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6 year old walking to school alone via a woodland track
327

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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flymetotheloon · 06/12/2021 23:02

@Loveagingernut

The reason I asked on here is because mum is very manipulative, lies to me all the time, she tells me what she thinks I want to hear.

I asked because I needed to hear from others that agreed with me, that it’s not acceptable for a 6 year old to walk alone to school .

Tomorrow I will have discussions with mum, I might even show her this thread as back up .

Thank you everyone

I wouldn't bother speaking to her. She has a brain in her head and she's made this decision. Repeatedly.

I'd report to her school. First thing tomorrow.
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flymetotheloon · 06/12/2021 23:04

And OP, I say it again, currently you are an enabler/bystander because you know it's happening and you haven't done anything.

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headintheproverbial · 06/12/2021 23:05

Oh OP - please do ignore all the utter arseholes on this thread giving you a hard time.

It was very obvious (to those of us not looking to pick fights with strangers on the internet) that you were worried about the child and just looking for confirmation that you weren't being OTT before raising it.

Honestly, what some people get from picking over your language and quoting phrases back at you I'll never know.

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TinselTitsAndGlitteryBits · 06/12/2021 23:05

@Loveagingernut

The reason I asked on here is because mum is very manipulative, lies to me all the time, she tells me what she thinks I want to hear.

I asked because I needed to hear from others that agreed with me, that it’s not acceptable for a 6 year old to walk alone to school .

Tomorrow I will have discussions with mum, I might even show her this thread as back up .

Thank you everyone

I'd probably mind her going into the forest, stay near her so you can take photos of her walking alone... then walk with her the rest of the way.

Call the safeguarding team, send them the photos and say you're extremely concerned about her welfare.

Don't say anything to her 'mother', she thinks it's okay so you won't change her mind, if she's manipulative she'll get ahead of the safeguarding team.
Don't give her chance to come up with an excuse.

Absolutely disgraceful. Some people don't deserve children.
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ivykaty44 · 06/12/2021 23:05

as pp states its normal in Germany or Nederlands and many children do this, they don't walk alone though but with their friends

in the uk though it is unusual therefore it becomes a safeguarding issue

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whattodo2019 · 06/12/2021 23:06

The mother needs to be reported

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flymetotheloon · 06/12/2021 23:06

@headintheproverbial

Oh OP - please do ignore all the utter arseholes on this thread giving you a hard time.

It was very obvious (to those of us not looking to pick fights with strangers on the internet) that you were worried about the child and just looking for confirmation that you weren't being OTT before raising it.

Honestly, what some people get from picking over your language and quoting phrases back at you I'll never know.

Do you think it's possible that some of us have picked up on a child safeguarding issue that has no place on AIBU and needs straight talking and direct action? Could it be that?
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atmywitsendnow101 · 06/12/2021 23:06

This could be an age thing in terms of perception of hoe inappropriate this is. When Dh was 6 he used to walk from school to pick his 4 year old sister up from nursery before walking about a mile home. Presumably everyone thought this was fine at the time if the nursery was prepared to go along with it. That might influence the OPs views.

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WorraLiberty · 06/12/2021 23:06

@headintheproverbial

Oh OP - please do ignore all the utter arseholes on this thread giving you a hard time.

It was very obvious (to those of us not looking to pick fights with strangers on the internet) that you were worried about the child and just looking for confirmation that you weren't being OTT before raising it.

Honestly, what some people get from picking over your language and quoting phrases back at you I'll never know.

OTT?

Jesus Christ, another one Confused
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UserOfManyNames · 06/12/2021 23:06

Bless you OP for looking out for this little girl.

I can see why you wanted opinions before stepping in. If you’re an older person, this wouldn’t have been frowned on that much in our day. Thankfully society has progressed!

I should imagine you’re also worried that the Mum would see you as interfering and cut you off. Unfortunately you’re going to have to take that risk and report it formally. There is obviously other stuff going on with this Mum’s parenting which is why you are supporting her, so time for you to report what you know and get the proper authorities involved, if they’re not already, if they are you can build a better picture for them.

For my own peace of mind, I’d make sure I was on the little girl’s route tomorrow and find it very amusing that I was going in the same direction so could walk with her then after she’s gone in, go straight into the office to report it.

