Coddled Kids??

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Isobel - posted on 03/19/2012

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For starters...I am a whopping 37 WHOO big age difference there.I have a REAL question for you though Sherri: when you say you are waiting "until they are old enough" to make a decision for themself, my question is WHEN will they be old enough to make ANY decision if they are not capable of turning a corner by the age of 15?

Karla - posted on 03/24/2012

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Sherri,



My kids are not allowed off our street without an adult even my 15 & 13yr old.



In just 3 years your 15 y.o. will be an adult. Are you sure you don't want to gradually allow your kids some independence so it won't be thrust upon them all at once?

Jodi - posted on 03/24/2012

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"You consider it coddling I consider it common sense. It isn't that different then how it was when I was a kid and I am pretty sure I am older than you are."



It's very different to when I was a kid, and I am pretty sure I am older than you. I was walking home from school without an adult when I was 7. I'm not quite sure what our ages have to do with anything :\ We were just raised very differently, which I imagine, gives us a different view on whether we end up coddling our own children or not.



If you read research, children who are given opportunities to make their own choices (and sometimes those choices will be bad) and experience the effects of those choices, learn to make better choices with time. This is why we need to allow our children to take risks (calculated risks), so that they are faced with being able to learn how to make good choices. Children who aren't allowed those opportunities (as in, not ALLOWED to go on a public bus at 15) don't tend to fare too well once they are adults and unleashed on the world because generally, the older they get, the greater the impact a bad choice has on them. And if they have not yet had the opportunities to make some choices in these matters for themselves, it is much more likely that they will make some bad choices that they otherwise wouldn't have made.



I don't know if I made any sense there. It's hard to summarise it into something brief when there are entire books out there on the topic.

Jodi - posted on 03/19/2012

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My 14 1/2 year old has flown alone interstate (not as an unaccompanied minor....), catches buses on his own all the time, goes to the movies alone. He'll be allowed behind the wheel of a car in 15 months. If I can't trust him to do these things alone, why would I want him driving a car?

Isobel - posted on 03/19/2012

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call it what you want...but that's half of what this article is about. It is absolutely absurd to think that a 13 year old isn't capable of going around the corner. I was walking to school two blocks from home in grade one...



Do you really want your kids to grow up thinking that the entire world is there to try to kidnap them? Or that you can't trust them to walk around the corner without becoming addicted to crack?



What exactly is the motivation in keeping your kids within your line of sight OTHER than to make yourself feel better?

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Jodi - posted on 03/26/2012

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Whether you've worked out how to go on public transport or not is beside the point. That is only one aspect of the entire concept of coddled children. I really think people are missing the point with all this talk of "I never used public transport before but I worked out how to do it". It's the "not allowed to" thing that is the point (whether it is public transport, walking, going to the mall, the cinema, a date, anything without adult supervision). THAT is what limits a child being able to experience making choices for themselves, which in turn, inhibits that child's emotional growth.

Christina - posted on 03/26/2012

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i have been told by a family counsler i dont coddle my kids enough. i refuse to. they need to know what the real world is like. and the real world does not consist of everyone coddling them

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/26/2012

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Well I can say that I can pretty much guarentee my husband was coddled! Each day that passes, makes it more and more apparent to me.



I have to fight all of his issues. Good thing I don't mind asking questions, since if he had to , he would just accept whatever was given to him. Even if he didn't like it. UGH Something, I do not understand. He is getting better though.



I have had to teach him how to cook. He cleans on his own fine but I do need to teach him tricks there too, at times.



If he had to make his own appts, he would probably never make any. When I met him, he hadn't been to the doctor in 8 years! He only went to the Dentist when he "had" to, due to a tooth ache. Now he see's the doctor anytime he has a reason to and he goes to the Dentist every 4-6 months. He had never been to the Optometrist since a young kid. I have gotten him to go twice in the past 6 years.



He calls me to ask how to do pretty much everything.



Now, he wasn't coddled to where his Mom watched his every move. She just never made him learn to cook, do laundry, make appts, etc.. You know the planning and home life part of things.



He had only lived on his own for 3 years before we met. He was 26 or so when he actually left home.



Sometimes, I think I am raising a 36 year old! LOL He is the sweetest, generous, kindest, loving, hottest man around though. I wouldn't change him for anything. He just needs to grow some more balls and take control, sometimes. ;)



All I can say is I am very thankful he wants to try and is willing to ask in order to help me and the family. He definitely helps and asks what he can help with for everything. He is an awesome Daddy but he was definitely coddled! haha

Jodi - posted on 03/26/2012

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It sounds like your schools, Sherri, in their endeavour to keep children safe because you live in such a litigious society, are also enabling the parents in coddling their children :O



Laura ♥♥♥, I think there is a difference between not having a need to and not allowing your children to do something because you fear the consequences. The latter is coddling. I, too, never had need to catch a public bus. I lived in a very small country town when I was young, we didn't HAVE a public transport service. I got around on my horse. But I did use the trains and trams when I lived in Melbourne as a young adult and was well able to use them. The point is, however, that "coddling" your children stifles the development of critical thinking and calculated risk taking. Instead, they (in general) take less calculated risks, and this is where the problem lays.



