You Can Be Free-Range and Choose NOT to Trust Your Kid in a Particular Situation

Hi Folks! I liked this letter because it reminds us that Free-Range Kids is not dogmatic and not silly. We don’t say you MUST trust your child in every situation or you are a lily-livered ninny. We don’t reject thinking things over, or even erring on the side of caution. All we DO reject is knee-jerk “worst-first thinking” — immediately assuming the worst in all situations. – L 

Dear Free-Range Kids: Parenting Free-Range children does not mean throwing all caution to the wind.  While reading through some people’s stories and comments I have commonly seen the inner struggle of  “should I or should I not?” in trying to determine what is best for their children.  I consider myself a Free-Range Parent even though my kids are young.  I do not let mainstream media or exaggerated emails govern the raising of my kids in a state of fear.  However, I was met with a Free-Range struggle last week at the park.

My son and daughter were happily playing soccer with another set of boys, with a total range of age from 3-5.  Out of nowhere the dad of the boys appeared and started playing with the four of them.  I watched from my bench as everyone was having a great time.  I was thankful for this dad entertaining my kids, even though he did not speak English (I’m an ex-pat American living in Europe) and my kids were a little confused regarding his instructions.  I did notice he seemed to be slapping my daughter on her skirted rear end quite a bit.  At first it was a “good job” sort of thing but still I just didn’t like it, cultural differences or not.

My son ran up to me and said he had to go to the bathroom.  The bathroom at the park was a good 5-minute walk away and not that clean.  So here I was presented with a choice:  I could leave my 4-year-old daughter with this man I have just met so she can continue playing, and trust that he will look after her.  Or deal with the “I don’t want to go” tantrum and take her with me.

My first instinct was to take her with me.  But a voice crept up, “Shouldn’t you trust this man you have never met before in your life?  Isn’t that what being Free-Range is all about?  Aren’t you giving into senseless worry, if you fear leaving her with a stranger?  What would Lenore think?”

I ultimately decided, no, leaving my 4-year-old daughter with a man I don’t know is not being Free-Range.  It is taking an unnecessary risk, especially when I live in a country that is notorious for abuse.  Lenore would want my little girl safe.  Her time to be truly “Free-Range” will come soon enough.  As for now, my role is to teach her how to be safe and ready for the world ahead of her.”

I write this in case any other parent who believes in Free-Range philosophies gets struck in this sort of conundrum — the ” I feel like I shouldn’t but maybe Free-Range says I should!” spiral. It is important to believe in your kids and yourself, but don’t throw all instincts out the window.  I have faith in people and society but I don’t consider myself blind to it all either. – A Mom Abroad

44 Responses

  1. Thank you for this post! I will listen to my instincts in situations because I have learned from experience that they help keep trouble at bay.

  2. I think it’s important that you listened to your instincts here- it’s not that you would NEVER have left your daughter playing soccer, but that something about this particular situation (the slapping) made you uncomfortable and you listened to that. Just like it isn’t non-free range to not allow your child to spend time alone at an adult’s home if something makes your or them uncomfortable.

  3. Good call! Free Range means trusting your own instincts and knowing your child’s abilities and limitations, not blithely sticking your head in the sand or listening to the fear-mongering media.

  4. When you purge yourself of worst first thinking, and take the constant fear out of your heart, then you can really trust your own instincts.

  5. I am in complete agreement. There are a lot of things I like for my 4yo son to experience and do on his own to build his confidence. However, he is also autistic and a wanderer. So I also have to be extra vigilant, put extra locks and ID tags in place, and so forth. He rides scary carny rides, climbs trees and big tooth-chipper slides, gets dirty/germy, and LOVES water-slides! By spending extra time teaching him how to swim, cross the street safely, not eat things that could harm him (pills, mushrooms, etc.), he will have the confidence to listen to and follow his own instincts. ^_^

  6. Excellent post. I do think freerange is sometimes misinterpreted to mean let your kids roam wherever, whenever, when it’s really about thinking and not having knee-jerk fear reactions that prevent kids from growing and taking risks at appropriate ages.

  7. Excellent post! A great reminder that while pushing our own boundaries a little can be good for us and our kids, listening to our ‘guts’ is important too.

  8. Most excellent. Great way to frame it for the rest of us.

    Not only is Free Range sometimes interpreted by others to mean that we set no limits, I think sometimes even we fall into thinking that we’re being “too paranoid” or “not trusting our kids” or “thinking worst first” if we don’t immediately assume that there’s nothing to be concerned about in a situation.

