When A Kid Doesn’t Come Home When He’s Expected…

Hi Readers! Here’s a little note from a mom of three named Nina:

Dear Free-Range Kids: First of all, thank you.  I have been increasingly Free Range over the past 4-5 years but I didn’t have a name for it until I found this website.  I am glad to know that  I am not the only mother left on the planet with common sense.

So, to my story.  We moved into a new house about six months ago.  I was explaining to my new neighbor one summer night, while the kids were playing together at the park, all about the idea of raising children Free Range.  I told her a movement had begun.  She listened but didn’t have much to say about it.  Months passed.

Then, one night, my son did not come home at the prescribed time (when the street lights come on).  I waited…and waited…then I went to his friends’ house where he was supposed to be. His friend said he had already left quite  a while ago.  I figured he’d gone to a park, so I started making the rounds.  My other two children were with the aforementioned neighbor.  I started to get somewhat nervous since my son was now about two hours late and not in  any of his usual places.  I figured his stomach would have told him it was dinner time by now, lol.   It was at this point that my neighbor commented, “So I guess this is Free Range, huh.”

Right about then I see my boy coming down the dark street on his bike, deer-in-the headlight eyes, because he knew he was late and he was terrified.  He was not lost, kidnapped, locked up by a sick lunatic, or lying injured on the road. He’d just lost track of time at a the home of a friend that he hadn’t let  me know he was playing with.  He was grounded for not telling me where he was going and not coming home when the street lights came on.

I did the same thing as him when I was a kid, but I only did it once.  I lost my freedom for a while and then I learned to follow the rules or lose the freedom.  He, apparently, has learned the same lesson because he has been showing up promptly when the street lights come on, without fail, ever since the grounding was lifted.  My neighbor, on the other hand, now feels justified in keeping her kids locked up where she can see them at all times.

Sometimes I feel that the whole world has gone mad. Then I see an update here and realize that just most of the world has gone mad.

I”m hanging on to my sanity by giving my children the freedom to explore. Thank you,


40 Responses to When A Kid Doesn’t Come Home When He’s Expected…

  1. Dayna December 18, 2009 at 6:02 am #

    My boy (12 y.o) is a frequent what-time-do-I-come-home forgetter. I usually have a few moments of panic until I remember that he’s most likely caught up in a game of Nerf Dart gun tag (oh no guns!) and hasn’t looked at his watch in hours. He gets grounded for a few days, the there’s a long period of very punctual returns. As he’s gotten older, this happens less and less.

  2. Lafe December 18, 2009 at 6:06 am #

    Great story! Thanks for sharing this. I love this because it shows that a real FRK parent can be afraid/concerned when something unexpected happens, and then address it maturely and sensibly. Just because scary things happen doesn’t mean we give in to the Special Victims Unit mindset and abandon the freedom and exploration our kids need. The boy learned something, and hopefully ended up more mature and responsible. This is what it’s all about: raising kids that experience the real world, make a few mistakes along the way, and learn from that.

    I’d answer the neighbor lady, “Yup. This is Free-ranging. It can be a bit scary, but I’d much rather have my kid living a real life than being imprisoned in his own home or shackled to his mommy to ‘protect’ him from stuff that’s very, very, very unlikely to happen.”

  3. Nicola December 18, 2009 at 6:35 am #

    My kids are guilty of that forgetting the time deal too… and you better believe they get grounded for it. Two days the first time, 5 the second… we’re only up to two and they’ve been pretty darned punctual. 😀

  4. tana December 18, 2009 at 6:47 am #

    yep, this is free range. a way of raising children that includes knowing where they should be and when they should be there. a parenting style that includes knowing your kids’ friends, and probably their parents, too. that way when your child acts like (gasp) a child and forgets to come home on time, you know who to get in touch with to find him. it’s a kind of discipline where the punishment fits the crime- you didn’t call, you didn’t come home on time, you abused your freedom, you’re grounded. restricted to home for a few days. makes you want to ask the neighbor, “what did your kids do to get permanently grounded? must have been something terrible!”

  5. Stephanie December 18, 2009 at 6:52 am #

    Great story. There’s no better way for a child to learn to be on time than to have to deal with the consequences for being late. It’s a part of teaching responsibility.

  6. bethan December 18, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    “It was at this point that my neighbor commented, “So I guess this is Free Range, huh.”