Besides, I think we need to remember the personal anecdote thing. My mother carried me in her lap home from the hospital when I was born, because that was the way it was done back then. I turned out ok too. I know people who were spanked as children, they turned out ok. I am pretty sure I probably was spanked once or twice (although I can't remember). I turned out ok. Doesn't necessarily mean any of that is a good idea.

Isobel - posted on 03/26/2012

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against the law for a 6th grader to walk to school...that's a fucked up town you got there.

Sally - posted on 03/26/2012

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Jodi, you said it very eloquently. I am always amazed at the differences in generations. Some good, some bad. I'm not about putting down the generations that have come after me because quite frankly, I had a hand in molding them. these are my children and grandchildren I'd be judging. I can however see unhealthy patterns. With each generation it appears they get lazier by the minute, their manners are nothing to be desired [can't really say that about my Grandkids] and their education has slipped down the toilet. Kids are definitely coddled more. Parents are trying to do "better" for their kids. Give them the things they didn't have and instead are giving them everything and they don't have to work for it. I laugh when I hear parents say they can't drop them off somewhere and let them walk. Well you've heard older people say, we walked 10 miles up hill, both ways, in knee deep snow in rubber boots!! Ya, been there done that. I'm not suggesting that we go back to that but making a kid walk 15-20 minutes to school shouldn't be an issue.



Before I hit my teens we were making the dinners, doing the laundry, had baking days, and town days, and if something should happen to our folks, we could run the household and the farm without a hitch. Kids today, wouldn't have a clue. Again, not suggesting we go back to those days but it sure does instill proper work ethics and an appreciation for what you have and what you aim to work for.

Merry - posted on 03/26/2012

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To this day I don't think I've ever ridden on a public bus....I've never taken a taxi except for twice as an adult.

I wasn't exposed to these things because my family never used them. We drove anywhere we needed to go unless we walked or rode bikes.

I managed to find the taxi service online, called in, set up the time for the taxi to come and got to my meeting on time with a baby in tow.

I had never done this before and never been taught. And I did fine.

I simply never needed to do it before! And haven't needed to since!

Never ridden on a public bus, never had to.

But I'm sure my common sense would be fine if I somehow needed to take a bus.

Isobel - posted on 03/25/2012

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would you consider dropping them off within walking distance to school instead of driving them straight to the door? (like maybe a few blocks)?

Mrs. - posted on 03/25/2012

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Try teaching a bunch of teen and twenty-something actors (already entitled to the tits because they are actors) when all they have ever heard is praise and applause...it makes it so hard to teach them anything. I taught a couple workshops for a big company and they took me aside beforehand, told me not to critique anything and just make sure they all have fun. There were pro and semi-pro performers who are paying big money to "learn" how to be better at auditions. I always feel a bit lost at that point — you become a babysitter to people who are no longer babies.



When I have worked at other places or run my own workshops and critiqued the same age range of performers, they always have the most wounded look in their eyes for the tiniest bit of constructive comment. I really feel for them, no one ever taught them that when you identify things that need work — you can improve your performance. I really do feel it is a result of parents who are afraid to have their kids be mad at them and school age teachers who have had to try to teach without critique due to the hypersensitivity of the community/anxious parents.



You know, when I was young, I was a competitive swimmer and those coaches rode your ass until you performed to the best of your ability. I still remember them screaming out to a bunch of 6 year olds, "Swim to the wall or don't swim at all!!!!" I swear, to this day, when I'm going through a rough time, I still get that slogan running through my mind. It shaped my work ethic in a positive way.



I really want to avoid making my child unable to perform anything to the best of her ability because she can't take critiques. At the same time, I do not want to be some crazy uber critical mom. There has to be a middle ground. I'm hoping I'll do my best with it and I'm also hoping others are doing the same.

Aleks - posted on 03/25/2012

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Nope Jodi, you said it very well... :-)



By not being allowed to be out on their own, kids are not allowed to really make decisions or "think for themselves". This is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced just like anything else, over time until it is honed in and perfected for that individual - this normally takes years. And it was kind of what I was trying to allude to with my previous post about letting kids be able to go and even if there is "nowhere to go", as Sherri put it. But for most kids walking around their neighborhood has nothing to do with (well, not necessarily) getting from A to B. I think also this is where Sherri missed my point, looking at her answer back to me.



I know a woman who was not allowed to walk to school on her own until way into high school (she was mostly driven I believe, speaking from memory). She then in the same conversation admitted to me that she, for a very long time, as a youth (late teens to early/mid 20s) was frequently scared walking around on her own and basically had no to little confidence in going places on her own!!!!! I cannot imgaine that! I was 14 when I hopped the bus to travel 2000km to be away for a week or two for a summer holiday and then hopped on the bus to come home the same distance! And she was scared to walk around on the street!

