Ok, here’s where I confess – S and me are very protective parents. With parents being bombarded all around about predators around children, it is enough for me especially to want to pull my children around me and never let them leave the security of my arms untill they are adults! But – and here’s a big but – I also want them to grow up to be independent and confident young people/adults.
GG and BB are not allowed to go out on their own. Period. If S is bringing them home from a class and has to park the car, he will drop them at the lift lobby of our building, see them get into the lift alone and then call me to let me know they are coming up. I’ll be on the phone with S outside my home till they reach our floor and then let S know they’re home safe. This is the extent of their trips alone. If they want to play outside our home (we have a huge corridor outside), they have to play at a place where I can see and hear them. If they want to go down to the playground, they are accompanied by a responsible adult (me, S or my helper at my place or my inlaws if at their place) and they have to play where they can be be seen at all times by the adult they are with. These are non-conditional terms and any violation of these like going to play in another area means we bring them back home immediately.
When we are out at malls for example, till about last year, BB would come with me to the girls toilets if S was not with us. Now that he is older, he is allowed to visit the men’s toilets, but I make it a point to stand outside and do not hesitate to ask someone about him if BB takes too long inside.
Writing this post made me think of the freedom we were allowed growing up. During the school holidays I think we were at home just to eat lunch and sleep at night. The whole day would be spent either at friends place watching TV or some videos, playing at our building or at the neighbouring one, or the building in the next road (except when it was too hot to do anything but watch videos), go visiting other people (even if it was people you didn’t know at all). All this time, our parents would not really be worried about us except when we didn’t come home for meals. This was an era of pre-cell phones and in most homes in India those days (late 70s to early 80s), didn’t have telephones too (this was the height of the licensing era where you booked your phones and were lucky if you managed to get it in 5 years time!).
Parents those days didn’t worry about children as much as we do today. We grew up healthy and independent. But the reality of today is so much different from those years! In retrospect, do you want that life to this one? I for one am not too sure if I would like to live like how we lived in an India in the eighties, give me technology and today anytime!
What do you think? Are you a protective parent or a more liberal one? I’d love to hear from you.