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“They need to learn to cross the street *before* they leave for college”

August 29th, 2008

That was quoted to me by one of my girlfriends at bunco. This friend had been gently chided by another friend for being too overprotective. I tend to be a little too protective here, I will admit, but mainly it’s because I was raised by wolves.

Although I survived — didn’t necessarily thrive, but survived — it’s always been important to me that my kids not have to experience the chaos I did as a kid. Some of it was unpreventable — it was the late ’60s and into the ’70s when I was growing up, everyone was over-reacting to the chilly childhoods they experienced in the ’50s, we were all, you know.

Peace, love and understanding.

Even if that meant turning your kids over to your freaky, stoned friends so they could “help” you.

“It takes a village to raise a child!”
— H. Clinton and others

Yeah, don’t I know it? So when people give me grief because I won’t turn my kids over to them (to stay the night, to go riding in cars with people I don’t know, to go to parties where drugs are being consumed), forgive me and kiss my foot, would you? These are my babies, my joy, my responsibility.

I ran wild in the streets as a child. I truly did. My kids will never know the joy and pain of that.

But this summer I’ve been trying to give my kids a little more freedom. My daughter, who turns nine next week, has been working some as a mother’s helper for our neighbors. I still don’t want to leave her home alone, but she’s readying herself for it. (We’re homebodies. She will never get to throw parties because her Dad and I are hitting the bars and she knows good and well we won’t be home much before 2:30 or 3.)

(If we get home at all.)

Anyway. They’ve both started helping out with more chores at home, and they get to stay up later. They get allowances, and we’re spending some time talking about community service, why their Dad and I do the work we do, what first- and fourth-grade will be like.

We’re working on crossing the street alone, riding bikes, riding skateboards, safety, safety, and fun, fun, too.

What are you comfortable with (and not) with your kids, at the ages they are at? Why?


  1. The Other Laura says

    The Kid has had a passion for video games since he was very small. Suddenly last year his classmates in first grade were all playing very violent (seriously, rated MATURE) games at home and talking them up at school.

    The Kid often asked for games that are rated T or M or asking for permission to play them at a friend’s house. We have a very strict rule that he can only play games rated E for everyone.

    I believe that seeing violence is bad for his little growing soul and once something is seen, it can’t be unseen. I won’t budge on this one.

    August 30th, 2008 | #

  2. Funsize says

    Oh, I’m afraid I’m going to be the scary disciplinarian in my family. I was raised a strict mormon, does that say enough? Hopefully my hubby will hold me back. But I say they won’t be able to date more than a year older than they are, they can’t ride in a car if the driver is under 16, and no big parties until they’re at least 16.

    August 30th, 2008 | #

  3. WackyMommy says

    Ms. Laura, I haven’t let mine venture into videoland at all! Does this mean they’ll rebel a couple years from now? (Images of them “borrowing” my credit card to buy Grand Theft Auto or something equally heinous.)

    Funsize, I was raised a strict hippie, which means we’re in the same boat. I am definitely the stricter parent over here.

    August 31st, 2008 | #

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