Posts filed under ‘Parents In The News’

Parents In The News: Kid On Subway

What Is Your Subway?

What Is Your Subway?

So Izzy was on a NY subway alone.  As a parent coach, people ask my opinion.  Parents want to hear me say either; Mom should never have let a child do that OR It was fine for a NY Mom to do that.  The real answer lies elsewhere for me.  I need more info.  So my Counter Offer is to give, not so much an opinion, but my thoughts on the issues, intentions and impacts of the story. 

The Lead In  I’m curious about the conversations discussed and lessons provided to prepare Izzy for such a task.  Is he prepared for what could go wrong?  Getting lost, stranger snatching, injury, losing his nerve, or poor judgement are all realities that would do well to be covered.  The trick is to be realistic of the hazards without casuing paralyzing fear.  Assume Mom did this; point of fact, he made it home.

The Event Imagine you are Izzy.  What is going through your head as you locate, ride on and then leave the subway for home?  You are feeling trusted, accomplished, capable, powerful and special.  Talk about Appropriate Power! These feelings are not to be scoffed at.  If sending your child on the subway is not in the cards for you, find a way to recreate them for your child.  This is the element of parenting that Mom points up as being missing in the lives of kids today.  We know that, yet are scared to put them out there, thinking the stakes are too high.  What’s your version of the subway?

The Impact Its National News and Judgement for the Mom.  It’s not my place to say if she should or shouldn’t have made that choice, she is in charge of that.  I feel less concerned than when I hear a child was left or fogotten on a subway.  That is evidence of a parent being too concered with other things.  I never got that feeling with this Mom.  It is clear to me she is parenting Izzy in a way that is Intentional not Automatic, Aware not Unconscious, Considering not Past Based.  I am gad to see that. 

What About You?  Your personal opinion does not matter (about this), and that’s democracy, baby.  Instead, spend some time looking at where you have traded your child’s independence for safety without looking deeper.  Where can you foster some new skills for them?  Where are you ready to grow and (gasp) give them back some time to themselves?  Here’s my suggestion:  Instead of setting out to protect them from every danger and mishap (which is in the end utterly impossible), spend some real time literally and figuratively preparing them for WHATEVER happens.  I am clear I cannot promise my child that nothing bad will ever happen, but he knows this; WHATEVER happens, he can handle it, because I promise to raise him with the practical skills and information to do that.  Plus, I’ll be here when he needs me (which is less and less now,) but still very important.

One last thing  IF I were to put my son at the same age, in a similar situation, I would opt for the cell phone; but that’s what I’m in charge of with my little guy.   That’s about the best you’ll get from me.  To Izzy’s Mom, you’re on to something, keep digging.

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June 22, 2009 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment


Dawn Roth

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