Johnny - posted on 03/24/2012

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Okay, the no friends in the car thing makes sense to me. We have the same law here because when you first get your license you have to follow special rules as a "new driver".

Karla - posted on 03/24/2012

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Sherri,



Sorry, I wrote that before reading the whole thread.



I know I grew up in a rural area, and we now live in a rural area, but the roads do have a shoulder on which to walk or ride a bike if necessary. My kids did ride their bikes 6 miles to the village, but I was nervous as hell - it was my husband who encouraged me to let them go. They were 12 and 15 at the time.



My daughters are runners, so they are always running the roads - they know to get off the pavement when cars are coming. I much prefer them to run with a partner though. This is during their High School years.

Johnny - posted on 03/24/2012

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Sherri, when your kids are old enough to start driving, will they be allowed to go out on their own to the mall or to a school event?

[deleted account]

congrats MeMe! :D i bet she was excited. i never got out of the house until i started dating people with cars, which was around 16 or 17. we lived in a huge house out in the middle of 90 acres of forest, 8miles away from town. the closest neighbor was a mile up the road and there were no other kids. i was allowed to ride my bike up the road a couple miles and back, but never to the paved highway-esque road or further. if i'd had the stamina to, i would have ridden it on to town, but those eight miles were stretched even longer by the winding roads. so it sucked. i was also not in good shape (ironically was why i was riding my bike, lol) and heaven forbid i get all the way up there and not be able to make it back because i was exhausted so my parents would have to come get me. also, because we lived so far out, i didn't have many friends and wasn't able to participate in anything outside school. my parents wouldn't come pick me up and i wouldn't have a ride home since no one i knew that would be at anything i'd go to lived anywhere near us.



btw, just wanted to add i'm 22 and toilets still scare me. they're also very loud and scary and splash up sometimes. they freak me out. and i don't have add or adhd that i know of, lol.

Isobel - posted on 03/22/2012

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absolutely...knowing your kids is key. I didn't send my kids to walk to school by themselves in grade 1. I let my daughter ride her bike to school on her own in grade 3 because SHE was ready...it didn't hurt that I had to walk her brother behind and got to see her actually go IN the door.



I think it's awesome that you gave her the opportunity to grow in a fashion that was appropriate for what she was capable of.



Congratulations to both of you :D

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/22/2012

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Well here is my kicker of the day ladies.



My daughter really wanted to go to Tim Horton's with 5 of her friends. I know each one of these kids and have for 6 years. Tim Horton's is about a 4min drive from our house. Not far. They wanted to take the Transit. This is NOT the first time my kid has asked me. However, it WAS the first time I said yes. I understand it is going to be required and I know how much she really wants to show me she can. I have decided she deserves that acknowledgement from me. I mean, she has never given me a BIG reason to not trust her. Just her ADHD can get in her way at times, which is my biggest concern. Although, she still needs to learn how to do these things, she will be an adult someday, regardless if I want it. ;)



I told her if it was only 2 or 3 of them, then the answer would be no. Simply because more can happen to 2 or 3 girls, than to 5 of them. I was on my way out, so on my way back I stopped in to Tim's. Yep, there was my girl with her friends. They were acting like normal people should. Just sitting there drinking their Iced Caps'. I was very pleased and very proud!



I will allow her to do it again, if there are enough of them going.



I however, would not allow her to take the transit to the movies. This is a 20-30min bus ride and is in a very busy part of the city, where there are several pub/restaraunts. I do (and have for the passed 2 years), drive her and her friends, drop them off and pick them up from the movies. I know that they have to behave there, otherwise they will be kicked out... ;)



I do think it is very important to give them space or loosen the rope (so to speak) as they grow and show they are developing. All kids are different. Some, like I was, are very responsible by age 8. Other's, such as my daughter, not so much. I was 12 when I started babysitting. My daughter could not babysit at age 13.5. She is still afraid to flush the toilet! How would she babysit? LOL She is getting better and is definitely developing and showing the ability to move forward with things. For me it is not a trust thing, it is a "mental" age thing. Are they able to follow each step in getting to where they are going or what they are doing.



It is a slow process though, I would never just throw my kids into figuring it out or learning certain lessons on their own, if I felt they were not ready. I want them to come home. I don't want that terrible phone call, that she is missing or anything else, that I could not live through... ;)



ETA:

I would not allow my kindergarten, gr1 or gr2'r walk home from school. Our school is 3 blocks away. Yep, it is close. Nope, they would not be walking it. I am sorry but there are freaks out there. Until my children know how to get away and it is practical, forget it.

Merry - posted on 03/22/2012

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Thanks.........?

Lol I am 23 but I wasn't coddled I think. I had a good deal of unsupervised time as a kid.