    The trick is not to be paranoid, to trust our kids, and not assume the worst, *without* equating those things with assessing the situation, using our judgment, and listening to our instincts. Even if Mom Abroad might have been wrong about this guy, that’s okay, as long as she doesn’t start believing that that she can’t leave her four year old out of sight with any man around, or ever at all.

  9. It’s like we’ve always said here, “Free-range” is NOT about letting your kids do whatever they want to do. It’s about using common sense. Our parents used it to raised us, and (most of us) continue to use the same common sense we were taught. There is a difference between assessing a situation and acting on it, using good old fashion common sense, with logic, and some street smart instincts. And thinking about the worse thing that can happen, believing in it, and then acting on those fears. Had I been in her shoes, I would have done the same thing. Being in a different country, not knowing the father, and the girl being too young to physically defend herself. If I had at least known the father for a little while, and know about his family, I would have veered more to some trust. That, or I would consider letting the boy go to the washroom by himself. Taking into the consideration that I would have already taught my kids what to do in certain situations at a young age.

  10. Sounds like a caring and loving response to an actual situation.🙂

  11. A new topic? What? I wanted to keep talking about cats for at least 2 more days.

    (Kidding)

  12. I really like what Troublemaker said in terms of the specific decision noted here, even if it was wrong THIS time, being okay so long as she doesn’t end up suspecting all men all the time.

    Me: I let my kids (ages 3 & 5) play at home outdoors alone in a fenced-in area all the time, but I DO NOT let them play in our above-ground pool without an adult present. I do let them explore deep lakes while wearing lifejackets (while others scream at their kids who are in knee-deep water) but even then an adult is around who can help them if something goes amiss.

    LRH

  13. Exactly.

    I also had to share this snippet from our recent beach vacation. We vacationed in Gulf Shores, AL. Gulf waters are notoriously shallow. You don’t have sharp drop off and you can go out pretty far before it’s overhead. Despite that, I saw four kids ranging from probably 6 or 7 to about 14 all in full-on life jackets. The parents required them to wear them not only when they were in the water, but even if they were building a sand castle on the beach. I figured that the kids were completely unfamiliar with swimming. Imagine my surprise when, at the pool, they were found to be good swimmers. This was a couple of days later and the parents tried to get the kids to put the jackets on again. The younger ones did, but the older ones balked. Eventually, the younger ones abandoned them as well when the dad stepped away. They were all great swimmers.

  14. dmd That is exactly why I had to “check myself” a little regarding the pool thing. Experiences such as what you described are the very sort of thing which made me realize I was “free range” even way before I knew of this site & the term. I once saw a woman scream bloody murder when she, upon leaving the kids she was watching alone for a minute to get something from her apartment, returned to find them in the deep end (where she wasn’t allowing them) jumping in doing cannonballs, having so much fun, and doing just fine in all of it.

    Understand: these kids were 12-odd years old in my view and handling the deep water fine. This was a pool, not a lake where it can get 40-50 feet deep and you can’t see them, and where they could drift off a very long distance. The pool was about 60 feet long and got to 8 feet deep and the water was clear. Also, she could swim–I had seen her diving into the 8 foot section by herself & handling herself just fine on a prior occasion.

    And yet, there she was–screaming bloody murder. Sigh.

    That sort of thing, which I’ve seen numerous times, so irritated me that when I was the parent, I perhaps gave a little bit TOO much freedom. I’d take my (then ) 1½ and 3½ year-olds out in an inflatable boat into the deep water of a lake where I was, with no life jackets–and would even let them drift as much as 70 yards or so away from where I was, with them still in 15 foot deep water.

    That was probably a bit too much, I now tend to have life jackets on them unless they’re on the shore playing in the sand. However, we are starting to teach them to swim to get them to where they one day won’t need the lifejackets at all anyway.

    LRH

  15. I might be the only one kind of interested in which european country is notorious for abuse…

  16. My applause goes to Mom, for just letting them play at all after the man joined in. After all the other articles and discussions about kids being pulled from groups and daycares because they have male employees. Then the whole fingerprinting of coaches. Three cheers to “A Mom Abroad”.

