I don't know where my daughter is - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-16-2011, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She was bored earlier, so I told her to go outside and find someone to play with. I assume she did, because she didn't come home. I don't know who she's playing with, whose yard, or if she's in someone's house, or out in the woods. I'm not sure when she'll be home but I assume before too much longer because she'll get hungry. I'm sure she didn't leave the neighborhood because she understands that is her boundary. I know all of our neighbors and have their phone numbers and could call around and find her if I wanted her. She is 9.

Would that freak you out? How free range are you?
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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How long has she been gone?  I would call the neighbors, personally, but then my kids don't go anywhere without me knowing first (ie we are going across the street to play at so-and-so's house).  Plus my DD who is a yr older than yours carries a cell phone. 

 

Obviously every kid/neighborhood/situation is different, but if you are feeling any sense of panic/concern, I would figure out where she went. 


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Old 06-16-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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Well it would make me think a bit.

 

My 9 year old regularly goes out to play by himself.  But we live in the country with a fairly busy road nearby.  He knows the boundaries and I trust him to stick with them (he always has) but I do still listen for him and if I go by the window, I'll look out to see what he's doing.  I do give him a time to be back though.

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Old 06-16-2011, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not concerned, but I am starting to get hungry for dinner.
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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How long has it been?  We are pretty free range but my son (also nine) usually checks in once he has plan in place.  So if I send him outside and he hears our (far away) neighbor he will yell in that he is heading to H's house.  Or he might might yell in that he going to hang out on the front porch or take his scooter behind the barn. So if I sent him outside to play and didn't hear from him for an hour I would start a *minor* freak and call around. 

 


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Old 06-16-2011, 04:53 PM
 
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I'm not concerned, but I am starting to get hungry for dinner.


Ha, just saw this.  I would call around, my stomach waits for no one!


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Old 06-16-2011, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She came home and we ate. orngbiggrin.gif
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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She came home and we ate. orngbiggrin.gif


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Old 06-17-2011, 09:02 PM
 
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I would never send my dd out alone.Rare kids disappear,but it does happen every day and I prefer not to deal with that.

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Old 06-18-2011, 05:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

I would never send my dd out alone.Rare kids disappear,but it does happen every day and I prefer not to deal with that.



At nine? What age would you allow your child outside unattended?

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Old 06-18-2011, 06:13 AM
 
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At nine? What age would you allow your child outside unattended?


Unattended and not knowing where your child is at are two different things.  Playing outside is one thing.  Having your child gone and not having a general idea of where she went is quite another.  I'm all about letting your child explore, but I draw the line at not letting me know the general direction.  For one, if there was an emergency (a true emergency--kidnapping, rape, serious injury), having absolutely no way to know where to send help would kill some serious time.  I'm all about letting older kids go out, but my kids, when they are older, better either a) check in once they get to where they are going or b) tell me what the plan is ("I plan to play in the woods, and then head into town with a couple friends and walk around" or something...not concrete minute by minute plans, but a general idea of where she'll be...it sure would help narrow down the possibilities in an emergency.)  Then again, I don't randomly leave the house without telling at least one person the general plans in case of emergency as well (something as simple as 'I'm headed out grocery shopping and to get a cup of chai....be back in a few hours.").

 


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Old 06-18-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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We live in the middle of the woods, no roads or neighbors....just bears, etc (haha, just kidding, we haven't seen a bear in a while).

 

My kids are 3 and 19 months and they spend a lot of time outside fairly unsupervised. There is just nowhere for them to go but the woods. I can hear them playing wherever they are and when I stop hearing them can glance at a window (we have a VERY open floor plan and lots of windows, I can see most almost anywhere in the yard from almost anywhere in the house!). They mainly hang out by the chicken coop and wait for eggs! They are extremely patient, until they here the first cluck of an "egg song" - at which point they are in there, looking to see which nest and kicking hens off if they have to, to get to the eggies so they can bring them back to me!

 

I catch a lot of flack for the "free range-iness" of my parenting and I may not be so free range with the 19 month old if it weren't for my INCREDIBLE 3 year old...but they stick together like glue. She enjoys being (as she puts it) "the leader of the son" - and he enjoys following her around and listening to her chatter. So they mostly pull the wagon around and collect rocks and flowers, hang around waiting for eggs and feed the animals. They have chores that they do together (rather, DD has chores that DS tags along for) and they are really really happy when they are outside.

 

I can't be a hover mom, it's why we moved to the middle of nowhere. The only thing you can see around my house, is the little clearing we live in and the edge of the forest around it. By listening to the signing and talking of the children, the different clucks and calls of the chickens and the dogs grunts and whining, I know whats going on in my yard at all times.

 

A day will soon come when I feel comfortable NOT hearing them. My DD (without the "son") is already comfortable going to the furthest edge of the clearing, just inside the woods, to sit on her favorite rock and draw by herself. I can just barely make her out and she knows she has to be sitting on the rock in order for me to see her...I can't wait for her to be big enough to go into the woods to find things and bring them back for me. That'll be really awesome.


