwort etc Would you not worry about them running through those gates that arent proper gates that dont close? What about running in to the road? What about other kids being funny towards them etc?

saythatagain Wed 24-Aug-11 15:03:56

Well my dd is 7 and I'm still like it! Maybe I am classed as neurotic, but tbh, I don't care, I'll roll with that! You do what you need to do, not what you think others should think you should do!

Oblomov Wed 24-Aug-11 15:05:47

I don't worry about my 2. Probbably because I don't get a moments peace. I can hear my 2 a mile off ! I hear this squeal of laughter and I know its ds2(3) coming down the slide. And someone shouts "mmmmmmuuuuuuuuummmm" and I immediately know thtas ds1(7).

I wish they both WOULD bugger off for 5 minutes, in the park, but they never seem to !!

ChippingIn Wed 24-Aug-11 15:11:49

I think it's pretty normal to want to be able to see them. 5 isn't very big, by 7 I think you need to start worrying a little less - but then, some kids are a bit of a worry until they're much older and some are Ok a bit younger - just depends really doesn't it.

No matter which way you look at it though, those kids should not have been down by the water on their own.

HyenaInPetticoats Wed 24-Aug-11 15:13:36

You will always find someone who will call you neurotic, and someone else who will call you irresponsible (or, occasionally, for a special treat, the same person who will call you both). You know your child, your area and yourself. If you think your fears are unfairly limiting her independence, try to control your anxiety (even if she can see that's what you're doing). Otherwise, as long as you don't have your 5yo on reins and wearing sterile gloves, and you and she are happy in the playground, it's probably all good.

MagicFingerGoesPop Wed 24-Aug-11 15:15:23

I do and dont worry. My two I let run off a fair distance, but the park borders on woods, not a road. And I always check I can see them every few minutes or so. And I can always hear them. But generally we are with friends as well so there is always loads of noise. I dont worry about them running out of the gate, because they wouldnt and if they did want to, they would ask. But I know I am lucky to have sensible boys. I will happily let them splash in the stream while I chat to friends, but do keep a closer eye on them when they are inthere. Also keep an eye out for older children and remove my boys if the older ones are being horrid to them. I am generally fairly relaxed with them, but I wouldnt let them go to the park on their own!! shock

jellybeans208 Wed 24-Aug-11 15:20:33

Magic - Here hardly any parents go to the nearest park with their kids. My husband and I regularly used to play with our child and another little girl who was 3 who was always on her own wandering round the football pitch or on the park on her own. She always used to be eager to play cause she was there for ages and seemed lonely. Her mum used to come collect her from being over the pub at the end.

There are so many kids like that here it makes me angry grrr and its definitely not just a boy thing!

Ragwort Wed 24-Aug-11 15:25:28

Jelly - I wouldn't have let a 3 year old go to the park on his own - I was always with my DS and 'aware' of what was going on but I do feel children need some independence and learning how to deal with 'older kids' etc is part of growing up. There is obviously a very fine balance and it must vary depending on where you live - I have never lived in an inner city environment for example - life in rural countryside is pretty relaxed grin.

jellybeans208 Wed 24-Aug-11 15:31:17

Depends on the older kids though and definitely depends on the area. I dont live in an inner city but yesterday I stopped some 7 year olds calling a 6 year old lad that I know after they called him a 'fat cunt' and they had spat on his shoes.

I think its important to always have them in your eye range at all times. You dont have to be near them but it will be a good few years before I let mine out of my sight.

halcyondays Wed 24-Aug-11 16:41:23

Yes and no, also it depends on how sensible your 5 year old is. I also have a 5 and 3 year old, I am just starting to relax a bit with the 5 year old who has Aspergers, but I can generally trust her not to do nothing too dangerous in the playground and not to run out the gate, but the 3 year old has to be watched and reminded not to run in front of the swings etc, so I focus more on watching her.As you say If it's busy it's impossible to keep them both in your sight all the time. I keep checking to make sure I can see them but don't worry too much if I can't see dd1 for a couple of mins. I used to hate taking them to playgrounds on my own a year or two ago, but it's getting a lot easier now they're both getting bigger.

There is no way I would let a 3 or 5 year old go to the park on their own though.

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