Here we go - I knew the day would come when my younger daughter would ask if I could take her to the mall so she could go "hang" and "shop" with her friends…without me present (OR EVEN CLOSE BY, OR EVEN AT THE MALL. Period). At age 11, what I really wanted to say to her was “no way in hell!“ but instead I calmly said “no, that’s not happening.” Honest and forthright, I explained to my 11 year old daughter that at her age, it was just not something that I personally felt comfortable doing, especially leaving her to roam the two level public 1.6 million square foot building, surrounded by strangers.
I felt pretty good about my decision. In fact, in discussing it with my hubby in prior conversations, we were both on the same page – we just didn’t feel right about her going without a parent to the mall being that she was under the age of 13. We know other friends and parents do it. There’s no judging here at all. Its a personal parenting choice. After all, it’s their children and their comfort zone. I’m just not in that comfort zone yet.
I totally get the independence thing with kids. Pre-teens are craving independence, testing the boundaries, increasingly hormonal, but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I allowed her to walk the mall without any adult supervision (and nail biting the entire time, with my heart in my mouth). Not because I don’t trust my daughter. I just don’t trust the disgusting, dangerous perverts who may be lurking the mall and who prey on pretty, innocent little girls. At eleven, she’s still little in my world. And I’m sorry, but bringing a so-called girl buddy to the bathroom if she had to go just doesn’t cut it either. Like the 11 year old buddy would really be able to kick some serious ass if any perpetrator were to approach them?! Hardly doubt that one.
My point is, it’s a crazy world we live in. I get that we can’t raise our kids in a bubble (well, maybe a small bubble), and not allow them to explore the world. Exploring is good. Exploring is healthy and the natural course of growing up. However, I’m just not ready for too much exploring, too soon and too young in a not too safe world as a too cautious (ok, maybe too paranoid) mom.