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We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

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We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Lilemor on Fri 13 Nov - 8:43

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/13/kids-real-life

We can't hold our kids' hands forever

I know it's a risk to let my eight-year-old out without me. But wouldn't it be worse for her to grow up unprepared for real life?

guardian.co.uk, Friday 13 November 2009 08.00 GMT

Having been a single parent for almost all of my daughter's life, I can honestly say I've probably been forced to ascribe to the "benign neglect" school of parenting – not through choice, but necessity. All parents face hard judgment calls, so I've been watching this debate about when you should or shouldn't leave your child on his or her own at home with interest. It's been raging on Mumsnet, the parenting site, for a while. And it's cropped up in the Daily Mail recently. This summer, the Children's Legal Centre called for clarification of existing law, which fails to specify at what age children can be left on their own. Charities have predicted that more than a million children are left alone over the summer hols because childcare costs are too high for some families, putting some potentially at risk of prosecution.

The government says children have different levels of maturity and responsibility at different ages. What does that really mean? A friend who works for the NSPCC shocked me when she said there is no legal level and it's all about choice. Most people seem to think the law stands at 12, but actually it all boils down to whether they are in a "safe place".

While leaving a toddler alone in a cot with a bottle of milk wouldn't go down well with the authorities, for obvious reasons, on the other hand Madeleine McCann's parents were forgiven by some for leaving a three-year-old and two-year-old twins alone in a Spanish resort room.

A few months ago, I left my eight-year-old alone for 10 minutes in my flat while I nipped to the shops to get some milk – OK, wine. I asked her to come with me. She was watching TV and the prospect of getting shoes on and missing her shouty American show on Nickelodeon was apparently too much to bear.

I quickly ran through the "what ifs". If anyone rings the doorbell, don't answer it. Here's my mobile in case of an emergency. I left the flat, found myself half running to the nearby shop, a creeping sense of guilt rising in my guts. I berated myself for not telling C not to eat anything. What if at that exact moment she was choking to death on a grape?

I got back to find my daughter was still sofa-ridden, her eyes fixed on the TV. She didn't even acknowledge my homecoming.

I needed a glass of wine after that. But am I right to beat myself up? If my friend's reactions are anything to go on, I probably should be. A friend with a 10-year-old child (and a husband) paled at the suggestion that she left the house without her son. "What if something happened to me?" she whispered. "Or him?" Another proudly told me, she never ever let her child out of her sight, even in enclosed soft play areas. "You just never know," she said, shaking her head, quoting a story she once read of an 11-year-old using a supermarket loo on her own and then getting raped.

As far as my daughter's concerned, we both need reasonable time alone. My brother's 20-year-old girlfriend is terrified of walking alone down a street after sundown, because she was rarely allowed out at night before she left for university.

I've been letting my daughter walk to school with a group of friends most mornings – a decision my peer group mothers have expressed surprise at. It's a 15-minute walk and involves crossing two major London roads. She's with three 10-year-olds and a fellow classmate. Are they old enough? The school's policy says eight is the minimum age for solo walking. Three out of the five of the walking gang (all girls) have parents who are single working mums. How much has that swayed their decision to give their child that responsibility? Probably quite a lot.

I know it is a risk letting her walk: I feel that every time our lips brush goodbye. But I get an hour extra in the morning to work or even go to the gym, and she gets a sliver of preciously savoured independence. It works. The benefits outweigh the risks.

If anything happened to her no one would blame me as much I would myself. But surely a parent's job is not to solely keep her safe, but teach her to manage on her own? I don't want her to think we live in a bad world with danger at every corner. We don't. I believe what kind of woman she'll become directly correlates with what she's been allowed to do as a child. I want her to confidently work out that safe route herself, so one day when my hand is no longer here to hold, she'll feel secure in her own judgment and know security comes from within.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Lilemor on Fri 13 Nov - 9:19

It is - among other things - our selfish/self-absorbed anti-children-society.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Lilemor on Fri 13 Nov - 9:28

What is unforgivable is that the McCanns were "forgiven".
A neighbor heard a child crying in the McCanns apartment for about 90 minutes one or two nights before our little Madeleine disappeared.
So there IS evidence that they left their babies alone SEVERAL nights (NO, NOT ONLY ONE). Willfully.
And that at least one child did suffer (the crying one).
It is evidence.