    That was unconstructive and facetious, and the neighbor would have felt like hell if some harm had come to the boy after she said such a thing to the mother. People constantly amaze me.

    I often came home late as a kid, and my dad (divorced parents) rarely noticed. When I went to live wth my mom, I came home late, and she’d be out with a flashlight looking in ditches for my dead body. Hysterics would ensue, and I’d get grounded for life (or a week, whichever ended sooner).

  7. Miki December 18, 2009 at 7:20 am #

    Thank you to Nina for sharing this story. FreeRange child rearing is NOT easy….as mother’s we are instinctually protective of our children and it can be hard to talk our common sense down. Hearing stories like these helps reinforce the idea that yes, we can trust our kids. Even when they aren’t on board with our ideas of keeping a curfew: but. hey, let’s not forget! They are still kids! Your son obviously learned a valuable life lesson!
    Thanks Lenore for connecting us all!

  8. Q December 18, 2009 at 7:36 am #

    “What did your kids do to get permanently grounded?”

    Ha! Perfect.

  9. momofboys December 18, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    “It was at this point that my neighbor commented, “So I guess this is Free Range, huh.”

    It’s this attitude that makes Free-Range parenting so difficult. The idea that it’s our fault if anything happens to them, the idea that instead of support and empathy, we will receive harsh judgment and criticism from family and friends.
    How many times do you hear someone exclaim, “Where were their parents!” after hearing of a child getting lost, hurt or abducted. When, oh when will we stop pointing fingers and judging each other and start offering support and comfort!

  10. nor-cal December 18, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    Terrific story.

    It is about time of winter solstice. Days are really short. Lets not make up an extra reason to worry about. What do you think happens in northern countries? Kids stay indoors all winter long? No, they skate, play hockey, sleigh ride and no one gets paranoid about them “being in the dark”.

  11. Lisa December 18, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    When I was 14, a friend and I used to work out regularly at the YWCA. It was located in a quite sketchy neighborhood, but somehow we persuaded our parents to let us take the bus there, provided that we left early enough that we would walk the 1/4 mile from the bus stop to the Y in the daylight. Then one of our mom’s would pick us up at night.

    For reasons I don’t quite remember, my friend’s mom arrived to pick us up early. So of course, we weren’t out front waiting. She had us paged–but we didn’t show up. Eventually, she came very close to calling the police, but for some reason decided to wait until her appointed time to pick us up.

    Thank god, because here’s what happened: my friend and I got bored with lifting weights and doing cardio, so we headed down to the pool to swim laps. Although there were speakers in the pool area, we were busy swimming laps and didn’t hear the page.

    My point is that silly things like this happen. At first, both our moms were furious (her mom had called mine). But when they realized we hadn’t really done anything wrong (we *were* at the Y, just not somewhere we would hear the unexpected page, and we did go out front at the appointed meeting time), we weren’t punished. We weren’t even banned from the going to the Y alone by bus. I appreciate that they remained reasonable with us despite a half hour of being terrified that something bad had happened.

    Seems like many of today’s parents would use this as an excuse to lock their kids in the house forever.

  12. Lisa December 18, 2009 at 8:44 am #

    I remember something similar happening to me when I was about 6 or 7. I was supposed to be playing in my next door neighbor’s yard, but when he went inside, I didn’t want to stop playing. I walked two streets over to another friend’s house without telling my mother. I sure did lose my freedom for awhile, but the fear in my mother’s eyes and voice was all I needed to know that what I did was really serious. I never did that again.

    I thought everyone did that once when they were kids. How else did they learn how important it is to be responsible?

  13. Taking a Chance on Baby December 18, 2009 at 9:18 am #

    When I started staying home by myself afterschool I was 9 or so. But the rule at the time was that I had to call my mom and let her know I was home. One day for whatever reason I forgot. She finally called ME at home (pre-cell days) and I was grounded. I didn’t forget to call after that…at least for a while.

    The mom’s neighbor is a bitch.

  14. Mae Mae December 18, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    Tana not only said it perfectly but made me laugh and provided me with a line that I will probably use with some of my neighbors.

  15. Carla December 18, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    I am glad someone said it…the mom’s neighbor is a bitch. Thank you Taking a Chance on Baby.

