When Is the Right Age To Let Go?



Do you ever struggle with knowing when is the "right" age to let your kids do something?  Once you get past the age of 3, there's no book "What to Expect From Your Tween" — giving you a month-by-month account of what should be happening and how to deal with it.

Some days I really wish there was.

I remember when I had to let Ryan start using the restroom (the men's room no less!) on his own. . .I was petrified that there would be some scary man in there waiting to prey on unsuspecting boys abandoned by their over-protective mothers.  So far, so good.  But honestly, I worry about it.

When are your tweens old enough to stay home by themselves for brief periods (not a week or overnight)?  We are working on this. . .setting up lot of rules and reminders.

When can your children take money and get a refreshment on their own at the movies? (We tried this over the weekend, it didn't go well, but a good first attempt)

When can your children go 2 blocks to the store by themselves? (In our house - not yet).

When can they walk to the bus by themselves? (We are slowly working on this.  Again, with lots of rules and a watchful mom at the front window.)

When can your child go to the park down the street on their own with a friend? (Again, at our house not yet)

(Can you hear the helicopter sounds?)

I try so hard not to be a helicopter parent.  It is my belief that doing too much for our children weakens them and makes them less able to cope in the "real world."  We need to help them develop the skills, awareness and judgement they need to make good decisions. (or at least sound decisions)  But I have an overwhelming need to protect my kids from the scary mean world. . .it's a delicate balance.

Hillary Chybinski is a crafty mom of 2 boys living the American Dream with her husband in the Philly burbs.  This post was adapted from her blog, My Scraps.

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