Though it's all on how you tell it, I could make it sound like I was coddled if I said tuff like I never spent a night away from my house until I was a teen except for camp trips but my mom was also a leader.

I could say I didn't learn of swears til I was a teen, or all of my friends were Christians and I'd sound quite 'coddled' in your minds.

But if I tell it like I did in my original post I sound quite un coddled.

I feel I just was raised cautiously with care and trust.

Isobel - posted on 03/22/2012

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all people who coddle their children consider it common sense...maybe you were thinking of the other Laura ♥ ♥ ♥ she's considerably younger.

Isobel - posted on 03/22/2012

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I hate that coddling kids is the default "good parent" setting these days grrrr.

Jenny - posted on 03/22/2012

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I too walked home from school in Kindergarten. I would allow my daughter too now but we are about an hour walk away so I drop off and pick up on my way too and from work. I do allow her to play outsdie unsupervised and she can ride her bike around the neighbourhood. She can go to the corner store by herself.



I will not be signing off on a license until she is 18 though. I feel 16 is too young to be behind the wheel. We will still be teaching her driving skills in the meantime but I want her to be confident and prepared for the unexpected before unleashing her into traffic. I didn't get my license until I was 24 and feel it has made me a more responsible driver.

Jenny - posted on 03/22/2012

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Sherri, that mindset doesn't teach them to be responsible adults though. It teaches them to not get caught. Increasing freedoms as they get older is about allowing them to make responsible choices of their own accord. Bad choices result in lost privilages, good choices increase them. When you hover over your children you are telling them you don't trust them to think for themselves.

Isobel - posted on 03/22/2012

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well...technically I suppose I could say it's not possible because I live on Yonge street and it is FAR too dangerous.

Jodi - posted on 03/22/2012

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@ Sherri,



I am often confused by your posts, because you say you will not ALLOW your kids to have this freedom, and then asked for explanation, you explain by saying how it isn't possible anyway. Which really isn't about allowing them or not. It is either possible or not. And if it's not, it's not. Simple. But that isn't a reason for not allowing them.



I think, where I am heading with this is, IF it WAS possible, because there was a regular bus going from your street to the local cinema (even if it was 20-30 minutes away), would your teenage kids be ALLOWED to catch the bus to the cinema without adult supervision, to watch a movie? And if now, why not? In this instance, 'It's not possible' is not an answer.

Janice - posted on 03/21/2012

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I wasnt coddled and so far I'm not coddling. From grade 5-12 I lived in school districts with no buses. My mother didnt own a car and was on the bus before we (my sister is 3 yrs younger) went to school and was still working when we got out. I remember when I was 10 I decided to go to my mom's work one summer day and just got on the buses (had to take 2) and showed up. She was pissed! But she realized i was responsible and from then on if I had a doctors appt, she worked in a hospital with a general pediatric practice in it, I would just meet her there.



I bought my own car at 17 and since my mother didnt drive I bought and paid for my own insurance policy. In fact many years later when she got her license again, I put her on my policy for a bit! Lol Before becoming a SAHM I worked my ass off.



My hubby was coddled concerning some things and so I took over for his mother when it comes to things like making appts and filling out forms. I have drawn the line with calling in sick for him. I'm still shocked on the rare occasions he asks me to do it. He gets mad, but seriously?!?



Strangely enough my sister who grew up in the same home is completely unable to support herself. She expects my mom to buy her everything and cries that she doesnt know how to do anything. I'm not sure what happened.



With my own daughter, I give her a ton of freedom. She is 2 and plays alone out back with me checking in every 5 min. while doing house work. She helps me unload the dishwasher and feeds the dog. I plan to give her freedom and responsibilities as she grows.

Aleks - posted on 03/20/2012

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There is another thing I am beginning to notice re the youth/teens of today. A lot of them do not know how to cross the road correctly!!!! I find that totally alarming. On numerous occassions I was approaching an intersection only to find myself having to break extra hard because a teen walking home from school stepped onto the road WITHOUT LOOKING!!!! No, there was not a hint of a phone in their hands (ie, distracted by texting, etc) nor an ipod in their ears (distracted by music not hearing cars approach). These were kids who were probably driven their entire primary school years (ie 6-12yo) to school and friends houses and out of school activitiess, hence, never really got to know how to do that. They are not used to walking around everywhere, nor are they used to their neighborhoods or even know their neighborhoods thoroughly. Granted that not everywhere is safe enough to be out on ones own, but I would think that most places people live in it would be safe enough.

But that is just me I guess.

