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I can't believe my parents let me do that!

dkedke Registered User Posts: 2,690 Senior Member
edited March 2006 in Parent Cafe
I was just thinking about how differently I'm raising my kids. (who are 9 and 13). I know I was raised in the Dark Ages, but even then I think my parents let me do things that were a bit "out there". Example? Letting me go downtown at age 5 with my 3 yr. old neighbor and having lunch at the luncheonette! We lived in a small suburban city. I'm just now letting my 9 yr. old ride her bike off of our street to visit neighbors! How about your parents?
Post edited by dke on

Replies to: I can't believe my parents let me do that!

  • A.S.A.P.A.S.A.P. Registered User Posts: 2,663 Senior Member
    I used to walk several blocks alone as a 7 year old in a small city in
    SoCal to buy comic books and candy and hang out at the drugstore. I used to stop and talk to the old people sitting on their porches who would wave hello. I still remember Mr. Pratt, who would invite me up for lemonade. Later at 12,, I was allowed to walk to the beach (about 15 blocks) alone and hang out by myself for most of the day. Not my kids!
    I have allowed my son to walk home from school alone as a fifth grader, sometimes with friends, sometimes not. I worried, but tried to remember that he had good sense, and that I was walking as far when I was only 7. wow. Life was sure different then.
    I'm much better as a mom for an older teen. I gave both a lot of freedom once they had their driver's licenses. Son pretty much comes and goes as he pleases, as long as he lets us know and he's respectful of our plans.
  • minimini Registered User Posts: 26,431 Senior Member
    I grew up in New York City and my wife in southeast Washington, DC at a time that crime rates were roughly triple what they are today (people don't realize how much safer things are now.) At age 13, I took a bus and two-to-four subway trains each way to school in Manhattan, and stayed out for etc. on regular occasion. My wife was similar.

    So our view is that, relative to the way we grew up, everything is safe. My younger one went on her first solo plane trip across the country (Seattle to Washington, DC) when she was 6, and has done much since then, including a trip to Cambodia, India, and Thailand by herself last summer when was 17. She would be regularly off to the woods near our home by herself when she was 7.
  • A.S.A.P.A.S.A.P. Registered User Posts: 2,663 Senior Member
    She would be regularly off to the woods near our home by herself when she was 7.

    I would have been afraid that my daughter wouldn't want to come home! She would have wanted to live with the "bears", as she thought she was one half the time!
  • lorelei2702lorelei2702 Registered User Posts: 2,125 Senior Member
    My mom sent me to the shoe store to take some shoes to be repaired in a southern Kansas town, back in the early 50's when I was only 4. I remember being very excited and proud, then stopping to play with some kids I met, realizing I was lost and getting very upset. Suddenly, a neighbor kid appeared, whom my mom had arranged to follow me, and I was escorted safely home. It took all the itch out of my "I can do that" sense of adventure.
  • SuNaSuNa Registered User Posts: 923 Member
    While I think the baby boom generation has been a lot more lenient than its parents, the situations described above are the exception. Lots of publicity about abductions made almost all of us extremely wary and our youngsters thus had a lot less freedom to roam.
  • cheerscheers Registered User Posts: 5,163 Senior Member
    My brothers, ages 5, 6 and 7, decided to take up smoking in 1965. They walked a half mile through the neighborhoods to the gas station to buy the cigarettes.

    After the third or fourth trip, the Gas station attendant followed them home, not to molest them, but to report them to my mother. They told the man they were buying cigarettes for my mother, (who quit some years earlier) but they bought a different brand each time, raising his suspicion.

    In their defense, the kindergartener claimed he never even lit the cigarettes, the first grader claimed he lit them but did not inhale and one, the ringleader, and the second grader, claimed he lit them, inhaled them and loved them. He still smokes to this day.

    I kept a closer eye on my boys but have given them more freedoms to travel the world at 18 than we had when we were 18.
  • PackMomPackMom Registered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    At age 8 my friends and I happily hopped on our banana seat bikes with the tall handle bars and white plastic basket attached to cruise alone across our small town to the community swimming pool. We snacked, swam and tanned under our own supervision until the whistle blew at 5 o'clock which signaled time to pack up and peddle home to dinner.

    We lived this summer ritual every year, graduating from squirt guns and goggles to Hawaiian Tropic (oh, that smell) and chasing boys until we all got old enough to get summer jobs and trade our bikes for old cars (my beloved Pinto).
    Oh, the things we learned from our summers at the pool!

