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Do you think this is "overbearing" behaviour on my part? We live in a <b>very</b> suburban neighbourhood, recently developed, and DS's (who is eight, nine in April) school is a 15 minute walk. He begs me to walk to and from school by himself but I flat-out refuse to let him. With a nine-month-old to care for, and it being bloody freezing here, we've resorted to getting to/from school by car every single day. It's sad, I know. A 15 minute walk would be wonderful, but quite impossible with a baby at this point and this weather.<br><br>
This is the situation: if he walked by himself, he would most likely be surrounded by other parents/children going to school and back home, which is a positive. However, there's still that little paranoid part in me that tells me he's just not ready for whatever reason (and I've run out reasons, really!). I want to put it off as much as possible. Even though the neighbourhood is crazily and stereotypically suburban and generally enclosed, I still think the worst can happen in that short walk, KWIM? My DS is an <i>overly</i> generous little man, so I can see him getting into sticky situations with strangers. I worry about what would happen if he's alone and happens to run into older, not-so-friendly kids (we've had experiences with this before on the school playground).<br><br>
Anyway, do you think I'm being crazy? When did you think it's okay to let your child walk to/from school alone?
 

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I think you are being overly cautious. I'd go over the safety rules with him, and watch him from your car the first time he walks it without you. If it made you feel better, ask the school secretary if she would call you when he arrives each day that first week so you know he made it, until the habit is formed.<br><br>
It will be daylight. He clearly knows the way. There are other kids and parents along the route. He is going to a place that is expecting him. You live in a safe neighborhood.<br><br>
I once read something like "Your child will turn 18, be an adult, and go into the world without you. Is your 9 year old halfway there?" I want to give my kids increasing amounts of responsibility, so they can practice when the stakes are low.<br><br>
I think nine is old enough to walk to a nearby school without mom. He'll be fine - and so will you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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If you are really nervous about it maybe you could find a group of kids for him to walk with. I know you said there are a lot of kids and parents walking at that time, but if he has a set group he goes with maybe that would put you more at ease. If your intuition tells you he wouldn't be able to handle a stranger/abduction situation, then trust yourself. I don't think it's safe for a child to walk alone in this day and age anyway.
 

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I don't think you are being crazy. You know your son better than anyone else and if you don't feel like he is ready then he probably isn't. I'd say go with your gut on this one.
 

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No way are you being over protective. My sister isn't the least bit over protective and she still walks her 12 yo to school. She's not protective in any other way but no way would she ever allow her kids to walk to school by themselves with a constant flow of unknown people driving by. I'm so glad my kids school is way too far to walk to.<br><br>
Anyway, I agree with the PP and would find a group of kids/parents for DS to walk to school with.
 

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I don't think this is crazy or overprotective at all. Listen to your inner voice. I don't believe that there is one blanket age---it will always depend on the child, neighborhood, etc.<br>
I like the other suggestions of finding another parent/group of kids to walk with.
 

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I'm generally very liberal about issues like that, but I think that's too young. There have been several stories over the past few years in my area of kids being kidnapped while walking alone, so I feel strongly about trusting your intuition.
 

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I also think 8 is young for a mile journey alone. I might feel betteer knowing he was with a larger group of kids you knew and at least one "older" to help out.
 

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listen to your gut - if it feels wrong/too early to you <b>then it is,</b> no question.
 

