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How much freedom for your children when you're out ???

(16 Posts)
Emmalou Tue 01-Mar-05 19:32:08

I'm in a right old mood. One of my "friends" at my daughter's school told me that I don't keep a close enough eye on my children while I'm out! She reminded me of an attempt to take a child from a school playground (man dressed up as a woman, I think) and how careful you must be. HOw all the other mums keep their children right by their sides, etc, etc, blah de blah. Well, OK, I do NOT keep my children right by my side but not out of laziness but simply my approach to parenting. I want them to have some freedom and be children, not breath down their necks all the time. When they are allowed to run around it's always within some boundaries (school playground, eg) and if not then I tell them the boundary. My "friend" is my comparison a complete control freak and told me that she doesn't want her 8 yr old daughter to sleep over at a friends house, she wants to keep her at home as long as possible. Her daughter is a bit of a baby .. Her house is immaculate and the children are never allowed to make any mess. OK, we're obviously different but her comments implied that I'm stupid and neglectful. I really don't feel this way. I trust my kids and the chances of them being snatched are 1 in a million. You have to live a bit. Am I insane or just different to her? What are you like? Just looking for reassurance or to be put in my place if I'm way off.

rosebunch Tue 01-Mar-05 19:35:51

Sounds like you've got it right Emmalou. Its no fun for the children if they can't have a bit of freedom and how else can they live and learn themselves if tied to the apron strings. What do you think triggered the comment? Was there some particular incident where the woman thought your daughter might have been at risk or do you think she is feeling insecure by comparison with the way you are bringing up dd or maybe her daughter has started asking for some freedom? Sounds to me like you're definitely the one on the right track!

Emmalou Tue 01-Mar-05 19:41:06

Oh my girls are nearly 5 (at school) and a 2.5 yr old who's very grown up with fantastic language, 8 word sentences are the norm. I spend a lot of time talking to them and explaining things about responsibility so am not stupid ....I don't think?

hatsoff Tue 01-Mar-05 22:09:36

imho children are more likely to come to harm if you don't allow them a certain amount of freedom - part of growing up is about learning about risk and how to handle it, if you don't let them, they won't learn. I also think being over-protective does potential harm to their social and emotional development. I think these are far more likely to come about than being snatched etc. A lot of people don't understand that when you weigh up risk, it's not just an assessment of the harm, it's also the likelihood of it happening that needs to be taken into account. I'm with you Emmalou.

FairyMum Tue 01-Mar-05 22:13:39

No they need some freedom. Not allowed sleepovers? Obviously not at Michael Jacksons, but give me a break.......

jampots Tue 01-Mar-05 22:14:14

On the other side of the coin because I have never allowed my children to play out on the street (busy but not a main road) I have been ridiculed for being too overprotective with my children. One friend told me "You've got to learn to let go, DD will be 7 soon she should be out playing"! Ive always allowed my children to play at friends houses and have friends over to ours but just not "out on the road". Each to their own IMO. DD is now confident enough to go shopping into town with friends so i dont think its done her any harm.

pedilia Tue 01-Mar-05 22:14:42

if they have no freedom how do they learn anything for themselves ??

KarenThirl Wed 02-Mar-05 13:54:42

i'm on your side, Emmalou. Children have to learn the rules of society and safety and they can't do that unless you take some risks. AS you've said, you've discussed with them potential dangers and they are aware of what they can and can't do - fine by me. As for your friend - at what age DOES she think it's OK to let go? 10? 16? 25??? It's a developmental thing and you can't suddenly open the door to a twelve year old and expect them to know what to do. Doing it in gentle stages as you're doing is the right way to do it. Don't let her make you feel like you're the strange one, you're not.

Bozza Wed 02-Mar-05 14:12:09

Personally I think you are right Emmalou and a lot of people are over-protective these days. With DS (just 4)I tell him how far he is allowed to go. DS is very sensible - maybe OTT have a real job getting him to let go of pram so I can get through gaps in shops etc so when I tell him he can "go for a run" on the street that is a thoroughfare on our estate but that he's got to stop at the lamp post I know I can trust him. I also let him go to the toilet on his own at the swimming baths these days. There is direct access onto the pool side beyond the toilet but I know I can trust him.

