Mom who let 9-year-old ride subway alone: Let's Stop Scaring Our Kids

Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 04:35 pm
Is It Just Me?: Let's Stop Scaring Our Kids
Vilified for letting her nine-year-old ride the New York City subway alone, our author implores: let's stop scaring our kids.

It's 7:35 on the Today show-the time reserved for big, national stories. (George Clooney isn't scheduled till later.) Ann Curry is speaking directly to the camera, her face friendly but concerned because her next guest just may be insane. "So," she asks her six million viewers, "is she an enlightened mom or a really bad one?"

The shot widens to reveal … me.

My son, Izzy, is by my side, stuffed with NBC's free cookies, both of us here because I'd recently left him, deliberately, in the first-floor handbag department of the Manhattan Bloomingdale's.

Somehow the idea that a kid could navigate the city on his own, and that a mom would let him, was big news. Huge!
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 05:20 pm
@Robert Gentel,
going to school meant taking a 30 minute ferry ride across the elbe river .
my mother took me to school the first day ; on the second day there were already two or three other kids going to the same school ... and mother could stay at home .
perhaps times were more innocent . never heard that any of my friends were molested . i guess times wre really a bit more innocent - but we also looked out for each other - no earbud to listen to "whatever" , no cellphone . we talked - and sometimes fought - with our friends .

Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 05:32 pm
@Robert Gentel,
We had a big .... ahemmmmm..... conversation..... yeah..... a conversation..... about this a while back.

People had very mixed feelings.

Personally I agree with the "free range child" method but I note that I am the only parent of a second grader who allows their child to meet them on the school lawn instead of in the hallway. Seriously. I trust him to walk out the door and across a quarter block of lawn all by himself and nobody else does.
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 05:40 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'll just skip reading that. One of the first things my bro in law taught my niece - seven, eight? to me then way young - I had a tough time absorbing it at first - was to navigate by bicycle, to camp (talk about whine), to maneuver through many kinds of neighborhoods. He's white, she's described as black.

He might have endangered her but she's thrived, even given his madness re instruction (he was peace corps) and her interest combined with resentment, a complex thing I understand. She's approaching 21, can get around a major city - probably by foot - and much else with ease.

Meantime she despises museums. Oh, well.

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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 05:46 pm
same here. first day my mom walked me. then (since age of 6), i navigated the city alone. including going to theatre and horseback riding classes across town, switching buses. kids are not idiots.
i don't think world was any less innocent, ever. there was just lot less scandalizing media around.
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 05:51 pm
To boomer, even to me, a petunia in some ways, that is sillyness. Probably lawsuit fear related.
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 05:53 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I am inclined to agree with her. Kids need to learn this stuff. Parents, tuned in parents, can tell when their kids are ready.
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Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 06:37 pm
almost universally we baby our kids, we refuse to allow them to experience the world and learn how to do things for themselves. Those who will not parent as the majority decree are looked down upon as bad parents.
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Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 10:54 am
When my kids misbehave in the car, I always tell them I am going to stop, let them out and they have to walk the rest of the way to school, grandma's house where ever the h*ll they are going. My youngest cries and says we will get stolen.

Wimpy kids.
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Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 10:57 am
Although I do that - my school has a policy where you have to pick up your child. In part, it is a private school and besides two families - I don't believe any are within walking distance.

I told my husband that it will be nice (when/if we move) as the children could walk to school with their friends - like I remember doing. He was horrified. What walk with their friends - its not safe. I'm thinking a couple of blocks with a group of friends, what's wrong with that?
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