  17. This is a good article and I believe there is nothing wrong or paranoid in what you did by taking your daughter with you. Of course, this is not to say that the man was necessarily bad or devious. He could have been just fine playing with your daughter. But slapping a 4-year-old girl on the rear on a frequent basis during a little pick-up soccer match is a bit strange. Again, he could have been OK but that would make me feel a bit uncomfortable too if I were her parent.

  18. @Jessica—Nope, you’re not the only one wondering..

  19. I think the fact that we all have the running debate in our heads is a great thing. Our kids change, situations change, our understanding changes. It it is only right that our actions should change in response.

    I won’t call it following your instincts because before I came here when my instincts flashed “caution” or even “life can be unpredictable” I was told I needed to interpret that as a mama bear imperative to protect my offspring. All I ever heard were things like: “Your instincts should tell you to never let a “kid” (too often a near teens) out of sight!” or “Why would anyone EVER let their kid do [activity dangerous to toddler, but common to adults]” or “[exceedingly rare event] COULD happen, don’t you have any instinct to keep your kid SAFE?” or “If it seems risky, you should never do it.” No age limit, no behavioral hints, no steps to get a kid ready to do it, no ways to evaluate the situation at hand. In short, no promise the kid could or should grow.

    I try to ask where does it end? When can my child live like a normal human? What does the trial period between stages look like, how is it managed? And I heard basically that nuance is not acceptable, because someone will misunderstand and *the children will suffer.* So even if YOU can use logic, it is wrong to ask for the necessary information to make that decision. If you don’t tow the line, other mothers will start taking dangerous risks. {Ala… if you give your 10 month old a stuffed animal (how much SIDS risk is this really?), you shouldn’t look at the data and say ‘this is reasonable’ you have to admit you are breaking the rules and risking your child’s life(!). Otherwise people who can’t use logic will disregard the rules … and presumably start leaving newborns face down on fluffy pillows.}

    In frustration I asked “Who was that writer who let her kid ride the NY subway? Has she written anything else about parenting?”

    That of course let me here. I immediately noticed the internal debates. It was a breath of fresh air, and is a touchstone to me. This isn’t about making RULES, that must be followed or you are a BAD MOM (even used ironically). This is about making parenting DECISIONS. There aren’t answers to every situation, but there are examples of decision making. It reminds us to do what we do naturally in other situations… take awareness of risk and make a rational risk-benefit analysis. Then move forward with basic strategies like step by step plans, fall back plans, and necessary limits.

    This mom did a fine job. The internal debate is useless if it is never allowed to end with a determination of “this time, no.”

  20. I completely agree. So much depends upon the situation AND the child. There were things that I could allow my older child to do when he was the age of my younger that I simply cannot allow his sister to do at this time. She is not ready yet.

    And in the situation you described, I would have also taken my daughter with me despite the tantrum. As others have said, it’s not that you mistrusted a man because he was playing with kids. It’s that you mistrusted THAT man because he was exhibiting odd behavior with your child. That is a completely different scenario.

    Good for you for evaluating the situation rationally and making the best decision for your child. This is not worst-first thinking; in fact, I would say it is the opposite.

  21. I agree that trusting the gut is very valuable. I have had two big times when I think it has saved us a lot of trouble. I got grief from the other parents involved, but things just didn’t seem right.

    My daughter was friends with the daughter of the single mom next door. I let my daughter go over an play all the time. Then mom started college, and she suddenly had young people over at all hours, including overnight. Conversations did not take into account young kids. It just felt wrong. I told my daughter she could only play outside or at our house when they had company. We did not do any more sleep overs because I never knew if someone would show up in the middle of the night. Just this year, (5 or so years later) I have found out the little girl was being sexually abused by some of these people.

    The other case was with a neighbor. Single very young mom moved back in with grandma. Little supervision was going on (my son was on their roof one day….) I stopped letting them play there – they had to come to my house to play. Granted, I didn’t watch every moment, but I did check regularly. Well, mom had another baby, then all the kids were taken away because baby tested positive for meth. She has done treatment and gotten the kids back, so I hope things go better from here on. Kids live at another house with mom and newest baby’s father now, but come play at my house when they visit grandma.

    All other friends of ours, if my husband and I were to die tomorrow, my kids could live with them in a flash and I would have no qualms. Some are even very young parents like the single mom who lived next door, just, they have a pattern of making good decisions and living in a stable way.