Tortington Thu 03-Mar-05 00:22:32

i think your friend should also remember that although your children may be of approx the same age their developmental skills will be different. if you rebutt her with a "maybe my child is just more socially developed" or something similar i think it would piss her off

we all have different lifestyle values my dd's friend lives next door and has a mother who sounds remarkable similar to your friend. she is constantly on a moral highground - she even went to pick the girls up from senior school becuase it was raining! of course the girls were totally embarrassed and shoes her away - she was a bit put out and made a comment to me - i said " a bit o' rain won't hurt 'em" she wasn't pleased!

as long as my kids are wrapped up - they have always been alowed to go outside - many many mums disagree with this - but even when they were 3 - with wellies and a raincoat - there is nothing better than puddle jumping and mud pie making! - clothes will wash clean.

children are more resilient than we give them credit for.

redsky Thu 03-Mar-05 00:35:23

I'm like you Emmalou. I am sometimes amazed by the restrictions other parents place on their children. DD (12) walks to and from her school bus stop about 10 minutes walk away and some of her friends are not allowed to do that - or loads of other stuff that I encourage dd to do.

What about this - my ds (then 16) told me one of his friends isn't allowed to spend the day at home alone (when both his parents are out working) - he has to go to a friends house!!!!
At SIXTEEN FGS!!!! In 2 years he'll be off to uni or whatever - how do his parents think he'll cope if he has never spent even a day on his own!!

Freckle Thu 03-Mar-05 04:26:15

Parents these days are over-protective generally. It's to do with perceived danger. We are bombarded with newspaper reports about child abduction, accidents, etc., etc., to the point where we think this is the norm rather than a relatively rare occurrence. Children have to learn things for themselves and they are never going to do that if you keep them bound to your side in fear.

My children have always been allowed to charge around the playground and I will admit that there have been occasions of panic when I couldn't find/see them, but they weren't in any actual danger.

Carla Thu 03-Mar-05 06:54:50

Jampots, is your daughter 7 and able to make it into town on her own?

NotQuiteCockney Thu 03-Mar-05 07:27:03

I get very frustrated with people's nervousness about strangers. People are always warning me, as my DS1 is very friendly with strangers. He's 3 1/2, so he's not out without me, so he can talk to all the strangers he likes. 99.99% of strangers are not dangerous.

Often, other parents don't even believe me when I point out that far more kids are killed in car accidents than are abducted and murdered by anyone, never mind strangers. I focus my streetproofing on the dangers of cars, at this point, as DS1 could very easily get run over when out, even with me, while strangers aren't much of a risk.

KarenThirl Thu 03-Mar-05 10:53:09

NQC, I so agree with you! Every single person I've ever met was a stranger to begin with, and how can I teach my ds not to talk to strangers when I strike up conversation with people I meet in shops or on the bus? As you so rightly say, the majority of abusive incidents are perpetrated by people who are known to the victim - the vast majority of strangers are perfectly safe. I teach my ds that it's OK to talk to strangers as long as you do so appropriately, with clearly defined boundaries, and don't go anywhere with them. We have to let them learn to make these judgement calls on their own. And anyway, what would happen if my ds got lost and didn't know how to get home? How could he ask for help if he thought he shouldn't speak to strangers? At a young age children think of strangers as being anyone they don't know. I think it's important to teach them about 'safe' strangers, such as shop staff, policemen etc so that they know that there'd be someone to help in an emergency.

I know that some people won't agree with that, so sorry if I've ruffled anyone's feathers.

jampots Thu 03-Mar-05 16:03:56

no Carla although just read it back and realised how is sounded my friend said that 5 years ago!! she's now very nearly 12. Basically my friend let her kids out to play on the road from the time they were 6 3/4 (?) and thought because dd was 7 at the time I should let go and let her out to do her own thing.

When she does go into town I drop her (2 mins away)

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