Kids Safe Week: The Right Way to Use 911
I just hopped off my commuter train after having a serious discussion with my girlfriends. At what age do you feel comfortable letting your tween roam free in a mall, movie theater, or walk to the local salad shop by themselves? For my husband and myself, our comfort level is still a bit shaky when it comes to dropping our daughter off at the mall with her best friends. Perhaps it's because I grew up in Brooklyn and at the tender age of 15, had my wallet stolen right out of my bag (with over 100 dollars in cash that was lifted along with it).
We do allow our child to walk to the bus stop which is a few blocks from our home. Plus, I recently let her walk with her friend to the local sandwich and salad shop. But for me, I currently draw the line at the mall and the movies. As a parent, it's just as easy to take your child to the mall or the movies and give them some independence while you're just a few hundred yards away. I've already done that in both places and have to say, this past weekend, I got to see "Water for Elephants" all by myself while my daughter and her friend saw "Soul Surfer." For me, it was the best of both worlds. And for my daughter, she and her friend got to see the movie they wanted and had a ride home immediately following the film. A compromise that worked out for both of us.
I know it's important to allow tweens to assert their independence. And believe me, I am getting there. It might be baby steps for some and others - especially those who live in the city may think I'm over protective - but for me, it's about safety and trust. Plus, I happen to enjoy taking my daughter to the mall where we can spend some one on one time and talk about the issues she's facing at school and with her friends. The mall is not a babysitter and at 12 years old, a young girl can act mature and responsible or do something completely irresponsible - like throw pretzels over a railing while unsuspecting shoppers are pelted as they walk by. This scene was witnessed by my daughter and myself and I warned her if she ever did something like that, she wouldn't be seeing the inside of a mall for a very long time.