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I have an 8-year-old dd (S) who has been free range for really a long time. I also have a young toddler, but my dd had a lot of free range before she was around. I have a friend who also lives in this neighborhood who has an 8-year-old dd (J) and no other children and who keeps very very close track of her dd while she plays. I don't think this is a 1 child vs 2 child thing becasue these differences existed when both of our girls were onlies.<br><br>
This mom won't let J leave their fenced backyard, and even then the mom has to be in the backyard for her to play out there. Our neighborhood is very very safe and self contained, and we have a very low crime rate. Most kids in this neighborhood just wander from yard to yard and play how they want.<br><br>
This difference is starting to make my dd hesitant to play with J. The mom will call to see if S can play. She still sets up playdates. S won't go to them anymore. She says the mom sits out and tells them what to do the whole time. (And I like this mom so I sit and chat wtih her sometimes, and I know what S is talking about. "J, S was playing with that." "S, make sure you give J a turn." Also, stuff like "don't play with sticks.")<br><br>
So S says no, she won't play with J, but then she runs outside to play with the other kids who are also running around the neighborhood. I have to imagine that J is hurt by this. I don't know if anyone plays with her anymore.<br><br>
My friend doesn't like J to come play here because I won't sit outside and watch them the whole time. I usually have work that has to be done in the house, and I have the young toddler who just puts everything she can find in her mouth all the time and is better off in our toddlerproofed house.<br><br>
So, I really like this mom. She's very nice. I want to know how I should handle this in a way that is nice to her and J. I am not willing to force my dd to go on these restrictive playdates, and I am not willing to punish her for not wanting to go on a playdate with J by saying that either she plays with J or she has to stay inside. I don't want to hurt this mom's feelings either. I've tried to "work with her" by coming up with mutully agreeable rules for when J is over here, and she won't budge on her rules - a parent outside at all times, no sticks, no mud, no climbing anything, no leaving the yard to play with other kids, etc. She's respectful in how she talks to me about this, and I have nothing but nice things to say about her personality.<br><br>
This problem isn't such a problem in the winter becasue the kids are playing inside anyway so the "free range" issue doesn't come up. But it's come back up again and the older dd gets and the more freedom she has (like riding her bike through the neighborhood including past their house), the more of an issue it is.<br><br>
So moms who are not free range, how would you best like this handled? If I politely told the mom that S doesn't like to only play in the fenced backyard and doesn't want to go on the playdates anymore, will that hurt her feelings? It feels wrong to simply have S keep saying no to these invitations without explanation. But I'm afraid an explanation will be upsetting.
 

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I would think telling her that dd doesn't want to play only in the backyard or with close supervision would hurt the mom's feelings less than dd just saying she doesn't want to play and then being seen riding her bike past the house.
 

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Hm.<br>
I consider myself somewhat mid-range. My kids are allowed to do some things their friends can't, and aren't allowed to do some of the things their friends can.<br><br>
In my experience, there really isn't much to "handle". My kids have pulled away from some friends and others have pulled away from them, based on their interests and family permissions. I've remained friendly with some of the parents (on each end), and drifted away from others.<br><br>
I prefer to stay out of my kids' friendships and let them find their own way (while I do the same with the parents). I don't think anyone should be forced into relationships they don't enjoy. You know, unless we're talking about siblings. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
If the other mom's feelings are hurt, that really is her own issue. You're doing nothing wrong. Technically, neither is she. It just is what it is!
 

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If this person is really a friend, then you should just talk to her. Be honest and non-confrontational. Just say that you have different parenting styles and that you give your dd a lot more freedom. That your dd feels overly restricted when playing at their house and then ask the mom how she thinks how you can all compromise. She is probably thinking, "I wish I could tell my friend that I don't want my dd at her house because she's too lax with supervision." Just get it out in the open and talk about ways that the girls can play together and you can both meet in the middle... or maybe find out that you can't. I'm assuming the girls *themselves* enjoy playing together. If my dd didn't like a particular person for other reasons and didn't want to play with her, I wouldn't force it under any circumstances... compromise or not.<br><br>
ETA: I'm not a helicopter parent, but I don't let dd roam the neighborhood at 8 yo. I wouldn't in ANY neighborhood, no matter the level of safety. I'm not outside with her, but she's not allowed outside our yard. Then again, we have no kids in our neighborhood, so we don't have to deal with this. And just about anything in the yard is fair game to play with... sticks, mud, climbing, etc. She has to stay away from the woodpile because it can fall on her (it has on me, even), and she's not allowed on roofs. So, while dd is not free-range, I'm not helicopter either. Dh *is* the helicopter parent... and goes outside with her when he's around, so I know where you're coming from.
 

