by Sally Cameron, midwife, mother of 2 and co-owner of www.earthbabies.co.za . I am passionate, creative, trying to be Green unschooling single mom. . It’s a journey.
I am by no means a helicopter mom at all. I do not buzz around my kids checking they are okay every few minutes. Mostly, I leave them alone to get on with it and let them come and call me if there is a problem. I am not really worried about them hurting themselves or feel that I need to always prevent it. Accidents are part of growing up and learning about the world. Now this stance on parenting has advantages and disadvantages which we highlighted to me over the weekend.
We went to Ngwenya Glass Village on Saturday and it was lovely, such a great venue. We adults could sit under the trees and chat while the kids played in the nearby play area. There are lovely craft shops to mooch around and even pony rides for the kids.
I left my kids to go off and play and checked I could see them now and again but mostly they would appear ask for something or eat a little and then disappear again.
The 4 kids I was with, were still playing while we sorted out the bill. s we were getting ready to leave, Kiara (5yrs) and Rachel (5 yrs) come running over to me to say that a man has put Kiara’s toy dog in his car! They are visibly upset so I get up and walk over to where Cameron ( 7yrs) was to get the rest of the story. They said the dog was on the ground near them while they were playing and a man picked it up and put it in his car. They showed me the man in his late 50’s early 60’s, I guess. He was chatting so some other people, so I went over and asked if he had her dog. He said he did and walked to the car to get it. He said he found it and was going to hand it in at the desk but could not find anyone to give it to?!??!! What??? There were restaurant staff all over the place! I found it really really weird that he put it in his car while the kids watched him do this.
Needless to say I gathered the kids and left quite quickly. I could not figure out if he had spoken to the kids or not but Cam was very insistent that he told the girls to come straight to tell me and not to talk to the man. GO CAM!! We spoke about it in the car and about how they had all done the right thing coming to call me and not talking to the man. It is sucky that the world we live in makes it necessary to have these types of conversations with our kids.
Am I overreacting here or is that just creepy odd behaviour? I am sure there is a possibility that it was innocent but I was not prepared to take a chance. I am just glad that the kids were savvy enough to come and speak to me about it instead of going to the man’s car or anything unthinkable like that.
This got me thinking, should instances like this change the way I parent? Should I be hovering over them more and watching their every move? I truly believe that kids need space and time away from their parents and that it is not good to crowd them too much, but where are the boundaries of safety versus smothering.
It is a sad society when we cannot trust the greater community around us in the safety of our kids. The sense of being jointly responsible for a child because they form part of our community, seems to be gone.
I would love to hear what other parents think.