But they faced "mercy".
I am only speechless.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Alfiefinn on Fri 13 Nov - 9:29

There's a real push on in the media this week that "It's ok to leave your children alone sometimes, even though there might be some risk. Oh never mind, the law's cloudy on this one,but if they're mature enough....yada, yada, yada" Do I detect signs of an agenda to implicitly condone leaving children alone? The old 'we all do it' defence being publically aired. But why so much of this suddenly? Is something going on in the background?

PS the utter twit of a 'journo' couldn't even be arsed to get the right country in which Madeleine disappeared-the article says a Spanish Resort Room. I can only hope that she takes more care with the facts when she's risk assessing leaving her child alone

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  zodiac on Fri 13 Nov - 9:46

Lilemor wrote:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/13/kids-real-life

We can't hold our kids' hands forever

I know it's a risk to let my eight-year-old out without me. But wouldn't it be worse for her to grow up unprepared for real life?

guardian.co.uk, Friday 13 November 2009 08.00 GMT

Having been a single parent for almost all of my daughter's life, I can honestly say I've probably been forced to ascribe to the "benign neglect" school of parenting – not through choice, but necessity. All parents face hard judgment calls, so I've been watching this debate about when you should or shouldn't leave your child on his or her own at home with interest. It's been raging on Mumsnet, the parenting site, for a while. And it's cropped up in the Daily Mail recently. This summer, the Children's Legal Centre called for clarification of existing law, which fails to specify at what age children can be left on their own. Charities have predicted that more than a million children are left alone over the summer hols because childcare costs are too high for some families, putting some potentially at risk of prosecution.

The government says children have different levels of maturity and responsibility at different ages. What does that really mean? A friend who works for the NSPCC shocked me when she said there is no legal level and it's all about choice. Most people seem to think the law stands at 12, but actually it all boils down to whether they are in a "safe place".

While leaving a toddler alone in a cot with a bottle of milk wouldn't go down well with the authorities, for obvious reasons, on the other hand Madeleine McCann's parents were forgiven by some for leaving a three-year-old and two-year-old twins alone in a Spanish resort room.

A few months ago, I left my eight-year-old alone for 10 minutes in my flat while I nipped to the shops to get some milk – OK, wine. I asked her to come with me. She was watching TV and the prospect of getting shoes on and missing her shouty American show on Nickelodeon was apparently too much to bear.

I quickly ran through the "what ifs". If anyone rings the doorbell, don't answer it. Here's my mobile in case of an emergency. I left the flat, found myself half running to the nearby shop, a creeping sense of guilt rising in my guts. I berated myself for not telling C not to eat anything. What if at that exact moment she was choking to death on a grape?

I got back to find my daughter was still sofa-ridden, her eyes fixed on the TV. She didn't even acknowledge my homecoming.

I needed a glass of wine after that. But am I right to beat myself up? If my friend's reactions are anything to go on, I probably should be. A friend with a 10-year-old child (and a husband) paled at the suggestion that she left the house without her son. "What if something happened to me?" she whispered. "Or him?" Another proudly told me, she never ever let her child out of her sight, even in enclosed soft play areas. "You just never know," she said, shaking her head, quoting a story she once read of an 11-year-old using a supermarket loo on her own and then getting raped.

As far as my daughter's concerned, we both need reasonable time alone. My brother's 20-year-old girlfriend is terrified of walking alone down a street after sundown, because she was rarely allowed out at night before she left for university.

I've been letting my daughter walk to school with a group of friends most mornings – a decision my peer group mothers have expressed surprise at. It's a 15-minute walk and involves crossing two major London roads. She's with three 10-year-olds and a fellow classmate. Are they old enough? The school's policy says eight is the minimum age for solo walking. Three out of the five of the walking gang (all girls) have parents who are single working mums. How much has that swayed their decision to give their child that responsibility? Probably quite a lot.

I know it is a risk letting her walk: I feel that every time our lips brush goodbye. But I get an hour extra in the morning to work or even go to the gym, and she gets a sliver of preciously savoured independence. It works. The benefits outweigh the risks.

If anything happened to her no one would blame me as much I would myself. But surely a parent's job is not to solely keep her safe, but teach her to manage on her own? I don't want her to think we live in a bad world with danger at every corner. We don't. I believe what kind of woman she'll become directly correlates with what she's been allowed to do as a child. I want her to confidently work out that safe route herself, so one day when my hand is no longer here to hold, she'll feel secure in her own judgment and know security comes from within.



