These are crazy times we live in…moms and dads are criticized for being “helicopter” parents, while simultaneously being expected to watch their children 24/7. A bizarre situation recently happened in Wilmette, Illinois – a town which has been ranked as one of the top locations to raise a child because of low crime rates. According to multiple sources, a mother allowed her eight-year-old daughter to take the family dog (a small Maltese) on a walk around the block…alone (gasp!).
The child’s mother, Corey Widen, told TODAY that the police were knocking at her door about 5 minutes after the little girl left for her walk – a neighbor had reported the situation. The police determined that nothing was amiss…but that wasn’t the end of the strange story. A few days later, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services contacted the family because the SAME neighbor had reported them to the protective agency.
Again, the situation was investigated and again, no wrong-doing was discovered. Widen is so upset that she thinks the person who called the authorities and child protective services should face some time of repercussion.
A professional weighs in
Anne Marie Albano, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, told TODAY that an 8 to 9 year old child being allowed to walk the family dog alone is appropriate – she stated:
“The main thing that we have to bear in mind is that we are training our kids from early on to be independent adults. Picking out their own clothes by age 4, walking the dog by age 8 or 9, these are appropriate things for them to do in a safe place around your home or neighborhood.”
What are your thoughts? Did the neighbor overstep his/her bounds? Is eight years of age too young to walk a block with a small dog? How are kids supposed to learn independence if they are not allowed to be independent…
(Image screenshot via NBC)
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