Or did we? Regardless, this refrain seems embody a certain tension between the good and bad that we grew up with (no seat belts, second-hand smoke, unsupervised play outside until the dinner time), on the one hand, and our generation’s brand of hyper-conscious parenting. So let’s take the case of car seats, which we can all agree are totally essential. There are those rare occasions when you need to get from Point A to Point B, and, for a bunch of reasons, you have a bunch of kids in your car and not enough car seats. Or you’re in foreign city, trying to get from the airport to your hotel in a taxi but you don’t have a booster. When does necessity—or certain When in Rome ethos you promised to maintain into parenthood—trump the rules? We don’t have a clear answer. We’re just putting it out there.


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Comments (5)


  1. In a strange way, it’s liberating to just let go a bit on all the parenting rules. I occasionally let my kids (10 and 7) run into the store themselves and buy something (waiting in my car) and had to get 13 kids to the movie theater down the street yesterday with only 12 available seats. We just had one sit on the lap of another and wrapped the belt around both, probably not the safest thing but we went for it. I have two older step boys who were babied so much, they can barely navigate our neighborhood (at 17 and 19 years of age!!) So with my daughters, I let them go a little further away from our house with the goal of them actually walking to school without me someday soon (admittedly it’s scary, but I walked to school from first grade on ALONE most of the time). Kids need to be confident and rely on themselves at some level or they will never grow up. They can sense our fear of the world and will embody that fear, as parents we need to give them the opportunity to feel brave. I struggle with this concept myself.

  2. Posted by: Tina

    It seems like this is a daily conundrum for me. There is so much more to parenting than when I was a kid. It can be information overload. I do find that everyone feels more relaxed when I let go a little. Definitely when we travel, a lot of rules get broken.
    Great post!

  3. Posted by: Jen

    Leslie, I agree – I was also walking to school by myself from first grade on. I also seem to remember when I was in third grade it was my job to pick up my 5-year old brother from the on-site daycare after school (he had half-day kindergarten) and walk him home. Apparently the daycare had no problem releasing him to the care of a 9 year old. We currently live very close to our elementary school (~5-10 minute walk for a child) but my 4-yr old will be bused there in Sept. I’d love for him to walk to school by himself, maybe not next year but certainly by first or second grade – but I’m really not sure that it’s safe only because there are no other kids walking to school. If I knew that there would be a handful of other kids his age and maybe a little older walking at the same time, I think it would be fine – there’s safety in numbers. As parents, we all have to sort of agree on these things, but I don’t see anyone else clamoring for our kids to walk to school. Maybe the bus is just too convenient for the rest of the working parents in our neighborhood.

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