Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How do we do it?

I have been considering how to deal with my kids need for independence.

It seems silly.. We want them to be independent but then we keep them locked in the backyard watching over them like hawks. We take them to school and pick them up. We drive them to friends' houses for organized playdates. They never get a chance to learn to be alone in the world.

When I was 4 I had the run of the neighborhood or at least the block. Everyone's mother stood on the front porch and yelled for us when it was dinner time. And after dinner... we could go play so long as we were home by the time the street lights came on. During that unstructured play time, we learned how to avoid fights, get along with other, navigate the world around us, climb, run, hop, jump, hide, seek, skip, gallop, duck, duck, goose.

Now, of course, we look down our noses at people who do that. Our children will be snatched away before our very eyes. At the same time, we lament the rise of childhood obesity. Hmmm.. could there be a connection between kids being watched constantly and obesity? I bet there is! Not that anyone in the scientific community has put those two elements together. Nor will they, when they can guilt parents into feeling responsible for this but then scaring the bejesus out of us with stories of pretty, smiling, blond girls kidnapped out of their front yards.

I have decided that despite my fear, I need to allow the fille to experience some independent adventure. If I don't, I am afraid that I am going to have to take them to college and live in their dorm. How do we expect them to get on in the world if they have no practice. My Angel has been trying to sneak out of the back yard for at least two years now... Sophiebear for about a year. I am taking a precaution though. They are being sent out with Firefly phones. Not a normal cell phone so the Angel can't call The Boy. She can call me, her Pere and other trusted adults.

So far, I have let them go rollerblade around the block. They were thrilled. The only one terrified is me. But I guess that comes with the territory.


Chicka said...

It's a different time and a different place.

My FIL kept saying, "we never used car seats and you guys are ok!" Well that's great in theory, but you have to factor in how there weren't as many cars, they were made safer to begin with, there were less highways with lower speed limits, etc.

Or maybe I'm just too paranoid to let my kids out of my sight.


Maman said...

I know...I know... I felt that way when my kids were that age too... but my oldest is getting older and I am afraid of making her paranoid of the world so she ends up an agoraphobic or so clueless that she wanders off with a stranger like that Alabama girl in Aruba

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