Parenting beyond Sight: boundaries for kids outside the home
I remember quite a few years ago a co-worker mentioning that he told his son (tween to early teen age) he couldn’t go to swimming pool birthday party because he didn’t trust that family’s supervision of the kids. It was the first time it dawned on me that such things were a matter of concern. That there are some activities that require a larger degree of safety and not everyone would agree on what that level of safety was. How and where do you draw the line? It is one thing to allow a seventh grader to be home alone; it’s a whole different thing to allow a seventh grader to hang out alone with a bunch of boys and girls in an unsupervised swimming pool.
Fast-forward to yesterday when a friend of mine mentioned that she has a “gun talk” with her kids when they are going on playdates. This talk involves what to do if they find a gun in the house they are at, how to treat it, how to remove themselves from that place. Accidental shooting of kids by kids with a gun that is not properly secured isn’t just make-believe. It happens. Another friend then piped in that she asks parents of her children’s friends if they have a gun, and if so how it is secured. She said people get offended. I imagine they feel it’s none of her business. But our kids are our business – even when they are out of sight.
So this makes me ask the questions.
- What safety boundaries are important to you?
- What do you require to know of how those boundaries are maintained at place your children/youth are going to?
- How do you talk to your own children and youth about those boundaries and issues and what to do when they encounter them?
I’m not asking us to debate the rightness and wrongness of each others’ boundaries – you are the only parents of your children, the boundaries you set are right for you – I’m just curious what they are and how you maintain them outside your home. Call it group think because some of us are going to better at this than others.
Please chime in because my inquiring mind wants to know!