I felt sick reading this article. Imo it is written by a selfish, lazy ignorant person. Her 8-year-old daughter's school is a 15 min walk away, by letting her child walk with older children (10 year olds!) she gets an extra hour for herself to work or go to the gym. Well I would walk my child there and then walk or run home that would mean 30 mins exercise and 30 mins to work or do whatever else I thought important and it would also mean that I knew my child was safe. Child safety is important not an hour at the gym or an hour extra to work!

As for this comment:

"I believe what kind of woman she'll become directly correlates with what she's been allowed to do as a child. I want her to confidently work out that safe route herself, so one day when my hand is no longer here to hold, she'll feel secure in her own judgment and know security comes from within."

Whoever wrote that article should maybe ask herself what kind of woman the child who was left unsupervised with her two younger siblings in an unlocked flat, unlocked so she could get out a find her parents if she woke up wondering where they were, will become if she is still alive! For some reason if this child is still alive I do not think she will think she had a sliver of preciously savoured independence that works and the benefits outweigh the risks!

Imo the only people who benefit when parents are neglectful and selfish are the those who practice the act of neglect and selfishness!

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Guest on Fri 13 Nov - 10:14

Disgraceful article, clearly attempting to normalise child neglect and self-indulgent parenting - is this the beginning of a new family life discourse, i bloody well hope not :(

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Dimsie on Fri 13 Nov - 10:33

Quote: 'While leaving a toddler alone in a cot with a bottle of milk wouldn't go down well with the authorities, for obvious reasons, on the other hand Madeleine McCann's parents were forgiven by some for leaving a three-year-old and two-year-old twins alone in a Spanish resort room.'

Glossing over the fact that the writer is dumb enough not to know the difference between Portugal and Spain, also that the McCann children were left alone in an apartment (not in a room, which suggests the parents were elsewhere in the same building), I personally don't know anyone who 'forgives' them for leaving their children alone in the way they did. The media may like to pretend the parents must be forgiven because they are 'victims' and yes, there must be members of the public who do too, but every single person I've ever heard talking about the case finds it inexplicable that the parents behaved as they did. 'How could they?' is the usual question, said in a tone of disbelief and disgust. People also find it unbelievable that there was no legal action taken about this, as most people naturally believe that leaving toddlers unattended is against the law.

It really doesn't matter how many people spin out their stories of leaving 8-year-olds or 10-year-olds alone, for whatever reason, because in the end none of them can be compared to the McCanns leaving their children. The McCanns' eldest child was THREE, not even old enough to start school, not old enough to be able to follow safe procedures in the event of fire, accident, sickness, intruder, etc. I'm not suggesting an 8-year-old or a 10-year-old could competently cope with these situations either, of course, just that to leave a 3-year-old to cope with any of these possibilities was an outrageous and shameful thing to do. Anyone doing this has no judgment; the fact that something happened to Madeleine (whatever it might have been) is proof of that. The fact that the parents are both doctors, people to whom you'd imagine judgment and safety would be of prime importance, is downright scary, IMO. 'How could they?' is certainly the right question to ask; the McCanns themselves, nor their friends who were doing the same thing, haven't yet supplied any convincing answer.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  sybilsleaves on Fri 13 Nov - 10:46

In the article she says:

My brother's 20-year-old girlfriend is terrified of walking alone down a street after sundown, because she was rarely allowed out at night before she left for university."


Sorry, I don't believe this is true! But it helps justify leaving her child alone while she goes out shopping for plonk. I'd like to hear her brother's girlfriend's comments on why, or if, she is "terrified" and the reason for it. Call me cynical but .... this article reminds me of the old saying "never let the truth get in the way of a good story".

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  zodiac on Fri 13 Nov - 10:57

sybilsleaves wrote:In the article she says:

My brother's 20-year-old girlfriend is terrified of walking alone down a street after sundown, because she was rarely allowed out at night before she left for university."


Sorry, I don't believe this is true! But it helps justify leaving her child alone while she goes out shopping for plonk. I'd like to hear her brother's girlfriend's comments on why, or if, she is "terrified" and the reason for it. Call me cynical but .... this article reminds me of the old saying "never let the truth get in the way of a good story".

sybilsleaves I have my doubts that this is a real story. Either way it is still a sickening article imo!

