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Child safety question--is this extreme? - Page 4

post #61 of 103
Maybe it isn't mom's issue......maybe something happened to the boy and he is the one who wants mom to pick him up. Maybe mom just gave him permission to use her as an excuse and she tells people the same thing, so the boy isn't embarrased by not being comfortable walking alone. Maybe not.
post #62 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by RainCoastMama View Post
Regardless of whether I think it's extreme, who are we to judge a mama's parenting? We have no idea about her background, her life experiences or her personal use of 'the gift'. The world can be a scary place to someone who consumes a lot of sensational news, and I would never pass judgement on another family trying their best to ensure their kids' safety.

FWIW, I grew up in a violent country where we could not play in our own backyards without an adult watching, forget walking 2 blocks. Familes live in gated communites, hire guards, etc. etc. My parents brought this mentality to our new (safer) country and I do not begrudge them.

First of all, we have every right to judge anyone and everything whenever and wherever and however we want to do so because judgment is the capacity of the rational mind to come to a reasoned conclusion based on consideration of the evidence at hand. I refuse to deny myself the capacity to exercise one of the most evolved skills in the world, possibly in the universe. Moreover, I would like to add that the more information I have, the better and more accurate my judgment.

That said, the mother's history is irrelevant to the issue of whether her treatment of the young man is extreme for the context in which he lives and for him personally. Utterly irrelevant. Her history might be distorting her view of what is "safe," but that does not mean that her treatment of the young man is appropriate. It isn't. It is inappropriate given this time, this setting, this context.
post #63 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post

But at some point it all seems ridiculous to me because while yes, I do get frustrated with drivers who think stopping for crosswalks is optional, I've been hoofing it every day of my life for the last 11 years and...I'm here.

Somewhat OT, but this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine too. Boston drivers seem to think that crosswalk signs are decorations. I walk to work and back, and have become a very aggressive crosswalk crosser! I give them the look, right in the eye, then walk out right in front of them, forcing them to stop. Haven't been run down yet, but I've had a lot of horns blown at me. Of course, the drivers then regret that, as I stop in front of their car, point to the sign, and harangue them loudly.
post #64 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
So for those who think this is OK, where do you draw the line? And how do you plan on getting your kid to the point where they can be an independent adult? Is it at some point after the age of 15 when they can start taking very, very small risks like walking two blocks alone in their own neighborhood? Do you plan on allowing them to live in college dorms or their own apartment? How do you plan to protect them there?

Sounds snarky, but I really want to know!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kundalini-Mama View Post
The more I think of this, the more angry I become.

This child is not being taught any basic life skills in regards to being safe in public!! This is so scary. He will be going to college in a couple of years and without practicing living how will he survive on his own without his mother there to run interference for him?/QUOTE]




Well my parents did not let me walk anywhere alone, even as a high schooler. I could walk with other kids though. It was ZERO problem once I got to college to walk alone. NONE. I figured it out right away. And my parents had talked to me about being safe. It was no problem to apply that.

The people here who are saying "how will he manage" are the flip side of those mainstream parents who say about an AP/GD'd kid "How will they manage in the "real world"
post #65 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44 View Post
The people here who are saying "how will he manage" are the flip side of those mainstream parents who say about an AP/GD'd kid "How will they manage in the "real world"
Those "mainstream parents" would have zero knowledge of what attachment parenting and gentle discipline are all about then. I think it's a common misconception that they involve lots of coddling which would lead to a self-centered dependent person. However, IMO they are in fact about being responsive to children's needs, respecting children as actual full-fledged human beings, and fostering an environment which would allow children to grow into very independent confident people.
post #66 of 103
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate all these responses to my OP.

I can identify with my student's mom in some ways. I tend to be a "worrier". There are many times when I have to consciously make a choice to choose to not give in to fear. I'm not talking about ignoring my inner voice or sense of danger...I'm just talking about dealing with the multitude of little worries that float into my brain on a daily basis. Every night when I bring my 7-month-old baby into my bed to sleep, I worry that something will happen to her during the night, even though I know that co-sleeping is both safe and the best thing for her emotionally. I know that there is that tiny risk of something happening to her in bed--even though we have co-slept safely with her for 7 months, and we co-slept safely with her older brother for several years. It is just me--I worry. But if I give in to that worry...if I say, "OK, on the remote chance that something will happen, I'm going to have her sleep in the crib", then she and I and dh are are losing other things that are very important to us emotionally and to her psychological well-being.

