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When kids yearn for more independence than moms are ready to give

by Traci Schumacher on Thu, 04/11/2013 - 5:59pm

Independence... that wonderful, terrible state that kids grow into. Hopefully. But knowing the right combination of caution and freedom to extend in relation to our kids is a big parenting challenge. There is no clear standard, and everyone has different tolerance levels for giving their kids freedom. What is wise to one might appear smothering to another, just as what is reasonable to one might seem careless to another. A lot depends on the child in question.

Recently my daughter, nearing the completion of the third grade, has been practically begging for more freedom, asking to walk alone to her friend's house several streets away, for example. Sure, we live in a nice neighborhood, but crazy things can happen. Does my daughter have the skills and sense to know how to handle herself in various situations? Regardless, my daughter claims all her friends get to walk places by themselves. I would like to know where all these third-graders are walking as I rarely come across any of them.

Maybe I'm being too protective. Maybe. So be it. Even if she may be ready for this step of independence, I'm simply not. Not yet.

I know I'll have to work on that. Because she just keeps on getting bigger and growing up right in front of my eyes. I know we will have to reach a compromise at some point, allowing her more room to stretch her wings and me some peace of mind.

It's the give and take of growing up... letting go and hanging on and the wisdom of knowing when to do which one. Growing up is hard. It's hard on parents sometimes, too.

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