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Guest on Fri 13 Nov - 11:03

But she is right. The McCanns HAVE been "forgiven". By Lorraine Kelly, Fish Face Phillips, the Mail, the Sun, the Guardian, GMTV, the NSPCC.... shall I go on? It makes me despair for the future of this country, it really does.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  malena stool on Fri 13 Nov - 11:16

The Famous Grouse wrote:But she is right. The McCanns HAVE been "forgiven". By Lorraine Kelly, Fish Face Phillips, the Mail, the Sun, the Guardian, GMTV, the NSPCC.... shall I go on? It makes me despair for the future of this country, it really does.

Perhaps once New Labour have been ousted from power it will all change. All those involved in this disgusting episode have some affiliations with; The McCanns, New Labour or are controlled in their actions by an edict put out by New Labour.

Hopefully once the electorate rejects the corrupt mantra guiding our nation, sanity will return to the value placed on our children.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  fedrules on Fri 13 Nov - 11:31

To be perfectly honest, I don't see a huge problem with leaving an eight-year-old alone for 10 minutes, especially as this single mother had taken a lot of precautions regarding her daughter's safety. Statistically, it would probably be more risky taking her daughter with her in the car.

I also don't think she is supporting the McCanns' decision to leave three young children alone. I feel what she writes is emphasizing the fact that the Mccanns were treated differently from others. Had one of the McCann children had an accident during the parents' absence, rather than one being allegedly abducted, public opinion would have been far more damning of the McCanns' leaving three children alone. As it was, most people (me included at first) felt far too sorry that such an unlikely event as a stranger 'breaking into the flat' and 'snatching' their daughter from her bed, had happened to the family.Ironically, at the time, thanks to the doctors' insistence that their daughter had been abducted, the unlikeliness of such a thing really having occurred was lost on me.... possibly just as they planned..

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  wantthetruth on Fri 13 Nov - 11:38

Dimsie wrote:Quote: '
It really doesn't matter how many people spin out their stories of leaving 8-year-olds or 10-year-olds alone, for whatever reason, because in the end none of them can be compared to the McCanns leaving their children. The McCanns' eldest child was THREE, not even old enough to start school, not old enough to be able to follow safe procedures in the event of fire, accident, sickness, intruder, etc. I'm not suggesting an 8-year-old or a 10-year-old could competently cope with these situations either, of course, just that to leave a 3-year-old to cope with any of these possibilities was an outrageous and shameful thing to do. Anyone doing this has no judgment; the fact that something happened to Madeleine (whatever it might have been) is proof of that. The fact that the parents are both doctors, people to whom you'd imagine judgment and safety would be of prime importance, is downright scary, IMO. 'How could they?' is certainly the right question to ask; the McCanns themselves, nor their friends who were doing the same thing, haven't yet supplied any convincing answer.

This is a good point.

You can't compare letting an eight year old walk to school with four other children to what the McCanns did.

But she's right, people HAVE forgiven them. All the pros say it 'they made a mistake, but they've paid'. Actually, no they haven't. Neglect charges should have been brought!

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  fedrules on Fri 13 Nov - 11:47

Actually, she doesn't say 'people' have forgiven them, but that 'some' have. This implies that others, possibly the writer too, have NOT forgiven them.
Unless Maddie was abducted, I personally agree with those who believe that it would be too cruel to bring neglect charges. For the record though, I don't think she was abducted. I have faith in Eddie and Keela, the Smith family sighting of 'McCann' and statistics regarding stranger abductions of three-year-olds from inside buildings.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Alfiefinn on Fri 13 Nov - 12:02

I take on board everything other posters are saying.

But two articles (one of which actually refers to the McCanns and is riddled with basic inaccuracies about an extremely prolifically reported case) in which two journalists admit to leaving their children alone, the old 'we all do it' defence basically(but quickly advise us that the children are 8, 10 etc, in order to avoid possible prosecution and rancour from their readership etc.) have suddenly appeared this week, the week after the McCann tv blitz. It just seems a bit too convenient for me, if you know what I mean.

Am I sensing a possible strategy?

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Lilemor on Fri 13 Nov - 12:33

Please never let us forget:
The McCanns did not let a group of 10 years old children go to school "alone" on their own (My children go to school with friends, too, but never alone), they left BABIES (not even tow years old) alone.
That is a huge difference!
And what they did will NEVER be okay.
It has to do with common sense.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  T4two on Fri 13 Nov - 12:50

I posted this on a forum recently. It might help to explain the 'leaving children alone' syndrome.