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Free Range here and so is DH.<br>
But unlike Velochic's neighborhood, we live in a neighborhood literally kid infested. There are 7 kids in DD1's class/grade within 200 yards of our house. Then add these kids' siblings both younger and older, we have literally about 75 kids on our block and the surronding block. Usually we get a call from a parent asking if they can send their child(ren) "down the block" so we would look out for them. Or, if a child is going home for whatever reason, I will call their parent/grandparent/caregiver and give them a heads up the child is leaving. But we moved here for wanting a neighborhood such as this where everyone knows everyone and the school is great. Usually my dd2 goes along as well with the pack and she is only 4. Sometimes you might have a parent coming to get the child one afternoon on a Saturday only to stay and have a beer....<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
OTH, my SIL/BIL live in the city (we suburbs) and their 7 yr old has a very short lease. Even when they are here. They do not know most of their neighbors, she goes to a magnet school 30 minutes away with children from all over the city. They dont have several parents nearby or that they know who can "look out" for their dd, car pool etc. So yes, they are as my DH refers to them "copter parents" or he calls them Marine One after the helicopter the president takes. If they were to move out here, they would have an adjustment since they are not used to that much social stuff around them.<br><br>
We had an event last fall that was a no kids event (wedding, they were upset their dd was not included) and we had a cousins sleepover at our house and I hired a few teens who sit for me normally to come over to sit.<br>
They live down the street, their parents are our friends and home that evening if needed. My out of town SIL had no issus leaving her dd here for the sleepover but with them, wow what a convincing we had to do! At the wedding that evening they wanted me texting the sitters every hour or so etc. The copter child said the next day what fun they had!<br><br><br>
As far as your child, anyone over the age of 4 will have issues with you forcing them to play with someone. IME, it usually ends bad so I let my kids choose their playmates to a point of course. That child would make my older dd crazy since I have seen this IRL with another parent who if I didnt know better you are describing to the exact.
 

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DS is still only 2, so some of the things you've mentioned haven't come up yet. I can, however, say how we handle thigns now, and how I PLAN to handle things in the future. First of all, my 2 year old plays outside alone in the back yard. I do keep the door open so he can come and go easily, and I can see and hear how he's doing. I don't have to sit there and stare at him while he plays though. We have a wooden fence, so I feel fine with that. Obviously at 2 he's not allowed to play out front by himself, but I would think at 8 I wouldn't have any problem with him riding bikes with a friend, as long as they stayed within eye/ear shot of our house. Again, I might leave a door or windown open so I can keep an eye on them. I probably wouldn't feel as comfortable about him playing alone out front, as I would if he was with a friend.<br><br>
As for your situation, could you maybe have a conversation with the other mom, and say something like, "S is really wanting to explore her independence these days. Would it be ok with you if J came over to play in the back yard, and I left the door open so I could check on them, without them feeling like I'm right there watching them the whole time?" That would really be ideal. It's a controled environment (unlike, maybe riding around the block on their bikes) for her to get used to giving a little more freedom. Sort of a compromise.
 

