When Do You Give Your Child ‘Liberty’?

Many times lately, Alycia has asked me to allow her to take the elevator on her own from our unit to the lobby to wait for the transporter in the morning and to take the elevator up to our unit when she comes back from school in the afternoon.  She has also asked me to allow her to go swimming at the pool unsupervised.  She said that I can watch her swim from our kitchen as our kitchen has a good view of the swimming pool.  Hubs and I think that it is still too early for her to be independent in this area, in the light of rampant children kidnap cases and cases of children drowning in swimming pools.  Alycia will be 10 years old in December and I can see that she is trying to establish an identity of her own and trying hard to gain a wee liberty from us. I can feel that she wants to fly on her own as her tiny wings have now feathered and she feels that she is ready to fly on her own instead of being sheltered and taught how to fly.  But I am not ready to let her try doing these things that would affect her safety, on her own, just yet.

Today, Sherilyn saw her 2 Japanese friends who live in the same condo as us, swimming unsupervised by an adult, in the pool (adult pool, not the kids’ pool) of our condo after attending art class with her.  Her 2 friends will be 7 years old and  8 years old this year.  They are only beginners in swimming and have just learned how to float  but are not good in water threading yet. I was stupefied as to how the mothers of the 2 young girls can have the peace of mind to allow their daughters to go swimming without any adult supervision and there is no life guard around.  It is not that they are busy (both of them are SAHM) and I am very puzzled as to how they can let go of their young daughters, just like that.  It is OK if their kids are good swimmers but the 2 young girls are quite hopeless in the water, being new swimmers.  The mother of the almost 7-yo girl also allows her young daughter to take the elevator by herself at 6:30am every morning to wait for the van driver to shuttle her to school.  This 7-year old girl is the youngest child and she has 2 older brothers.

Another resident living in the same unit as I allowed her then 6-year old daughter to go swimming on her own without any adult supervision.  She allowed and still allows her now  9-year old daughter to swim and play at the pool area with her friends (also residents of the condo) from afternoon till night. When I asked the girl who taught her swimming, she told me that she picked it up herself when she was about 7 years old, without anyone teaching her.  When I heard that, I just could not grasp how her mother can let her learn swimming on her own!? I believed what she told me as I had seen her swimming all by herself at the pool many times — no parents, no adult, no friends either with her!!  After swimming, this girl would shower at the toilet cum bathroom located next to the swimming pool. Then she will have dinner at the Japanese restaurant at the condo with her 2 friends.  I am still stumped as to how this girl’s mother can allow her daughter to play from afternoon till night outside of the house without any adult supervision. Is she even worried about her daughter’s safety?  The girl’s parents are quite well to do and are the educated ones but yet… oh well, some people are born with a very cool and composed disposition and they aren’t the panicky type.

Maybe I am plain paranoid of losing my kids as I had gone through a very dark and difficult period to be able to conceive and  carry Alycia to full term.  Am I the only one who is such a chronic worrier? Would you allow your young kids to play on their own without any adult supervision?  For those of you with tweens and teenagers, at what age did you give your child a little leeway as a prelude to more independence?