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6 year old walking to school alone via a woodland track
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Loveagingernut · 06/12/2021 22:17

I am looking for others views, maybe I’m being too protective and should be promoting independence.

Back story….
School walk via roads and pavements is over a mile long, however there is a short cut through woodland area where the track is just less than half a mile but it is classed as a forest. On the left of the forest is an industrial estate with approx 60 different businesses. Due to the nature of 80% of these businesses, they mainly employ men. On the right of the forest there is a residential area and the primary school.
The track is popular with dog walkers, teenagers going in the opposite direction to the secondary school use this short cut, and lots of men that walk or cycle to their employment in the industrial estate.

So this is my concern…..
A young mum, that I support, was walking her 6 year old daughter to school via the track, but I have found out that in the cold, winter, dark mornings, the child is now walking to school alone on this route. She doesn’t need to cross any roads so no safety issues there but am I being over protective thinking it’s not acceptable for a 6 year old taking this route on her own.

Mum isn’t taking her, because she has to be elsewhere for 9am and doesn’t have the time to take her daughter to school, thus allowing daughter to walk through the forest alone.

Am I being too protective or do I promote independence.

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Elleherd · 07/12/2021 13:14

Loveagingernut If you still have any doubts ring the NSPCC confidential advice line 0808 800 5000. Please ignore the nastier posts on here, and ask whatever you need to ask. The only stupid questions are the ones people fail to ask.

TBH the more she gets away with doing, the more poor decisions she's likely to make. It's how it goes, few bad parents start off full blown.

I took myself to and fro at that age. I also got up to no good a lot and it was my fault and responsibility when things went wrong.
I was often complicit in covering up what was happening to me, it was expected.

My mother was on her own, entirely overwhelmed by trying to fulfill too many roles everyday, in a society quick to judge and slow to help.
It also lead to anyone around her who might help out, becoming part of our lives, often to our detriment one way or another.

I/we repeatedly got our mother into problems and bother, because we just weren't old enough to do what worked for her in a selfless way, consequently I'd have to lie and take all blame when we drew attention.

Her rage with us was born of frustration and I doubt she set out intending to turn punishment into serious abuse, but we ended up there.

I did develop independence and street smarts young, but the combination of freedom, boredom and lack of money often lead me to make bad choices. I can see now that my survival both indoors and outdoors was as much down to luck as any good management. We didn't come first and knew it, but also knew she didn't either in most people's eyes and we knew that and that we had to cover things up.
None of it ended well for any of us and the repercussions still rebound.

Outside of what others can do to it, making a young child responsible for it's own welfare, and (usually) keeping what it's parents have abdicated, secret, always has a price, even when superficially it's gotten away with. It's the child that pays it.

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lovescats3 · 07/12/2021 13:26

I'm not sure this is legal.it also would constitute neglect from a safeguarding perspective.the mother needs to be told she can be reported to school and social services.i am also wondering what is happening with this child and her sisters when they are at home for the mother to think this lack of care and safeguarding is acceptable.maybe it should be reported for all their sakdes and a social worker assigned to them

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limitedperiodonly · 07/12/2021 15:21

I clicked because I thought it was a zombie thread and wanted to see how it turned out. But this is current and still just as bad.

At least this time the majority of posters agree the mother is neglectful. It's amazing how things go on AIBU.

A few years ago a British mother living in a Scandinavian country with a second partner said her daughter from her first marriage walked alone to and from primary school through a snowy wood. She was unable to accompany her daughter and her partner thought it was fine and the girl was being a baby.

The child was very scared and her complaints were causing friction. Six years old is a baby by the way.

That time most posters thought it was an enchanting example of how children outside the UK were brought up to be resourceful whereas British children were all fat and went to school in cars. They said that so long as the little girl had warm waterproofs and a torch it should be viewed as an exhilarating adventure and that they wished they could do it too but the school would kick up a fuss.

What bollocks. Even if it is normal in some circumstances for 6-year-olds to walk to school without an adult in Britain or abroad I bet they do it in groups with their friends with strict instructions to leave no child behind even if she is being an annoying slowcoach.

But the fact was that this particular child was unhappy and it is a parent's duty to protect a child and do what is best for them especially under pressure from a partner or whatever social norms there might be. The mother should not have allowed it. I feel sorry and angry for children who don't have someone in their corner.

I've seen some dopey comments on this thread from people who prattle on about how they do things in Germany and the Netherlands but I'm sure most German and Dutch parents love their children just as much as we do and would be horrified at the idea of a six year old tramping through a forest like something out of Little Red Riding Hood.

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Loveagingernut · 07/12/2021 15:56

.

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chocolateicecream · 07/12/2021 16:10

Has anyone else clicked on all of the OP’s posts on this thread? The OP is posting with the same name as if she is someone else responding to herself. I have only read the first page and the comments posted by the OP so apologies if someone else has already pointed this out.

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ABCeasyasdohrayme · 07/12/2021 16:18

@chocolateicecream

Has anyone else clicked on all of the OP’s posts on this thread? The OP is posting with the same name as if she is someone else responding to herself. I have only read the first page and the comments posted by the OP so apologies if someone else has already pointed this out.