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my grandparents attempted to coddle me by buying me a lot of stuff. useless stuff like toys. i got to the point where i wouldn't ask for anything because if i did, they'd overdo it. like one year for Christmas, they asked me what i wanted and i said i wanted a giant plush horse if there was one at the store, because i loved horses and i wanted a wubby i guess, lol. well, they found one at Walmart and surprisingly it was the only one in the store (it had been accidentally sent a week or two earlier than expected and so they didn't even have it in the system) so they got it for me. i was happy with just that, but when the shipments started coming in for them at the store, my parents bought me another two. then they bought me three or four smaller stuffed horses, and a small collection of beanie baby horses. they wouldn't stop!! and this is just ONE example. they have an entire walk-in closet of things they bought for me that will never leave their house in my hands, that's for damn sure. i'm not letting my house become a hoarder's heaven like theirs.



it was extremely annoying and i hope i never do that shit to my kids.

Merry - posted on 03/20/2012

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I wasn't coddled as a child, I was allowed to walk to the park around age 10 and I was biking with my little brother in the kid trailer around age 12 and we would bike around to a few parks. I knew how to cross the street with out a stop lights, and with a stoplight and I was always very cautious. I biked to my soccer practices and tennis practices and to the library.

I was babysitting other people's kids at 14 and babysitting my brother around age 10 so I was always trustworthy.

I knew how to do my laundry and do some cooking but my mom taught my older sister to do more cooking and shopping and laundry while I was more in charge of my brother while my mom was dying so unfortunately my sister now has the edge in cooking and housekeeping skills as I wasn't taught as well in those areas.

Had my mom lived I'm confident I would have learned a lot more but such is life.

At 16 I was driving my brother to swimming lessons and to preschool and picking him up, I took him to the dr even!

My kids are too young to really factor in this conversation but I guess there is a few things I can say that fit in, Eric is nearly three and he can make himself toast lol. He unloads and puts away all the dishes that he can reach their spots but knows not to touch knives. At the park I let him play without following him around all the time but I DO keep tabs on him as I often find him beign bullied or bullying in a toddler fashion and I like to correct bad behaviors so they don't become a habit.

In fact I think more parents need to pay attention to their kids at the park! There's always kids pushing other kids, throwing sand, cutting in line, crawling up slides, being general snots and I can never find their parents!

So, no don't hover over them but keep an eye out because even the best of kids have their off moments and if your kid is being the offender it's your job to notice and stop them.

Isobel - posted on 03/20/2012

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I don't understand, if you don't have any neighbours within walking distance you must have a ton of acreage for them to explore...are they allowed to do that? And if there WERE a bus that came through the neighbourhood and went to the mall a few times a day, would you let them ride it?

Aleks - posted on 03/20/2012

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@ Sherri

"Laura they can make decisions for themselves. However, there is no where to walk too here and no way they belong walking on a busy roadway with no sidewalks that I myself as an adult wouldn't even safely walk on."



Ummm that's probably only your opinion re not having anywhere to walk to. I am sure they could and probably would think of something/somewhere if given the chance. I didn't have that much to go to as a teen (well nothing of worth in my adult mind now) but back then the mere fact of just being out and EXPLORING my environment and neighborhood was plenty. And it gave lots of opportunities to be creative with ones time and mind. Not to mention training ones brain to make decisions that have a lot more importance .... ie/ if I do this or this, will I be safe? I think a lot of issues the young people and teens these days have is the inability to judge a situation accurately re safety. And this goes both ways either being too reckless and dangerous (even for youth standards) or too cautious. Ie they don't know how to find the right balance at times. This will only get worse as they have kids themselves and pass these traits on even more. IMO.

Celeste - posted on 03/20/2012

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Yeah, when I went to college, it was just overwhelming. I knew how to cook, but when it came to managing my money, managing my time, doing things that I wasn't allowed to do at home, it was just crazy.



I moved out when I was 19 with a boyfriend that I had just known for a month. We did everything together, and he drove everywhere. So, I still didn't really have that independence. After we broke up, I was thrown into independence. Going to the store by myself was a huge battle.. Driving on the freeway was a battle. I was *TERRIFIED* of driving on the freeway.



And someone touched on the financial issue. YES, that's a big issue with me. I am *terrible* with my finances and my mom's mentioned that she regrets not teaching us about finances.



I'm 35 now, and yes, I finally got to where I'm independent. But it took awhile to get there.



I don't want my kids to go through what I went through. But at the same time, I don't know when I'm coddling them and what's "right".



So, with my kids, it's kinda like the blind leading the blind. My 9 year old daughter does have some independence, but it's hard for me to let go. She's allowed to go to friend's houses that are down the street, walk around the block, though she has limits..

Jodi - posted on 03/20/2012

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"YOU turned out okay, and that's great. But when I went to university, I saw a LOT of kids who had been raised in very restrictive environments like that, who then were living on their own and had all the freedom in the world, and they went absolutely WILD."



Yes, me too Krista. I saw that a lot when I left home. A couple of them ended up totally off the rails.

Isobel - posted on 03/20/2012

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Yes, it's like holding a baby in your arms until they are old enough to walk, then you put them down and are shocked when they can't.