  22. I think the important thing in being free range and not having “worst first thinking” is that it is ok to say”no I am not comfortable with this situation” or “no I or my child is not ready for this” without freaking out and saying “that man is a child molester and predator and will molest my child, I need to call him out and call the authorities”. Most likely the man was just a father playing with his kids and a cultural difference was causing the bum patting but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your child and you are a ninny or stifling your child’s independence for feeling best by bringing her with you. It is not like it was going to seriously have a negative impact in that child’s life to have to leave with her mom for a short while, sometimes it is good for kids to have to follow mom’s rules even if it is not the most fun thing at the time. It is all a learning experience and it is not all black or white. 

  23. Thanks for sharing this experience. Sounds like a great call to me!

  24. As long as the decision is made based on the situation at hand or your particular kid, there is no right or wrong, must or must not. It is the mindset that some activity should be forbidden as too dangerous, or whatever, for ALL children unless they are X years old that is ridiculous.

    The feeling that this particular 4 year old should not be left alone with this particular stranger for even a few minutes is drastically different than no 4 year old should ever be left with any stranger ever because it is too dangerous. Odds are that it would have been fine but if your gut says that it’s off – and that is based on something other than every man is a pedophile waiting to happen – then following your gut is always the right thing to do.

  25. I was really grateful this past weekend for all of the things Free-range parenting has taught me. My almost 3-yr-old wandered off while I was chatting with some friends, from a vantage point where I could see him (of course, I still feel the need to explain that I was being a “good” mom, so maybe I’m not quite there yet). One moment he was there, playing with another boy, and then he wasn’t. My child does not like to get wet with clothes on, so I knew he wasn’t near the water, but I scanned a few times trying to spot him, then mentioned it to my friends who echoed my thoughts (wasn’t he just playing with Hunter?). I told them I would check the playground where we had come from not long before. Not there, but as I returned to our spot, I saw the giant bounce house and knew instantly that was where he had gone, and lo and behold, my friend was carrying him back. She told me someone from that other group was in the process of bringing him back. Then of course, as soon as I scold him and set him down, he’s off like a freight train and I have to sprint to catch him before he makes it over there,

    The absolute hardest thing for me though, was the media interjecting my thoughts as I returned from the playground without having found him. I kept repeating to myself over and over, like a mantra, that people are good and we would find him. I knew it was bogey-man stories that were making my heart race, but I wouldn’t allow them to take over my mind and make me completely irrational. It was terrifying not to know where he was, but oh the sweet relief in finding him and knowing that others who had no responsibility to watch him, took it upon themselves to bring him back to me.

    It does kind of make me want a GPS locator implanted in his neck, but luckily we have better things to spend our money on.

  26. Whenever I hear people criticizing Free Range philosophy, they are convinced it is all crazy bravado. Which is exactly what we can be tempted into.

    When I describe Free-Range to others, I summararize it to being about trusting instincts, preparing your kids, and trusting your kids and your self.

    Not about trying to show how brave and daring as a parent you can be.

  27. @backroadsem I really like how you put it

    ” I summararize it to being about trusting instincts, preparing your kids, and trusting your kids and your self.

    Not about trying to show how brave and daring as a parent you can be.”

  28. I love this balanced approach.

  29. ALWAYS, ALWAYS follow your instincts! I believe in free range, but I also believe, if that little inner voice is talking to me, I had better listen. That’s what it’s there for! ie: if you get on an elevator with a stranger and your instincts tell you to high-tail it out of there, then you’d better listen, or you’ll regret it. Being free-range does not mean turning off your instincts or being idiotic! just my 2 cents!

  30. Wow – so many people in agreement! Yaahoooo! COMMON SENSE is among us! I love this blog. It’s so easy to comment. Perhaps too easy? Off to blog myself. I can’t get over some of the huge huge differences on other topics. But maybe we should just be glad that we can express ourselves so easily in our country.

  31. So true. Free Range kids are not ferrel kids (ducking for making another cat analogy). It is all about assessing risk, not attempting to eliminate all risk. Making choices about letting kids have freedom and take on responsibilities when they are ready. As a mom of two very different kids, I can say I have allowed my kids to do different things at different ages. My younger child is both more confident and more agile. He also craves independence, it is still my job to decide what is readinable. My daughter requires more encouragement and more “run throughs” before she is ready. It is my job to encourage her, reassure her, and provide practice.

  32. Ugh. “readinable” = reasonable. Thanks to my iphone.

    Sorry for other grammatical errors too. Screen was small and I hit “send” accidentally.

