I grew up relatively sheltered. My parents let me roam, but on a VERY short leash. And I was a child that needed that. I would have tried everything that there was to try, pushed every boundary that could be pushed and would certainly not have been the same person I am today if they had not kept me on that short leash.
With that being said, and at the risk of sounding super old, I grew up in a very different time. I rode my bike around Hearthstone with my friends like we owned the place. I played for hours until it was dark with little or no supervision. There was a network of parents that watched out for each and everyone of us and we each thought we were unsupervised by our own parental units.
In todays world, with longer work hours, more nomadic families (like us, the Three T's), more suspicion, more bad media reports and really, more parents that just don't care giving your child even a short leash is really hard.
While only Amy had parents more strict than mine, most of the parents had similar philosophies and wanted similar things for their kids. Even now that we are all grown and well into making our lives we still have similar stories that we tell about our own children.
Gia has just passed the three year marker and I am already worried about how I am going to give her the necessary freedom when the time comes. I am not an overbearing parent. Just ask many that surround me in my parenting efforts. I let her fall and I do not respond until after the fact. She roams in eye sight and when at parks with fencing. And for now, that is plenty of a leash.
These are not the things I am worried about. Will kids of today, my kids have the ability to ride a bike to a friends house, play at the pool for hours supervised only by the lifeguards, walk to Stop 'n Go (which I was never allowed to do) or even walk down Creek Crest to El Miranda to see if Holly wants to Rollerblade?
What is the balance. With fourteen year old boys stuffing four year olds in dryers and the Jacy Dugard's of the world, how do you allow your child to find their independence without being an irresponsible parent? I do not have to face these dilemmas for a few years, but they already weigh on my mind.
I love my kid and want nothing but the best for her. So, any suggestions for raising a self sufficient child while keeping them safe?