8 year old - how much freedom? Help please!!! - FamilyEducation
8 year old - how much freedom? Help please!!!
07/27/2007 at 06:46 AM

Hi - I've only just become a member but I hope someone can help me because this is causing an arguement between my husband and me!  My daughter is 8 years old and attends a gym class at 6 pm - when I take her I go with her into the gym and make sure that she is safely in the class - you can't stay and watch so I go and get a coffee or take my son to the play area on the same site.  I have just found out that when my husband takes her to gym he lets her go in on her own - he watches her from the front entrance but she then pays for herself and makes her way into the building and the gym on her own - once she has gone past the pay till you - she is no longer in sight - I feel that this is too much but now that he as started it, I am afraid it will dent her confidence to stop it but I am not happy to let it continue either - can anyone give me their opinion please, my husband says I am being too protective?  Am I?  Thank you in advance.

I don't think your being too protective at all.Your daughters only 8,and this world is a crazy place.I would do the same with my son.If anything maybe stay behind her ,but let pay just so that she feels good about it.As far as your husband I would try to explain to him that she's still too young.That many things could go wrong,and maybe let her know your only be careful so that nothing happens to her.And its not that your treating her as a baby.I hope this was helpful..I totally agree with you on not wanting to let her go on her own...And thats your choice your her mother...Good luck!!

Hi, my daughter is also 8 and we have dealt with similar situations.  I think you are right to just make sure she is in the class before you go but I bet your husband can see her and feels confident that she is in the gym safely.  My husband would probably do the same.  Some of the parents in my neighborhood let their kids 8 years and even younger walk up and down the street.  They have come down to our house at night and been all by themselves.  There is one friend who lives a little bit north of us and to the left of our street to the east about 3 houses in from the corner.  She walks or rides her bike all over the place by herself day or night and her parents don't seem to worry too much.  That is crazy to me.  I always walk my daughter and/or their friends to other houses.

My suggestion is to let your daughter experience some freedom and gain confidence in other areas that are more safe.  I let my daughter buy a pizza by herself (with my eye on her but from a few feet back).  She carries the $ and pays by herself.  She loves that.  I also let her help with other duties such as finding items when we are grocery shopping, picking out gifts for people and wrapping them herself, to teaching her basic cooking skills that are safe for her age, as well as, just recently teaching her to do laundry.  She loved doing her first load of clothes and felt so independent and proud.  I think we live in a world now that is so different from when we were kids that we are obligated to overprotect our kids just a little.


I think this is a typical mom-dad difference dilemma. It's not worth arguing with dad over - either way she's safe, you do it your way, dad does it his -- kids learn that their parents have their own special ways. I've let my eight-year walk and bike several blocks by himself, and buy things with pocket money at the corner store. You've got to give them a little freedom if you want them to become independent and confident. 


It is interesting how different parents do different things.

One thing, someone else already said - this IS a different world. I would certainly make sure that your daughter knows what to do in case someone tried to take her or molest her  (sorry, I do not know another way to say that)...

Have you spoken about strangers? And about appropriate touching?

If she has to pay every time, does the teacher know that she is coming each week? My concern here is, who would KNOW if she did not show up? And how much time would elapse before YOU knew that she had not shown up?

With that being said ------ yes, we do need to give our kids some practice in responsibility. She probably feels very grown-up being able to pay.

The discussion with your husband could be simply to share your strong feelings about it, why you  feel that way --- and in the future, try to remember to talk about these things BEFORE they start happening.

In leiu of that, maybe you can rearrange your schedule so that he does not take her as much as he has, that way you have your own routine and you are more in your comfort zone.

btw - I am with you. I would not let my child walk in unescorted, but maybe it depends on your city, your neighborhood, who all is in the gym, etc etc etc... too many variables to say you would "never" do something. :)