Holding back the years

No I’m not about to launch into one of those woe is me I found a wrinkle posts (I haven’t – yet!). The ten year old is growing up fast, yet it seems not as fast as her friends and I don’t know whether this is a good thing or not.

It’s my fault entirely, having worked for the police and seen the delights of unruly teens first hand along with dealing with cases of missing and abused children, I’ve kept her pretty sheltered to a certain extent in terms of where she can go without me and what she can have – although that’s more down to financial reasons and my archaic views. Having lunch with one of her school friends recently made me question whether keeping her as sheltered as I have done is a good or a bad thing though.

Although the same age, this girl exuded a confidence far beyond her years whereas my daughter although confident around people she knows is very reserved around those she doesn’t to the point where she questions her own abilities. My daughters friend is allowed out in the area she lives to visit other childrens houses etc whereas I don’t even let my daughter take the bins out (outside our gated apartments and across a road) and if she goes to a friends I expect her to stay inside that friends house. On one occasion she visited a friends house who lived near a park and despite me telling her she wasn’t allowed to go without her friends mum I knew full well her friends mum wouldn’t stay with them and I felt sick the entire time she was there. I think I have to learn to trust her, she is sensible the majority of the time, but I worry she will be led astray by other kids.

As for the material side of things I am a terribly unfashionable mum and probably cause her much embarrassment. She doesn’t have a mobile phone for a start – her little mate on the other hand had one resembling a blackberry that she happily tapped away on, updating her facebook page throughout our day out. I did promise I would let the 10 year old have my old phone, a horrificlly  old fashioned little flip phone that is worth about a fiver for when she goes to her friends houses and might want to contact me, however I then worry about her being bullied for not having a more fashionable phone.

She didn’t have a DS until she was 6, despite asking for one for 2 years and her peers having them much sooner, but I was determined not to let such a young child have a computer game. In an ideal world she may have only received one for her tenth birthday, but in actual fact she got a 3DS as the DS is no longer cool or something along those lines. Her friends all have iPads and laptops. She bought herself a cheap android tablet using her birthday and Christmas money and instead of accessing her facebook account on her behalf and relaying information to her to ensure she isn’t receiving any messages she shouldn’t be, I’ve let her access it on her own, however I still have it registered under my email address and can see what she does and what is sent to her etc, so I’m gradually letting go, even just a little. (Another instance of my being rather embarrassing is she wouldn’t have been able to have a facebook profile in the first case if we hadn’t moved away from all of her friends – twice, as I’m not keen on kids having them)

I really am feeling torn between keeping my little girl as a little girl for as long as possible or encouraging her to spread her wings and gain a little more independence. What do I do?

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4 responses to “Holding back the years

  1. I think you’ll get a fair few comments here saying that being able to cross the road by herself or go out to the park to play is more appropriate for a 10 year old than having a Facebook account…

    • I agree, the facebook account was purely because we moved country three times in 2 years and she was losing friends each time so it gave her a way to keep in touch with them and share photos with them, otherwise she would never have had one (her friends “don’t do” letters apparently!). She doesn’t know the password to her account however so can’t access it without my permission.

      She can cross roads by herself, but this particular road is also a slip road off a dual carriageway so can be very busy and as I can’t see her crossing it from where I live I don’t like her being out there on her own. I’m definitely guilty of being overprotective but I’m trying to let go bit by bit.

  2. You write about all the things that I have thought about and wondered how I will be when the time comes. I want our son to have a childhood filled with the outdoors, interaction and a multitude of things that doesn’t involve all the technological distractions that exist today. Yes, my OH has told me that he will need some exposure to them as that is just society today but I’ll be damned if he turns into a boy that only wants to sit in front of a screen.

    We have close friends who have a daughter; they didn’t let her have a phone until she was 13 and even then it was a basic one. They have always discussed and explained the decisions they make to her and she is a credit to them indeed. They have always said that the independence they give her is given with explanations as to what is acceptable and what isn’t as it is built on a foundation of trust.

    • I always thought I’d be such a laid back mum, allowing my daughter all the freedom I didn’t think I had (in actual fact compared to today growing up in the 80s and 90s allowed for much more freedom as a kid than I ever thought I had) when in actual fact I probably allow her to do less than my mum allowed me to. Thinking back now I remember my mum saving for about a year to buy us a second hand computer – one of those black screened things with green writing that we absolutely cherished and I must have been about 10 then, although the likes of Gameboys etc didn’t ever feature on my Christmas or birthday list, they simply weren’t things I was interested in whereas these days children as young as 18 months are on iPads which both impresses and horrifies me at the same time. I think I probably just need to move with the times and like your husband says appreciate that things are different these days. It sounds like your friends have it nailed!

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