City Kids – How Safe Are They?

UsNycWalkSign5413Are we really raising the street smart and savvy kids that we think we are ?

My oldest daughter is 10. She can order off of any menu from Indian to Ethiopian, she has an ipod, a cell phone, an email address, she even keeps up on alternative music and plays the drums.

But she can't cross the street.

What? I taught her myself.. To look both ways blablabla. But in the days of nannies and overprotective parenting have we begun to reverse the process of independency ?

This weekend me, hubbie, my daughter and a friend were walking to the park (cause they cannot go there alone…. no friggin way), hubbie and I crossed the street ahead of the girls; when it was their turn they both walked right into the street without even looking. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" I said loudly (not quite yelling but pretty much) "What??…" they both said. The bottom line was that they had no idea they had just wandered into the street by themselves, they were looking at me. They assumed that because I had gone, they could go. No looking both ways, no advancing slowly, no waiting for cars to stop, nothing. I was horrified. Since then I have started looking at how other kids in our neighborhood cross the street… was my daughter the only one or was this some street crossing epedemic ? I was somewhat surprised to see many children blindly following their parents into busy intersections and not looking at all.

So back to the question at hand. I don't allow my daughter to go anywhere without supervision. I believe that it makes her safe and keeps her out of harms way. However, she has taught herself some lessons in the procress, number one being that someone is always watching me and I don't have to watch myself. Either her nanny or her parents are always making sure that she is safe, this means she doesn't have to take personal responsibility for her own physical safety. Holy Shit what have I done? (enter mommy guilt)

Now that I am painfully aware of this little safety set back, we have been working on making it better. Allowing her to cross the street by herself,implementing no walking and talking on her cell phone rules, etc. Walking somewhere by herself is probably next on the list. All of this independence makes me nervous but I hope in the long run it will yield a more observant and aware child.