Memo from XXXXX Marketing

Subject: Re-alignment of your marketing campaign – codename: "Internet Abductor".


The campaign so far:

The poignant picture of a small child staring wide-eyed at the camera with the mark in her right eye clearly visible; the absolute personification of innocent childhood with just a touch of bewilderment to emphasise her vulnerability, has been extremely successful in tugging at the heartstrings of millions and ensuring a steady flow of donations to the fund. It was indeed an excellent marketing ploy as you so rightly suggested at the time.

Our research clearly shows that over the last couple of years or more two major target groups have emerged, each predominantly female in character and each, as one would expect, demonstrating almost purely emotional response behaviour patterns.

Group A: Pro-child Group
The majority of members of this group consists of mothers in the age group 20 to 30 + who, having young children themselves immediately identify with the missing child as if she was their own flesh and blood. This tiresome attitude towards the child is governed by their maternal instincts of course and displays the kind of old-fashioned conservative values of motherhood and parenting which have obviously withstood the combined efforts of a NuLab government, The Guardian newspaper and the BBC to eradicate them over the last 12 years.
Predominant features:
Child-friendly, honest, caring, outraged by perceived injustices, extremely determined, resilient to brainwashing.

Group B: Pro-parent Group
The majority of membership of this group consists of professional working mothers in the 40 + age group. These people being themselves professionals with small children instantly recognise and identify with your predicament in trying to balance the pleasures of your coveted lifestyle and the tedious task of trying to cope with the unreasonable demands of young children on your quality time. As we know, members of this group dominate the media, particularly breakfast television and the tabloid press and this continues to be extremely useful in getting our message across. Predominant features: Peer group, narcissistic tendencies, aggressively materialistic, uncaring, already brainwashed or brain dead.

Unfortunately apart from having a predominantly female membership and consequently predominantly emotional response patterns, these groups have absolutely nothing else in common, Group A having become known as the Antis and Group B the Pros. In fact their views are so diametrically opposed to one another that the chances of ever reconciling them is frankly zero.

Proposed action:

Every change or realignment of a successful brand is fraught with danger; the risk of alienation of a key group always a possibility. The unique situation with your brand however means that the danger lies not in alienating and thus eliminating such a key group previously instrumental in the success of the brand, but of being unable to alienate and eliminate it fast enough. The group referred to of course is the above-mentioned Group A: Pro-child or self-styled "Anti" group. We propose the following action:

1. Purging of all heart-rending pictures of the child at age 3 + years and less from the internet and conventional media.
2. Replacement of said heart-rending pictures with artist's depiction of what she would look like now. Said artist's depiction to portray her as some latter-day American Lolita as introduced for the dry run at the Oprah show and/or as a swarthy unsympathetic gipsy - type teenage nonentity guaranteed to alienate the average member of the public.

We understand that purging of the pictures from the media and their replacement will be handled by your legal team. Said team to ensure that other significant places are also taken care of, (Injunctions, threats, actions for infringement of copyright so on and so forth).

As far as the internet is concerned we recommend a viral video appeal which should have the effect of putting the unsympathetic "Lolita" and "nonentity" pictures at the top of every search engine result for ever.

This approach is we think the fastest and most cost-effective way to deal with the myriad blogs and websites disseminating undesirable material. In fact a year or so from now images of the heart-rending little child who disappeared from her holiday apartment should have been successfully removed from the consciousness of the average person across the world leaving only a few diehards to continue their opposition. Such people can easily be dismissed as "internet scum" or cranks and are irrelevant.

We therefore recommend that you waste no time in re-launching the brand putting yourselves once and for all centre stage, since you no longer need donations from a compassionate and caring public but can survive quite well on income from various legal actions until the proceeds from your planned book and sale of the film rights start to roll in. I'm certain you can bring this off – just remember, it won't be the first time she'll have been made to disappear.

Your XXXXX Marketing Team

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Lilemor on Fri 13 Nov - 13:24

Thank you, T42!

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Guest on Fri 13 Nov - 14:57

two-year-old twins alone in a Spanish resort room.

lets not let facts get in the way of a sorry tale !!

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Guest on Fri 13 Nov - 15:14

Laffin Assasin wrote:
two-year-old twins alone in a Spanish resort room.

lets not let facts get in the way of a sorry tale !!

Lets face it, they probably left em alone in Spain too !

