When does free-range parenting become more like neglecting your kids?

Is free-range parenting really just neglecting your kids?Pssst – the Honest Voices linkup for bloggers is back! Link up after the post…

I am not a free-range parent. I’m just not. Especially when it comes to the great outdoors.

But let me back up. I am also not the mom who nervously hovers, watching my kids with an eagle-eye, constantly admonishing them to be careful.

I do encourage my children to play without me and entertain themselves.

But do I let them run around outside unsupervised? No way. Call me a nervous nelly or overprotective, I don’t care. I don’t agree that I am – but I don’t mind if you think I am.

My girls are eight and five years old. When they are playing outside, they are in my line of sight 95% of the time, whether I’m doing dishes inside or gardening outside. My feeling is that they are just not responsible enough to be on their own with no adult watching them.

I know I’m not going to be able to prevent every injury, and I’m okay with that. In fact, Annie just got her first stitches the other day, courtesy of a tumble off the swing set that I saw happen. Things like that are going to happen because – well, they’re kids.

I’m more worried about Annie carelessly zooming on her bike into the street and getting hit by a car coming around the corner. Or Grace overestimating her dexterity and falling six feet from the top of the monkey bars.

They are little kids who don’t have brains that are developed enough to make smart decisions about safety. They still need adult guidance when they are outside. That’s how I feel.

There are other parents in my neighborhood who think just like I do. And then there are some who don’t.

One set of parents – whom I like and hang out with – let their three kids, ages 5, 6, and 8, play outside completely unsupervised. They live in an area of the neighborhood that has heavy traffic. And I frequently see their kids playing too close to the road, crossing the street without looking, etc.

This isn’t free-range parenting to me. It’s neglectful. And dangerous. Part of me wants to speak up before anyone gets hurt. But part of me is just thinking I should butt out.

My kids are friends with my neighbor’s kids, and often want to go over and play at their house. But since I know they won’t be supervised at all, I won’t let them. Which makes me seem like the mean, overprotective mom, but their safety is more important than my cool-factor.

However, what’s awkward is that it’s very obvious to my neighbor – who I’ll call Jane – that I won’t let my kids go to her house. She’s asked several times if I’d like my kids to go play in her yard and I always make up some excuse. She obviously feels the kids are fine on their own, while I don’t. Then I feel badly when it’s obvious that my kids are playing in my own yard.

I once went over with my kids to keep an eye on them, and Jane eventually came outside to hang out with me, but she mentioned she should be doing work. It was pretty clear she felt she had to be outside since I was. If I say to her that I feel that Grace needs to be supervised outside, it’ll be a dig at her since she lets her little boy of the same age play outside alone all the time.

Why not just invite her kids to my house? Well, it gets a little tough because she has three, and one’s a sweet but rambunctious little boy. One girl is a troublemaker. The three kids come in a package and go everywhere together. So if they’re at my house I really need to be actively involved and watching five kids. So yeah, I can do it sometimes, but not on a regular basis.

Neighborhood awkwardness. Good times. And it’s bound to be a bigger issue this summer.

What are your thoughts on this? Am I overprotective? Is my neighbor bordering on neglectful? How would you handle it?

*****

It’s back!

Honest Voices linkup at HonestMom.com NEW

 

Hey bloggers! Welcome to Honest Voices, an every-other-week linkup at Honest Mom. I invite you to link up with a post of yours that you’re really proud of. One that shows off your blog’s voice and what it’s all about. Funny or serious, old or new, it doesn’t matter – just as long as your post is HONEST.

TWO SIMPLE RULES:

1) Visit and comment on the blog that linked right before you and one other blog post of your choice.

2) Promote the linkup at least once, but more is better. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it, whatever. Just remember – the more people you get to visit the linkup, the more people will discover you!

Now what are you waiting for? Let’s see your posts!

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A Lice Interruption? OH GOD PLEASE NO.

epicYou guys. Tomorrow is the first day of school and I think my kids have lice.

LICE.

I took Annie to the doc last week for her yearly checkup and mentioned her head had been itching for days. Doc looked all over her head. Nothing. We chalked it up to her sensitive skin.

I’ve been checking daily – sometimes 2x a day – for anything, and for 10 days I’ve found nothing.Looking for Honest Voices

Then Grace started itching. And I got worried.

And now today – the day before the first day of school – I’m seeing little white things on my both my kids’ heads.

Please God please let it be dandruff. PLEASE.

