I did something crazy last night. I left my 7 year old daughter home alone–on purpose. Before you call social services, let me explain. She was playing in the front yard with an older friend. I needed to walk the dog. She didn’t want to go. So, my husband, Parker, the dog and I headed out for a walk without her. Yep, we left her and her friend in the front yard…alone! Of course, I explained that she was to stay in the front yard or the house, period. We were gone 15, maybe 20 minutes, tops.
I put a little trust in her and gave her an opportunity to have a little independence. Some might say (like my “helicopter mom” friend across the street) that I was crazy to do so. After all, the world is a scary place and “bad, bad things” could happen at any given moment. There is a lot of danger out there…lead is poisoning our children’s toys, toxic plastic baby bottles are making our babies sick and a child predator is lurking at every corner just waiting for me to let my guard down. Or could it be that the media leads us to believe that there is danger everywhere we turn? I can let my child ride her bike to the park, only if I send a security detail along with her. I’d be a bad mother if I didn’t, right? Or maybe it is because I grew up in the country, a far cry from the “evil” big city. I spent my summer days running through the woods, playing in the creek and climbing trees; (dare I say it) all without adult supervision.
Is it really that much more dangerous today than when I grew up? Statistics show that is not the case. In fact, there is evidence that says our kids are safer today than kids growing up in the 70s and 80s. You wouldn’t know it by watching the nightly news.
We came back from our walk to find our daughter safety sitting on the front porch swing. She was more un-nerved by her first taste of freedom than we were. She had to give us the run-down of what exactly she did in those 15 minutes. Not that I will be leaving her alone while I run to the store or anything like that but I think I like living in reality rather than living in fear. And sometimes a little trust goes a long way so that we can both grow up.