Readers! This mom needs some great ideas in how to deal with friends, neighbors — and PASTOR — who equate “Free-Range” with NEGLECT. Let’s give her some strategies! — Lenore
Dear Free-Range Kids: My nine-year-old, eight-year-old and five-year-old have been walking to school alone for a couple of months now. The walk is about thirty minutes child pace, fifteen if you’re adult. We built this trip up slowly we me walking them most of the way, then half etc.
I promote independence in my children, they can all cook, peel and chop veg, do laundry etc. They are not slaves, they enjoy being able to do things for themselves and each other.
I run a playgroup at my church in the UK and the other day my pastor sat me down and said that people have been expressing a lot of concern about my kids walking to school alone. He implied that I must not be coping as a parent and used the words “social services” about fifty times during the conversation. I am soooo angry. He is basically emotionally blackmailing me and saying that if I continue to let my kids walk to school alone then someone is going to report me. How very Christian.
I am coping just fine and I made this decision with my children. I’m just so angry that I’m being told that I can’t raise my kids how I see fit. Especially as we are a very tight family who spend loads of quality time together and the people complaining think it’s fine to let the Internet raise their kids. I’m so mad and I don’t know how to proceed. I don’t want to be bullied in to changing the way I raise my family, but I don’t want to be reported for neglect either. I’m a damn good mom. Help!!