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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Helicopter Mom

I don't generally think of myself as a "helicopter mom" (one who hovers over her children 24/7), but I am protective of my girls, so others might think of me as one. Yes, I make them sit in the back seat and buckle up. Yes, I make them wear helmets when riding their bikes or scooters. No, I won't yet let them cross the street without supervision. Hey, just the fact that I have chosen to homeschool my kids might make some people think I am overprotective.

When we go to the park, I don't hover over them, but I do try to keep a watchful eye. I can't yet imagine allowing them to go to the park by themselves. I walked about 7 blocks to school everyday when I was H's age, but I can't imagine letting her walk to school alone right now. We live in a different world than when I was growing up. Though there surely were "scary" people back then, it seems like there are more now, or maybe we are just more aware (or I'm just paranoid!).

There is a little girl who lives down the block and across the street from us. She is G's age, 5 years old. We had noticed her riding her bike up and down the sidewalk on her side of the street, and she would occasionally stop right across the street from our house and watch our girls play in our front yard. "Mommy, there's a little girl over there! Can she come and play with us?" We walked across the street to talk to her (she was shy and didn't say much), and then walked down the street to her house to ask her parents if she could come over and play. They said that she had been talking about "the bunch of girls across the street" and wanting to play with them, but that when you are 5 years old, across the street might as well be across the world because you aren't allowed to go there! So true these days! My girls have the same rules, they can ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk on our side of the street, so I understood. But now that I have introduced myself, the little girl's parents let her come across the street whenever they see our girls outside, and all the girls happily ride their bikes and scooters up and down the sidewalk (I had to apologize to some older neighbors who almost got run over by little girls while trying to get their mail!).

Are you a helicopter mom? How have you loosened the reins and given your kids more independence? What age do you think is appropriate for crossing the street alone or going to the park alone? Please leave a comment, I really want to know!

Evenflo and JuiceBoxJungle sponsored me to write this post and talk about what child safety means to me and my family. Evenflo has just released the Momentum 65 DLX Convertible Car Seat, with features that help make safety, installation and use as easy as possible for parents.


Lana said...

I'd be the same as you. R isn't allowed on his bike w/o a helmet, can't cross the street w/o help, etc. I know he's younger, but I see other young children out on their own and think to myself, "That WILL NOT be R at that age, they're too young." I'm probably paranoid, but better safe than sorry!!

Anonymous said...

My boys are 6 and 8 now. I let them do more on their own now than I did a couple of years ago. It isn't like it happens all at once over night. I've been letting them cross the road to play with the neighbor boy for a couple of years, but our street isn't busy at all and they have to ask each time. I'll let them go in the men's bathroom together when we're out in public. I let them walk around Best Buy TOGETHER and look at video games while I was talking to the Geek Squad yesterday. At the resort up north I let them go down to the playground TOGETHER and they have to come back TOGETHER.

It'll be a long time, if ever that I let them walk home from school. It is a long walk and their school only has about 3 busses so everybody picks up and the traffic is crazy around there at dismissal.

cookiesandmilk said...

I wrestle with these issues myself. Children in my neighborhood are fairly free range, I think I'm the only parent that has children "school aged" that sits outside or has all the windows open as they play outside.
My son is months away from being 8 this summer I'll let him go to the neighbor's house that borders our backyard, through the grass by himself. Maybe when he is 10 he can cross the street, maybe.
If he shows maturity I would be okay with letting him go to the Park at the end of the block alone at 10 as well.
I haven't even begun to think about these boundaries with my daughter, I think you can just call her Rapunzel :D

Kristi S said...

I worry when my 14 yr old goes to the park!, but I let her go w/ friends. I won't let my 10 yr old go alone or even w/ my 9yr old as a team I think it is crazy when kids run all around, the world is a dangerous place, I have a few times let my 14 yr old and her friend take my 3 other kids for short times.

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