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Monday, May 07, 2007



I am not a hovercraft.

Some people might think so, because I do watch my children closely when we're at the park or the store.

But when we're at home I give my kids a lot of space. They're free to roam the entire house and backyard, to explore and imagine on their own without interference from me.

That's one of the reasons why I've worked so hard to make our home a safe and creative place. I've thought about this a lot lately as we re-discover our backyard after the long winter. There are several landscaping projects, started last summer, that I'm in a hurry to finish. It's a point of pride with me that I've made the kind of yard that kids want to spend time in. There's so much to fuel the imagination: sandbox, swingset, fort, garden, meandering path, lawn, fountain... lots of nooks and crannies to explore.

One of the worst things my kids can say to me is, "I'm bored." In fact, they've already learned never to say that, or even hint at it, because then they get The Lecture.

And worse, they might turn me into a hovercraft, and I think they realize it's not always a good thing for them to have their dad controlling every activity. Even at the ages of 8 and 5, my kids have discovered the high value of independence and decision-making.

Giving your kids the right amount of freedom at the appropriate age is a tricky thing. Too much too soon can spell disaster. Too little too late can cripple an adult. It's a balancing act I hope I'm getting right.


Anonymous brettdl said...

I'm sure you are. It's hard not to be a hovercraft here in Chicago. The big city really is UNSAFE.

5:24 AM  
Blogger Melany aka Supermom said...

I think you do it the right way. I too give my kids loads of freedom at home but in public my first priority is to ensure their safety

6:20 AM  
Blogger Whit said...

I'll drop the boys off in an hour.


9:10 AM  
Blogger Katrina said...

That sounds wonderful to me (especially the part about the yard--as an apartment-dweller, I can only lust after other people's beautiful fenced yards while I hover over my kids at one of the many playground around town.)

You're right; it is a balancing act, and I tend to fall a little more on the protective side of it than the freedom side. I may need to loosen up a little bit.

11:21 AM  
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4:09 PM  
Blogger Hann said...

I agree but my now almost teenagers are getting into the lazy stage, don't want to ride their bikes or walks or play games, just want to sit, so I do the lecture thing to LOL.
With little man I hover still when he plays outside, to much he can get hurt with still and eventhough our Labrador is the most peacefull dog I also won't let him alone with little man.
I think I have to sent my kids over too.

11:45 PM  
Blogger HLiza said...

Oh it must be so nice to be your kids! Did you say fountain? Wow..

12:55 AM  
Blogger MC Milker said...

Great post - I think the trickiest part of the balancing act is determining what's too soon and what's too late- it's different than when we were growing up!

5:25 AM  

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