When I was Aidan's age, my family lived in small town Indiana where my dad was attending seminary. My mom was busy caring for my two younger sisters and we didn't have a television. To keep me out of her hair, she would send me outside to play.
I can hear the gasps from here. Yep, my mom let her three-year-old son play outside without an adult watching his every move. Crazy!
And yet, somehow, I survived to be a semi-productive member of adult society. She had one rule for me when I went outside:
"Tell me where you are going."
Most of the spankings I received (perhaps a topic for another post) were because I failed to remember this one little rule. I would get so caught up in whatever I was doing that I would forget to go back and tell her what new location I had decamped to.
Amazingly I was never kidnapped.
These days, you are a bad parent if you let your children out of your sight for one moment. Bad things could happen. Your child could be kidnapped, molested, jumped into a gang, crash on his bicycle, given drugs, given candy, given non-organic food, given non-locally grown non-organic food.
I think we, as parents, need to lighten up a little. Kids need some unsupervised time to themselves to figure out how things work. They need to learn how to negotiate with their friends without adult intervention. They need to learn that it's "okay" to fall down and skin their knees. They need to start to learn how to be independent.
Because seriously, I don't want to be taking care of my kids when they are in their forties.
They should be taking care of me.