From the moment you have a child, every parent struggles with trying to give their kids the correct amount of independence, whilst still making sure they are safe.
It starts when they are toddlers and you have to give them space to explore their surroundings without injuring themselves too much. Then the time comes when they start school and you have to trust them to walk to their classroom by themselves. Tiny steps of independence are given, all the while still keeping an eye on them from a safe distance.
What age is it okay to let your children go to a public toilet on their own? When can they catch public transport by themselves? When can they use social media?
Parenting is a constant juggle between wanting to protect your children and letting them grow up.
Today I have let my two teenage girls catch the train to town by themselves for the first time ever. I know that if I don’t give them the tools to be independent when they grow up and leave school, they won’t have any life skills. Having said that, I still worry that they will get on the wrong train, get harassed or feel stressed from being in a situation with which they are completely unfamiliar. I will certainly be relieved when they arrive home again this afternoon!
Part of me wants to wrap them up in cotton wool and keep them in a time warp, never to leave home; whilst another part can’t wait for them to have the fun and exciting adventures that come with growing up.
I wonder whether you ever get to a point of not worrying about your kids? I don’t think you do! I think that the things you worry about change and evolve, but with love comes concern and as long as you love your kids, there will always be an element of anxiety over their safety.
(Photo courtesy of tongdang – freedigitalphoto.net)