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I think you should tell the mom that your dd is used to being able to play without adult comments and she is uncomfortable there. She may pull back from watching the kids all the time or interfering in their play if you say something, but she probably will not change her mind about allowing her child to roam around unsupervised.<br><br>
I don't think her rules about climbing, mud, and sticks are unreasonable, especially if they will be tracking the mud back inside or she will be the one doing the extra laundry. I don't want the sticks from my wood pile being played with and I don't want someone climbing on things in my yard, that is what the park is for. I also don't think it is unreasonable of her not to allow her child to roam the neighborhood, though sitting outside with the kids in a fenced back yard and directing play does seem too controlling. Does she interfere if your dd is not breaking one of the house rules? If your dd likes this friend and the mom only sits out there quietly when the rules are being followed then maybe the friendship could work. If it is too much for your dd then I don't think that you should push the friendship.
 

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I agree with the PPs as awkward as it might be, I think explaining your dd's reservations to the mom is the best idea. Something like "dd feels like you guide their play too much, and it makes her uncomfortable." "She's used to being allowed to be more independent than you allow."<br><br>
Given that she doesn't let her kid play at your house because you don't provide constant supervision, she shouldn't be all that shocked. If you think that J is losing playmates over this, pointing it out to your friend seems kind in the long run.<br><br>
There are a lot of ways to keep 8 year olds from tracking mud all over the house without unduly controlling their play. Heck, an 8 year old could do the extra laundry. It sounds like she made rules years ago, and hasn't realized that it's time to reassess.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">no sticks, no mud, no climbing anything</div>
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This part is just so sad to me, helicopter parent or not. Our DC are encouraged to play outside and explore their environment. I just can't imagine restricting their interaction with nature. Isn't that part of what being a child is all about?<br><br>
In terms of your neighbors child I have no idea how to approach it. She seems convinced of her parenting choices and while I may not agree I can respect her choices. Honestly, her DD is going to end up being very lonely on a street full of children.
 

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I'm also mid range. I think it depends on the neighborhood.<br><br>
For instance, in Phoenix, you can't just let kids run around loose because of the crime rate. It's just unsafe. But, in my brother's old neighborhood near Seattle, the kids could run all over the neighborhood, play in the lake and run through the forest unsupervised.<br><br>
Around here, our kids play out front, in the street. But, they never leave the block. They are always visible from one end of the street or the other. There are about 25 kids on this street that play in a huge horde together.<br><br>
I don't think you can change her mind. But, she should certainly not be offended. She won't let her child play at your house... and you understand. So, I would bet she would be very understanding that a free range child wouldn't want to play in her yard.
 

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I would be honest, too. Just say that now that your DD is getting older, she really wants to play independently and all the oversight makes her uncomfortable. I would also add that something about how since all the neighborhood kids play so well together, your DD dislikes having to choose to play with her friend who she likes in an environment that she doesn't like, and the rest of her friends in an environment that she finds more fun.<br><br>
The no mud and sticks thing is just crazy. I remind my two year old not to wave sticks around, but that's because she's 2 and doesn't really pay attention to what she's doing and her baby brother is usually right next to her. She's certainly allowed to touch them and play with them... just not wave them around next to the baby! I can't imagine not letting an older kid play with sticks and mud.
 

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No matter how many expensive toys we buy, sticks of various shapes and sizes (along with rocks) continue to be DS's favorite toys lol.
 

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I'm not a helicopter parent, but DS has ADHD and sometimes makes poor choices. He's eight years old and we've been allowing more freedom as he proves he makes good choices. We live on a busy street in front and there is two registered sex offenders in the area. Most of our neighbors are older and know DS by name, they will yell at him and send him home if he is out of line.<br><br>
He's allowed to play in our yard and the yards of the three trusted neighbors with their kids. He's allowed in the house of one very trusted neighbor (we camp with them and spend holidays with them) without telling me. Other then that, he has to come tell me where he is going. There are several unsupervised kids with behavior/attitude issues and he is not allowed in their houses, but plays with them in our or the neighbors's yard or on the sidewalk. He's allowed to play on the side walk on side street. So far he's shown he can be responsible. If we live out in the country, I would give him much more freedom.<br><br>
I have talked to a friend about what a tight leash she keeps on her son. She has her reasons, but it does impact him socially. Seriously, the kid is 7 and his parents still go in to the bathroom with him at other people's houses. She was shocked that I let my son go to public restrooms (single stall) alone.
 

