Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How Much Freedom?

Yes, it's been several weeks since I was last on. I have a whole list of ideas, but I've been avoiding writing on this blog because my writing reeks of my overall pessimistic outlook on life. So I refrain because I agree that it's not very enjoyable to read something with negative undertones. But, I wanted to see what other people think and do about this issue that has been plaguing me, so I write.

How much freedom do you give your children? I'm not asking hypothetically or whatever. How much do you actually give them? What are their ages?

My children are 7, 6, 4, and 2. Our neighbors' kids are 9 and 6. The parents let them run all over the neighborhood and they always want our kids to come out and play.

I want to give my kids the freedom to play near our house with their friends. But I'm very wary and cautious to let them go unsupervised like the neighbor kids do. I check on them frequently. It's only my two older ones that are allowed to go out there to play. My younger kids have to be with me, and I have to be out there with them if they are outside.

Am I being too paranoid? Am I not being cautious enough? Should I be out there every time they are outside or can they play out there with their friends and I just check on them every 20 minutes or so? And watch them from the windows.

What do you think?


swedemom said...

My children, all except the baby, are allowed to play outside without supervision. We only have two other neighbors that are seldom home. The kids are well aware of the boundaries. The biggest danger they face at home are ticks. Would I let them play unsupervised with neighbors? No. I would expect adult supervision either from myself or from the other parent. When I lived in Sweden, my kids had a lot of freedom. But I was always aware of what they were doing and where.
I think the amount of freedom kids are allowed is directly related to the area in which you live and the neighbors and friends.
My friend, who lives in Provo, allows her kids to bike to the store alone. They are well-trained in safety and she expects them to act responsibly. Her kids work a great deal at home and have a lot of responsibility so I can see why she allows them that freedom. I also think a big factor in giving freedom to kids is in direct proportion to the level of responsibility and ability that the kids display. Some kids can handle it and can be trusted. Others can't and you need to restrict their freedom until they've matured.

Amber said...

I've been wondering about you and if I hadn't heard from you in a couple days would have sent a recon mission to find you. : )

I'm afraid I can't answer this question because my kids aren't old enough but I think that you are doing what is best for your kids, even if it seems restricting compared to other parents.

Devin & Ruthann said...

I don't have older kids yet, but I imagine I will be like you. I don't really like the idea of them playing outside unsupervised. It's just too risky. Chances of something happening are probably small, but there still is a chance and I don't want to risk it!

Spring said...

It's a tricky one. My kids aren't allowed to play out front at all because our street is such a thoroughfare for our neighborhood. Our neighbor across the street frequently pulls in and out of his driveway like he's at nascar. So big sister is allowed to walk to friends' homes, and is required to call when she gets there since everyone lives around the corner and I can't see if she gets there safely. If her friends play here, I have her walk them back home afterwards. She walks back to our house alone, but I stand at the door and wait. If she takes more than 2 minutes, I go after her, just in case. I have the same questions - am I being too careful or not careful enough? I don't know that there's a right answer for that one!

Becky said...

I have a fear of not ever letting my kids run around by themselves. I just get too paranoid. If the girls want to play out front I have to be with them or watching from the window (it allows me to talk on the phone at the same time). If Brendon is with them I don't worry as much and I'll check on them every 10 minutes or so. I know that I will have to let out the apron strings at some point in time soon for Brendon, but I'm not ready for that yet.

Stacy said...

My girls are 9 and 7, and I let them pretty much roam free. We have a close-knit, safe neighborhood, and as long as they check in, I feel fine letting them just "be."

We have some pretty strict rules though- they have to tell me where they are playing, and if they change locations, they have to let us know. They faced some pretty harsh consequences when those rules weren't followed!

We live near a corner in the subdivision, and three families there have left their backyards completely unfenced, and there are always kids playing over there. I have no problem letting them run over and just join in whatever is going on. And yes, they will frequently raom the neighborhood and knock on doors trying to find someone to play with. But there are lots of other kids who do it too!

As for the 2 year old, I will let him out with his sisters, but I do check on them frequently- about every 10 minutes or so.

All this would probably change if we didn't live in such a safe place though.


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