Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Paranoid Parents

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??


  1. I have 3 boys, so I'm always trying to just let them be a bit, because boys want to explore and push the boundaries. I'm not always successful though.

    There were a couple of male carers at my sons' daycare, and one of the female carers once commented that the male carers would let the kids build the large soft blocks as high as they could, whilst the female carers were like "OH, be careful".

    I often have to bite my tongue when my boys are doing something potentially harmful. But I'm learning to let it go! Especially now I'm up to my third son. My friend once said, "With the first you worry about them all the time, the second you're a little more relaxed, and by the third you're letting them juggle knives." I agree.

  2. In regard to "all these children" - I think my mum and your mother-in-law read the same articles!!!
    We survived and yes the world has changed but lets stop having cotton wool kids (who are fat and unhealthy) and give me a scraped knee and a couple of tears which results in a kid who has independence and self-confidence!
    Yeah for you!!
    PS can we come to the farm - my uncle just sold his and swinging off the roof of the hay shed was the best fun and I'd always hoped Penny would do it when she grew up, but not to be.....

  3. We live on a farm and my children do have that free roaming, exploring lifestyle. Of course I worry (there's a river near the house) and I do think about them every moment I cannot see them but am learning to let go as they grow older and more responsible. I grew up on a farm and often wondered how my parents could send us off in the morning and not see us until lunch/dinner but I am beginning to do the same and I would not have it any other way. If nothing else they are learning to look after themselves and they always come home for meals.

  4. I worry too much. The Coach doesn't worry enough. Hopefully between the two of us our kids will end completely normal, well adjusted individuals.(Fingers crossed)

  5. I am not a big worrier, my kids 8 & 10 walk up to the village to get ice creams, walk the dog by themselves, walk to a friends house near by - I don't give them a mobile phone 'just in case'
    When we're in the CBD, I let then walk ahead (in sight) same at the MCG... I let Master10 go into the mens loos alone - mind you he has to be quick - or I WILL go in there to check!
    With out some freedom, children wont learn self reliance, independence... anyway... that's my take on it!


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