I have a good friend who is afraid to drive to the city, 45 minutes away, by herself, because she is afraid she will get lost or something will happen. So she just does not go there unless her dh goes with. She feels a sense of peace and security from her choice, which I can respect. But I also think of all she is missing because of her fear. I would feel so incredibly confined. I am used to doing many things by myself and to being alone with myself. My parents gave us a huge amount of freedom as kids. We lived out in the boonies on 2.5 acres of land. We walked all over the place. We walked a mile to the mom-and-pop convenience store to buy candy all the time. When I was 19, I drove home from college, 13 hours, by myself. It blows my mind that I did this at 19, yet my friend who is 32 won't drive 45 minutes away. When my dh and I first moved to a city about 9 years ago, and he was working and I was home alone, I explored the entire city on my own. I never gave it a second thought.

So I guess it's my background and my own experiences that form my feelings. Would I have been so comfortable exploring on my own if I hadn't been allowed to do it as a child? Who knows.

As a mother, I do feel a great deal more caution when it comes to my own kids. Sometimes I think that caution, or fear, is valid and is a true protective tool. But sometimes it is my own worries, and I have to examine them.

I don't think that my student or his siblings are going to be messed up for life. I have known the whole family pretty well for several years, and they all seem to be pretty well-adjusted kids, so their parents must be compensating in other ways and giving them other forms of responsibility.
post #67 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44 View Post
Well my parents did not let me walk anywhere alone, even as a high schooler. I could walk with other kids though. It was ZERO problem once I got to college to walk alone. NONE. I figured it out right away. And my parents had talked to me about being safe. It was no problem to apply that.
Okay - but again, why the line? What made you, as an 18-year-old (for the sake of argument) 12th grader, unsafe when walking by yourself, but as an 18-year-old on campus, you were fine? That seems like an extremely arbitrary line to draw. FWIW...I've heard so many horror stories about women being assaulted on campus (never went myself) that I'd actually be more nervous about dd walking around at university than in town...
post #68 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Houdini View Post
Maybe it isn't mom's issue......maybe something happened to the boy and he is the one who wants mom to pick him up. Maybe mom just gave him permission to use her as an excuse and she tells people the same thing, so the boy isn't embarrased by not being comfortable walking alone. Maybe not.
I can't believe I didn't even think of this. My mom let us use her as an "out" if we wanted out of a situation, and didn't want to take the flack. I'm sure she wasn't alone. (I never used the "mom won't let me" thing, but I think my sister did once or twice...maybe not - she was rarely that uncomfortable with a situation.)
post #69 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurel View Post
I have a good friend who is afraid to drive to the city, 45 minutes away, by herself, because she is afraid she will get lost or something will happen. So she just does not go there unless her dh goes with. She feels a sense of peace and security from her choice, which I can respect. But I also think of all she is missing because of her fear. I would feel so incredibly confined. I am used to doing many things by myself and to being alone with myself. My parents gave us a huge amount of freedom as kids. We lived out in the boonies on 2.5 acres of land. We walked all over the place. We walked a mile to the mom-and-pop convenience store to buy candy all the time. When I was 19, I drove home from college, 13 hours, by myself. It blows my mind that I did this at 19, yet my friend who is 32 won't drive 45 minutes away. When my dh and I first moved to a city about 9 years ago, and he was working and I was home alone, I explored the entire city on my own. I never gave it a second thought.
Totally OT re: the thread, but this caught my attention. Is your friend afraid to explore - or afraid to drive where she's uncomfortable? I've been all over Vancouver on transit. DH and I once took three kids (one of ours and two others) on a bus trip that lasted well over an hour each way, and involved four different transit vehicles in each direction. We'd never been to our destination before. I flew down to visit dh in Knoxville in 2001, and I'd never been on a plane myself before. What I'm getting at is - I'm quite comfortable getting around on the bus, exploring new territory and checking things out. I'm also totally comfortable on my own - and have walked all over my living area many, many times, both with kids in tow and on my own (including solo walks in the rain at midnight). However - I probably wouldn't want to do the drive your friend avoids, either. I hate driving. I didn't even get my license until June, 2005, and I've never liked being behind the wheel. I also hate getting lost when driving...if I'm walking or on a bus, it's no big deal. The stress of trying to figure out where I am and how to get back to where I want to be while driving just makes me nuts.