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as above

Post  halfamo on Fri 13 Nov - 15:19

I often wonder what a mother would be thinking as she closes a door and leaves three small children alone in a dark empty appartment.How far would you walk before you stopped and said this is wrong and turned around.Or as a responsible parent not even started the journey.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Catalina on Fri 13 Nov - 16:24

Great post, T4two, thank you.

I sincerely hope we 'internet cranks' are never frightened off and never give up. Just the thought of those children being left alone in the apartment is enough to give me extra determination on the occasions when I feel a bit downhearted because it seems we are never going to get anywhere. My blood froze when I first heard on 4th May 2007 that three such small children had been left alone, and it still freezes now. That alone is enough to make me continue and I'm sure many people feel the same.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Guest on Sat 14 Nov - 9:12

fedrules wrote:To be perfectly honest, I don't see a huge problem with leaving an eight-year-old alone for 10 minutes, especially as this single mother had taken a lot of precautions regarding her daughter's safety. Statistically, it would probably be more risky taking her daughter with her in the car.

I also don't think she is supporting the McCanns' decision to leave three young children alone. I feel what she writes is emphasizing the fact that the Mccanns were treated differently from others. Had one of the McCann children had an accident during the parents' absence, rather than one being allegedly abducted, public opinion would have been far more damning of the McCanns' leaving three children alone. As it was, most people (me included at first) felt far too sorry that such an unlikely event as a stranger 'breaking into the flat' and 'snatching' their daughter from her bed, had happened to the family.Ironically, at the time, thanks to the doctors' insistence that their daughter had been abducted, the unlikeliness of such a thing really having occurred was lost on me.... possibly just as they planned..

Very well said Fedrules! I have four children ranging in age from 15 to 5 and it is vital that children are given increased amount of independence as they get older. If you didn't have a day where they were allowed to walk to school without you how would they cope when they have to go to work or college!! I was given a lot of freedom growing up, both of my parents worked out of financial necessity and child minders were unheard of at the time. I used to do things then that I wouldn't dream of allowing my 15 year old to do [lighting the fire for example]. But I do leave him alone in the house for short periods during the daylight hours, as the article points out we all need 'alone' time and we also need to learn how to be alone. Similarly my 12 year old daughter who has just started secondary school has become much more independent since September, again out of necessity. I completely support the writer of that article. I think it was honest and well thought out, which is a lot more than can be said for a lot of people writing on McC related topics.

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  Guest on Sat 14 Nov - 18:17

lj wrote:The problem is that examples with older children in much safer situations are used to whitewash the McCanns gross neglect.

Of course you have to teach children how to do things on their own. But that is something else than leaving 2 2 yr olds (they don't call it terrible 2 for nothing) and a 3 year old alone in a strange bed, in a strange room, in a strange house, in a strange place, in a strange country.

Not only that, the environment was making one the mothers so uncomfortable that she had trouble checking if her sick baby had dirtied her diaper again.

Not only that Madeleine had asked "why didn't you come when we were crying".

Now that is something completely different from leaving an eight year olf alone in her own comfort zone for a little while.

I don't think that the intention was to whitewash anything. In my opinion perfectly good parents are afraid to give their children any responsibility [inhibiting their development btw] in case they [the kid] make a mess of it and they look like irresponsible parents.

I've just had my 9 year old daughter in the local healthclinic, she has been asking for earrings for ages driving me and her father mad but we fought her off for as long as we could. Finally we relented and agreed she could have her ears done as long as they were studs and as long as she looked after them herself. That was all agreed and the piercing went ahead. I prompted the ear bathing etc for the first few days but three other kids and a family crisis meant Holly had to take responsibility for her own ears. She didn't bother, the ears became infected and long story short the earrings had to be removed.

My point here [finally] is that we have to give them short bursts of responsibility to see how they deal with it. I don't think Holly will want earrings again any time soon but I'm sure when she does she'll look after them. I don't think our expectations were unreasonable, I would have thought it was a fair expectation that she mind her own ears - but it seems we were all wrong, so back to the drawing board..

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

Post  T4two on Sat 14 Nov - 18:29

The article is about leaving children on their own and with the obligatory mention defending the Mccanns thrown in. Funny how a spate of articles justifying leaving children on their own has cropped up recently. Coincidence? Hardly...

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Re: We can't hold our kids' hands forever, Guardian, 13.11.09

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