Re: DSM: Re: [SVS Discussion Board] Child Safety
Fri, 11 Feb 2000 17:27:06 EST

Hi --

It's sometimes hard, as a parent, to know who owns the problem when it comes
to matters regarding your child's safety. I am the parent of a 15-year-old
who attends a Sudbury-model school and who demands a great deal of freedom of
movement. We live in Washington, D.C., and he travels by subway to concerts,
meetings, etc. on his own and with friends, sometimes till late at night, and
not always in the best parts of town. And yes, it is scary for me, much as I
want to wholeheartedly support his independence.

But I have to look at things in terms of what my child thinks he is capable
of, not what I am afraid of. As it seems is often the case in these realms,
it comes down to the matter of trusting the child. And I had to realize that
I couldn't let my anxiety make the rules here -- that my child will never
grow up to be himself if I block his growth with my fears. Let's face it,
there is never a day (or a minute!) when he is away from me that I'm not, at
some level, worried about him.

That said, it's also important to take care of yourself here -- you'll never
love the school if you're tied in a knot of fear every day she's there. So
here's what we've done: had basic safety discussions; taken self-defense
courses (both of us) (a good thing for a dreamy 8-year-old generally, I
think); and -- most important for my peace of mind -- invested in cel phones
so that if I'm worried, I can relax a bit by hearing his voice -- and so that
he can call 911 any time. If you know that your daughter has a cute little
cel phone hanging from the belt loop of her jeans at all times, she can be in
the woods on her own but you can still check in to know she's safe, and to
help yourself to relax.

It would be a shame for her to miss out on a Sudbury experience because of
this one issue, especially when the Communications Gods are right there with
a solution! Good luck.

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