Anyway - totally OT, but not wanting to drive doesn't necessarily mean not being willing to explore or be on your own.
post #70 of 103
Thread Starter 
Good point, Storm Bride. I think it's probably some of both. I know the driving makes her nervous. But I can't picture her going into the city by bus either. She has a lot of things she's anxious about. I can relate, as I tend to be anxious myself about many things (just different things that her or the mom in my OP).

I went to counseling a few years ago for depression, and a lot of what I learned helped me cope with anxiety too, especially about what my therapist called "cognitive distortions", which is where we create our own distorted reality based on the thoughts that run through our heads. We create anxiety, anger, etc. when it isn't really warranted, and unless we challenge those thoughts, we can remain locked into it and miss out of other experiences/growth.
post #71 of 103
BelgianSheepdog wrote:
Quote:
But at some point it all seems ridiculous to me because while yes, I do get frustrated with drivers who think stopping for crosswalks is optional, I've been hoofing it every day of my life for the last 11 years and...I'm here. And I'd rather live in a world where walking is feasible than in a world where everyone is hunkered down behind their alarm systems in their suburban assault vehicles driving three parking spots down to the laundry room (my old neighbors did that.) And the simple fact of the matter is, we can't have it both ways. We can't cater to these irrational fears AND have a world that is safe for pedestrians.
ITA! I live in a city with heavy traffic and a lot of careless, self-centered drivers, and for that reason I'll make my son wait longer than I did to cross the street alone--like, maybe 6 years old instead of 4. By the time he's 15, I expect he'll be able to wander around the city by himself, on foot and on transit. I will tell him to avoid the neighborhoods that have frequent drive-by shootings, I will insist that he obey the law against pedestrians on the Parkway (near our house, but there's a bridge over it), and I'll require him to take a friend if he's going hiking in the big parks.

Just before I got pregnant, a co-worker and her dog were killed by a car at the very intersection where she'd petitioned for a stoplight. They were crossing legally, in a marked crosswalk, on a street where cars are SUPPOSED to go 25mph. Of course I was terrified for my own safety, even more than I had been; I've been hit by cars myself 3 times, but all at low speed causing nothing worse than scrapes and bruises. It was tempting to stay in my house forever. But I got out there and kept walking. When my baby was born, I walked everywhere carrying him in a sling. At 15 months he took his first walk around the neighborhood on his own feet...and when we got to a curb, he stopped and looked around--not exactly looking both ways, but showing a very clear awareness that we don't just dash out into the street; we pause and evaluate the situation. So now we walk and talk about watching the traffic, about red lights and green lights and waiting for the picture of the walking person, about walking between the white lines, about how we can see that car is about to do a wrong thing and stay out of its way to be safe. He is catching on. Teaching safety skills is a much better way to protect him than forbidding walking.

It is entirely possible that Laurel's student or someone in his family had a bad experience that resulted in their rule. But in general, I think it's ridiculous and actually reduces his safety in the long run.
post #72 of 103
This is a fascinating discussion. I wanted to add:

Quote:
Originally Posted by townmouse View Post
Ever read "Last Child in the Woods?" Something was mentioned about kids born in the early 70's (I think) being the last generation to have a free-range childhood in the USA.
There's a fascinating article in The Sun this month called "Nature Deficit Disorder: Richard Louv asks whether we're raising our children under house arrest". The article is a bit more slanted on what it means for our children to feel so alienated from nature, but he touches on a lot of the topics raised here.
post #73 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Okay - but again, why the line? What made you, as an 18-year-old (for the sake of argument) 12th grader, unsafe when walking by yourself, but as an 18-year-old on campus, you were fine? That seems like an extremely arbitrary line to draw. FWIW...I've heard so many horror stories about women being assaulted on campus (never went myself) that I'd actually be more nervous about dd walking around at university than in town...
Because where I grew up I would have been completely alone walking around whereas on campus, during the day, when I would walk alone, there would be tons and tons of other people doing the same thing.

I never walked alone at night on campus. Always with a BIG group, or drove.
post #74 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44 View Post
Because where I grew up I would have been completely alone walking around whereas on campus, during the day, when I would walk alone, there would be tons and tons of other people doing the same thing.