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Old 06-18-2011, 06:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post




Unattended and not knowing where your child is at are two different things.  Playing outside is one thing.  Having your child gone and not having a general idea of where she went is quite another.  I'm all about letting your child explore, but I draw the line at not letting me know the general direction.  For one, if there was an emergency (a true emergency--kidnapping, rape, serious injury), having absolutely no way to know where to send help would kill some serious time.  I'm all about letting older kids go out, but my kids, when they are older, better either a) check in once they get to where they are going or b) tell me what the plan is ("I plan to play in the woods, and then head into town with a couple friends and walk around" or something...not concrete minute by minute plans, but a general idea of where she'll be...it sure would help narrow down the possibilities in an emergency.)  Then again, I don't randomly leave the house without telling at least one person the general plans in case of emergency as well (something as simple as 'I'm headed out grocery shopping and to get a cup of chai....be back in a few hours.").

 


This makes a lot of sense to me...I would never leave the house even just to go down the road for a minute and not say something. I would definitely say something if I planned to actually go somewhere for a while. I don't even think of emergencies so much as courtesy to others! smile.gif

 


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Old 06-18-2011, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If there had been an emergency, it wouldn't have taken that long to find her.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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Time to buy her a cellphone? Then next time you could just call her to find out how she is. 


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Old 06-18-2011, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't feel like I need to know exactly where she is all the time. I knew she was playing in the neighborhood with friends, and I know who her friends are, and that really is enough information for me.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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Time to buy her a cellphone? Then next time you could just call her to find out how she is. 



My ds is given a pretty wide range as long as he has his phone with him.  I can easily text and ask where he is and he answers almost right away.  It works because he has the freedom he wants, within reason and I don't have to worry much because he can be reached almost instantly if I need to reach him.  I do my best not to worry when he's off wandering with his friends but it can be hard.  I know he's safe, I know he knows the rules, but it's still hard to let them go. 

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Old 06-18-2011, 09:05 AM
 
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 Then again, I don't randomly leave the house without telling at least one person the general plans in case of emergency as well (something as simple as 'I'm headed out grocery shopping and to get a cup of chai....be back in a few hours.").

 

What about when no one is home? I never thought about that but I am very spur of the moment and my husband is rarely home during the day. I usually have no idea where he is b/c he is self employed and usually is running lots of random errands. When I leave the house I never think to call him and tell him where I go. Now that I think about it we don't know where the other is 90% of the time.
 

 

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Old 06-18-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I remember being pretty free range when I was a child but my mom always had a general idea of where we were and who were playing with. I wouldn't be comfortable having no idea whatsoever where my children were.


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Old 06-18-2011, 09:49 AM
 
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I know 99% of my neighbors and we have a very walk friendly neighborhood so its pretty easy to find them. I also have a newly minted 9 yr old plus her 5 yr old younger sister who has more freedom than my first being the 2nd child who gets to tag along most days.

 

I ask the kids to check in if they have a change in venue but other than that, its pretty free range within reason.


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Old 06-18-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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I was a pretty free-range child, but I think many of us were like that back then. I'm not as comfortable with my children being alone outside of the yard without me. Actually, they've never been outside of the yard without my husband or I.  My oldest is only 7, though, not 9. My feelings might be different in a few years. My 9-year-old nephew is allowed to ride his bike all around our small town (he does have a cellphone, though).


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Old 06-18-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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I grew up like that. I know a lot of it depends on the neighborhood though, and how much your kids understand where their boundaries are. I'm sure my parents told me "go play somewhere" dozens of times... but I knew that I wasn't to go any further than the ends of my street or into the school field. It didn't necessarily mean my parents knew where I was exactly, but I'm almost positive if my father had walked out the front door and screamed my name, I would have heard and been back home within a minute. 

 

Would I do that with our current house... I don't know. I live a lot closer to a semi-busy street (our old house was in the middle of a very long street), and so I would probably want more information as to which direction they are heading. That said however, I can see the elementary school from our kitchen window, and I'm pretty sure by the end of kindergarden our children will be walking to and from school themselves. 


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Old 06-18-2011, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The kids in my neighborhood run around outside unsupervised by about 4 or 5. I did know specifically which yard she was in at that age, though.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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We're not too spur of the moment here, because it's just too hard with 3 young kids.  But, my DH knows the general plans for the day.  If we decide to go somewhere else, I might text DH to say "hey, headed to the zoo, so I likely won't hear my phone", "we have to run to the store...do you need anything from there?" or something.  There have been times he's called from work to ask a question or to have me run an errand, so letting him know when the schedule for the day was adjusted helps.  I also let him know because if there's a problem like a flat tire or something, he won't be surprised that I was 2 hours away from home when he thought I was staying home that day.  I just think it's a pretty good courtesy, and a smart personal safety plan, to at least let another person know your general plans for outings.  But, it might be because of our location--going to the store requires a 20-40 minute drive, the zoo is an hour away, etc.  I generally don't tell him if we're going to the park 10 minutes away (but I might text him a pic of the kids having fun there. :) )
 

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What about when no one is home? I never thought about that but I am very spur of the moment and my husband is rarely home during the day. I usually have no idea where he is b/c he is self employed and usually is running lots of random errands. When I leave the house I never think to call him and tell him where I go. Now that I think about it we don't know where the other is 90% of the time.
 

