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Old 04-20-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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Its funny I came across this thread as I just came in from letting my almost 10 year old daughter ride her bike down to my parents house. They live half a mile down the road, we live on a dirt road, and there are no other houses in between us. I texted Mom before she left to have her call me when she got there, then I walked out to the road to watch her ride down. When we got to the road we saw mom's car, she was halfway to our house. She was thinking the same thing I was, stand at the end of the driveway and watch her until she made it. As mom turned around in our driveway she said to me "its a said thing when you have to worry about your kid riding their bike".

I am not worried anything would happen to her. I know every person who lives on our road. My daughter is very bright and has a lot of common sense. But there is always that freak chance some weirdo will pick that exact time to drive through the country and be on my road when she is on her own. To me its just common sense to make sure your children arrive safely at their destination. She can have the best smarts in the world. I could send her with a walkie talkie and be in constant communication. But all it takes is someone stronger than my 58 lbs daughter and its all over.

But it also depends on the circumstances. Today it is 32 degrees and snowing. No one is around, no one would be able to help her if she needed it. If it were warmer and my husband, father, and some of the others were doing hay all day then I would probably let her go because I know there would be familar eyes on her all the way down the road.
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:15 PM
 
5,401 posts, read 9,798,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linmora View Post
I think that it really depends on where you live and of course your dog. We live in a well established neighborhood so dogs are either in houses or behind fences. Fortunately, I've never have seen a stray around. I suppose that in more rural areas, this would be more of a problem. When my husband and I lived in Oregon, surrounded by rural areas, we would go running with our doberman with a squirt gun filled with vinegar. Some of those dogs were pretty mean and our dobbie was a bit of a wimp, even though he was 100 pounds, lol. A few dogs got a face full of vinegar which was suprisingly effective. Would I let my kids take the dog for a walk in that area? Nope. Too many mean dogs that were allowed to roam free. This was out of our neighborhood and more on the back roads though.

Our dog is really well behaved. Can be on or off leash (although we do respect leash laws around here) and never pulls. If I had a vicious dog or one that would lunge, never would I allow my kids to walk the dog. I think it is all situational and your comfort level on where you live. And of course your dog.

As one aside, when my kids walk, my daughter who is 13 is in charge of the dog. A bit more responsible in that regard and is bigger so she can control the dog.
I said "strays" but really they were dogs that had somehow escaped their yards and had come running up to our dog (s). On one occasion in particular, the dog that ran up to us was behaving aggressively and actually attacking our dog. Thankfully, our dog listened to me, but if it had just been the kids walking her I don't know....our dog is a sweet, well behaved, adored member of our family and, as such, I think she would have protected her "puppies" (the kids).

Your daughter is 13 and you feel comfortable allowing her to walk the dog alone, so she probably is mature enough to handle these types of situations on her own. Not all kids, especially younger ones, would be.

Last edited by springfieldva; 04-20-2013 at 01:28 PM..
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:51 PM
 
606 posts, read 848,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelySummer View Post
Wow. Upon seeing the initial post, I immediately thought that responding posters would think that the OP was out of the ordinary for allowing free range. I now see that lots of parents allow their children to be unsupervised (and therefore unprotected) in locations that are far away from them. This is really, really surprising to me.
Not trying to change your mind, but as someone who's somewhat more towards the free-range end of the spectrum, here's my thought process:

I went to college at 16, away from home, and aside from one summer when I had surgery never spent more than a couple weeks at a time at my parents' house again. Before I left to go to college, I'd been on lots of school trips (I did an activity where we had near-weekly trips around the region for competitions) and several camps where I had time on my own in an unfamiliar city -- sometimes with other kids with me, and sometimes not. The first school trip I went on where we had unchaperoned time to go shopping/exploring a certain area was in fifth grade, when I was nine.

My own child is eight now. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen seem like they're a long way off -- but they're absolutely not. For all I know she's more than halfway to being on her own. I want her to be able to competently accept opportunities that come to her when she's an older kid, teenager, and adult. By "competently" I mean being able to handle herself with a certain amount of street smarts, to assess risk accurately, and to be able to handle everyday tasks on her own.

I do not want her first taste of freedom to be when she goes off to college or gets her driver's license or what-have-you. That's a recipe for disaster, and I think most people agree with that. There probably are people who don't let their kids stay home by themselves or go somewhere unchaperoned until they're out of the house, but most people would recognize that as extreme. So when do you start building up to that kind of freedom? For me, it's now, in limited amounts.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:59 PM
 
16,940 posts, read 19,769,141 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oleg Bach View Post
Free range kids grow up to be free range adults. Few of them prosper because they are seen as non-compliant. Getting a formal education is not about getting more knowledge so you can get a good job...a degree is a sign of compliance and a statement that you will fit into a not so free range world. Free range kids must be taught that there are social and economic consequences to unbridled freedom...it might just make you poor...Kind of like the horse eating oats and decides to jump the fence and be free...only to find that there are no free oats out there.
What in the world are you talking about? Most of my generation (I'm over 65) was free range in terms of the freedom to explore the world without adults around. When I was 3 or 4, I was riding my tricycle around on our block (not out of sight of the yard, but without adults hovering). When I was 8 or 9, I would take off with friends for the park or playground and come home for lunch or even pack a sack lunch and not come home until dinner. I hiked around on the park trails, played pick up games of baseball or basketball, etc. Free range in the sense the OP is talking about does not mean having no rules or chores at home.

