Readers — Here’s an email exchange from my mailbox. My comments are in red:
Hi Lenore! Happy Wednesday I hope you are having a good one.
I am writing to you from northern Alberta, Canada with a question I am really just hoping to get your advice on.
I have a 9 (going-on-19) year old, very smart, free range daughter. One of her friend’s mother asked me if my daughter could go camping with them this weekend and I so want to say yes but I am really struggling with this one. The two girls have gone to the same school since kindergarten although they have only been visiting each other at home this year. Each have slept over at the other’s house a couple of times and it has gone well. But a weekend away – only 40 minutes from our home with cell service – seems different considering I do not know these parents well at all in fact I have met the husband once and my husband has only met the mom. So I asked myself “What would Lenore Do?” and I would really like to know! Thank you for all you do!
Have a great day — Tamara
hi tamara! the only thing i’d worry about — because it’s what i always worry about — is the driver. but 40 minutes? that’s like carpooling to soccer. of course the decision is totally up to you, but once i taught my kids the 3 r’s:
recognize, resist and report abuse (i outline them here)
i’d feel happy my kid was going to have this cool experience.
but, again, it is up to you!
let me know how it goes! – L.
dear lenore: yes, the driver thing I worry about too and don’t have any real way of knowing she is a safe driver. the 40 minutes away too I agree is nothing! but….apparently there is no cell phone service where they will be and how does a 9 year old, even knowing the 3 r’s – get away from a situation it’s necessary to get away from without being able to call home or leave the campground? I know it’s unlikely, I know it is probably my fear (what IF I am wrong?) that I need to overcome. Do I just need to trust that it is extremely unlikely they are bad people and let her go? We are still undecided but I must decide by tonight! I will let you know how it goes…
thanks for taking the time to chat. – tamara
LATER THAT SAME DAY!
Hi Lenore – a quick update.
We have decided to let her go on the camping trip. She is so excited and let me tell you, I get the feeling everyone involved was surprised that we said yes – my daughter especially – and even her friend’s mother I believe was shocked I actually said yes. I kept repeating what I learned on Free Range Kids – honestly, you have helped shape my current beliefs in no small way – I truly struggled with this decision and I almost took the easy way out. I decided I would not be setting a very good Free Range example if I said no and that it was time to stand up and walk the walk: do the hard thing in order to make a positive change. And I do believe she will be just fine and have a blast!
hey tamara — can i print this exchange on my blog? it’s very cool you are facing your fears. i have a feeling i know exactly how you will feel once your daughter goes off.
Wow, absolutely! I would be pleased to have you print whatever you would like of our exchange. I am now actually excited for my daughter to go and will definitely let you know how well it went. Ironically – or I suppose as it should – this experience has really made me feel “Free.”
yep. that’s what i thought you’d feel. no one expects it and everyone does.
P.S. Readers, one of my many sidelines is actually making Free-Range Kids housecalls to parents who’d like a little help (or push?) letting go. Here’s my housecall site. If you know of anyone who might want my services, spread it around!