  33. This is truly not meant to be critical, but at 66, with a 44 year old son (who along with his wife is fighting to disentangle from helicoptering), a 28 year old daughter, and a 26 year old son, none of whom did I ‘parent’ I despair more and more for those of you who are bringing children into the world and trying to raise them well. However did we allow ourselves to become so distanced, so removed from our own judgment that the poster would write, “I write this in case any other parent who believes in Free-Range philosophies gets struck in this sort of conundrum — the ” I feel like I shouldn’t but maybe Free-Range says I should!” spiral.” It isn’t for Free Range to say what a mother or father should do any more than it is for the ‘experts’ in the NYTimes, or the ‘parenting’ magazines, or the thousands upon thousands of books in the self-help section of your local Barnes & Noble.

    I’ve mentioned this before but will repeat myself, it’s a perq of age, on my fridge is my favorite photo of my daughter. She is 7 years old, it’s Spring, so the tree is not yet fully leaved, she is as high as she could climb without the branches swaying enough to scare her, she needed a ladder to get to the bottom branch. I’d guess she must be 25 feet off the ground, give or take 5. I can’t see the smile because in order to get back far enough to get the whole tree in the photo she is only barely discernable as a red smudge in the tree, but I remember the smile since it was brighter than the sunlight that day. I’ve no doubt that there are many mothers and fathers who’d question my judgment, heck, I did, but she gained a sense of mastery that day that no one can take away, and I have the photo to catch my eye and make me smile now.

    I’m in absolute agreement that in the circumstances taking her daughter was the best call, I just wish it weren’t necessary (no complaints to you, Lenore, since it is, I am glad you are doing yeoman’s [yeowoman’s?] work in taking this on!) for moms and dads to second guess themselves. Amongst other things, it makes me wonder how much anxiety our kids pick up secondary to the process.

    My parents were far from perfect, they made decisions I’d not ever have with my kids, but I don’t ever remember them agonizing about whether their judgment was right, and that gave me a sense of trust in them and in other adults that I believe is critical to weathering the process of growing up.

  34. @ Susan Case, common sense is a fluid concept. I imagine that the worst of the worst of helicopter parents are adhering to the view that they’re employing more common sense than the average free-range parent.

  35. A big part of free ranging is not having blanket statements to cover all situations. It is fine to do a situation by situation.

    When you have a blanket policy, say “no sleepovers when men are there” then that is based on irrational fear. 99% of brothers, fathers, uncles and grandfathers would be fine. A few, here and there….that is when you need to trust your gut. But, if you have the blanket policy, you may never get to hear that instinct that says “Nope, not this one.”

    We need to have those times when we can listen to the inner voice and gauge the comfort of our kids.

  36. Victoria, on August 9, 2012 at 07:17 said:
    @backroadsem I really like how you put it
    ” I summararize it to being about trusting instincts, preparing your kids, and trusting your kids and your self.
    Not about trying to show how brave and daring as a parent you can be.”

    ————-

    Me too.

    IMO part of my 18yo daughter’s success as an adultis that she learned in similar situations to this young girl when things feel wrong. Now I trust her to go to bars (18 is legal drinking age here, but even if it wasn’t) and take care of herself and her helicoptered friends, and make sure they don’t go off with someone who makes her nervous.

    It is important to discuss with children the fact that some adults can behave in inappropriate ways and if they are nervous they should listen to that fear.

    (As a side note: According to the Helicopter parents in my life I should have protected my daughter every second until she was an “adult”. Now that she is eighteen they are telling me that she is still to young to fend for herself… I’m confused! LOL!)

  37. My only petty complaint is about the headline of this piece. This particular situation is not about “not trusting your child” in a certain situation, it’s about not trusting the situation. I’m sure there are other examples where one shouldn’t trust their child, but this is’nt really an example of that.

  38. I consider myself a free range parent but there is no way I would leave my 4 year old with a random person that I had just met at the park. Is the writer actually saying that had the stranger been female and not touching the child, the writer would have been comfortable leaving their child?

  39. @ Nancy – What is it that you think might happen if you let another parent keep an eye on your child at a playground for 10 minutes while you run to the bathroom? What is the fear?

    I just don’t see where asking another parent who is playing with a group of children, including yours, “can she keep playing while I take this one to the bathroom” is outrageous in the right circumstances. This situation may not have been the right circumstances – the language barrier would have stopped me even without the gut reaction – but the notion doesn’t set off any “that’s completely crazy always” meter for me.

