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Questionable Parenting??

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Old 01-13-2012, 09:01 AM   #1
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My son is in 5th grade - 11 years old, he has a friend "J" in his class who he's always wanting to come over or he go over to his house. All good, right?

I spoke with J's mom once on the phone around september because she brought J over to play with my son. When my son asked me, "I said sure, let me talk to his mom first". Next thing you know, he's at our house. No hello from his mom at all. A couple times since then, J has been wandering around our neighborhood apparently "waiting" for my son to get home. J doesn't live within walking distance and all I can think is - what parent would randomly drop their kid off in another neighborhood without coordinating with another parent????

Maybe I'm over-reacting and being over-protective but ummmmm, I personally would NEVER just drop my son off at one of his friends houses without knowing ANYTHING about his friends family. I mean, this really borders on the verge of disturbing for me (again, this could just be me as I will admit I'm a tad overprotective). Standard protocol for me is walking to the door if I'm dropping my son off somewhere ESPECIALLY for the first time and talking to the parent(s) getting phone numbers etc.....
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:01 AM   #2
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What qualifies as "not walking distance?" That can be relative to your parenting style. I used to walk or bike to my best friend's house all the time as a kid. She was never allowed to walk to my house, her parents drove her because they thought it was too far.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:09 AM   #3
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What qualifies as "not walking distance?" That can be relative to your parenting style. I used to walk or bike to my best friend's house all the time as a kid. She was never allowed to walk to my house, her parents drove her because they thought it was too far.
Agreed - I can be a bit overprotective. I know his mom drops him off, not sure how far they live. I'm pretty certain its one or two neighborhoods over. At the same time though, things were very different when I/we were kids (not sure how old you are) Vs the way things are now.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:14 AM   #4
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I've got a son who just turned 12. It was standard proceedure for me too a couple years ago. Now not so much. I don't think it's odd at that age for them to set up their own playdates or to arrive at each other's house alone.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:51 AM   #5
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I don't have kids yet, lol, but when I do, I will be as "over protective" as my mom was. At first meeting, when ever I would go over/they would come over, the first time there was ALWAYS a phone call. I went to a private school, so my friends didn't live close enough to walk to, so that wasnt an issue. I can see her dropping me off, just to make sure I made it there.

I know even when I was a kid (I turned 30 in December), kids got snatched off the street. Look at the Smart case. Or the Dugard case. I don't think moms are being over protective, I think sometimes parents are never "in the middle".. like, they are either helicopter parents, lol, or parents that give their kid too much freedom. I didn't feel either way, as a child. My parents raised me to be attentive and aware of my surroundings, and gave me freedom too. There's a happy medium, which is what I plan to be. My parents ALWAYS knew where I was, but they never made me feel like I wasn't the one who made the choice to be there, lol.. kwim?

In this instance, I don't think that's being crazy or whatever. I think it's strange that he's roaming around the neighborhood waiting for you to get home. Also, if his homelife is leaving much to be desired, maybe he really likes being at your house?

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Old 01-13-2012, 11:07 AM   #6
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Everyone's parenting is questionable to someone else. Everyone's.
My sons are older now, but when they had a friend who's parents were more casual then we were, we just made sure their friends were always welcome at our house. It was fine.

Sometimes I wish my kids were as independent as some of their friends.

Don't examine someone else more than you want to be examined, because everyone has a completely different level of comfort and kids get in and out of trouble regardless of whether their parents are casual or helicopter types.

Just the opinion of an older chick who's seen it all.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:21 AM   #7
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Everyone's parenting is questionable to someone else. Everyone's.
Very true!! I agree with that 150%.

I suppose I was just wondering if I was being super over protective about my son going over to his friends house and what not.

@kateleestar - His friend is always welcome to come over which is what I told my son this morning.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:29 AM   #8
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@kateleestar - His friend is always welcome to come over which is what I told my son this morning.
Thats good! I had a friend whos parents, even to this day, just... SUCKED. I love her to death, but her parents should never have had children. She pretty much lived at my house.. Her mom wouldn't buy groceries, she would just get something for the her and their dad, and the kids could 'eat whatever'... My friend was at our house a lot, lol, we had food! And running water, and electic... sheesh. They just never grew up and I'm glad she came out as well as she did. Her sister, not so much, lol... Sad.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:31 AM   #9
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I have 2 daughters and I don't leave them any where I don't know the parents. I just don't. Mine are still a little younger, 9 and 7, but I don't really think that's going to change any time soon. My children have a decent amount of freedom in our neighborhood and it's pretty big, but my children are my responsibility and I want to know where they are and what they're up to. Most of the parents in our neighborhood are the same way.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:41 AM   #10
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Just as a point of reference, where I live, it's common for 8 year olds to walk/bicycle the mile to mile and a half from school to home. Mine is only 7.5, and did the bike ride home once with her year-older cousin. She goes to the library alone after I help her cross the busy street, and can be sent into a store to perform simple transactions (buy a book at the bookstore, get a snack at the grocery store) without a minder.

She arranges her own playdates, but I usually call or email to confirm, because when something goes through two seven year olds, it can get a little garbled.