  16. montessorimatters December 18, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    When the mom’s boy is off to college and doing great on his own, while the neighbor’s son is mooching off his mom and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, our Free-Range mom can say: “Yes, THIS is Free-Range parenting!” with a big smirk on her face.

  17. Shaylene Haswarey December 18, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    Loved the story!!! I remember when I was 6 I went to the neighborhood park all by myself without telling my mom. When my mom found me, I was grounded for the rest of the day! I remember how long the day was. My mom said, “If you would have told me you were going to the park, I would have let you go.” I couldn’t wait until the next day. Ever since that day, I always told my mom where I was going.

    Just because we are Free Range parents, does not mean we don’t discipline our kids! I loved how you handled your child and your neighbor!

  18. Tray M. December 18, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    This is exactly how I was raised: make sure Mom knew where I was (at least the general vicinity, we played in the woods a lot); the consequences of being late were the same. Only difference was that in our house, dinner was at 6PM, be there, or there better be a good reason that Mom knows about in advance! One of my earliest “free-range” gifts was a wristwatch at about 6 years old. This was after the bike to ride around the neighborhood, of course. Another thing that is different: Mom had the phone numbers of all my friends, and vice-versa…no running around looking, just call the list. We got calls at least once a week from one of my friend’s parent looking for them. I’m sure Mom made a few, too. But after a couple of groundings, my sibs and I were pretty much on time!

  19. Kelly December 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    I too liked Tana’s response.

    This is kind of a long story, but I hope it interests any of the parents here.

    My 7 y.o. is responsible to get herself to and sometimes from her swim team and play practice. She uses a combination of walking, bussing, and bike-riding. Last week after she walked to play practice then from their bussed to swim team, the rest of the family attended the swim practice (like usual). After her swim she wanted to stay at the Y and play video games. I asked her if she was hungry and she said “no”. Usually we have dinner as a family, but this night was kind of a special night: we had just moved into our new home the night before and that evening I was going to take the kids out to see a movie while my husband helped settle us in.

    So I told my daughter to take the bus home when she was done with the Y video games and we’d go to the late movie (8:45 – homeschooling means late nights, yahoo!). I made up a dinner so I could give it to her in the car – I knew she’d be hungry by then!

    After getting home I changed my mind. I wanted to pick her up earlier than her bus would be bringing her, so we could play skee-ball at the arcade near the movie theater. So my husband stopped at the Y to tell her NOT to ride the bus, but to stay put and wait for me and her brother to pick her up. He (husband) made the mistake of talking to her WHILE she was playing the Wii, so apparently she didn’t really track the change of plan. :-) (very rare for her; she is normally very, very reliable at hearing us).

    So when I got to the Y, she wasn’t there. I looked about and very casually asked a few people if they’d seen her. Nope. I drove back towards home, checking the bus stops. Thing is, I *knew* my child and I knew she hadn’t wandered off – she was proceeding home, hopefully I’d find her soon.

    I got to the bus station at the same time as the bus did. I intercepted my child running along the sidewalk toward home (about six blocks) with the happiest gait. She saw us, smiled and got in the car and said, “I’m sorry I’m late.” She’d taken the wrong bus but course-corrected and got back to where she was supposed to be. She was TRACKING what the original plan was and was aware she was supposed to be home a bit earlier.

    Total time “wasted” on trying to find the child: 20 minutes.

    I dunno – I thought the whole thing was a huge success! No grounding necessary. She and I talked about the fact she hadn’t heard her dad’s change of plan. She also apologized for catching the wrong bus. We got to the movie on time, but we were not able to play skee-ball. And she knew that wasn’t “punishment”, it was just the Way Things Go. No big deal.

    I am definitely not criticizing a parent who would ground a child. Every child is different, and consequences depend on family circumstances, family history, discipline values, child temperament, parental temperament. I just know in the case of my daughter, I don’t have to ground her. She was not only aware she was late, she was finding her way back to me, she apologized, and she was very lucid as far as knowing how that affected our timeline.

    I’m writing this WHOLE story because I think it has a lot to do with Free Range. If anything our Free Ranging has made my kids so much more aware of their surroundings, and the way things work, and how to think about EVERYONE’S needs, not just be passively shuttled about from activity to activity. I was a bit uneasy looking around on the dark streets for my child for that few minutes, but I *know* her, and I knew she was safe (as safe as anyone can be, anyway).