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Lessofallthisunpleasantness · 06/12/2021 23:07

In the UK people don't give their kids much freedom so maybe not but in other countries yes.

In Japan my relatives kids walked to school from age 5. The parents only took them on the first day.

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TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams · 06/12/2021 23:07

Maybe if self interest is the issue, point out that she could be prosecuted for neglect or far worse if something happens to her child

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ivykaty44 · 06/12/2021 23:08

op, is there wrap round care provision at the school?
would this be a suitable alternative?
is the mother working? claiming in work benefits?

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Yaya26 · 06/12/2021 23:09

Just noticed that Mum is going to college. I’m a lecturer and have had many parents in my cllass over the years. It has always been widely accepted that parents may be 15/30 mins some mornings if they have school runs to do first. The mum should talk to the college. If there’s no alternative like a breakfast club I’m sure as long as she caught on what was missed they’d facilitate her.

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gogohm · 06/12/2021 23:10

Children under 8 should not be walking alone (apart from where you can see them eg live 200m from school) so definitely no

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Beachbreak2411 · 06/12/2021 23:10

No way a 6 year old should be walking themselves to school!! They still need a cuddle and a kiss before going in; let alone being alone 😞 and that walk sounds scary for a grown up let alone a baby! My dd is 10 and only just started walking on her own sometimes; but she still loves it when I take her and give her a huge kiss and cuddle then watch her walk through the gates. Breaks my heart this little one walking alone

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UserOfManyNames · 06/12/2021 23:11

I’m 50 and I walked to school on my own at 5. Probably around 15 minutes walk. My mum had a new baby and was too tired to get up.

Absolutely horrified me when I had my own DC.

My mum was shit in lots of areas though. so that was pretty minor.

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MichelleScarn · 06/12/2021 23:12

Absolutely not, this is terrifying

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Lockdownbear · 06/12/2021 23:12

Has the school got breakfast club that the girl could go to?
Is there another mum who could walk her to school?

Going against the grain mums possibility thinking it's a busy well used path, not like a quiet desereted path, council have probably classed it as a suitable walking route, she can't be the only kid who walks that way to school.

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Nancydrawn · 06/12/2021 23:15

Absolutely depends where you are. Where I am currently in the States, students are actively encouraged to walk to elementary school from kindergarten on, and in my own district there's no policy on them being accompanied.

What this means is that there's a whole infrastructure put in place for collective walking, from lollipop ladies at dangerous intersections to a kind of 'ski buddy' system to groups of kids walking together.

In the UK, it's unusual, and thus that infrastructure doesn't exist, and thus it's particularly unsafe.

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Loveagingernut · 06/12/2021 23:15

Bless you OP for looking out for this little girl.

I can see why you wanted opinions before stepping in. If you’re an older person, this wouldn’t have been frowned on that much in our day. Thankfully society has progressed!

I should imagine you’re also worried that the Mum would see you as interfering and cut you off. Unfortunately you’re going to have to take that risk and report it formally. There is obviously other stuff going on with this Mum’s parenting which is why you are supporting her, so time for you to report what you know and get the proper authorities involved, if they’re not already, if they are you can build a better picture for them.

For my own peace of mind, I’d make sure I was on the little girl’s route tomorrow and find it very amusing that I was going in the same direction so could walk with her then after she’s gone in, go straight into the office to report it.

Yes I am an older generation & if mum shuts me out, that wee one literally won’t have a trusted adult in her life.

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DysmalRadius · 06/12/2021 23:16

If the mother had made a conscious decision based on her own assessment of the child's needs and their capacity for independence, I would be concerned, but supportive. But it doesn't sound like the child's best interests have been considered, so I'd be surprised if the school didn't already have her on their radar and would approach them in the first instance.

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Grimbelina · 06/12/2021 23:18

I also think you need to ask yourself whether you are actually enabling neglect and standing by while a child is (possibly) in danger. Is your need to feel 'helpful' to or 'needed' by the mother greater than your need to protect this child? Don't discuss it with the mother. Report it.

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Loveagingernut · 06/12/2021 23:18

The child is on the schools radar

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StellaGibson118 · 06/12/2021 23:20

Some schools, particularly in areas of high deprivation, do a breakfast club for children who come from low income families and they will get a free or v cheap breakfast and can come in a bit early. Any chance the school does anything like this so that she can drop her off earlier?

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