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September 05, 2016

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I love this posting so much. I want everyone...everyone! to like me. But making different choices means not everyone will like me because of these choices. I have to talk to myself about this all the time. You obviously raise fantastic, brilliant, independent children! You are doing the best job :) don't doubt!

I have a question/request/post suggestion: would you be willing to write some posts about how to foster this kind of independence? I love it in theory but I'm unsure how to START. My kids are still so little (22 months and 3.5 months...obviously that second one isn't going anywhere on her own for a while yet) and I don't know how to judge age-appropriate levels of independence. Your croissants series remains the best thing I've ever read about parenting, so I would really love your thoughts on this topic in particular.

You are so awesome. The extended family thing is tough. A kid my husband's age was abducted (not exactly by a stranger, it was complicated) from my husband's suburb when he was small and my MIL has never forgotten, as I guess one would not, but she is not even okay with letting my 6yo be in her (MIL's) backyard alone at dusk. (The case, like so many others, could not actually have been prevented by forbidding children from roaming or playing outside, as the child was taken from her bed.) The thing that really got me, though, was my husband's aunt, his godmother, telling him at a family pool party that every parent needed to watch his or her OWN kids by the pool--even though this was not the policy when her own kids were small. Don't get me wrong; I am very cautious around water and would never leave my (little) kids without knowing a specific trusted adult knew he or she was ON DUTY watching them/lifeguarding. But when did we decide it MUST ALWAYS BE the parent? ARGH.

You are very wise and I truly appreciate you writing about this struggle. I have it, too.

I hear you! We have a tiny farmers market in our community; it is held in the plaza in the center of town, so about half a block in size. When I first got there with some number of kids from 4-7, I saw they had a children's tent set up in shade with some toys and coloring things, right in the center of things.

Great, I thought. I can leave the kids here while I browse the stalls. This is handy since it will be impossible to move more than 40 feet from them. No, they told me, you have to accompany your child at all times.

Why would I bring my child to a farmers market to color in coloring pages? It was utterly baffling. And I was too shocked to hide my incredulity, so I also didn't make any friends that day.

I want you to know that your posts over the years (!) on this topic have been so helpful.

While I don't think I have the grit to stand up and have my son walk himself to baseball in a few years (he's 6), I am much, much better at letting my kids check-in and wander.

Free rangeish triumphs:
-I let them attend the bathroom at a restaurant unattended!
-If I take them to a park, I read instead of watching like a hawk.
-The 9yr old is allowed to roller skate for hours (alone or with other neighborhood kids) in our neighborhood.
-Last night we were at a family party and I didn't see them for hours as they ran around the (admittedly gated) neighborhood.

These are all pretty radical for my circle of friends, and sometimes it really helps to have someone give permission for normal behavior.

I wouldn't be the mom I am today without your writing--thank you!

My 11 yr old has been riding his bike to & from his sports practices 3x a week, round-trips of 5 to 8 miles depending on the location. He is proud of himself and I am proud of him. We talk about the safest routes and how it can depend on what direction you're going and what time of day. Today another mom asked if her son could ride his bike home with my son bc she wasn't going to be able to pick him up. Yes! I have to believe we are influencing our micro-cultures. I also think the pendulum has to swing back toward favoring children's independence at some point, and we are in the vanguard.

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