— Here’s a mom in a tough spot, looking for some great ideas. When we give our kids responsibility and independence, the results are usually wonderful. But I’m not sure of exactly how to do that in this situation (young child, special needs, in hiding), other than to start out by having her girl help preparing food — a fun and immediately rewarding way to do something “grown up.” Please pitch in with more suggestions! – L
Dear Free-Range Kids: Here’s our situation. I’m a single mom of a special needs 5 year old. She requires constant supervision because she has no fear (of water, of parking lots, of fast moving vehicles/streets, of strangers, of large animals, etc.). She can’t walk to school because it’s on a very busy 65 mph highway. She can’t ride the bus because we live within five miles of the school. There is no public transportation in our area. We also live in hiding because of my abusive ex-husband. The kinds of things I’d like to know are:
For our situation….
* How does an anxious parent change their mindset?
* What are some practical tips for a parent to encourage childhood independence (besides riding the school bus or walking to school)?
* At what age might it appropriate to encourage independence in a child with Aspergers/ADHD/OCD/ODD/sensory perception issues?
Lenore here: First off, it is natural to be anxious, so please don’t beat yourself up about that. The good news is that after you let your daughter do ONE THING on her own — even just go outside to get the mail, or walk next door to play — and she comes home proud and excited, your anxiety level WILL go down. I have seen it time and again. Please let us know what you try and how it goes. Truly we are wishing you good luck!- L