    When my son is able to go out and about to the extent of riding buses alone, who knows how that will go. I look forward to the adventure!

  20. Kelly December 18, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    Oh, and I just wanted to add – two hours late is along time, Nina – or at least it would feel like it to me with my kids the ages they are. I’m sure I wouldn’t feel too mellow about it, even though I’m a happy Free Ranger. It just hasn’t happened (yet). It sounds like you handled it well.

  21. Bose December 18, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    When I was 8, I had a history of getting up before rest of the family, leaving the house without telling anybody, and coming home 2-3 hours later.

    It was such a dangerously intoxicating experience that, at 12, I started doing it every morning at 4 or 5am, for an hour or more.

    In the afternoons, I knocked on strange doors and struck up relationships with adults my parents didn’t know. They would invite me into their homes, ask personal questions, and give me money. In fact, I’d cut off the relationship if they wouldn’t give me money.

    How scary was that? Not scary at all.

    At 8, I was an odd kid who loved walking to church, especially when the family was sleeping in, so I could make the 8-block journey solo.

    At 12, got a morning paper route. After school, I made the rounds collecting subscription fees and trying to sign up new customers.

    I got in hot water once in a while, with the parents, customers, and school, for oversleeping, being late for supper, or tardy for school. Those were all well-earned lessons, though, about setting up schedules, following through on them, and communicating appropriately when things didn’t go as planned.

  22. Lola December 18, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    Great story! The last time my eldest slipped away without checking with me first, was when school let out. It was crowded and she could be anywhere. So I got a couple of friends to help look for her, while her three younger siblings waited for us in the playground (we were running late for the dentist). When I finally found her, I made her apologize to everyone involved for the scare she gave them (personally, I wasn’t really worried, just pissed off for being late). She hasn’t repeated the feat (yet).

  23. urthlvr December 18, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    When I was a kid, our family lived in a small developed area with 10-12 acre lots. This area was boarded on all sides by BLM land and Indian land. In northern New Mexico this land was arroyos, canyons and short juniper and pinion trees. I would spend hours on our horse riding around (we knew where the gates were) and exploring. Plenty of opportunity for the horse to break a leg, me or the horse to get bit by a rattle snake/scorpion or me to fall to my death. I had to be home by supper time. Amazingly enough, the times I was late and got into trouble was when I was down the road playing with a neighbor kid who was from Brooklyn. (Those troublesome Yanks 😉 )

    The lessons from then kept me out of trouble in high school-I always called my mom to let her know when I was running late and would not be home by my curfew.

  24. Danielle December 18, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    Two hours must have felt like an eternity! I admire your restraint in not smacking your smug neighbor! Keep up the good parenting work!

  25. Vince L December 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    Interesting that something like this happened just yesterday with our 11yr old.

    Normally she takes the school bus home and calls either my wife or I when she gets in. Well, my wife happened to be home (she is a teacher and her school was already out) and the bus came and went. No child.

    We mark, or should mark, all activities on our family calendar. It helps us keep track of each other. Nothing was on that calendar for that day. She should have been home.

    So my wife calls the school. No, our daughter did not sign up for any after school programs. My wife starts visiting friends who normally take her bus. Child 1 didn’t take the bus home that day. Child 2, according to older sister who answered the door, was on the wrong bus and heading back to school to be picked up. Apparently the buses had parked in a different order and she, and probably our daughter, got on the worng bus.

    My wife calls the school to call the bus company. No kids on any of the buses. All misloaded kids have been taken back to school and gone. Now my wife starts to panic. I told her our daughter knows our address and our numbers and will call AND that the police probably would not do anything immediate.

    I called a few friends of hers. No one has seen her. My wife is driving the neighborhood and the bus route. Nothing.

    Then, about 40 minutes into all of this the school calls back. Our daughter is on an after school activity list, the secretary just overlooked her name. Our daughter was also in an area that hearing an overhead page would be nearly impossible under normal circumstances. It was impossible since they were listening to a sound track for the next seasons musical.

    Our daughter forgot to tag the calendar.

    When we did finally meet up there was no anger just explainations and concerns. Our daughter apologized for the oversite. No grounding just reinforcement of rules: mark the calendar, call home if plans change, carry your cell phone.