My bias is strongly toward independence, because I have a girl who's uncomfortable in social situations, so each independent interaction is another building block for her confidence.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:43 AM   #11
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mamasita - If you think the other parents are too casual, don't send your son. You need to trust our own instinct - that's what parents do. We never sent our sons where supervision was outside of our comfort zone. (My kids thought we were evil).

That's why, of course, I always had (and have) a houseful! Boy are they expensive to feed.

My thought here is not to have you second guess your judgement, it's just to point out that because someone else does things differently, it doesn't make their parenting questionable - you heading was "questionable parenting".
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:56 AM   #12
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How much freedom is "questionable" depends not only on the parent and his/her own comfort level, and the area you live in, but also on the kid!

My sister could be trusted to do pretty much anything by herself at age 9. Seriously, that girl was a 40 year old in a child's body. I wouldn't call it questionable for her to have been given a little more leeway in terms of personal freedom, setting up her own stuff, etc.

I, on the other hand, had really crummy impulse control until I was around 18. Seriously. My parents knew this, so even though my sister was only a year older than me, she was often "in charge" of me when getting ourselves to school or after school. In fact, after my grandmother died when I was 9 and she was 10, we came home every day after school and my sister was "in charge" until my mom got home from work. Putting me in charge of myself at age 9 or 10 would have been a potentially disastrous decision. Putting my sister in charge made fine sense, and she did a really good job of it.

My parents let her get her driver's license at 16. They wouldn't sign for me, so I had to wait until I was 18. I was mad at the time, but it was ABSOLUTELY the right decision...again, zero impulse control!

It's a losing game to compare what another parent should be doing for *their* kid based on how you parent *your* kid, not only because every parent has a different parenting style, but because every kid is different. What makes sense for your kid, his level of responsibility, and your comfort zone can be totally different than what makes sense for her and her son.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:59 AM   #13
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Great points everyone - especially when it comes to my instincts, the difference in parenting styles and "maturity" of the child in question. Thank you!
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by kateleestar View Post
I don't have kids yet, lol, but when I do, I will be as "over protective" as my mom was. At first meeting, when ever I would go over/they would come over, the first time there was ALWAYS a phone call. I went to a private school, so my friends didn't live close enough to walk to, so that wasnt an issue. I can see her dropping me off, just to make sure I made it there.

I know even when I was a kid (I turned 30 in December), kids got snatched off the street. Look at the Smart case. Or the Dugard case. I don't think moms are being over protective, I think sometimes parents are never "in the middle".. like, they are either helicopter parents, lol, or parents that give their kid too much freedom. I didn't feel either way, as a child. My parents raised me to be attentive and aware of my surroundings, and gave me freedom too. There's a happy medium, which is what I plan to be. My parents ALWAYS knew where I was, but they never made me feel like I wasn't the one who made the choice to be there, lol.. kwim?

In this instance, I don't think that's being crazy or whatever. I think it's strange that he's roaming around the neighborhood waiting for you to get home. Also, if his homelife is leaving much to be desired, maybe he really likes being at your house?

GL!
there is really very little chance your kid will get "snatched off the street". Stranger abductions haven't really increased since the 70's, it's just our perception of them that has changed. As always it's the people in a child's life that are the most dangerous to them. I fear we are raising a generation of kids who will be crippled by fear of things that will never happen rather than giving them the independence to gain a little selfconfidence. Honestly, I think your chances of convincing your kid they are not able to take care of themselves and that they are inadequate greatly dwarf the chances of anything happening to them.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:04 PM   #15
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How much freedom is "questionable" depends not only on the parent and his/her own comfort level, and the area you live in, but also on the kid!

My sister could be trusted to do pretty much anything by herself at age 9. Seriously, that girl was a 40 year old in a child's body. I wouldn't call it questionable for her to have been given a little more leeway in terms of personal freedom, setting up her own stuff, etc.

I, on the other hand, had really crummy impulse control until I was around 18. Seriously. My parents knew this, so even though my sister was only a year older than me, she was often "in charge" of me when getting ourselves to school or after school. In fact, after my grandmother died when I was 9 and she was 10, we came home every day after school and my sister was "in charge" until my mom got home from work. Putting me in charge of myself at age 9 or 10 would have been a potentially disastrous decision. Putting my sister in charge made fine sense, and she did a really good job of it.

My parents let her get her driver's license at 16. They wouldn't sign for me, so I had to wait until I was 18. I was mad at the time, but it was ABSOLUTELY the right decision...again, zero impulse control!

It's a losing game to compare what another parent should be doing for *their* kid based on how you parent *your* kid, not only because every parent has a different parenting style, but because every kid is different. What makes sense for your kid, his level of responsibility, and your comfort zone can be totally different than what makes sense for her and her son.
Oh so true, so very, very true. I was like your sister. I was babysitting other children when I was 9 years old - not only my siblings, but three other families quite frequentl. In high school. Teachers called me to watch their kids. I guess I was just super mature.

My two kids are polar opposites and what will be their rules will be totally different because of it. I'm just glad ther is nearly 9 years between them so that there're won't be hard feelings when one can do one thing at a particular age when we won't let the other and vice versa.
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