I want my kids to be independent, to be able to do things on their own, to take initiative, to feel competent and capable. I want them to be able to make decisions and to follow directions and to know how to fix mistakes.
I don't want to be a helicopter parent.
I don't want my children to be afraid.
A week ago Sena and Gus wanted to walk down to the beach. It's about a block from our house, just down a giant hill with almost no traffic. It's completely safe. I wanted to let them go. I wanted them to get to play without me standing off in the distance. I wanted them to be by themselves and solve their own disagreements. But I didn't let them go, and I knew exactly why. It was not my own worry that stopped me, though, honestly, I would have been a little nervous the whole time. It was the fear of what other parents down at the beach would have thought. I knew that other parents would have seen my unsupervised kids and deemed me negligent.
But I don't think it's negligent. I think it's responsible, in fact, because I want to teach them to be responsible, to look out for danger, to look out for each other. I want them to learn how to navigate the world without me as co-pilot. But I'm raising my kids in a culture of fear. No one wants their child to get hurt or to make a mistake, so we stand at their side desperately trying to protect.The Last Child in the Woods when Sena and Gus were younger. It gave me some courage at the time to parent the way I felt I should. I think it's about time I reread it. Then maybe I will send my kids down to the beach, judging parents be damned.