    Another exciting day in a FRK parent.

  26. LoopyLoo December 18, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    “That was unconstructive and facetious, and the neighbor would have felt like hell if some harm had come to the boy after she said such a thing to the mother.”

    Unfortunately it’s more likely she would have felt smug and justified and self-righteous about the horrible mother who let her child out of her sight. I’m always amazed when I read stories about murdered or abducted children and the comments are full of people blaming the parents. Hell, people are STILL blaming Jaycee’s father for her abduction and he was *right there*!

  27. Into The Wild! December 19, 2009 at 2:26 am #

    As a FRK parent, we have very few, but VERY specific rules in our house:

    1. Always let a family member know your schedule, either verbally or on the family calendar (via Google Calendar).

    2. If your schedule changes, call/text/email one of us.

    3. Make sure you never leave the house without your cell, money, house key and ID.

    4. Never be afraid to call if you get yourself into a situation that you can’t handle (i.e., wrong place, wrong people, arrested, etc.)

    5. If you make a mess, you WILL clean it up.

    6. And never, under any circumstances, leave food or dirty dishes in your room.

    No. 6 is just my pet peeve, carried with me since childhood. My older sister was notorious for eating in her room, and leaving the old dishes and leftovers under her bed (ew!). I had the common wall with hers. Once, after several weeks of her habit I found many crawlly critters in my closet (again, ew!). Mom was also on the hunt for missing tableware, so she went to sis’s room and found the invasion in full swing, along with 6 complete place settings AND last year’s Xmas candy (don’t ask). Dad hit the roof, and she was grounded from eating anywhere except at the kitchen table FOREVER. So, needless to say, it’s a non-negotiable rule in my house.

  28. Laura December 19, 2009 at 3:56 am #

    “Into The Wild,” we have almost the EXACT same rules in my family — right down to #6, and for the exact same reason. I also had a slovenly sibling whose bad habits resulted in a mouse infestation in MY room, not his. Consequently I don’t allow eating in the bedrooms of our apartment.

    My daughter has broken it once and only once. Once when I was not there, she took some cookies and milk into her room. I got home earlier than expected, so she was trapped in the room with the dishes. Which would have been okay…except she had spilled some milk. She decided to leave the dishes and the spill in there until I was no longer paying attention. She forgot.

    Weeks later I found the milk, now dried and cracked and caked to her desk. I was NOT HAPPY. She has not done it ever since.

    Free Range Kids: They Can Be Taught!

  29. Paul December 19, 2009 at 4:21 am #

    I’m glad that other mother was able to learn a lesson and benefit from your folly, so she could spare her own kids the horror of taking responsibility and the life lessons of decision making!

  30. Sandra December 19, 2009 at 4:45 am #

    Even though it was not called FRK then, my parents brought me up this way. And one day, I had to teach them to leave me a note when they left the house so I would know where they were. Same thing reverse. It showed me just how important it is and we – even now – always leave notes. Children AND adults.

  31. Marion December 19, 2009 at 5:29 am #

    Do you sometimes get the feeling over-protective parents HOPE something bad will happen, in order to justify their own behavior? How exhausting it must be for them to be in a constant state of vigilance and near-panic.

    Good story. Kids come home late; that is part of growing up. They also learn the consequences of their behavior.

  32. Michele December 19, 2009 at 7:11 am #

    Wow. Nina sure had/has more calm than I would have in that situation (free-range in progress, here).

    Over the summer, I let my 9 year old daughter bike to the neighborhood playground with her friend, about 1/4 mile away or so.

    When she did not return at said time, I got on my bike and headed down. As I turned the corner, my first view was of my daughter’s bike lying in the grass with not a kid to be seen. Panic did set in.

    As I crested the berm, I see her and her friend, lying on their backs in the grass staring up at the sky blissfully. Without them seeing me, I quickly and quietly made a u-turn and high tailed it out of there before being seen:)

    Caution: free-range in progress.

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  34. Tracey R December 20, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    @Lafe “I’d answer the neighbor lady, “Yup. This is Free-ranging. It can be a bit scary, but I’d much rather have my kid living a real life than being imprisoned in his own home or shackled to his mommy to ‘protect’ him from stuff that’s very, very, very unlikely to happen.””

    and “What did your kid do to get permanently grounded?”

    Great stuff!

