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05-16-2019 10:01 AM
It totally depends on the child and the neighborhood. I allowed my son to bike and walk around our subdivision starting at 10. We very gradually allowed him more freedoms as he got older. I consider myself a pretty protective parent, but I don't go overboard. Sheltering your kids too much and instilling too much fear in them when it's not warranted is not healthy.
I live in a subdivision with lots of kids who are always outside playing, and I love it. Some of the responses here sound overly paranoid. We tell parents to get kids off screens and outside to play with their friends, and then when they actually do we tell them it's never safe. All these "when I was young I played all day and only came home when the streetlights came on and I survived" posts would lead me to believe a lot of you would want the same for your kids. And, no, I don't believe we live in a different world. Bad things happened in the past too.
@JJsMom I have to agree! I don't know why people seem to think that when we were kids people in general were less evil. As if today it's so much worse! There were always nasty people with bad intentions around even when we were kids. Back then people in general tended to have better manners and we weren't bombarded with terrible stories in the news like today. You just didn't hear about it constantly because the news was only on a few times a day...not 24/7 like today.
It is funny how adults complain about kids spending too much time on their screens and not enough time outdoors with the insinuation that kids are too lazy to play outside like they used too...yet how can they if they need to be watched all the time?
As I mentioned previously I believe it depends a lot on the maturity level of each individual child and the safety level of each community.
05-16-2019 10:04 AM
This day in age I don’t like kids going anywhere alone if they don’t have to.. Even a “nice” neighborhood isn’t safe anymore.
05-16-2019 10:35 AM
I see very small children riding their bikes and playing on the street in our neighborhood. We have a lot of children with their own little electric cars...they must be about 5 or 6 and they are often not accompanied by an adult. I have often wondered why..
I wouldn't let my children be alone in the toy department until they were about 10 and even then I was uneasy about it. Same with walking to school.
I grew up in a family where I was expected to grocery shop at the age of 7. I would ride my bike to the supermarket and I can still remember having a 1/2 gallon of milk on the handlebars of my bike and knowing if I fell it wouldn't be pretty. I walked to school at 7 too. My mother did not believe in what she called making me into a wimp. I raised my children very differently. The antithesis of how I was raised.
05-16-2019 12:01 PM
05-16-2019 12:48 PM
Google the word 'gullibility', as that is far more important than age. I'm mentor to a young person who was targeted by a neighborhood pedophile due to their extradordinarily trusting and gullible nature.
If the kid in question has developed the ability to be appropriately suspicious when the situation warrants, to 'read' people, and isn't automatically obedient to adults/authorities, he's old enough to be out with a peer.
-I'm a big believer in the buddy system!
Just make sure 'buddy' is at least equally able to sense when something is hinky, and resist going along with an idea when it's making them uneasy.
In my situation it was 'buddy' who frequently advised her friend not to believe, go, or do what the "sweet harmless old lady" wanted.
Too bad they didn't talk about their day around a shared evening meal, as families did in the past. The neighborhood pedophile's inappropriate interest in my mentee might have been discovered sooner.
05-16-2019 03:00 PM
I don't see a need to repeat what has already been said, but something caught my eye. You said the child has "book smarts". "Book smarts" aren't worth anything in a situation like this. Kids need "street smarts". No one can answer this question for you. At some point, kids need to have more freedom. It is a frightening thing to do as a parent. Just because other kids are doing it doesn't mean it is okay for your child to do it. Kids are different, parents are different, neighborhoods are different. It will be a unique situation for each child. My focus would be on educating the child. It sounds so terrible that children can't have a carefree, innocent childhood like they once could. The local police department may have some suggestions about where the neighborhood kids can learn "street safety". I have seen this on my local news. They do this in an empowering way, not a frightening way. I have gone through this with my own kids, but it is more serious now. I don't envy parents at all. It is so nice of you to take an interest in your neighbor's son. It's what neighbors should do.
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