Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Times certainly have changed.

First of all, thank you to Jilly and Sarah for your beautiful and supportive comments. Sarah, I really appreciate your perspective on my blog realization. I've discovered there is no greater support than finding others who understand where you're coming from and can relate to and validate your feelings. So thank you for that!

Jilly, thank you so much, you are too kind. But I am certainly no author! That would take actual initiative and organization, two traits that I am sorely lacking. I would, however, be the first in line to purchase and read anything you happen to put to paper and grace the world with. But thank you so much for being so sweet and supportive, you are truly amazing and I cherish your friendship.

Now, to completely change the subject, I was talking to my mom on the phone yesterday and we were discussing how different things are with our kids now compared to when I was young. I was a latch-key child from a very young age, I walked several blocks to and from school by myself starting in 2nd. or 3rd. grade. I spent every afternoon home alone until well after 6:00 when my mom got home from work. I do have an older brother (3 yrs. older) who was around sometimes, but he made it a point to ignore me and be out of the house as much as possible. So what did I do with myself for all that time? I mostly watched TV all day and ate copious amounts of junk food, that's what! But that's beside the point, what I'm trying to get at is that I cannot even fathom my daughter being home alone at this age, let alone walking to and from school by herself! Perhaps I'm over-protective but my god, it's shocking to me that I was home alone at such a young age! I mean it wasn't even an issue back then, it's just what we did. I remember, after I was a little older (maybe 10 or so) hopping on the city bus a few days a week to get to a convenience store to stock up on candy bars and such with my allowance. And my mom knew I was using the city transit (although I didn't tell her why, she thought I just liked to explore around) and she was fine with it! I usually went with a friend so maybe she thought it was ok since there is safety in numbers, but still, there is no way I would ever allow my daughter to do something like that! Maybe I am over-protective, I certainly don't want to raise her as sheltered and dependent on me or others for everything, but things are different now, right? The world is not the same now as it was then. And I'm not saying it was any safer to be doing that back then, I just think we are a little wiser and more cautious and vigilant now out of necessity and knowledge. So the question is, how do you teach independence, yet still retain control of safety and other applicable issues? Once again, this all goes back to my paranoia of really screwing her up somehow. It's so hard to know what's right, but I guess what's right is different for everybody. That was right for my mom when I was a kid, and may not have been for other families. I guess what's right is what feels right, and what you can be comfortable and confident in with your own family. Plus, screwing her up is inevitable, right? So I just need to get over the fear of doing it, cause it's GONNA happen, and be prepared to deal with it when it does!! Oy vey! Hmmm, is that even how you spell that? Oh well!


Anonymous Jilly said...

Thanks for your kind words, sweetie, but I wish you wouldn't throw my idea to the wayside so quickly ~ I think your words make for a wonderful read!

On your other topic, I will admit to having been a totally over-protective mother (not that it seemed to do my daughter any harm - although she did ask me to stop cutting her meat when she was around 16 :). I think it stemmed from what I experienced as a child in the "good old days". I remember being about 4-5 (in England) and going off to play at a nearby building site. A man was there and he asked me if I liked monkeys and when I said "yes, he proceeded to tell me that men had tails, just like monkeys, except they were in the front instead of the back. Naturally he offered to show me his. Somehow it just didn't seem right, so I declined and hurried off home. My mother was horrified when I told her and I was restricted to the backyard from then on. How lucky I was that he was apparently a "harmless" pervert. I never forgot that incident and ensured my daughter was always within my sight or that of her other caregivers.

Society has become more child-oriented and protective laws have been created in response to disturbing statistics. Mine was a stay-at-home mum and she didn't drive, so if she didn't want to drag me to the shops with her, she'd leave me in the house with strict instructions not to leave or answer the door. I'd play quite happily and not feel in the least frightened (although I did take advantage of the opportunity to get into her cupboards and eat baking chocolate, cooking cocoanut and grab the box of Lucky Charms to eat all the marshmallows). In Canada its against the law to leave a child under the age of 10 alone at home. Do I agree with that law? Yes, I think so, because a 10 year old isn't mature enough to handle an emergency. Do I think my mum was an unfit parent to leave me at home when I was younger than 10? No, it was accepted practice and fortunately I was never faced with fire, intruders and the such. There's probably a nice balance between being overly and underly protective of our children, but all we can do is what we feel is best. I really don't think I stunted my daughter's development any by being perhaps a tad "over-involved", though she might protest otherwise. Once she has children of her own, I'll ask her again :)

1:58 PM  

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