I have never been one of those mums who is paranoid about the dangers and perils that could possibly befall my children. My ex-friend was and she used to drive me nuts. My mother-in-law is and I won't say she drives me nuts (because she doesn't), but I do wish she would learn to 'let go'.
As a child growing up on a farm with my brother and sister, we had pretty much free rein of the 100 acre property. We always told Mum or Dad where we were going so they knew the general direction of our whereabouts, but we were out of sight a lot.
On the weekend we had a visit to my old home at the farm and my 5 year old boy had a wonderful time with his four big cousins aged 11, 9, 7 & 6 (the 11 year old lives on the farm). They went off to the dairy and sheds for over an hour on two occasions, completely out of my sight. I was so happy for him, that he could now explore like I once used to. I did of course have the thoughts of all the things that could happen run through my head (I think that's pre-programmed to play as soon as you become a parent), but I quickly dispelled them, knowing that the risks were tiny in comparison to the fun he was having.
On the way home we visited my mother-in-law. I relayed the tale of my big boy going off with his cousins and the first thing she said was, "Weren't you worried?" Then we had a swim in her pool with the two kids and the whole time she panicked about their floaties falling off, going too far into the deep end, jumping in, going under. There are three adults and two children in a very small pool, they'll never learn to swim if we don't let them go. THEN, after the swim she had to tell me about an article she read in the newspaper about 'all these children' getting burnt by their mother's hair straighteners (I got one for my birthday!)
I know it's my job to protect my children. I know I have to make sure they're safe. But I also want them to have freedom to play, to learn and to be kids.
How 'protective' are you??