Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Letting Out the Leash

No, I'm not referring to a dog but to our children. This week I took two big steps in parenting by allowing my kids some new freedoms.

The first was at their request. I accepted an invite to a baby shower without realizing Erik would be gone this week and I'd need a sitter, and also before I knew that we would just be recovering from a highly infectious disease which would keep all potential sitters at bay. I debated bringing them to read and play games in another room, or not going, neither of which appealed to me. I was leaning toward option A and tried to get the kids on board, but Ethan said, "Can't we just stay home alone?"

Hmm . . . home alone from 6:45-8:45 pm? Granted I was only going to be about 1/2 mile away and I'd have my phone and we have friends directly across the street and they are 11 1/2 and 9 1/2. It seemed alright but I called a wise friend of mine who errs on the side of cautious to get her opinion and she encouraged me to give them the opportunity.

So I went and everything was fine. The house didn't burn down and no one came to rob it while I was gone, both wildly probable situations. Ethan did call exactly at 8:30 to see if I was leaving (I was) and insisted on waiting til I was home to go to sleep.

Tonight was big step #2. Ethan has started attending our church's youth group on Wednesday nights with 3 of his friends. So far we have taken turns as parents escorting them to the subway, down one stop to pick up one of the kids, two more stops, then a short walk to meet the bus that takes them the rest of the way. This week, the parents collectively decided to let them go alone.

Within 20 minutes of leaving them, Ethan called me and said, "The bus isn't here." Grand. Fortunately it was just a matter of the driver being a bit late. He called me 1/2 hour ago to say they were leaving and that he'd be home in an hour. (Ethan really likes using his phone).

Wow - they're growing up!


Nonna said...

If you remember, you babysat for Ty when you were 9 1/2 or 10. Granted I was just across the street, but you did a great job. I think Ethan and Megan are perfectly capable of staying by themselves for awhile. They are very responsible youth.

Gina Marie said...

Yeah, but if I did that now in the States someone would get arrested I think. :) My biggest concern really is that they will start playing together, things will get out of hand, and someone will get hurt. That happens if I leave the room for a minute sometimes! :)