Friday, 11 June 2010

Issues of trust: over protective?

Today’s post maybe a Deep and Meaningful one, or it may be a whine at the world, instead of just at Mr E – for which I’m sure he will be grateful. Let’s just see where my very random thoughts take us, shall we?  Comfy? Got a cuppa? Okay, let’s begin.

I have issues with trust.  I’m not good at trusting people. As a child my trust was at times ripped into pieces and stomped on (no violins playing here just stating facts) so I have issues.  Then I have had friend/s seemingly turn on me for no apparent reason – well it wasn't apparent to me anyway. This reinforced my trust (lack of trust, really) issues.

Oh, have I mentioned I’m  extremely fairly protective of my children?  Now those who read my post here would know I was upset about Boy Child coming home in the dark from a friends house.  So you probably worked out that I’m protective.

I have spoken to a few people who know all those involved.  They think that Boy Child probably insisted on scooting home by himself .  Yes, I understand that is probably what happened.  He can be strong willed (must take after Mr E. there, surely) but he is also 11 years old.  So in these discussions, the general consensus is that a phone call should have been made to say he is refusing the lift and is coming by himself.
What has the upshot of this dilemma been?  He hasn't be banned from going to his friends place or going to deliver the brochures but he must be home before dark.  And the next time he went there I made a point of picking him up. 

Boy Child thinks I’m completely overprotective.  He also doesn’t agree with the rule that he cannot go to anyone’s house where I haven’t at least spoken to the parents. I don't see that as over protective.  I see that as cautious.

He is allowed to walk / scoot to and from school.  Generally in the morning he goes to someone’s house and then goes with that person the rest of the way.  In the afternoon he can walk with people but I need to know who so I know which direction he is going in and he is expected home within 30 minutes.  He must not stay at anyone’s house in the afternoon unless he has organised it previously.  And it needs to be organised with the adults not just the children.

A few weeks ago, Girl Child went on a play date to a friends house.  She will be 7 in  few months and it was the first time she had ever been on a play date to a house that I had never been to.  I have known the family since last year but only as a “Hi, how are you?” kind of way.  It was all prearranged and they had my contact details.  It all went very well.  Girl Child, her play date friend and another child from who lives next door all had a great time. I did have quite a few moments of clock watching and “Wow I can’t believe I’m doing this” but not “OMG what have I done?” I was nervous and stressed but it was all okay.

So how do you organise children’s play dates?  Or who organises them?  Am I giving my children my trust issues or just cautious?  Given we are hoping for Boy Child to go to high school out of our area, I am planning on having more friend stuff to happen for him.  But is my need to talk to the other child’s parents beforehand stunting his social life?


Lucy said...

I am a meanie. No play dates until I have been to the familys home. And even then, I only allow a play date to be set up if I have also met the WHOLE family...older brothers and husbands etc. And I only get involed with arranging playdates with families I actually LIKE.

I am a meanie. But Call me over protective, I just do not want Olivia (aged 6) to become a statistic.

Madmother said...

Overprotective? Hell no. It's called being a parent. He is 11, it is his job to push the boundaries, just as it is yours to re-inforce them.

I once spoke to the boys' GP when a friend spoke to me about my being precious about my kids. His words summed it up for me:
"The difference between you and her MM, is that YOU, sadly through your life experiences, UNDERSTAND about the frailty of life. She does not and will learn the hard way. You are not an overprotective parent, you are a GOOD parent."

You too E. You too.

N'uff said...

Lisa said...

I've been told I'm mad to let my kids do (whatever), so have always considered myself an underprotective parent. But... I insist on most of what you do - parent-to-parent talking, home before dark, I need to know where and who *before* he's late home from school. I don't know how many phone calls have I received from someone's mum's mobile phone from the school pickup zone saying "can I go to X's house?". If they're going anywhere else than a specified friend's house (say the park, or visiting multiple friends), they take a phone with them, and if they *ever* not answer it when I call - they're grounded. My main rule is that I need to be able to contact them at all times.

E. said...

Thanks guys. I really do have trouble walking the line between being careful and over protective.

Lucy - I so get what you are saying. I don't think you are a meanie.

We have rules like you can have friends in your room but the door must be open at all times. Regardless of who the visitor is.

Kakka said...

As a mother of 4 adult children, I think you are being a fantastic mother. The way the world is now I think to do less is careless. Even back in the 80s and 90s when my kids were young and even as teenagers, they stuck by my rules on getting home and going out. Even then things happened that still haunt me today. So applause from me to you. xxx


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