Not quite yet

My kid is gearing up for birthday celebrations already. Kiddo has had some pretty epic birthdays so far (Disneyland, Disney Cruise, Washington DC) and thus a stay-at-home birthday is something that needs to feel jazzed up and special. They have a specific request: they want to split up the day into dates.

They want to start the day going out to breakfast with Daddy. Daddy is a wonderful conversationalist and breakfast is his best meal of the day. He’s such a lovely breakfast companion.

The part that is in contention is the next step… Kiddo wants to walk to 7–11 then the park alone with big sister.

I’m nervous. It’s a 1.3 mile walk. But it isn’t that I worry about them being able to handle the walk. It is that I worry about neighbors calling the police if they see the kids out walking. It is that I worry about them getting into a tiff at the park. It’s still pretty common for my kids to get into arguments with random parents at the park.

So now I sit here and wonder if I’m an overly controlling parent. My kids will be 9 and 7 at that point. How long of a leash is safe and wise?

Is the fact that my kids are argumentative enough to prevent them from going where they want? We are going to be having some serious conversations between now and August. We may have to figure out how to scaffold this process.

After the contentious lunch picnic Kiddo asked if I could take them out for dinner. That would be lovely.

2/3 of those requests are easy, dearest. I’m a little nervous about the middle piece of your request. But isn’t that what parenting is about? You are going to keep reaching for boundaries and I will keep being nervous if it is the right time for that behavior?

Kiddo understands that I don’t graduate a kid out of a five point harness until 7.5 and they don’t argue with that limit. There are some boundaries where you’d have to be FREAKISHLY TALL before I’ll be more flexible. Then you are in a booster until the limits of that assistive device. Too many people in my family have been permanently damaged by cars. We are not messing with these boundaries.

But walking to the park alone? I don’t have a clear guideline backed up by safety testing on this metric. This one feels trickier. I don’t know what the right point is. I’m still figuring this out.

Please have patience with me as I figure out how to let go. I promise I will. I just don’t know yet which day it’ll be.