Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fostering Independence

A few weeks ago I posted about the view off my back deck. You can clearly see that I live pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Really. You can't really think of where I live as a suburb or a cul-de-sac or any other fancy term. I live 10 minutes outside of, up on the hill, from one of those quintessential tucked into the middle of nowhere, quaint upstate New York villages. And, when I say upstate, I mean, UPSTATE - not West Chester or Poughkeepsie. We make wine here and Oh! We also have cows! COWS!

And, so, it is probably safe to say that I live with a bit of a false sense of security. Just a tad - but at least I know this, and I admit it. Bad things have happened in our little town - so it's not like I am completely naive. But, I do look at it one of two ways. Either you wrap your kid in bubble wrap & never let them out of the house OR You help foster a strong independence streak that can and will constantly come back to bite you in the arse. Daryl and I have chosen that later of the two methods.

However, I was concerned. Maybe we were allowing tooo much independence. Madaline is only 2.5 years old. Maybe we were tempting fate just a tad too much. And, so I did what any good mother would do. I asked my Twitter Following:

My sister, bless her, immediately told me that she would think that I had an independent self-sufficient child (she's a bit biased, don't you think?). There were a few questions about if I could see her (YES!) and if our yard is fenced (NO!). But, overall, my twitter followers confirmed what I had originally thought. That's it ok. That I am fostering independence and teaching boundaries at the same time.

She knows she HAS to stay in the backyard or on the deck, and be in my sight line. She tested her boundaries, ONCE. It landed her on the naughty step and the loss of her evening 1/2 hour of TV. (I know...I'm a mean mom). And, truthfully, I relish the fact that I don't have her begging me every 2 minutes if we can go outside yet while I am trying to get dinner on the table. It gives me a moment of peace and serenity as I am stirin' sauce or boiling water. It works for us - and at the end of the day, that is all that matters. It works for us.


Loukia said...

If your 2.5 year old is playing in the backyard (with no swimming pool, duh) alone, and she is in a closed off, fenced in, can't get out to go the front backyard, then of course it is okay! I let my boys play in the backyard, b/c I can see them from inside, and they cannot open the door to go to the front. The only damage they can get into is fighting with eachother and then I'm out in a hearbeat!

Molly Louise said...

She's not fenced in though. She's just chillin in the backyard, playing independently by herself. With her trusty bear, of course. I don't think anybody in the family ever had a fence. It works though. One trip through the naughty chair was enough to know that staying in the back yard means staying in the back yard.

Kameron said...

I wish I could do that. We unfortunately have a pool and the bedrooms are on the back of the house so, unless he is right outside of the sliding door on the deck, I can't see him. That will be a pre-requesite for our next house!

mrs.notouching said...

It doesn't have to be all or nothing and I doubt there is one perfect way or timing to approach independence. I think it really depends on the kid and their nature. Clearly your daughter has a good understanding of what is allowed and only you can tell when she is ready for more independence. I say good for you AND for her :-)

Big Mama Cass said...

I totally do that. I let my 2 year old son play in our backyard alone. It is fenced and I can see him from my office/my bedroom/my living room and partly from my kitchen. Otherwise he wants out all day. And I can't get anything else done. It's refreshing to know that someone else does it since I have sort of been hiding it from everyone. LOL :)