Krista - posted on 03/20/2012

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Well you were also raised differently Laura since I am 40 and even as a child I wasn't allowed to ever walk to school. Wasn't allowed off our street until I got my license at 16yrs old. Wasn't allowed to hang out at a mall without an adult, was never allowed at a friends house without an adult home, very similar to how I am raising my kids.



Yikes. That's VERY restrictive! To go from not being allowed off of your own street, to having your license and being able to go anywhere -- not exactly a gradual transition, was it? And I am surprised about you never being allowed to walk to school. I mean, you have to do what is right for your family, but to my eye, it appears as though you're going from giving them VERY little independence, and then saying that they can have all kinds of independence when they leave home...and are assuming that they'll be able to handle it.



YOU turned out okay, and that's great. But when I went to university, I saw a LOT of kids who had been raised in very restrictive environments like that, who then were living on their own and had all the freedom in the world, and they went absolutely WILD.

Becky - posted on 03/19/2012

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I was definitely not coddled as a child. I was walking 6-8 blocks to and from school by myself when I was in grade 1. Until some young men (probably in their teens) tried to get my to get into their truck one day. Then my mom got our teenage babysitter - who was a little crazy, but I don't think my parents realized that - to walk me to and from school. I imagine the guys who tried to get me to go with them were just kids goofing around, but of course, for a 6 year old, it was scary. But my parents had taught me well. I turned around and ran to a friend's house that I'd just passed. No one was home, so I just hid in their carport for 5-10 minutes until I figured the guys would be gone, and then went home and told my parents what had happened. I was doing chores as far back as I can remember. I was sent to boarding school at 9. The rules there were very strict and we didn't have a tremendous amount of freedom, but we did have a lot of responsibility. We lived in a small village in a west African country and we would go with our friends all over the village. We were the only whites in the village, so everyone knew who we were! We were even allowed to ride our horse alone by the time we were 11 or 12. When we were back in Canada for my grade 8 year (I was 13), we lived in a fairly small town, and again, we walked to school - probably only about 3 blocks - on our own, went to the mall, to 7-11, even walked to our grandparent's house which was probably a couple km's away, on our own. In retrospect, it's a little weird, because my mom is a major worrier, the type of parent who you would expect to be overprotective. But she wasn't. When I was barely 19, my parents went back to Africa and I stayed in Canada and it was either sink or swim. So thank goodness they had given me that freedom, responsibility and power to make my own decisions earlier in life! I won't say I didn't struggle - life in Canada was a lot different from life in Africa - but it would have been soooo much harder if they had never taught me to cook or do my own laundry, if I'd never been allowed to venture out of the yard on my own, never had an allowance or babysitting jobs and been expected to use my own money for stuff I wanted. (I still feel I was unprepared for the financial responsibilities.)



So, all that longwinded story to say, I don't know if there are more coddled kids now than there were in the past, but there are definitely some out there, and I don't think their parents do them any favors at all. I struggle with not coddling my kids, in some aspects. I'm certainly not a helicopter parent. I let them play in the backyard on their own, even though they're only 2 and 4, I sit on the bench and watch them run at the playground, only intervening if they ask me to. I let them run ahead of me at the mall, as long as I can still see them and they're not getting into trouble. And as they get older, I expect I'll give them more freedom. But, I think sometimes I'm a little soft in the area of consequences (although I don't give in to tantrums) and I probably don't give them as much responsibility as I could. They're still young, so hopefully I'll get better at that! I certainly don't want my son to still need someone to wipe his bum when he's in grade school! Or to go off to college not even knowing how to make his own cup of coffee.



I used to work in child welfare and I can't tell you the number of parents we had coming in with out of control teens who would say, "I don't know what the problem is. We've always given him/her everything he/she wanted, they never had to do anything..." Well, DUH!!! There's your problem!

Aleks - posted on 03/19/2012

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ok... you guys are gonna freak.

I was no more than 8 when I went to visit my grandma's house ON MY OWN (just finished grade 2 to be precise and wanted to show them my near perfect report card :-) )! I caught a tram there and back (btw I had to walk and through major roads to get to the tram stop)! However, granted that it was the early 1980s and the traffic is nowhere near what traffic is like today in most towns/cities. And also it was roughly 7km's or so (or about 3.5miles, I think) on the tram. In grade 2 or 3 I also decided with my 2 or 3 friends to go visiting the next main town so we caught a bus and a tram there and I believe had to catch the train back. Remember also this is the era before mobile phones!!! My parents had no clue where I had gone. Also I used to pick my brother up from kindergarten when I was in 1st grade, that is I came home from school and then had walk a few blocks to pick him up at a certain time (if my parents didn't make it home on time to do so). I had my own key to our house by age 6. I walked to school pretty much always on my own since a few weeks into my 1st grade.