I never walked alone at night on campus. Always with a BIG group, or drove.
That makes sense...although, as several people have pointed out, if fewer people were forbidding their kids to walk anywhere, there would be more kids on the streets.

I can't imagine going to school and feeling unsafe to walk around by myself at night.
post #75 of 103
Someone upthread asked about specifics. For my daughters who are 20 and 18 now, this is the basic outline of what they were allowed to do and when, although sometimes things changed according to where we were living.

9 or 10-at this age they were allowed to go to the little store down the block and buy a treat, walk the couple blocks to school, and play on the school playground before and after school. At this age I always made them go together.

11-12, they were allowed to go to shops a few blocks away and to take a short bus ride to music lessons and martial arts (which they both took for years). Again I usually required them to stick together. This was the age when I also started paying attention to which of their friends were responsible types-and limiting the activities they could do with the not-so responsible ones when they didn't have adult supervision.

16-by sixteen they had a good deal of freedom. I expected to know where they were going and with whom, and when one of my daughters seemed to be making poor choices I made a lot of spot checks to make sure she was where she said she would be. But they were allowed to take public transportation and go to movies or shopping on their own. At this age cars were the big thing that scared me, and I really limited the amount of rides they took from other teens. At night I expected them to call me and get a ride or get a ride from someone elses parents. Finally, I always told them if they got in trouble they could call me and I would help them no questions asked (at least that night).

18-they were free to make their own choices. one has travelled internationally on her own, the other recently drove cross country on her own.

As they were growing up I tried to teach them to be both confident and wary. Specifics included:

-be aware of your surroundings (and don't wear headphones)
-never be embarassed to ask for help or make a disturbance if you feel threatened.
-if you need help, pick someone specific and ask that person, people are more likely to respond if you single them out.
-if you have to yell for help yell "call 911" if gives people permission to get involved
-each time you turn a corner when walking, look behind you to see if anyone is following.
-be aware of blind spots where someone could hide.
-trust your instincts
post #76 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by maryeliz View Post
As they were growing up I tried to teach them to be both confident and wary. Specifics included:

-be aware of your surroundings (and don't wear headphones)
-never be embarassed to ask for help or make a disturbance if you feel threatened.
-if you need help, pick someone specific and ask that person, people are more likely to respond if you single them out.
-if you have to yell for help yell "call 911" if gives people permission to get involved

-each time you turn a corner when walking, look behind you to see if anyone is following.
-be aware of blind spots where someone could hide.
-trust your instincts
Excellent advice! Especially the points that I bolded. My mom actually never knew to tell me those two things, but I took a social pych class in college and learned that just having people around is no guarantee of safety. It's called the bystander effect if anyone wants to read a little about it.
post #77 of 103
I just think the fact that this is such a huge deal to people is crazy. There are so many parents who don't give a care about their kids, and some here are choosing to bash a mom who is being over-protective? Yeah... he'd probably be just fine walking home. But it is NOT hurting him at all, he's not going to be some inept college kid because his mom is over-protective.

There are so many better things to be on a soapbox about.
post #78 of 103
How do you know it's not hurting him?
post #79 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffer23 View Post
I just think the fact that this is such a huge deal to people is crazy. There are so many parents who don't give a care about their kids, and some here are choosing to bash a mom who is being over-protective? Yeah... he'd probably be just fine walking home. But it is NOT hurting him at all, he's not going to be some inept college kid because his mom is over-protective.

There are so many better things to be on a soapbox about.
I don't think anyone here is bashing anyone or on a soapbox about anything. I think we are all just discussing a pareting issue and using the situation in the OP as a jumping off point for that discussion. I think we are all just trying to learn from each others experiences and develop our our own ideas about child safety and think about how we will apply those ideas to our own lives. Isn't that what this place is all about...learning from other mamas and exploring pareting ideas?
post #80 of 103
I agree with riverscout. Overprotectiveness causes problems in kids, too. it's not just parents who "don't care about their kids" that can have long-term effects.

I have some serious anxiety about my kids' safety sometimes. (Which is weird because I had a ton of freedom as a kid and not one bad thing ever happened to me as a result.) But that's internal - it's ME. So I bite my tongue and let them ride their bikes on the gravel driveway or climb the tree or, eventually, walk the two blocks home. It is impossible to protect kids from every little thing - and really, you don't want to.
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