Raising independent children

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school bell

When I was a kid, around first grade-ish, I walked to school. It was less than half a mile from where I lived, but in my child-mind, and to my pudgy child-legs, it was at least five miles – both ways, up hill, in the snow.

Across the street from my school, there was a small market. Sometimes, my mother would give me a $1 and let me walk there, by myself, to get an ice cream or candy bar.

I am much more sheltering with my children. I still won’t let them walk to the store alone.

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Mollycoddled kids
Helicopter parents poised
Swoop in to rescue

The 100 Word Challenge is to tell a story in only 100 words. This week’s theme is Sheltering
Submitted to Haiku Friday for LouCeeL

Unless you’re living under a rock, or outside the U.S., you’re aware of the Maryland “free-range” parents under investigation for child neglect by county Child Protective Services for allowing their two children, ages 10 and six, to walk home from a local park a mile away. According to news reports, someone saw the children walking alone and called the police. It took six cruisers to transport the children the remaining half block to their house. Then, in turn, CPS was contacted.

I understand that CPS must check out every complaint, but is this much ado about nothing? Is the environment we raise our kids in today so different from when we were young? We left home at 6am, and didn’t come home until the street lights blinked on at 6pm.

8 comments

  1. I’m not a mother, nor plan on being one for a few years, but I think that is being ridiculously overcautious.

    I work at a dollar store. When I see a young kid on their on, I do keep an eye on them just in case. I don’t immediately call the police and say there is a child away from it’s parent before seeing if they are actually there alone. Honestly, these ‘concerned citizens’ should have gotten off their asses, gone outside, and asked the kids if they were okay, if they needed someone to walk with them, or even just walk on the other side of the street and make sure they were alright as they walked home. Instead, they’ve probably traumatized these kids into never wanting to walk alone anywhere.
    It’s not as though these kids were under 5, and it’s not as though they were on their own from each other. A ten year old is old enough and should be wise enough to know not to get into a stranger’s car or go with anyone they don’t know, and not to let their younger sibling get left behind or injured.
    Is the area known for child kidnappings? If not, these people should have minded their own business and stopped staring at other people’s kids from their homes. I know, how about people take their behaviour as pedophilia and begin questioning them. Anything can be taken out of context and believed to be something it’s not when ignorance is involved.

    Sorry for the rant, but this is truly ridiculous =)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All indications are that they live in a normal, quiet community… except for nosy neighbors. The kids, according to the parents, have practiced going on these walks by themselves for months. I think more kids would benefit from parents teaching them how to be independent. There are kids in college who don’t have that level of self-confidence.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it depends on what kind environment a child is in whether or not six is an age where they can be okay with a sibling of ten, and how responsible that sibling is. When it comes to the rules for making sure children are safe, there are far too many variables to have one set standard. The sad part about the story you shared is that the CPS has no rules but their own moral compass. I have seen both good and bad intervention by them, and when it is bad, it can devastate the child’s psychological well being far more than a walk from the park ever could.

    Where I raised my son, everyone in the community knew us, and many were relatives. He had a paper route when he was 10 and walked for miles all over town by himself. In the community where I was raised, we were taught to carry our keys between our fingers, never walk home the same way, be sure no one was following us, and never walk alone, and still might not have been safe for a walk from a park to home. A lot depends on the overall circumstances and the street savvy of the particular child in question.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In an interview I saw with the mother, she claimed the kids had been working on these trips for months, going from short ventures around the block, to this longer walk to the neighborhood park. I guess, she felt they were well prepared to make the trip by themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like you, I used to walk to school, and usually on my own (I was about 6). When I was 14, I used to walk to my music lesson which was almost 3 miles away every Saturday morning, and sometimes I’d even walk down to the beach with my friends and that was 5 miles away.
    Times have certainly changed and I sometimes wonder at the sense (or lack of it) in what was an everyday occurrence and how the authorities tend to overreact. Now if these kids were out at 3am walking home, that’s a different matter. However, being in the UK, I don’t know the story.

    Liked by 1 person

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