  35. Virginia December 20, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    My 13-year-old son went out with some friends this afternoon to “hang out,” intending to go to the park “or something.” This is the first time he’s gone out with neither an adult nor a specific destination. I told him to bring his cell phone and call if he wasn’t going to be home by 4:30. I admit to feeling some anxiety about this, but I also know I’ve got to let him out on his own sometime! It’ll be interesting to see if he shows up or calls on time. I kind of expect him to be a little late, but I think I can count on him to be home at a reasonable hour.

  36. Renee December 20, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    Loved the “permanently grounded” remark. The neighbor-mom’s remark was uncalled-for, and I would have gone out of my way to tell her so. I don’t care what your opinion is of parenting styles – when a kid is missing (even for a short while) the last thing you do is criticize parenting: you get out there and help her find the kid.

    I’ve put up with people rolling their eyes, expressing their opinion that my daughter was at serious risk when she took the BART, flew by herself, rode the bus, or hung out downtown (our small town has a great, family-friendly area, where local parents have no reservations about letting teens go by themselves). Thankfully, I’ve only ever had one moment’s anxiety, and it was my own darn fault for mis-remembering my daughter’s school schedule (she wasn’t responding for more than an hour to my calls). Sooner or later I know there’ll be more. I don’t even want to think about having one like some I gave MY mom! The time I missed the bus back from my boyfriend’s, and got stuck in a rather seedy part of downtown after dark comes to mind. I caught it that time! Or how about the time I wheedled until she let me take the Grayhound bus to see my grandparents – 500 miles away. That’s how we learned that a lot of – characters – take the Grayhound. I wouldn’t have traded either of those experiences. I had to work things out, and at the end of the day, had some good times even though I was also scared.

    If not for those, I might have missed out massively just after senior year, when I was part of a student tour to what was then the Soviet Union. I’d forgotten my passport, and got re-routed to Washington DC by myself, to wait for it to catch up with me. Another student tour would arrive the next day, and I’d stay with them until I got the passport, and then rejoin my group. Three days in DC – where I didn’t know a soul, followed by two experiences getting lost in a country where I barely spoke the language. If I hadn’t learned to manage myself in a crisis, I don’t know that I would have had the courage to get myself INTO those fixes, let alone out again. And both of THOSE experiences were truly priceless.

  37. Elizabeth December 22, 2009 at 3:06 am #

    I love this story. I wish more people would remember that part of freedom is the freedom to make mistakes. This boy is going to learn from his instead of wondering why mom and dad have arbitrary rules. Well done.

  38. railmeat December 23, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    Renee nailed it. Getting into a bit of a jam, and then figuring out how to get un-jammed is a critical life lesson that can ONLY come from experience . . . . and that experience cannot be stage managed by a ‘rent.

    It’s also scary as hell when, as a parent, you are a party to one of these experiences, but can’t do much other than trust your kid. Thankfully, we usually learn about what happened, *after* the experience concludes w/o anything awful happening.

    I think that most of the parents out there who have their children permanently grounded, aren’t behaving this way out of concern for their children’s safety – but out of the misplaced need to not feel any kind of anxiety as their kids begin to experience life w/o the tether.

    This also explains the insufferable condescension displayed by folks like the original poster’s neighbor.

  39. Kim January 14, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    All of my children have done the same thing…had us worried…and we handled it the same way. Only happens once or twice and then they get the idea that they have to tell us when they “switch” friend’s houses so that we know where they are. I will admit that it is embarrassing having to ask around and surely have all the other parents convinced that indeed we are bad parents since we don’t know where our kid is but theirs is safe in their little bubble-wrapped haze…

  40. kim June 17, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    me and my new husband allow my step kids to be Free range, they are 7 & 8, they know when they leave the house they are to tell us where they are going and check in if they go else where. They are given a check in time, usually three hours from the time they leave, to come in for lunch or dinner. Lately we have been having major isdues with them coming in on time. I gave them a watch and even set it several minutes ahead. At their mothers and grandmothers they can do as they please and we fight on our days to get them back to civil children. We’ve begun taking a penny per minute off their allowance and after a half hour late they are grounded for the day. I was stricter with my kids, but have to ease into making these guys responsible, accountable kids as most their lives they’ve been spoiled brats. Its tough raising good kids when the other house doesnt care.