The Daniel Morecombe case, I thought it prudent to consider an important issue that this story has highlighted. That is, at what point in our children’s lives do we allow them a level of independence to travel on their own?
Daniel was 13 years old when he was abducted while waiting for bus on the Sunshine Coast, 8 years ago. As a parent of a 15 year old girl and a 13 year old boy, the story of Daniel Morcombe rings all too close to home.
Daniel’s parents were not the first, and certainly won’t be the last to put their faith and trust in our world and allow their child to leave the nest and fly solo. Unfortunately though, the outcome had tragic consequences.
But is this instance a call to parents to keep our children closer, longer? Should we hand hold them right through their childhood years? And if so, at what point do we let go? At age 16 they are considered old enough to drive and many can get full time jobs. At 18 they can drink alcohol and vote.
If we have not provided them with tools of independence by this age, have we been effective and good parents?
Lenore Iskenasy, a New York columnist was berated publically for allowing her 9 year old son to travel home from Bloomingdales alone. No “mommy privet eye – trailing him from behind”, no mobile phone, just a train ticket, $20 and a few quarters to help him on his way. While many people wanted to turn her in for child abuse, Lenore maintained that keeping kids under lock and key and helmut and mobile phone, and nanny and surveillance is NOT the right way to raise kids. She believes it is debilitating for the kids and the parents.
The parents of Jessica Watson, the 16 year old solo sailor, believed that it would have been worse to deny their daughter permission to sail solo around the world than to lose her in the attempt. They were strongly criticised by child welfare experts who argued that parents have a duty of care to keep their kids realistic about what