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Wednesday · April 16 2008

Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone
When I was in 2nd grade, I had a house key and let myself in after school, and waited until my dad came home a couple hours later. It wasn't a big deal. Not exactly riding the subway around NYC, but still feels like more independence than you'd probably see these days in families similar to mine.

As a teenager, I didn't have all the rules and curfews that everyone else did, and my mom trusted I'd be fine and take care of myself. I'm glad she did. I hope I can make the sensible decisions between fear and trust as a parent. I expect they'll happen almost daily.

What you had to say:
April 16 2008

It seems as if she did it because her kid begged her to, and the 'he'll be independent later' reason was secondary.

I probably won't let Marieke ride alone when she's nine. We'll see.

By the way, a stranger yelled at me last weekend for letting Marieke lean over the railing a little at Lincoln Center. It was maybe at her armpits _and_ I was holding on to her. Really bothered him. I wonder what he would do if he found an unattended kid.

April 16 2008

Some people in New York are just insane.

April 16 2008

Do you mean me, Reed? ;-)

On the commute to preschool yesterday, Marieke asked me about the eyebrow ring her seatmate on the subway was wearing, and then about the men sleeping on the sidewalk where she usually walks to school. Not quite the education I had at three.

April 16 2008

btw, my last post was refused for questionable content - I has originally said on the w a y t o preschool. Weird.

April 17 2008

I heard about this story. I'm not sure how I'll feel then. I do feel that parents fear has turned into childhoods that have no freedom. Then we have kids that turn into adults that are afraid or unable to do things for themselves.

April 17 2008

I meant people that yell at other people at Lincoln Center. It was probably that crazy guy who sat next to me at the Siegfeld during Star Wars Ep. III - Revenge of the Sith.

Nine seems a little young to be all alone, but if it were a group of nine year olds with cell phones, that would probably be ok. My biggest fear wouldn't be that my kid would get abducted or lost, but that they'd decide to skip school and wander around New York instead.

April 18 2008

Nine is too young to be alone. I don't take the el frequently any more, but when I did I got harassed often - especially near that Wilson red line stop. I also fear that one of my kids inherited my sense of direction and the sense of panic that I get if I do get lost. I think the buddy system is a good idea if your kid wants to try this and even then, I probably would say more like 10-11 years, depending on the child's maturity level.

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