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I'm a free-range parent, so I'm biased.<br>
I think you should say something. This mom, while well-intentioned, is making choices that negatively affect her daughter's social life. Seriously, sitting in the backyard and making kids play nice at 8? That would make me feel uncomfortable to watch, so I get why your daughter doesn't want to go over there.<br>
Alternatively your daughter could say something to her friend. They're big girls-- her friend knows her mom is overly controlling-- and she would probably be glad to hear that your daughter does like her and want to play with her but the conditions are just unbearable.
 

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Hmmm, I've found that just bringing up the concept of helicopter parenting and using non-specific examples in conversation can sometimes get the point across. Like I may say to a friend, "I'm not really a helicopter parent, and I don't think it's good for kids to hover over their play time. I'm the type that will say, 'hey if you climb on that you may fall and it will hurt' but it's dd's choice to fall and get hurt--that's how they learn!" and this alone sometimes will set off a lightbulb with other moms. Or I may use another example of a different friend over-parenting in a harmless situation and give my perspective.<br><br>
If it comes up naturally, then I would say smth like "I think it's important for J to feel like she has some space to be herself and make her own decisions during her play time. She seems inhibited and unhappy when I hover; don't you notice the same with your dd? I think it's really important to back off and give them a lot more space--they're old enough to be safe playing more independently these days" that way you are including her in the idea of giving the kids some room and kind of letting her know that you see an issue without being too confrontational.<br><br>
If you mention it and nothing really seems to change, then I would just let the girls' relationship be what it is---if they drift apart because of the copter mom, then that is really sad, but part of letting your kids free range is that you can't control their relationships or "save" them when things go south, right?<br><br>
Idk, I hope it works out! Sounds like you are being very thoughtful and trying your best to help everyone in the situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I appreciate everyone's perspective. I haven't really decided what to say, but I have decided to say something when this comes up again naturally. Something very gentle as the mom and J are very nice people and I don't want their feelings hurt. I don't think it's fair to keep saying no without explaining why not.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamazee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15383593"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I appreciate everyone's perspective. I haven't really decided what to say, but I have decided to say something when this comes up again naturally. Something very gentle as the mom and J are very nice people and I don't want their feelings hurt. I don't think it's fair to keep saying no without explaining why not.</div>
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I was thinking about this thread, and I wonder if there is some sort of "history" that you don't know about? Perhaps the mother had an experience of some sort, either herself or a loved one, that has made her so protective. Because what you have outlined isn't normal, even for helicopter parents. It sounds really over the top overprotective.<br><br>
So I think that you're right about sensitivity being a good idea. I also don't think it's a bad idea for your DD to be honest with her DD. Not brutally honest, but at least to talk to her about it a bit.
 

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If I were the other mom, I would rather know why your dd doesn't want to come play than just have her stop coming over.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>craft_media_hero</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15381835"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hmmm, I've found that just bringing up the concept of helicopter parenting and using non-specific examples in conversation can sometimes get the point across. Like I may say to a friend, "I'm not really a helicopter parent, and I don't think it's good for kids to hover over their play time. .</div>
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I'm not sure if you realize how this comes across. You're directly passing judgment on her parenting choices, complete with labeling her. Probably best just to describe how the daughter is used to one type of parenting/freedom and doesn't really enjoy the input. Then it's less of a "my way is better" feeling, and more of "to each their own." Just FYI...
 

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Just thinking about what the other mom may be thinking and I hope I do not offend you, just some thoughts.<br><br>
-Has your DD has any fights with the other child which could cause concern for the mom?<br><br>
- Is your DD a thrill seeker and maybe it scares the mom?<br><br>
- Do they get into trouble together?<br><br>
- Does your DD maybe say bad words or not follow the rules at there home?<br><br>
And as other said maybe she had a bad experience or knows someone that did. She might just be more comfortable keeping an eye on the girls. I am wondering why it is bothering your DD so much? Any specifics? Is the mom mean or just too strict?<br><br>
Again, I am not saying you DD is doing any of the above. I just have been in a situation similar to this (my son is 7) and some kids we know are too ruff to leave alone with my son.
 
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