I was talking to a friend the other day and she was saying how her parents 'hover' over her children when they are at the playground.
I quickly hopped to their defense because I totally get it. I would hover too. Not over my own kids– I know their abilities –but I am a hoverer of other kids.
Around here we lean more to 'common-sense' parenting with a bit of 'what the hell were you thinking' and 'I'm never letting you do that again' thrown in for good measure. I know my boys and what they are capable of so when I see them climbing the 40 foot tree across the street, I don't balk. Or when my youngest son sets up a ramp 'To see how far I can jump my bike, mom,' I cringe a little but let him go to it.
I did draw the line at allowing them to send neighbourhood kids across the makeshift zipline they had created at our park, ten feet above the ground between two trees. I know a lawsuit waiting to happen when I see it.
A few weekends ago, my younger son had a friend over to play. They came to me to ask if the could ride their bikes to a convenience store a few blocks away to buy Slushies. Normally I wouldn't hesitate but I did–because I didn't know this child's capabilities or if this was something his other parents would allow.
Or when my older son went to a friend's house and they spent an afternoon playing Halo and drinking litre-sized slushies. Not something that would typically happen at my house.
And this is the conundrum of parenting children who are getting older. It's not like the playdates of younger years where I was able to choose my child's friends based on how much I liked their mother. My boys have friends from school and I barely know the parents and, you know, vice versa. But I'm responsible for these children while they are at my house and I don't take that responsibility lightly.
So my question is this. How do you parent your child's friends? And what rules to you enforce when your child goes to a friend's house?
p.s. OMG - SLUSHIES are currently the bane of my existence. They have tasted the sweet nector of the convenience store and there is now no going back.