Thursday, June 16, 2011
Aren't You a Little Young for That?
Yesterday, I saw something that disturbed me a little. A girl Miss E's age, who lives about a quarter of a mile away, was walked past our house with another little girl whom I know to be a year younger. That's an eight year old and a seven year old, walking fairly far from home, by themselves. They were carrying pool toys and towels, so they were obviously heading for the new city pool which is very nearby. It's entirely possible they were meeting up with responsible adults at the pool, but it really drove me nuts thinking about kids that young not only walking alone, but heading for the pool! This pool has enough lifeguards that I allow Miss E to swim with her friends without keeping her under my nose at all times, but I would never, ever just allow her to be at there with out a grown up. Geeze, I wouldn't even let her go to the bathroom there by herself! And don't even get me started on seeing such small girls walking unaccompanied. Yes, this is a nice neighborhood in a quiet little town but in yesterday's paper alone there were two stories about child predators and attempted abductions are reported a few times a year. I'm trying not to judge - I know the older girls mother. She's a splendid person and an excellent mother. She and I just see these things differently, obviously. I still wanted to rush out and make sure they at least got to the pool safely.
This all brings me to wonder at what point I WILL feel comfortable giving my kids this kind of freedom. Geeze, it was wrench to let Miss E ride the school bus every day and she has four older neighbor friends who watch out for her. At what point do I let her ride her bike to a park with a friend, or play at someone's house where I don't personally know the parents? Urgh... I don't even want to think about it. Parenting is hard.