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In Norway it's completely normal for kids to walk to school by themselves from about seven years old. Usually they will walk with a friend or two from the neighbourhood. I myself walked with my best friend (who lived upstairs from us) thirty minutes to and from school every day from our first year, when we were both six and a half. It was an important time for chatting for us! At seven I would also pick up my four year old sister from preschool, fifteen minutes from our house, and walk back with her. I have never heard of anybody walking their nine to twelve year old children to school.<br><br>
It's interesting to see that the standards are so different in the U.S. I can't really tell whether you are being overly careful or not, as the standards are clearly different where I come from - just thought it was interesting! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>rabbitmum</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10696771"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">In Norway it's completely normal for kids to walk to school by themselves from about seven years old. Usually they will walk with a friend or two from the neighbourhood. I myself walked with my best friend (who lived upstairs from us) thirty minutes to and from school every day from our first year, when we were both six and a half. It was an important time for chatting for us! At seven I would also pick up my four year old sister from preschool, fifteen minutes from our house, and walk back with her. I have never heard of anybody walking their nine to twelve year old children to school.<br><br>
It's interesting to see that the standards are so different in the U.S. I can't really tell whether you are being overly careful or not, as the standards are clearly different where I come from - just thought it was interesting! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
I am an American living in Norway and yes, the difference is startling! I see what I consider LITTLE kids walking around here alone all the time. At first it freaked me out, but now I am used to it and will probably let my dd do the same thing once she gets school age. But I totally understand your hesitation to let him walk alone and if you feel off about it, then don't do it. Also, Norwegians don't think anything of taking small babies out in the cold either though! Norwegian babies nap outside in temps as low as minus 10C. I say, bundle up that babe and walk with him! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I dont' think it's parranoid. In this part of the world, and in this day and age, I think it's normal to not want an 8/9 year old to walk alone anywhere no matter what the circumstances.<br><br>
Now if there was a set group of kids that walked everyday and maybe one parent always walked at a safe distance? Would that work? Maybe you know any of the parents and you can take turns watching them or something
 

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I will let our 5yo walk to school alone this fall if he wants to because I can basically see the school from our house. Otherwise I'd want him to walk with his neighbor friends.<br>
But a 15 minute walk does not seem too long at your son's age, though on very cold days driving him is probably a good idea.
 

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You know, it doesn't matter what anyone here says, you are the only one who knows your neighborhood, your son, the distance, etc. You just need to do what YOU think it best for him.<br><br>
Why does he not want you to walk with him? Is he embarassed to be seen with his mom? Maybe you could reach some kind of compromise where you walk just up to the school property or let him walk the last block by himself or something.<br><br>
When I had a little one, I always took him along on the walk to school. I figured out it takes about the same amount of time to buckle the baby in, start the car and drive to school & drive home as it did to walk up and back. (We live about a 10 min walk away from school.) Can you carry your baby in a sling? He should stay plenty warm being close to you.
 

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since you say you don't really have any reason for him to not walk by himself, then IMO you are being overly cautious. Your DS most likely sees his friends walking by themselves & wants to do it too. If HE wasn't ready he wouldn't want to do it.<br><br>
FWIW my 9yo's been walking to school by herself since she was in K. She's in Grade 4 now & her sisters(Grade 1 & K) walk with her. The only time we drive them is when it's -30 or colder. It's about a 10 minute walk for them. The school ground is only 5 houses from our house(no I can't see it as there are houses in the way), but the actual school is way on the other side of the school ground.
 

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In my neighborhood, I've been approached or panhandled or yelled at by folks regularly so I would not let my child walk to school... Also, we often step over nasty trash and drug paraphenalia and it's not a life I want them to know about yet. BUT... if I lived in a suburban neighborhood where drug addiction and crime were not prevalent, I would absolutely let my child walk to school. Just weigh the risks. If your child is likely to get hassled or would be unsafe, keep driving him. If you live in a suburban neighborhood where crime is low, I'd send him on his way.
 

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I don't think your being paranoid at all. My son knows that he won't walk to school until he's like 13, regardless of where we live. I think it's naive to think that because one lives in the suburbs that they are really safer. Their are sickos and bullies lurking in every neighborhood<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I wouldnt be comfortable with it. You can put baby on your back and get one of those coats that you can wear while you babywear (cant remember the name right now but i just recently got one and its awesome!).<br><br>
you expressed several reasons in your post as to why you are uncomfortable. I say stick with your gut.<br><br>
PW
 

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<span>From what I read it seems that you drive him yourself to school in the mornings and pick him up. Why not try saying something like, "lately you've been showing a lot of responsibility, so we are going to try the walking to and from school." This will encourage him to be responsible, treat it as a reward, and know that if something ends up not right about it, it can end. We do this with our 6 year old (not about walking to and from school, but issues such as using the bathroom alone somewhere ...we use our judgement) the other thing I would recommend for your own peace of mind is to "follow" him the first few times. Just make sure if he sees you, you just downplay it. Then I'm sure you will see there's no need to worry!<br><br>
Also, you could let him know time limits. That after 20 minutes you will get worried and come looking for him, make sure he knows to go straight to school, and come straight home. I know how scared I was to let my daughter be a big girl by going places by herself (in a building) but after following her a few times, I realized I had nothing to worry about. Good luck momma!</span>
 
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