A life of their own

Kids in school strike me as having their own life. Actually, I think kids in daycare already have their own lives – a whole day’s worth of experiences that the parent is not present for, most of which they won’t hear about. The child has a myriad of little mundane experiences that one might struggle to frame into a sentence that sounds remotely interesting, and yet these are all such a huge part of the child’s development.

But even without daycare, kids eventually go to Kindergarten and then in Grade 1 they start their full-time days – five days a week, six hours a day. That’s almost a full time job. By this age at the latest it is safe to say that the child has their own life, one the parents are no longer really a part of in terms of the experiences that make up those days. Find blogs written by mothers of kindergarteners and you will read all of them coming to grips with the fact that their little kids are growing up and venturing out into the world without them.

I can’t shake the feeling that there is something very wrong about a 5 year old having “a life of their own”.

Every day at around 3 pm a river of adolescents and teenagers flows past my house as the local high school and elementary school disgorge their charges. I watch these kids and I wonder about the things that happened during the day, what they learned (and I mean Life learning, not whatever was dictated to them in Social Studies that morning), and how much of that day the parents will never hear about. I look at the smaller ones and think that they just seem so young to be so fully occupied in an activity that takes them away from the rest of their family, out of the daily workings of their community, and isolated with a bunch of kids whose only shared characteristic is that they were born within a year of each other.

My kids are 3 and 5 and they want mama. If you ask them to do any activity and offer the possibility of me being there with them they will jump at the chance. It won’t always be that way, and I plan to savour it and indulge it for as long as it lasts. One day they really will have their own lives, having attained them by choosing their paths and being allowed to mature slowly, and gradually adjust to more time away from home and family. They will be allowed to venture out a ways, but will have open arms waiting for them when they suddenly feel the need to pull back a bit and snuggle closer to home.

I feel sorry for today’s kids, given a life on their own from the time they are still so very young. What is the rush? Why do we push them so? I’m so very grateful that my kids aren’t caught up in all of that. A life of their own? Not now, thank you. My kids still need me, and thankfully I can be here for them.

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “A life of their own

  1. Lisa


    You just totally put into words why on some levels I hate sending my 5 year old off to Kindergarten.

  2. Lynn

    Beautifully said.

    And, I think that some of these children are as lonely as they are busy.

  3. kpat


  4. TrueAmericanPatriot

    Surprisingly, I have a different perspective on this issue. Kids venturing out on their own, at first glimpse appears risky, I mean a natural mother’s tender fear will always be present, mothers are psychologically pre-disposed to be altruistic to towards her children. Now speaking from experience, the best days I ever had as a kid was when there was no rules, when I discovered the world on my own, no explanations, I was a bona- fide free and wild bird and I loved every second of it, I hated going back home, because home was where rules applied, home was where freedom was dissolved in the name of parenthood, order and discipline.
    Negotiating both perspectives, there is a thin line between deficient parent supervision and granting a child a once in a lifetime gorgeous freedom that will be a substantial source of the child’s deep creativity.

    “Is my child’s potential molestation or kidnap by a stranger,
    physical or mental abuse by colleagues or his/herself,
    misinterpretation of environmental concepts,

    acquisition of awkward decorum in an unregulated setting,
    mischief, etc worth his/her chance to acquire a one in a lifetime creativity.”

    The answer solely rests on how much of a risk taking parent are you, how secure is your residence, your child’s personal character with regards to vulnerability, and lastly, are you more logically or emotionally oriented!

  5. Thanks for your comment, TAP. I don’t disagree with you at all. I think children do need a great deal of freedom. I try to give them as much of that as I can, and I strive to create even a home environment where they have as much as they can handle, being involved in decision-making as much as possible, etc.

    I don’t think sending them away from home to school is the same thing. That is not freedom at all.

    The security of having a parent available all the time, an anchor to which the child is always free to cling in those moments of insecurity, is not the same thing as restricting them. A child can only truly savour freedom when they know that anchor is there should they need it, and when they need it. Teachers can provide that sort of thing, but are often unable due to lack of resources. And most teachers are only in a child’s life for one year; not the same thing as a family member.

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