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Anonymous
Anonymous asks:
Q:

Should we confront our friends who let their pre-teen children roam streets alone?

A couple we know, love and respect (close family friends for years) allows their 11-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy to walk many blocks in their neighborhood alone, including in the evening. They have been allowing their children to do this for several years, whether they are going to school, the store, friends' houses or grandma's house.

There haven't been any issues, but, we and many of our mutual friends think they may be unnecessarily risking their children's safety. When we initially responded in surprise or disbelief that they allowed this, they shrugged us off as paranoid. Their perspective is that abduction is rare, and done most often by people the children know, not by random strangers on the street. They feel they are teaching their children 'street smarts', independence and responsibility. And they reference the 'village' approach of the mother's homeland, as well as the father's own childhood being able to roam free in the same neighborhood his children now roam in.

I would hate for something terrible to happen to these kids (we love them dearly), and I am wondering if I should confront their parents more strongly and continually until they stop allowing this -- at least until the children at in high school? What do you think? Would that be inappropriately meddling into other people's parenting? Am I being paranoid or over-reacting? I appreciate any insights you can share. Thanks!  
In Topics: Outside the classroom, Parenting / Our Family, Talking about strangers
> 60 days ago

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ASimon
ASimon writes:
Hi Anonymous,
   It's great that you and your mutual friends are taking a genuinely concerned attitude towards your own and others parenting, and I can definitely see your point against taking unnecessary risks. I think many factors come into play here which really make it difficult for myself and others to properly assess the situation such as the neighborhood, city, crime rate, distance, etc. though even in the safest of cities, accidents and crime is still inevitable.

Communication is key in this situation, as while you definitely do have a valid concern over your friend's children/parenting method, respecting your friends' opinion and choices is important as well.

My recommendation would be to talk to these other parents directly but politely and respectfully, taking care to address WHY you are concerned and that you care deeply for the safety of their children in a manner that is not accusatory (else, you might simply make matters worse and damage your relationship with the said family). Having statistics and data supporting your argument (child abduction rates, accident rates in the area) always helps.

Unless these parents are being grossly negligent (in which case you can seek professional help)  be careful with over badgering them, as people tend to get defensive and will be less likely to take advice.

Most importantly, don't consider this a zero-sum situation! Compromise is your greatest ally here, so always consider ways these children can still be "independent" while being safer (different routes, no walking after dark, cell phones)
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Hello,
I don't think you are being paranoid or overreacting. Let's face it, in today's time we are more informed about issues on abduction and there is a reason for this. And it is not to live in fear, but to make better choices about one's life. I think your concern is an indicator that you are a true friend. One thing I would try, is ask your friend (maybe the mom) for an outing to lunch and do a bit of shopping one day. You may want to try asking her what she thinks about it first. Try to first understand her position on it and then explain why you feel it could be a safety issue and you care for the family. I would not try to use fear tactics or buy her a book on child abductions. This may very well make her mad. I think you coming from a non-threatening/caring position may make her think about it more than anything. Since the kids have been doing this awhile, it may be an issue trying to change it now. Also, educating the children is another way to insure their safety. At night, they should wear reflectors, have flashlights, carry a cell phone, etc. Teach them about "if this happens"... The children should never be prompted to get in a car with a pet in it, candy, etc.
Good Luck :)
> 60 days ago

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New'New
New'New , Student writes:
I agree with Loddie1 what ever is going on in there house is them, even though you might be concered let it go there parents too! I mean just make sure your kids are safe and if there is some left over than help them maybe try and talk to the kids, if you are so concered make sure that they know what to do when a stranger comes up to them or anthing happens. You are a great person for caring so much! I really admire you for that but maybe the children arevery reponsible for there age that is why they are allowing them. Remember, everything happens for a reason.
> 60 days ago

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