The safety of our kids is at the top of any parent’s list. It’s not difficult while they’re just little ones, always reaching out to us and looking for our protection. But when they start to grow up, things can get a bit tricky.
My kids are naturally independent. I have always encouraged it, so it is obviously something I, somehow, passed on to them both.
At the same time, I am super protective.With my eldest I thought I could prevent most of the hiccups. I was always preempting situations and my hand would, most times, come in time to avoid major accidents.I have been more relaxed with my youngest.
Although super protective, I never had a problem with my kids playing outside, getting messy, run freely. Mostly, I aimed to prevent accidents and keep them safe from any nutty stranger.
As kids grow up and get to around 12 years old, things get a bit more complicated. They go to school by themselves, many times school is not just around the corner, so they start going on public transport. And also start having a more independent social life; sleepovers, meeting friends to go shopping, cinema and so on.
I’m doing well with my eldest’s new independent phase. But I do it bit by bit. I don’t just let her go as if she was, all of the sudden, an adult and I had nothing else to say or worry. She has managed freedom, staged responsibility, according to what I think is proper to her age and adequate to her abilities. There are strict hours to come back home, no going out after sunset and things like that.
Last weekend she went to her friend’s for a sleep over. In the afternoon she texts me, super excited, they were going to the cinema later that night. I texted her friend’s mother asking what was the plan. I was told the girls would be taken to the shopping area by her husband, who would leave the girls (both twelve) there, to go for dinner, cinema after and would pick them up when the film would finish. All sounds great, if this wasn’t being planned to happen from 8pm onward. I promptly replied saying I was not comfortable that my pre-teen would go for dinner and cinema, at night, without an adult. I also told her a recent story, where a group of girls have been followed by a man, around the shops, until they reached out for security.
My daughter’s friend mum, called me super alarmed, saying she never imagined something like that could happened and that now she was also concerned and that the girls would not go by themselves. She also guaranteed me that she herself is also very protective of her girl, to a point that she would not even let her go on public transport all alone.
This just didn’t made any sense to me. How come, a mother says her kid is not allowed on public transport by herself and then plans to drop that same child, to have dinner and go to the movies, on her own at night (the film finished at 11pm)? How come, she didn’t think about the danger of just leaving the girls there?
As I always say to my daughter, there’s a time for everything. No need to rush.