 



 


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Old 06-19-2011, 07:38 AM
 
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She was bored earlier, so I told her to go outside and find someone to play with. I assume she did, because she didn't come home. I don't know who she's playing with, whose yard, or if she's in someone's house, or out in the woods. I'm not sure when she'll be home but I assume before too much longer because she'll get hungry. I'm sure she didn't leave the neighborhood because she understands that is her boundary. I know all of our neighbors and have their phone numbers and could call around and find her if I wanted her. She is 9.

Would that freak you out? How free range are you?

Yes, that would freak me out.  My 9 yo and 6 yo certainly play outside by themselves and they are allowed to play in a few of the neighbor's front/side yards without me and without checking in.  Everything is pretty much within eyesight/hearing distance, so it would be pretty easy to find them right away.  However, I they are not allowed to go inside anyone's house without asking permission first.


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Old 06-19-2011, 07:54 PM
 
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I ask my kids to tell me where they're going, but it's not unusual for them to be outside for a couple of hours without checking in. I do want to know if they go inside someone's house (they don't have to ask permission, just tell me) so that it's easier for me to find them when it's dinner time/time to go somewhere. My stomach waits for no one. Really though, they're in one of about 3 places and I don't check up that often. We know our neighbors, we know the neighbor kids.


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Old 06-19-2011, 08:18 PM
 
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DD1 and ds2 play outside all the time. They don't have to check in all that often (although they frequently do, because they're always on the prowl for food). However, their boundary line is our townhouse complex, which is almost all in hearing range. They do have to check before going to any of the neighour's, jsut because I can't find them easily if I have to knock on doors. This rule will be in place until and unless they have cell phones. DS1 was still expected to check in when he was 14...and he got his cell for his 15th birthday.

 

However, I also leave notes for dh and ds1 if I go somewhere unexpectedly. DH and I are in sporadic touch by email during the day, and I also let him know if plans change - and ask if he needs anything specfiic if I'm going shopping. I do similar things for ds1. DH, likewise, contacts me if he's going to be going somewhere after work, even if it's just a quick errand. It smooths things out for all of us if we all have a handle on who is where, and people's ETAs, and things like that. DS1 has become kind of hopeless, but that's only a problem, because his cellphone isn't working.


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Old 06-19-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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This isn't the 1950's, we don't live in Mayberry, and there are several RSOs in the immediate neighborhood.  My 9yo ds doesn't leave the yard without his 16yo brother.


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Old 06-19-2011, 08:32 PM
 
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I grew up being able to wander like that. It was fantastic. There were so many great things to explore, and our lives were very unscheduled because of it.

It often makes me a little sad that my little one won't have that.

I live in a fairly large city, and not a very safe one.

I'm glad to know there are still places left where this is possible.


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Old 06-19-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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I've always admired you and this post just made me remember why :)

 

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We live in the middle of the woods, no roads or neighbors....just bears, etc (haha, just kidding, we haven't seen a bear in a while).

 

My kids are 3 and 19 months and they spend a lot of time outside fairly unsupervised. There is just nowhere for them to go but the woods. I can hear them playing wherever they are and when I stop hearing them can glance at a window (we have a VERY open floor plan and lots of windows, I can see most almost anywhere in the yard from almost anywhere in the house!). They mainly hang out by the chicken coop and wait for eggs! They are extremely patient, until they here the first cluck of an "egg song" - at which point they are in there, looking to see which nest and kicking hens off if they have to, to get to the eggies so they can bring them back to me!

 

I catch a lot of flack for the "free range-iness" of my parenting and I may not be so free range with the 19 month old if it weren't for my INCREDIBLE 3 year old...but they stick together like glue. She enjoys being (as she puts it) "the leader of the son" - and he enjoys following her around and listening to her chatter. So they mostly pull the wagon around and collect rocks and flowers, hang around waiting for eggs and feed the animals. They have chores that they do together (rather, DD has chores that DS tags along for) and they are really really happy when they are outside.

 

I can't be a hover mom, it's why we moved to the middle of nowhere. The only thing you can see around my house, is the little clearing we live in and the edge of the forest around it. By listening to the signing and talking of the children, the different clucks and calls of the chickens and the dogs grunts and whining, I know whats going on in my yard at all times.

 

A day will soon come when I feel comfortable NOT hearing them. My DD (without the "son") is already comfortable going to the furthest edge of the clearing, just inside the woods, to sit on her favorite rock and draw by herself. I can just barely make her out and she knows she has to be sitting on the rock in order for me to see her...I can't wait for her to be big enough to go into the woods to find things and bring them back for me. That'll be really awesome.



 

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