Where are you and where have you been on the protective/permissive scale as your kids grew older? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 01-17-2014, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it would be interesting to talk with each other about the various times that we've been sort of on the permissive or protective end of the spectrum in terms of what we will allow our kids to do. 

 

I'll start... 

 

When my first was young I suppose that we were "protective". Compared to my more mainstream relatives I was known as a protective mother. Honestly, even compared to most "AP" people I think I was on the cautious side. I would say that all throughout her early childhood we were often on the more protective side of things compared to choices all our friends and relatives. But now that my DC has entered middle school I am finding myself to be on the other end of the spectrum rather suddenly. 

 

To give an example...

 

My DC wanted to get together with her friends. My DC is ready to attend a public event unchaperoned. When we made the invite I was clear that I would not be there and this was a "get together" not a party that we are hosting. It turns out that quite a few other parents or kids are just not ready for this type of thing and several parents will be in attendance. Many of whom have joked with me about what a pickle I've landed them in for planning a party that is going to be rather unpleasant for parents to attend as a chaperon. 

 

Anyway, it's interesting to have been on both ends of the spectrum here. I'm very glad that I was once the parent who attended events where other parents dropped off because I can understand what it's like to be that parent. I also don't feel all that badly for the parents who feel they must attend my DC's get together because I've BTDT and know that it's about them and their family values and not a reflection on me. 

 

Also, after all those years at parties at annoying toddler event type places with nothing to eat but sheet cake...I love that I get to stay home tonight and have a beer.  :rotflmao 

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#2 of 4 Old 01-21-2014, 08:53 AM
 
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in general i would call myself a more permissive mom. i guess dd and i figured things out. i rarely said no, but i defined VERY strict boundaries. even from babyhood. so from an outsiders perspective i was way too permissive. however dd understood the boundaries so never questioned it so it helped in her case.

 

she is also an uber independent my way kinda child - with logical thinking. so yeah while i would not let her walk a block to her friends place at 3, 4 or 5 (due to nosy CPS calling parents) i did let her do that from 9 onwards. 

 

but life was simple then. 

 

its not so simple now. we speak different languages now. i speak half of all that i want to say, dd hears half of what i say... ssoooo. i am still in other mom's terms more permissive, but really compared to my previous self i say no more often than not. now that i am homeschooling and spending more time with dd i am figuring out some things that i expected her to know she is so impervious to them. 

 

another thing. dd is more black and white than i am. oh boy do i have to make sure she allows others without throwing a moral reason in there (which is actually nice as she wont do stupid things, but she wont let others and then that is not seen as cool)

 

but however things like unchaperoned parties - not happening yet. yes other parents not like the idea, however i am fine with it (dd has had small unchaperoned sleepovers with a few friends and dd has kept an eye out on what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. just as long as i let them check out silly youtube videos (have you noticed how sleepovers these days are so no longer about movies). however for the past few years - kinda from 7 or 8 onwards its usually been drop the kids off party - adults not needed to stay - unless we were all friends. 


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#3 of 4 Old 01-21-2014, 06:53 PM
 
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I have often parented differently then others, more lenient perhaps. I never knew quite what to call my style. I just finished reading a book last night, The Available Parent, which is targeted towards parents of tweens and teens. It isn't a guide that walks you through what to say and do but rather more about letting go and embracing more of a "coach-style" way of parenting. Basically being available on the side lines. I realized that is how my parenting style is.

 

I have very few set rules. Almost all the few rules I do have involve safety. I don't sweat the small things but my rules are enforced. DD1 doesn't text to let me know she has safely arrived at gymnastics after biking there a mile from our house alone, then she won't be biking or walking there this week. And no I won't transport her myself for her 4x a week practice even though I could. shrug.gif She wants to compete and train that much then it is her responsibility to figure out her schedule and transportation with some gentle suggestions from me. 

 

I don't lecture, I don't micro-manage. She wants to blow all her money on candy from Wal-Greens down the street then that is her deal but I won't be buying something she wants just because she is out of money already. I do very little actual discipline. 

 

I consider these older years to be life lessons. It is about letting go, letting them make mistakes, letting them figure out some tough things on their own without stepping in to always fix it. And sometimes it is having to clue in a 10 year old that she really can't make prank calls to the neighbor kid that she doesn't like in this day and age of caller ID and cell phones, and then turning over the responsibility of what should happen next back to her. Another parent might say well WTF was she doing home alone anyway with a cell phone? I say why not in my safe, small town when she is (usually) mature. Lesson learned for her there that hasn't been repeated since. I've been known to leave her and her friends home alone unsupervised (with all parental permission) and my only rule is not be stupid. They all understand what I meant and they better ,or else next time will be a long time away!

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#4 of 4 Old 01-22-2014, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Great discussion, thanks to both of you!  One of Mothering's articles talked about how "AP" is felt to focus on infancy and early childhood. While that may be the time that a lot of books are published for and the focus of a lot of our membership, I very much think that the general attitude reflected in "AP" (I don't really love the actual term so I use it in quotes) is every bit as important in later childhood. The main one being that we parent with respect for our children's developmental needs. 

 

OTOH, while I would have really bucked at the idea of parenting an infant in such a way that we are fearful that they will not be prepared for life at 4, a part of me IS very much parenting NOW (for my 12 year old) with her teen years in mind.

 

The trend in our immediate community (like I mentioned above) is to still supervise very closely. I'm worried about how we are going to get our kids from 13 with no experience with small bumps to, say, 16 where many I expect will allow their children to drive cars or ride the bus. More than that, we live in a high crime area. It seems to me that and evening out at a place where DC may meet some rougher kids would be and OK way to prepare for what she will face later as a teen in our city. Am I wrong about this? 

 

On top of that, even if we lived in a safer town, I predict that my DC will want to have some life adventures. I put myself in some petty ridiculous situations as a teen/young adult. I'm conflicted about how I would feel if DC did some of the things I did. I mean, it was FUN and made me who I am but do I really want to imagine my DC hitching a ride in the back of a pickup at the Cambodian border with a bunch of soldiers with AK-47s?  Probably not but I would like to know that she was reasonably prepared to deal with the consequences of the bad choices that many teens make. 

 

I guess this rant is about valuing "street smarts" a great deal and now quite knowing how the kids in my little sub-culture are going to acquire them. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peony View Post
 

I consider these older years to be life lessons. It is about letting go, letting them make mistakes, letting them figure out some tough things on their own without stepping in to always fix it. And sometimes it is having to clue in a 10 year old that she really can't make prank calls to the neighbor kid that she doesn't like in this day and age of caller ID and cell phones, and then turning over the responsibility of what should happen next back to her. Another parent might say well WTF was she doing home alone anyway with a cell phone? I say why not in my safe, small town when she is (usually) mature. Lesson learned for her there that hasn't been repeated since. I've been known to leave her and her friends home alone unsupervised (with all parental permission) and my only rule is not be stupid. They all understand what I meant and they better ,or else next time will be a long time away!

 

I totally agree with this!  I find that I'm cherishing the little mistakes my DC has made this year (6th grade) because I can see so clearly that these are mistakes that she needs to learn from and I would SO much rather she learn them now!  


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