My daughter is seeking more and more freedom. She wants us to trust her, to trust that she can handle what the world brings to her. It's not that I don't trust her.... I'm just not sure that she could assert herself were a dangerous situation to arise. I know it took me awhile to develop that ability.
Many parents will argue that it is not their kids that they distrust, but the neighborhood. I'm to a considerable degree sympathetic with that fear. Partly because fewer kids are outdoors playing, many neighborhoods may in fact be less safe now than then. It used to be that if anyone harassed someone outdoors, there would be many kids around, of all ages, as witnesses and deterrents. It is also the case that today, with both parents in most families away at work, there are fewer adults at home in any given neighborhood, fewer adults who could spot potential problems. People (adults as well as children) are also less likely to know their neighbors today than in the past, and that too makes neighborhoods less safe. And, of course, there are more cars on the streets than there used to be, and communities no longer feel that it is their duty to construct and maintain sidewalks, parks, and playgrounds. “No Child Left Inside”: An Example of The Wrong Way to Solve a National Problem by Peter Gray
It's not that I don't trust the world; I do...for the most part. I think that there is "good" in everyone, but, conversely, I think there is "bad" in everyone. And it is those few who act on their "bad" impulses that I don't trust. When 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by age 18, how could I?
However, I remember. I remember
thinking feeling that my parents didn't trust in my ability to handle myself in the world. This holding tight and loosening is a process, yes? And so I let go...in small ways. I let Anouk explore with my little sister at the whole earth festival. I let her go to the bathrooms with a friend at a concert in the park (different vibe and fetched them when they lingered). I let her ride bikes with her friends on the camping trip.
I listen to my intuition and encourage her to be aware and listen to hers. But somehow that is not enough. I know there's no going back now. She's hungry to experience the world on her own two feet. Soon, she'll not be satisfied by my intuition and will feel smothered by my fears.
In the next couple of years, I would like to enroll us in this empowering self-defense class, which comes highly recommended by a friend of mine. And, perhaps I should continue to examine what trust means to me. How can I develop trust in her ability to stand on her own two feet? How do I give her the skills she'll need? How do I create a safe environment in the meantime, one in which she can experience freedom?
Work outside of the school system to develop safe places for children to play. Let the legislators in your community know that they should start spending less money on schools and more money on sidewalks, parks, and police protection in areas where children can play. Urge your community to develop and maintain parks that are safe yet provide opportunities for adventure--parks that have woods to explore, trees to climb, ponds and streams to fish in. Develop and support programs that allow children to engage with the outdoors in their own playful ways, on their own time, with others of their own choosing, without adult supervision and certainly without testing. Meet with other parents in your neighborhood to talk about the problem of providing safe places and opportunities to play. Maybe you can set up a neighborhood watch, which will help assure people that the neighborhood is safe for children's play. Maybe you can find ways to take weekend trips with other families, to campgrounds or other places where the kids can play safely, with one another in new and exciting settings, while the adults ignore them and socialize among themselves in their own chosen ways. “No Child Left Inside”: An Example of The Wrong Way to Solve a National Problem by Peter Gray
I want to cut to the quick of trust. Is this enough?