Thursday, August 11, 2011

no one said this parenting gig was easy...

Where do I begin? When the doctor puts that baby on your chest, and you wait to hear that cry for the first time, you can't even imagine all the phases, stages, and trials you will go through now that you are a parent. That baby doesn't come with a handbook, and no one tells you about all the things you should and shouldn't do.

So, for the most part, it's a trial and error thing this parenting gig.
Most of all for the first child.
Because lets face it, we know nothing before the first kid enters our world.

My sweet Bella is eight. She is a good girl. I mean a really good girl. She has her moments of course, and don't mistake the word good for easy in that sentence up above, because easy she hasn't been, and I'm sure that will only grow as she does. This year, more than any other year of her life, she is stretching her wings a bit and looking for some independence. The hard part as a parent is to know, what you should let them do, and what you shouldn't.

Matt and I talked earlier in the Summer, and decided that she might be ready to walk to school come fall. She has a group of friends, and our plan (if agreed by the other parents) is to let them walk as a group, on the same route each day. We would have 'safe houses' marked along their route of neighbors that we know and trust, just in case they might have a problem along the way to or from school. Since she will be walking several blocks here soon, and had never been allowed to walk farther than around our block by herself. We decided that we would let her walk the 4 blocks to my parents house from time to time.

At first, she would start walking before us, while we were on our way over.
Now, she is walking the dog over once or twice a day... asking permission before she leaves.

I walked to school every day since the 1st grade, and I walked a half a mile each day.
I did fine, and turned out fine. Others would say it's a different world we live in today, and that it's not safe.

The whole thing leaves this lingering question inside of me....
Should I shelter her, just in case something bad could happen?
Or should I teach her to be independent, and responsible, and capable, so that when she enters the real world; in not that long of time, she will be ready!

These decisions are hard.

I'm not sure if I should follow what others are doing; which seems to be playing it safe just in case... or let her fly a little bit?

What do you think?
Does the whole idea of letting an 8 year old walk a few block alone scare you? Or do you think it's a good idea to teach kids a little responsibility bite by bite, so that they are capable human beings by the time they leave the nest?

I know there are probably a lot of you out there reading this that have WAAAAYYY more knowledge and know how in this department. We've got 3 weeks until school starts, and this Mama could really use some advice! Please let me know what you think... What have you done? How do yo feel about this? Anything would be helpful!

I sure wish I would have gotten a parenting handbook when I left the hospital with my bundle of joys! :)


semmelantiques said...

I let Ashley walk to school in first grade, mostly because I had a new baby at home, but because Ashley was very independant, she loved have been taught all about stranger danger, and yes this is a different world but we can not keep them in a bubble. You are doing a great job Mandy, every child is different and only you and Matt know if she is ready or not...I suspect she is very ready. Brittany on the other hand wouldn't get a block out of my sight until she was in middle school, she never asked to walk without me....they are all so different.

Em said...

If you ever find a parenting handbook please let me know! When you hold those sweet babies in your arms you have NO IDEA how hard some decisions about their lives will be - and my eldest is only 5!! xx

Shana said...

I completely agree with needing a would make this parenting thing a whole lot easier! Alyssa is about to turn 9 and about 6 months ago I finally let her start walking/riding down the road to the other cul-de-sacs with a set of rules of course and she has done amazing. Not once has she entered someones house with out asking or forgot her helmet when bike riding. She has showed responsability and I think if she were to ask to walk the few blocks to school I would let her with a friend of course. It would be hard and I would be oh so nervous but I do believe in spreading those wings. All kids are different though and with Jillian I wouldn't feel the same way, but you and Matt already know in your heart what you feel you should do, it's just getting up the courage to let her do it. Good luck Mama in letting her spread those wings :)

Bella Rose said...

thanks guys for the encouragement... I guess I just needed to talk it out! -M

Hannah J. Holmes said...

those photos are AMAZING!

Shelley said...

I didnt let my oldest walk to school until he was 12 and even then it was with a friend and a cell phone to call me and let me know he arrived safely. Maybe I am a bit of a helicopter mommy, but my boys are my everything.