So today I received a lovely surprise package through the post from a lovely friend I made last year, first over facebook then briefly at a festival. I am actually really shy when it comes to friends, sure I have a ‘front’ that I put on but as far as being sociable goes I am not a huge fan of it. I sit in tents and stay in ‘my nest’ when going to festivals and never go round to friends houses, rarely meet up. I have my comfort zones. But this doesn’t mean I do not love my friends to bits because I do they have such a positive impact on my everyday life and I am truly blessed.
This got me thinking about friends, mainly my youngest son’s ones. As the days are drawing out he is going to want to go outside to play and this leaves me with horrible feelings because I do not want him hanging out with the friends he hangs around with at school. I am not blaming them for the way he is or the choices he makes but when he is with these friends he cannot or does not make the right ones. With his recent history of being hours late from home mixed with the fact he doesn’t have any way of telling the time and certainly has no sense of time I am finding it hard to be able to trust him to do the right things when I am not around. I am not worried in the slightest over the ‘stranger danger’ crap it is just as safe as our kids to play out as it was when we were younger. It is more to do with his friends and what they get up to.
I tend to draw from past experiences but my eldest son was allowed out with mates when he was about seven and was only ever late a few times. His friends though didn’t go around throwing things at houses, verbally abuse people in the street and generally have no respect for anyone. My youngest friend’s though do all of these things and he knows how I feel about it.
He is at the age where children find their ‘best friends’ and their ‘clicks’ which is also worrying as I have no control over who he hangs around with at school. The kids who used to pick on him are now his peers and new friends, of course at that age friends mean more to you and have more influence over each other than adults, the whole acceptance things we all went through and struggled with when we were younger.
I have given him watches in the past and a phone but he loses everything, from whole PE kits and school diaries to things he has even been asked to take into his room, somehow they all get lost along the way. When out on walks I’ve picked up on his general no sense of time as for him two hours feels like ten minutes.
As a parent we have lots of things to consider, I worry about being over protective and know the importance of letting children gain their independence but at the same time it can be really hard to decide when your child is ready for these situations as you can only come to that decision when they have earned it. For now my youngest hasn’t shown me that he can handle the responsibilities’ that come with going out without me, or the trust come to think with it. It does break my heart having to keep him in or only let him out when I am with him as he loves the outside.
The question is when is the right time?
My youngest knows that he has to earn the trust by doing as he is told with the little things, starting from being able to go upstairs and have a wash and brush his teeth, cleaning room and doing his chores. He says he understands that if I am able to trust him to do the little things the bigger things will come with time so he knows where he stands so I guess we are going to have to keep at the basics for now until things change.