I used to do the grocery shopping when I was 9-10years old too, make that even harder by the fact that this was communist Poland and I had to stand in line to get the simplest of things (and I knew that if I saw a line forming at the shop it was wise to join it!!! Even if I didn't know what it was for...lol ... ah the life behind the iron curtain.... ). I used to play in the neighborhood on my own (ie, with friends though) since age 6 until nightfall. Frequently I would buy my own exercise books and pencils because I was the one walking passed the store coming back from school (as they didn't always have the needed things my parents could not always get all things needed), so if things were there I would purchase them (both my parents worked so did not always get the chance to go and get, and remember that Sat and Sun most shops etc were closed in those days... remember those days???? Or am I the only oldie to do so...lol).



When I was a teenager, from age 13 my friends and I sometimes went into the city (most of us aussies live in suburbs) and go to the cinema or just hang out. We lived 15kms from town (roughly 7miles) and had to catch the local city transport. Either a bus or a train (of if we wished a combination of the two) to get to the city and back. We frequently used to go and hand out all over the 5km (2.5miles or so) radius as teenagers and we would walk, ride a bus, train etc. Sometimes we would get a lift with a parent in a car, but mostly we were left to fend for ourselves and due to being young and having money shortages we walked (tell you what, there wasn't so much obesity and overweight kids in my school then... I am curious what the stats are now....- snickers in disapproval).



Oh, and my parents were one of the more strickter out of all of my friends. Frequently they did not allow me to just go and hang out.... for what ever reason. Or I had to be home way before and of the other kids at the time (which I hated then and thought I was one of the daggiest kids because of it.. now, on the other hand I am glad that they did.... but that is another story).



ETA:

thanks for reminding me Emma. I was 14 when my parents put me on the bus I paid for, for a 2000km journey to visit our family friends up in Brisbane (which I used to live in 2yrs prior) from Melbourne for 2 weeks!!!!!!



And my high school was on a major Highway!!!! And we crossed it frequently by j-walking to get to the fish n chip shop on the other side becasue we couldn't be bothered to use the overpass...lol

Stifler's - posted on 03/19/2012

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I let my kids play outside in the back yard with a fence. I don't want them being hit by the speeding lunatics that's just common sense not coddling. My parents let me go to brisbane by myself on the train and catch a taxi to grandmas at 11. By grade 4 I think I walked to school along the highway and even now all the little kids in this street walk to school (which is like 1km if that away).

Johnny - posted on 03/19/2012

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LOL. When I said I was coddled, I meant I was over-served by my parents. Not kept in a gilded cage. There is a difference between being coddled and be totally over-protected. I was allowed to walk home alone from school (3 blocks away) by grade 2 and take the bus downtown with my friends by 13. I spent every summer away at camp from age 9 onwards. When I was 11 and 12, I took the Greyhound bus up the island by myself to visit my grandmother.



Unless my daughter demonstrates that she is particularly irresponsible or prone to dangerous behaviour, I plan to follow about the same rules as my parents did. Although unlike the mom across the street from me when her daughter was this age, I don't intend to let her outside to play alone, unsupervised for hours by herself quite yet, she's 3 1/2.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/19/2012

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My daughter is 13.5 and really wants to be able to take the transit down to Tim Horton's with her friends. Will I let her? NO way. Why? Because I know what trouble I got into doing it and I am not about ready to let my daughter get any idea's... ;) I will however, drive them, drop them off and pick them back up.



My daughter is not coddled but she definitely has restrictions on how much she is allowed to do. However, it is much in my house as Sherri's. My daughter has her chores and must work for everything she wants (including all makeup she wants to wear). She knows how to cook, just not when no one is home (which is rare and for a very limited amount of time).



ETA:

There is plenty of time to learn many self sufficient acts in life. These things also do not take long to learn. Once my daughter is in high school, grade 10, she will have more leeway.

Isobel - posted on 03/19/2012

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Why would a 15 year old not be allowed to go around the corner? My (almost) 11 year old is allowed to go one subway stop to her friend's house alone (we both live a block from the station and she rides it every day).



I do it not because I'm lazy or I don't care but because I care enough to make sure she is able to be self confident and self sufficient. I don't want her to grow up being afraid of the society she lives in.

Denikka - posted on 03/19/2012

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I was totally coddled, I lived with my grandparents from the age of 6, and my gramma was SUPER paranoid about everything. We lived in a rural area and I wasn't allowed to walk to the corner store that was 5 minutes away. Or walk to elementary (age 6-13) school that was 15 minutes away and I could have walked with friends. The only friend I was allowed to walk to their place lived, literally, across the road. And i easily had over a dozen friends who were within a 30 minute walking distance.

I was never allowed to go to the mall by myself or with friends. My grandparents wouldn't even let me drive with anyone else. They ALWAYS dropped me off and picked me up where ever I was.

I never helped around the house. I didn't do dished, laundry, anything. My grandma cleaned my room and did 99% of the cooking, even though I was perfectly capable and had proven that. I used to occasionally help with dinner or make my own eggs for breakfast or whatever. I never had a job or any kind of responsibilities. Everything was done for me.