    In contrast, our neighborhood pool will not allow any children under 12 to even come through the gate without a parent.
  • fendergirlfendergirl Registered User Posts: 4,757 Senior Member
    I remember riding my bike five miles to a friends house in 4th or 5th grade. We hung out for an hour or two and then her mom put my bike in her van and drove me (and it) home.

    My 7 year old cousin is always out riding her bike somewhere. The kids have pretty much freedom here because it's a pretty safe area. She just has to say where she is going first, and she knows that she can't go further than a certain point unless she has an adult with her. When it's nice outside she usually does her homework and leaves, comes back when it's time for dinner, and then leaves again till about 830. Over the summer she had a "boyfriend" and every day after dinner she would change into her two piece bathing suit, grab a towel, and walk to his house to go swimming. (They are no longer "dating" because she says he gets on her nerves.. apparently all he likes to do is play sports and doesn't like to make crafts with her. Imagine that! They still play together 1-2 nights a week though. ) Basically they can go wherever around here as long as they say where they are going.
  • NJresNJres Registered User Posts: 6,146 Senior Member
    the kindergartener claimed he never even lit the cigarettes, the first grader claimed he lit them but did not inhale and one, the ringleader, and the second grader, claimed he lit them, inhaled them and loved them.

    And we all know what happened to that first grader!
  • DrDrewsmomDrDrewsmom Registered User Posts: 679 Junior Member
    This is more of a "I can't believe my parents made me do that!"
    When I was in 7th grade I had to walk to school for volleyball practice which was held before school. By myself. When it was pitch black. There is no way I'd even let my 7th grade sons walk by themselves that far in the dark.
    And I am younger than most of the parents here ;)
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    As I have been reading daily commentary in local papers calling for curfews and suggesting that the parents of the teen girls slain last weekend in Seattle should be punished for child neglect- I find some of these comments oddly timed.

    My parents often didn't know what I was doing or exactly where I was when I was growing up in suburban Seattle in the 1960s but I wasn't lucky enough to have gotten through childhood unscarred

    I have held my children much tighter as a result

    ( we did get a dog however- so my D could walk with her for some protection or deterrent- its amazing how many people are intimidated by a big black....labrador!)
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    At age 8 my friends and I happily hopped on our banana seat bikes
    Oh well that explains it- you had a Stingray?
    the kind that you could do wheelies with?
    obviously you just had cool parents ;)
  • atomomatomom Registered User Posts: 4,658 Senior Member
    Mom pretty much let us walk/ride bikes anywhere...she didn't know where we were half the time. We'd buy candy at various stores, wander around in the woods, walk down the railroad tracks as far as we could. . .Lots of daring and dangerous tree climbing, too. Dad let us drink beer and smoke. But the really unbelievable thing is that my parents let my twin sister and her boyfriend, with ME as a "chaperone" (right) drive 6 hours across several states to visit a college and take a self-guided tour of a very large city. We were all 16 and had never driven on the interstate before. (No cell phones then, either, and boyfriend was a diabetic who had some problems on the way back. . .scary).
  • cheerscheers Registered User Posts: 5,163 Senior Member
    LOL...that second grader...has had quite the adventurous life, albiet unconventional--especially by CC standards.

    Even though he still smokes, he mangaged to be New Age before there was new age, hanging out on Indian reservations, adopting all sorts of mysitcal beliefs.. He now lives half the year in Hawaii and half the year in Alaska, a lifestyle he resumed after his relationship with the daughter of one of the original Rock n Roll Hall of Famers fizzled.

    When he was 15, he announced he was going to Florida for the summer. My father said he wasn't, but three weeks later he packed up a bag and hitch-hiked 14 hours to Florida. He spent the summer living in the beach chair shack of the resort we visited as a family.

    The first grader went on to be valedictorian at his very prestigious high school and a Math and Russian major at Berkeley. He's the polar opposite of any politician you could name. He was my parent's favorite for most of our childhood, with good reason.

    My parents had their hands full. I never realized what a handful until I had two nice boys of my own--although mine would never hitch hike to Florida because they know I would find them and drag them back to their childhoods--whether they liked it or not!

    I too had to walk to piano lessons at night but I wasn't scared. I did scare my parents when I took my first job at the DQ in a dicey neighborhood at 15.
  • PackMomPackMom Registered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    Emerald Kitty, LOL No I didn't have a stingray. Everybody in our tiny town got their bikes from the Western Auto. My husband (who grew up in a different town) did have a Schwinn Orange Crate..one of the really cool kind with the gear shifter on the crossbar. He wishes he still had it.
This discussion has been closed.