Yet, again, a relevant conversation started by http://reluctantmom.wordpress.com/author/reluctantmom/ …
My kids (9 and 13) play in the park across the road. They ride their bikes to the NG graveyard in the neighbourhood (poor townplanning – but that is a whole other story) – obviously not daring to enter. I sometimes send them down to Spar to get a movie – 1km away, on a busy 4 way stop. They also have the odd game of tennis, hockey or whatever in our street. Luckily we stay in a quiet crescent, and they know not ever to go into the main streets. I find a reasonable protection for them, is our 2 yellow-eyed Weimeraners and the Africanis ‘special’ who are with them at all times, the minute they step out the house.
And we have dealt with snakes, rats, etc. And the kids know when to take the gap. And that dogs are stupid when it comes to slitheries, but cats are clever.
Both kids have been to swim lessons, and my daughter swims in our 3x4m – 1.3m deep ‘pond’ unattended. Admittedly, it is 3m from our lounge door, which stands open when she is frollicking.
I know bad things can happen, but I trust that they won’t.
This is perhaps one of the advantages of staying in a small, sleepy seaside town. And yes, I could be in a main centre, earning huge bucks, but then, I fear our casual, relaxed lifestyle would be no more. Although we also have murders, theft, etc, here.
Yes, I wonder if what we allow them to do is right, but at the same time, you will not find a 9 year old girl that is more independent and street smart, than Sussie. And she is planted firmly on the ground (Literally and figuratively – size 5 shoe). Most days, I do not even see her before she goes to school. (Does her own hair, dress, helps with lunch pack) And yes, she knows what bad things can happen – I have also been graphic with examples, and tell them what is going on in the news.
Both the minions also do chores like dishes, washing, peeling tats and carrrots, clearing up, etc. Oh, and they make their own beds, and sometimes mine, too. And until last month we had a full-time domestic. My 13yr old son, who is in his first year at the Hostel, can bake banana muffins and do a mean curry. (And yes, they chop with a knife, work the stove, break the eggs, etc.) And I have to agree that routine does wonders for a kid, too. Strict bedtimes (used to be 7 and 8pm for a loooong time – currently 8pm and 9pm)- since they were weiners – never had sleep problems; Sussie puts herself to bed. (sorry, had to give my 2 cents’ worth on this, too.)
So, it is very confusing. But Boetie and Sussie know that they are to tell us everything. (We often have good skinner sessions about what goes on in other people’s houses, and at school, etc.) And at the same time, I shudder when I am greeted at aftercare, with the words, “Oh, don’t worry, C has told us all about your [insert habit/ hobby/ financial situation]!!” And they know how to scream and holler, and be heard. And most importantly – they can, and are allowed to think for themselves and ask questions.
This whole story brings me to the theory of fate: if it is meant to be, it will be. Whether you are sitting at home watching Toddlers ‘n Tiara’s; or speeding down the N2 – if it is your time…. Also, as parents, we are not all-seeing, omnipotent gods – you can not be everywhere. Look at the recent stories of accidents, where toddlers sustained servere burn injuries in the presence of their parents? I do agree that girls are more tricky than boys.
But I sometimes think that parents do their kids a disservice by pamperlanging them to the extreme.
You need to teach your child – and give them the opportunity – to use their common sense.