Did things happen to some of us? Sure. Most of us, however, got an education, went to work and became successful adults. We were not non-compliant, just adventurous. Many of us became entrepreneurs although others went on to work at more regular jobs.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
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I think its funny that people think a 5th grader is too young to be left alone for an hour. I went latchkey in 3rd grade and was home alone from 3:30 until 5 every day. I think it depends on the maturity of your child, not some magic number that strangers deem as appropriate. I have a 12 year old cousin who can't be left alone because he just does dumb stuff like sledding down the stairs
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:05 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,377 posts, read 109,575,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stijl Council View Post
Not trying to change your mind, but as someone who's somewhat more towards the free-range end of the spectrum, here's my thought process:

I went to college at 16, away from home, and aside from one summer when I had surgery never spent more than a couple weeks at a time at my parents' house again. Before I left to go to college, I'd been on lots of school trips (I did an activity where we had near-weekly trips around the region for competitions) and several camps where I had time on my own in an unfamiliar city -- sometimes with other kids with me, and sometimes not. The first school trip I went on where we had unchaperoned time to go shopping/exploring a certain area was in fifth grade, when I was nine.

My own child is eight now. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen seem like they're a long way off -- but they're absolutely not. For all I know she's more than halfway to being on her own. I want her to be able to competently accept opportunities that come to her when she's an older kid, teenager, and adult. By "competently" I mean being able to handle herself with a certain amount of street smarts, to assess risk accurately, and to be able to handle everyday tasks on her own.

I do not want her first taste of freedom to be when she goes off to college or gets her driver's license or what-have-you. That's a recipe for disaster, and I think most people agree with that. There probably are people who don't let their kids stay home by themselves or go somewhere unchaperoned until they're out of the house, but most people would recognize that as extreme. So when do you start building up to that kind of freedom? For me, it's now, in limited amounts.
The tough part is knowing when they're ready for said responsibility. There have been a couple of examples of 10 year olds who were not ready for the responsibilities they were given.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_at772 View Post
I think its funny that people think a 5th grader is too young to be left alone for an hour. I went latchkey in 3rd grade and was home alone from 3:30 until 5 every day. I think it depends on the maturity of your child, not some magic number that strangers deem as appropriate. I have a 12 year old cousin who can't be left alone because he just does dumb stuff like sledding down the stairs
I agree but I think there are some general ages that one can use as guidelines. I would not leave an 8-9 yo home alone for 1 1/2 hours, no matter how mature they seemed.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:30 PM
 
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I think it depends on how you grew up. If you grew up free-range, you will be more likely to let your kids free-range. I was and my kids are/were. I think it gives them a sense of how to deal with situations, gives them confidence and common sense. My daughter is grown up and now loves to travel, is a great driver (No accidents or tickets ever) and never any problems with alcohol, drugs etc. I think she always felt she had a lot of freedom and she knows how to deal with situations on her own.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
The tough part is knowing when they're ready for said responsibility. There have been a couple of examples of 10 year olds who were not ready for the responsibilities they were given.
I agree with you that it's difficult. And I think most if not all kids are going to make mistakes sometimes when they're taking on new responsibilities, and it can be tough to figure out whether that means they're bona fide not ready or whether that means they're just making mistakes borne of inexperience.

I was ten and my little brother was seven or eight when my mom started occasionally running short errands in the afternoon (say, thirty minutes to a little over an hour) while we stayed home alone. One of the first times we were home alone, she'd been gone no more than ten minutes when my brother started barfing like crazy. And I kind of panicked, so I called the hospital to try to get advice. Then I called a neighbor who couldn't come over, but who did tell me what to do for my brother and to call if there were any more problems. When Mom came back she was not thrilled that I'd called the hospital but confirmed that calling the neighbor was a good move.

Clearly I didn't know how to handle everything that could possibly come up but I don't think that means I wasn't ready to be home alone. Rather, I was able to handle all normal things and to handle unusual things maybe not perfectly but without making a *complete* hash of them. And the next time an emergency-type situation came up when I was home by myself, a couple years later, I handled it 100% appropriately.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,377 posts, read 109,575,581 times
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One problem with going on these "short errands" is that they sometimes end up not so short. An emergency such as car trouble can come up on the mother's end as well. While we can quibble about whether kids should be left at home at 10, I think most would agree 10 yos shouldn't be left alone, especially responsible for another kid as well, for hours.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Long Neck,De
4,792 posts, read 7,312,281 times
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When my son was 10 he had free access to our development. We owned a business and he would go with us and roam that neighborhood. He was very social and always around his friends. I can remember bringing bikes and the boys riding a few miles to the state park. He did grow up with martial arts and was taught about how to deal with people who might try to do something he didn't like.
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