    I wouldn’t ask a stranger to watch my kid for hours nor would I just walk up to the closest person in the park and ask her to keep an eye on my kid for even 10 minutes. But someone who has been interacting with me or my child and hasn’t off warning bells doesn’t seem outside the realm of being trusted to keep an eye on a kid for a few minutes. It is not as though you are asking them to do anything other than occasionally glance at your child while she plays.

  40. I was just thinking about this the other day. Every year my husband’s work has a family picnic at a local water park. Our kids are 9, 7, 5, 4 and 1 this year. The older three are pretty good swimmers. My husband suggested I let them go to the kiddie pool by themselves, but I didn’t want to let them. I just didn’t feel like they were ready to be completely off by themselves, especially the 5-year-old. My biggest concern was that my 7-year-old is prone to meltdowns over the slightest things and I didn’t want him to have a massive meltdown without me or my husband present. My husband suggested that next year, we let the older two (who will be 10 and 8) go off on their own and hit some rides without us. I said that when next year rolls around, I’ll have to think about it. Although I think the 10-year-old would do fine, I’m still not sure about the one who will be 8. We’ll have to wait and see if one year matures him enough to be able to handle it. If I had to decide that today, I wouldn’t be letting them go just yet.

  41. Echoing what Donna said (and Nancy I promise I’m not picking on you), I had a situation like that about a year ago. I was at the lake & had just met this couple in their 20s & had been chatting with them. They gave off good “vibes.” At one point I tried to inflate our kids’ floaties (they were 2 & 4 at the time) but forgot my pump. I wanted to go check in the little store they had to see if they had something to air the floaties up. My 2 kids were immersed with what they were doing playing in the sand & would also have to put shoes on to walk on that hot sand (they were shaded where they were at). I asked this couple if they could keep an eye on them while I went & did that.

    Later, when I wanted to venture farther out in the lake but couldn’t take the kids on the float with me as I normally do because I couldn’t inflate their floaties, I asked if they’d watch them and just basically keep them from venturing out into the lake, that the kids should just continue playing in the sand for that time. They were fine with it and I let them know I really appreciated it. They actually seemed to enjoy it too.

    But, echoing the post, I felt comfortable asking and trusting them. Had it been 2 “wild” types who were drinking & seemed half out of it, or someone who would’ve been too frail to get the kids were they to get in the water or wonder off, I wouldn’t have asked.

    LRH

  42. LRH, Completely agree. I recently went to a busy beach with my 4 & 2 yr olds. The little one wanted to go into the ocean with me so I asked the family sitting near us that had their kids playing with mine if they would mind keeping an eye on my son. They said that was fine and off I whisked my daughter to jump waves.

    Later the family left for lunch and asked if I would watch their stuff while they were gone. I told them absolutely and they had a great time without having to lug all their stuff off the beach.

    Great times had by all.

  43. Krista Isn’t that great? People TRUSTING people, showing caution & using discernment and judgment, but within those parameters–trusting.

    I use this quote a lot, but it reminds me of that 1st episode of “Highway to Heaven” (Michael Landon) where his character is unlocking a tool shed around his new co-worker, and remarked “100 years ago people didn’t need locks, except in prisons.” The character remarked “times change” (where have we heard THAT one before), to which the Michael Landon character replied, “no PEOPLE changed–we stopped trusting each other.”

    Amen!

    (I linked to it:

    ) around 9:25

  44. I am about as free range as they come (well, maybe not quite to Larry’s degree!), but there is one decision I’ve made with ongoing implications that sounds to others like helicoptering.

    My 9yo daughter started at a new school last year (aged 8), from which she needed to catch the bus home. The bus stops only about 10 minutes’ walk from our house. There is a crosswalk right there to cross the only “main” road (and I call it that because it’s only one lane either way, but a reasonably busy through road, especially at school pick-up time), and then she only has one small quiet side street to cross.

    Perfect opportunity for a nice walk home, right? Until you experience that crosswalk for yourself. It’s like it’s invisible. I have nearly been hit several times, and I’ve seen older kids having near misses many times.

    So, as nice as it would be for me not to have to walk my other 4 kids to the bus stop every afternoon, my daughter’s life is worth more to me than that inconvenience. It reaches the level of risk I’m NOT prepared to take. It’s not that I don’t trust her, it’s that I don’t trust the random drivers who drive through the crosswalk. And that mistrust is not based on helicoptery, worst-first thinking, but experience and instinct.

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