The op is quoting others, she just isn't using the quote function or highlighting the bit she's quoting.
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newfriend05 · 07/12/2021 16:18

She's 6 ! Dear god I'd be reporting this to the school if not social services

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Samedaysame · 07/12/2021 16:49

Report this to authorities and follow it through. If something happened to this little girl how would you feel. Please look out for her x

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Samedaysame · 07/12/2021 16:55

Report it NOW

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Hopefullywaiting01234 · 07/12/2021 16:59

No this is not okay

At my DS school a parent must drop them off p1-p3 so he would need to be 8 before he was allowed by the school to walk on his own

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Loveagingernut · 07/12/2021 17:43

Today, a discussion has taken place to hopefully have supports put in place, these things won’t happen over night, it will be a work in progress.

More importantly a plan was agreed on how to get the child to school safely on a daily basis.

I have reflected on my role in all of this as well.

Apologies to not knowing how to highlight quotes.

I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed and I won’t be commenting further.

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Switch82 · 07/12/2021 17:56

I just hope that support knows what they’re doing and recognises something if it’s a safeguarding concern. I’m still very very concerned that this 6 year old was walking to school on her own and I’m also concerned as to what else is happening in this household that’s been normalised

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Starcup · 07/12/2021 18:29

6???? I’d phone the SS. My DC is 9 and the school is about a stones throw from my house and guess what?! I still take to and pick up every day.

Pretty sure school won’t be happy about a 6 year old walking alone even if they lived next door, never mind having to go through a wood!!!

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LimitIsUp · 07/12/2021 18:55

She is walking that route on a predictable pattern - same time every week day. A gift to a potential predator

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Grimbelina · 07/12/2021 19:16

I hope the discussion that took place was between you and social services.

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2pinkginsplease · 07/12/2021 20:11

@julieca as an adult who as a teenager was attacked while walking in a quiet residential area, unfortunately its left a lasting impact and I wouldn't put myself in a situation whereby I'm a lone in a wooded area.

So I'm sorry for being a bit cautious and edgy.

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julieca · 07/12/2021 20:29

@2pinkginsplease I am sorry to hear that happened to you.

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Almostmenopausal · 07/12/2021 20:46

[quote julieca]@Almostmenopausal in countries like Switzerland you would be reported for being crazy overprotective and holding back a child's development.
Every country has different ideas of how you bring up kids. It is what can make living in some countries so challenging. As I said I lived in a large village in Switzerland. If I had not allowed my 6-year-old to walk some places alone I would have been seen as a terrible mother. To them it would be equivalent to putting a 6-year-old in nappies because you cant be bothered toilet training, or still giving a non-SEN child milk in a bottle.
So you can label parents in other countries lazy if you want, they would also label British parents as smothering and holding back their children's development.
My view? Different countries get some things right and some things wrong.[/quote]
Don't be so utterly ridiculous! It may be safe in other countries but it certainly isn't here!!

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VestaTilley · 07/12/2021 21:18

What the fuck??

That is awful! You need to report to the school and social services immediately.

It’s an accident - or worse - waiting to happen, and totally negligent parenting.

How are the school not noticing she’s walking in alone??

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Starcup · 07/12/2021 21:20


@Almostmenopausal in countries like Switzerland you would be reported for being crazy overprotective and holding back a child's development.
Every country has different ideas of how you bring up kids. It is what can make living in some countries so challenging. As I said I lived in a large village in Switzerland. If I had not allowed my 6-year-old to walk some places alone I would have been seen as a terrible mother. To them it would be equivalent to putting a 6-year-old in nappies because you cant be bothered toilet training, or still giving a non-SEN child milk in a bottle.
So you can label parents in other countries lazy if you want, they would also label British parents as smothering and holding back their children's development.
My view? Different countries get some things right and some things wrong




Most people in the UK would agree the OP’s post is concerning. I don’t believe in Switzerland they’d think this was totally fine, despite what you say…….

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julieca · 07/12/2021 21:27

@Starcup I dont know what it is like now. It is exactly what it was like 15 years ago. You can think I am lying all you want, but I really am not.

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Starcup · 07/12/2021 21:46

[quote julieca]@Starcup I dont know what it is like now. It is exactly what it was like 15 years ago. You can think I am lying all you want, but I really am not.[/quote]
I’m not in a position to suggest your lying, as I don’t know anything about Switzerland but presented with the evidence here, in the UK, it’s not favourable.

It’s not really a question of whether they’re more liberal, it’s a question of whether it’s a good idea to let your child do this.

I don’t t care if it’s in Switzerland, the UK or timbucktoo, the risks are still the same!!

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julieca · 07/12/2021 21:51

@Starcup whether you think it is a good idea or not is a different discussion. But I had to let my DC do things I would not have in Britain. Just as parents who come to Britain from other countries have to do some things with parenting they do not agree with, or see SS involvement.

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Starcup · 07/12/2021 21:55

[quote julieca]@Starcup whether you think it is a good idea or not is a different discussion. But I had to let my DC do things I would not have in Britain. Just as parents who come to Britain from other countries have to do some things with parenting they do not agree with, or see SS involvement.[/quote]
But the point is, we’re not in another country!! So it’s completely relative as to what’s the general consensus for SS involvement here.

In some countries, marrying off your 12 year daughter would be perfectly acceptable…. Hmm

Does that mean we should accept it here and assume that because no one would bat an eye lid in a different country, that we should just accept it?… of course not, so the same applies in other situations.

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1234comeonbaby · 07/12/2021 22:14

How can one be 'too Protective' of a six year old?

Why isnt she putting the child in breakfast club?

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