This went on until I moved out, a month before my 19th birthday.



I learned everything, and I mean everything, the hard way. My boyfriend had to teach me how to start the laundry machine. The only thing I actually had a clue about was cooking. And that was mostly because I'd taken a cooking course in high school.

I don't want my children to end up like how I was. My son already helps with laundry and both kids (3yrs and 1yr) help me with unloading the dishes in the dishwasher. Both try to sweep :P and my son also likes to attempt to vacuum (as long as it's off XD the noise terrifies him :P)



I intend on home schooling, and part of the curriculum is going to be caring for the household and finances. I think it's so important. Children today are being done a HUGE disservice when their parents do everything for them. You don't teach your kids anything by doing things for them. I wouldn't tie my 10yr olds shoes for them and I sure as hell won't do my 20yr olds taxes. They gotta learn. And if the parents won't teach them, they're gonna have to learn the hard way. I see no point in making life more difficult than it needs to be for my child.

Celeste - posted on 03/19/2012

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I read the first article and I agree with it. I can tell you that I was "coddled" as a kid. I wasn't allowed to go in the front yard with my friends, and be independent. I didn't learn to ride a bike til I was 11. When I was 16, I wasn't allowed to go to the mall with my friends, their parents had to be there. This is embarassing, but I was terrified of doing things by myself when I first was on my own. I couldn't go to the store by myself. I didn't drive on the freeway til I was 19. At 35, I grew out of that. But, it took me being an adult to gain that independence.



My brother, on the other hand, still lives at home. Mom still does everything and he treats her like total shit.



Fortunately, my other brother and sister turned out pretty well LOL



I'll admit, it's hard to not to coddle my kids but I think I'm doing pretty well. Letting my daughter go play outside by herself, was a little nerve wracking at first. But I don't want her to have the problems that I had as a kid. She's pretty independent at 9 and I hope to instill the same things with my boys that are 5.

Stifler's - posted on 03/19/2012

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I don't coddle my kids haha. Logan has been playing outside alone since he could walk. hes also been helping me unstack the dishwasher in the mornings (in the best way a toddler can). He can get his own bowl and weet bix and I just pour the milk or bring me the bread to make a sandwich. I refuse to be one of those mums who make their kids breakfast until they're 28. I also dont automatically take their side when they are fighting with another toddler over toys.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/18/2012

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I was 8 the first time I was placed on a Greyhound and sent across Provinvce on a 16 hour ride. Did it every single year after that. Spent the summers with my grandparents. I couldn't let my daughter do that. She is just not responsible enough. It may be her ADHD, dunno.



I was very responsible by age 8. However, my mom was never around and I had no choice but to do things on my own. Life was also very different back then. People actually looked out for your children. This day and age, too many are willing to turn a blind eye. I mean, yes there are still some that would watch out for a child but much fewer than there used to be.



I was cooking my own snacks and such by age 10. I couldn't let my daughter cook when we are not home, we would no longer have a house. She would turn the stove on and walk away while getting distracted with something on TV or out the window... She can make herself anything, as long as it does not require the stove. ;)

Isobel - posted on 03/18/2012

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I don't know...I know several men who lived at home until thirty. I think it's actually -really- common. I see the coo coo looks I get from the majority of other parents in the school yard when I let my kids do totally normal things that they are entirely capable of doing.

Johnny - posted on 03/18/2012

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It bothers me because *I* was a coddled child. Not academically, there I was pushed hard and didn't get help. I was expected to excel in school and there were no excuses. But in life skills, my parents did it all for me, even if I wanted to learn. I never was taught how to cook or do laundry, despite asking. I had to rely on friends in my 20's to teach me. No one showed me anything about handling finances, insurance, or anything like that. I had to fumble through that mess on my own. I was totally taken care of in every aspect of life, until I moved out on my own at 17. You see, I desired to be independent and self-sufficient, but I really did not have the skills to succeed at all. I was lucky that my friends took pity on me, and that I was smart enough to join the first year student orientations that taught us about doing our own finances, taxes, and insurance stuff. But if I hadn't, I probably could still get away with living with my parents, having them cook for me, the cleaning lady do my bedroom and my dad handle my finances.



My 3 year old already has more cooking and cleaning skills than I did by the age of 17. I'm not doing it to be mean. I'm doing it because she's at the "I want to help" stage and it is a good time to take advantage of her enthusiasm. And because I want her to be a strong, independent adult who has confidence in her own ability to do without mom and dad. It truly saddens me all these adult children who are stuck in perpetual puberty.



Although, I will say that I don't think it is as common as those articles make it out to be. I know 4 people my age who are living with their parents. 3 of them are the bread-winners and are supporting and caring for their parents who are either aging or ill. Only 1 is the stereotypical "adult child" whose mother does everything for him. He's also a drug-addict who is having his mother raise his own child. A pitiful excuse for a human.

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