Okay, Readers. Let’s help this mom out!
Dear Free-Range Kids: Finding this blog several years ago validated my desire to back off and let my kids be kids. At that time, I was mostly associating with “helicopter parents” and feeling inadequate for not wanting to micromanage my children’s every waking moment. And yet, one helicopter parent I continue to associate with is really starting to get on my nerves, to the point where I don’t know how to respond any more.
My 9-year-old son is good friends with a boy in our neighborhood, who lives only a couple of blocks away in our quiet suburban town. The mom and I are friendly, but not friends. Today the kids played at her house after school. And today was the second time she flat-out refused to allow my son to walk home from her house by himself. Even after I told her that’s what I wanted him to do — and in spite of the fact that that’s what he enjoys doing. So she had another woman who was visiting her drive him home! TWO BLOCKS.
I am flabbergasted and what I really want to say is, “How dare you completely disregard MY wishes for MY child?” But alienating her would not be a good thing!
A bit of back story for this specific instance: In recent weeks there have been several break-ins in the neighborhood, but all at night, when no one is home. And, unfortunately, someone was robbed at gunpoint in front of their house on the next block over. But again, this was late at night, well after dark. All of these incidents are extremely unusual for our quiet town. And really: Who the hell is going to hold up at 9-year-old? Even ignorant thieves know the kid won’t have a watch or money. And the “bad guys” are not abducting children in broad daylight. They’re committing crimes of opportunity under cover of darkness. Moreover, the last time this mom refused to allow my son to walk home alone was at 11 in the morning on a beautiful, sunny Saturday in May, when there hadn’t been any crime in our neighborhood for at least a dozen years.
So here’s the question: what do I say to her NEXT time? I need to formulate a rational, civilized response to keep the peace. Otherwise, I’m going to go crazy on her ass!!! Yeah, I’m kidding.