Protecting Your Tween As They Become Independent
I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to write today so I’ll just hit the keypad and see what comes out. I’ve been quite unwell the past few weeks and have currently got the flu so the blog has taken a back seat while I’ve been sleeping, resting and sleeping some more.
Things have not been easy over the past few weeks. My child has grown into a new stage or phase of childhood and with it comes some fantastic experiences and new challenges and lot’s of questions.
My daughter is at the age where she is officially old enough to walk to school on her own. It is an acceptable practice at my daughter’s school for year 5 and 6 children to walk home.
I remember walking home from school at a much earlier age myself however I do think the world is more dangerous today.
So my child can walk home from school. It leaves me as a mother asking, is this acceptable?
I ask myself, Why is it okay to allow a child to walk home from school aged 10 but to not allow her to stay in the home? Isn’t it more dangerous out on the streets than in the house?
We go to the Supermarket and my daughter asks to wait in the car instead of walking around the store. Again I question, is this the right age? Would this be acceptable by society?
Is it legal to leave a 10 year old in the carpark outside Aldi or do I have to force my child to walk around the shop with me?
We all have questions at different ages and stages and now my child is ten, she pushes the boundaries and naturally becomes more independent and I need to make decisions to help her grow and become independent whilst at the same time protecting her!
Next there is the question of is my child old enough to go to the library on her own. (The library is two streets away) It is closer than the school. Is she old enough to go to the shop? Would I get in trouble for letting my child walk to the shop and return on her own?
I ask myself, Is it okay for my child to play at the park. For now I tell her, go with a friend, walk home with a classmate, play at the park with your friends, not by yourself and yet last week their was an incident at the park (at the end of our street) which left my child in tears, with a fair few bruises and very upset.
It shook me up. It caused me to panic. A lot has caused me to feel panicky lately. The time my daughter decided to stop at the library on the way home from school. Had we know it would not have been an issue but my husband went searching for my child worried that she had not returned home the usual time.
Then there are the bullies on the street, or the kids who play nicely but when they don’t get there way, or the group get’s too big, the kids decided to single one child out and be mean, bullying and that child happens to be my daughter.
Do I ban my child from playing in front of the house or on the street? Do I stop her playing with her local friends, those who are nice and then suddenly change their tune and get nasty? I certainly want to protect my child and say, stay in the house, don’t play out, don’t ride your bike on the street, don’t play with those kids.
However, is it fair to stop your child from developing friendships which at times get nasty or don’t work out or is this a part of life kids need to learn?
When my daughter was attacked at the park I told her to just play in the garden. We bought a trampoline and are actively encouraging my child to bring her friends into the back rather than playing out, out of site from parents.
Yet at ten years old I loved to explore, I loved to go to the park, to visit the shop on the corner, I loved to play on the street with my friends and yes I did experience bullies but then I also learned to defend myself and stand up against it.
Children should be safe but in this world they are not going to be, whether it’s walking home from school, walking to the store, visiting the park or playing on the street. It can be really hard as a Mother to make the right calls, to protect your child and at the same time to let them do age appropriate activities.
I’m struggling with this at the moment and I’m certainly not a smothering parent, I want my daughter to be independent for her age and make decisions, yet I want to protect her from the bullies and dangers and risks that are out their.
It’s certainly not easy and the calls can be tough but they need to be made. I’m doing okay so far but I’m not exactly enjoying this age and I wonder just how much tougher it will get as my child moves on from being a tween to a teen?