I've been having issues with other children in our cul-de-sac who, in my eyes, bully my three kids. Whenever they play outside there seems to be an constant stream of trouble and arguing and it's gotten to a point where I have confronted the neighbours about their children's behaviour.
Looking for an alternative as I don't want to spend the summer months listening to bickering, or consoling my children after being punched or stuffed into a wheelie bin, I suggested the children play in the next village.
Technically, the next village is a 12 minute walk away from our house, but to drive, it's two miles. The area I live in was designed with stupidity and there is one road between each village, but you can easily take a short cut on foot.
I have always been a stricter, more apprehensive parent than my friends when it comes to playing out, computer games, film content etc. It's only been since we moved to this secluded cul-de-sac last year that I have let them play in the street.
All of their school friends live in the next village along, so I suggested dropping them off by car at the village green and leaving them with their mobile phones. The idea being, that they play as a group with the gang of kids that already congregate there and phone me if they need anything. I could then swoop in 6 minutes by car and assist them. Unbeknown to them, I would also do drive-bys, acting like a kerb crawler and observing them from a distance.
Let me just explain the ages of the tribe. Eldest girl is one year away from having to travel 8 miles by bus to high school unsupervised. She is responsible and trustworthy and acts more adult and parenty that I ever could. Next daughter is nine shortly, very streetwise and clever, she doesn't miss a trick at all. Then there is the boy, he is seven on Saturday. He is my concern about this new situation.
Should I leave a seven year old to play in the next village with only the supervision of his older sisters?
There is the argument that "back in the day" kids used to roam free. There wasn't a week gone by when I was a child, without me falling in a pond whilst trying to collect frog-spawn, or coming home with bits of branches stuck in my arms and legs after falling out of a tree (taking hours to remove in A and E.) But then we all know things are different these days. Our eyes have been opened to this ever increasing evil world around us.
He shouldn't be his sisters responsibility so I had set up some rules and he was told that if he breaks them even once, he stays at home in future. After the first couple of attempts at leaving them, it seemed a success. The girls were sat on the grass with their classmates, doing whatever it is than 10 year old girls do (bitch and gossip) while the boy played with on the lawn of one of his class mates.
I received about 15 phone calls to my mobile and an assortment of text messages assuring me that everything was fine by the eldest and there was one incident when younger daughter needed the toilet. OH did a drive-by and confirmed that all seemed well.
The boy mentioned that his friend's dad wanted my contact number so I popped over to have a word with his mum, in the playground today.
I walked away from her in tears. I was made to feel like the worst parent in the world
She being a teacher and her husband being a policeman, thought it was unthinkable that I leave the boy and demanded a contact number in case he had any problems. I tried to explain that the girls both had mobiles with them and could reach me at any time and in fact, for some of the time I was parked out of sight around the corner breastfeeding the baby. She said that she would never forgive herself if anything happened to him. I again, tried to explain that he wasn't her responsibility but she butted in and said that he was playing near her house for 90 minutes in the warm weather, without having access to a drink. It was early evening on the occasion she was referring to and I assured her that he had taken a picnic with him. She seemed equally disgusted that the girls were allowed to play there too.
Nothing I could say would inspire her to listen to my reasoning for allowing him to be there in the first place. She stated that he could come and play on her lawn any time but it would be the same as if he had gone to her house for tea, she would be watching him and be accountable.
Giving up with my protest of "That wasn't what I was trying to achieve...not dumping my child on your front garden," I just walked back to the car and broke the news to the kids.
That they could no longer go to the next village to play.
As you can probably guess, their disappointment is immense and they look at me with huge wide eyes, pleading until I confirm again, their worst fears are true, they are now limited to playing with each other in the back garden. That's when I get the looks of repulsion, confirming that I am indeed, the worst parent in world.
I need lots of suggestions and thoughts as I'm still in tears over an hour later?
How wrong was I to leave him? Do I allow the girls to go and make him stay behind? How would I explain that to him? Should none of them be allowed out of sight at all?
I also need to bear in mind that their primary school is a 3 mile walk, routing through this village. I am under heavy pressure to give consent to the girls for cycling to school alone each day. If I give in and let them, then surely being on foot 2 miles away, in said village, is safer?
4 days ago