But I don’t think it is.

Extra bonus: MY head is itching like crazy right now.

So of course I’ve been Googling pictures of head lice and treatments and whether or not I should burn my house down.

I remembered that my friend Leslie, aka The Bearded Iris, went through this trauma. And so I have been rereading her posts on battling head lice here and here. Helpful, yes. Comforting, no.

And you better believe I’m researching professional nit pickers, because nit picking two little girls with long hair?

NO. Just, no.

Mama ain’t got time for that. Or patience for that. Or sanity for that.

And if I have lice? I’m watching Pitch Perfect with a nice bottle of red wine while Nit Picking Lady has at my scalp.

I hope she likes off-tune, drunk moms who love to sing.

Update, 8pm: Oh yes, it’s lice. Oh yes, we all got it. And oh yes, I’m about to drink a bottle of wine because I just want to forget how much we paid the lice ladies to get us all clean and also the little fact that we now have 10 bags of laundry to deal with. Yeah. Good times.

Have your kids had lice? Have YOU? How’d you combat it? Natural treatments or chemicals galore?

Honest Voices linkup at HonestMom.com NEW

Hey bloggers! Welcome to Honest Voices, an every-other-Tuesday linkup at Honest Mom. I invite you to link up with a post of yours that you’re really proud of. One that shows off your blog’s voice and what it’s all about. Funny or serious, it doesn’t matter – just as long as your post is HONEST.

There are only two simple rules:

1) Visit and comment on at least two other blogs who link up here

2) Promote this linkup at least once. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it, whatever. Just remember – the more people you get to visit this linkup, the more people will discover you!

Bikinis for Little Girls: Yay or Nay?

should young girls wear bikinisI’ve seen some cringe-worthy stuff at the beach this year. Old men in too-tight swim trunks. Teenagers engaged in very obvious, very sweaty PDA. And then there’s the remnants of a long summer’s day in a odorous public beach bathroom.

I’ll give you time to shudder at that last one.

I think the old men in inappropriate swim trunks bother everybody because no one wants to see that. But it’s the other end of the spectrum that people have differing – and strong – opinions about: young girls in teeny bikinis.

Right now my girls are ages 4 and 7, and neither wants to wear a bikini. They both picked out cute Lands’ End skirted swimsuits and they love twirling around in them. Annie says bikinis are annoying because she’s nervous the suit would move around and expose her. She’s just beginning to get a little modest about showing her body so I get her concerns.

And honestly? I’m glad. Because I see girls her age and younger in teeny bikinis and it strikes me as a little weird. They look like little grownups – but they’re not. They’re children. And I think their bathing suits should reflect that.

And I get really icked out when I see tweens walking around in very small, very grown-up bikinis – and older boys and men checking them out.

So I started thinking about it – WHY is this bothering me so much? Why is my mom-radar going off when I see young girls in small bikinis? Why do I want to cover them up with a towel? And when it comes down to it, it’s because of my own experience with bikinis.

I wore a bikini (starting when I was 15) to show off my cute little body. To get tan. To meet boys. To feel pretty and attractive. To me, that’s what a bikini is for. And I have no problem with this for older high-school girls who have confidence in their bodies and themselves – and understand their value is more than a cute body.

But I do have a problem with small bathing suits on small kids. Because the fact is, we live in a world where girls are inundated with marketing messages about what being attractive and awesome is. And too often, attractive and awesome = sexy. Which my little girls cannot possibly understand.

I don’t want my kids portraying something they don’t understand. I want them to understand their value and self-worth and why all their awesomeness has nothing to do with whether or not they can rock a bikini.

And when I see they do understand this and they are of a certain age? They can wear bikinis.

But until then, it’s Lands’ End skirted suits and tankinis all the way.

How do you feel about little girls wearing small swimsuits? What about tweens? What’s your stance?

Honest Voices linkup at HonestMom.com NEW

Hey bloggers! Welcome to Honest Voices, an every-other-Tuesday linkup at Honest Mom. I invite you to link up with a post of yours that you’re really proud of. One that shows off your blog’s voice and what it’s all about. Funny or serious, it doesn’t matter – just as long as your post is HONEST.

There are only two simple rules:

1) Visit and comment on at least two other blogs who link up here

2) Promote this linkup at least once. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it, whatever. Just remember – the more people you get to visit this linkup, the more people will discover you!

photo credit: radioher via photopin cc