“There is no way in hell I’d let a nine-year-old walk alone to school?”
“She has to be kidding. A nine-year-old”
“Who even is this woman? What kind of mother would let a NINE-YEAR-OLD walk home alone?”
The kind of mother who might allow a nine-year-old to walk home alone from school is me.
I’m that woman.
What else makes you a ‘bad mother’. Mia Freedman addresses one concern in her ‘Hey Mia’ series.
It hasn’t happened yet – he still only eight, but it is something I am thinking about letting happen when he turns nine near the end of the year.
My musings about the subject became public last week in a post for Mamamia – little did I realise that even considering such a thing was taboo.
There was instant castigation.
The reaction I got you would have thought I was considering letting him pack up his PlayStation and his soccer ball and move out of home.
Here is what I learnt:
- Only bad mothers let their children roam the streets unsupervised.
- Only bad mothers let their children play outside without a grown-up hovering.
- A “good” parent is there watching, wary. Just in case.
- Good mothers worry. Bad mothers don’t care.
We’ve all heard the debate about helicopter parenting. We all know how times have changed, about how in the last 40 years there has been a marked shift in the manner in which children are transported to and from school.
Through the 80’s, when I grew up, the majority of children from the ages of eight walked to school, contrast that to today when the majority of children are driven to school by their parents who drop them right at the school gate and then hover staring down the traffic warden, daring him to move them on before their child is safely through the gate.