Do Kids Need More Freedom?
Are modern parents to blame for our kids’ general inability to leave the nest? Almost every parent I know (including me) has made their teenagers download Life360 (a GPS phone tracking app) to monitor where they’re going, how fast they drive, and whether or not they are talking on their phone while driving. I admit, it’s comforting to check the app around curfew and see that my child is headed home (and driving safely). We justify it with “well, what if something happens to you” or “what if you get kidnapped.” When we were kids “Life360” was more organic. It was simply moms talking to each other, nosy neighbors, and parents who dealt with the growing independence of their children by drinking another glass of wine and accepting the risks that a full life requires. As kids we learned the hard way that freedom came with responsibility. As our freedom expanded (first bikes, then cars) we lied about where we were going and who we were with. Sometimes we got away with it. Sometimes we didn’t – and paid the consequences. But that incremental freedom was critical for preparing us to leave the nest when the time came. It was probably even more important to prepare our parents. Maybe Life360 isn’t helping protect our children – it’s simply our attempt as parents to expand the parameters of the nest.