How to balance safety & independence for kids?

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MissyJ's picture
Last seen: 3 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 01/31/02
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How to balance safety & independence for kids?

Question for the Answer Box (i.e. responses from YOU!): My partner & I are in a debate over raising children in today's world. We both realize that we can't allow our (future) kids many of the freedoms we enjoyed growing up due to concerns over safety. How do you balance enabling your kids to stay safe but still foster their independence?

Spacers's picture
Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4104

I'm very much a "free range" mom. I let my daughter (9yo) walk to school, walk home from school, ride the bus to a friend's house, and go to the neighborhood park on her own. I let my 4yo ride his bike all the way to the corner at the far end of the street, where I can't see him. Part of it is that we've taught them from day one about city safety. Staying on the sidewalk, stopping at the corner with plenty of room, watching for cars from every direction when crossing the street, avoiding crazy people & people sitting in cars, not talking to strangers, etc. We practice running away, we talk about what we would do if this happened or that happened, and we've practiced all these things. It started with my husband running alongside her bike to make sure she stopped at the right place, and me letting her go up the escalator at the mall & back down. For an entire school year, she walked a block ahead of me while I followed her, and even now, I sometimes watch her from my car to make sure she's staying alert, crossing streets safely, etc. And we've read a number of books about personal safety for kids. And really, when you analyze the numbers, the world is actually much safer now than it was 30 or 40 years ago. It's just that we *hear* about more scary things.