Raising Kids - More or Less Freedom

I am curious to see how everyone was raised and is raising their children in terms of the rules in place around the home. How much freedom do/did you give your children? Did your approach work? Were you too strict or too lax?

How much freedom did you have growing up?

From a personal standpoint…

My parents gave me a lot of freedom and more so as I continued to show responsibility/trustworthiness. I am very grateful for this because I would not have done well with very controlling or restrictive parents and I think I probably would have rebelled a bit.

When I was growing up I never had a curfew and could pretty much hangout with my friends as I pleased as long as I told my parents where I was going and who would be with me. They had the phone numbers of my friend’s houses if they needed them, but they never had to call. If plans changed where I road my bike somewhere else or when we were of driving age, we would use a pay phone (pre-cell phone days) to update our parents as to where we were. I didn’t have any restrictions as to how late I could be out. I was very good at time management and was always able to get my school work done well.

Even though I probably could have got into trouble if I wanted to, I never did. I stayed chaste, I didn’t underage drink or attend any parties where I was at risk of getting into trouble for being around others engaging in some sort of behavior that could be bad.

I think this helped me to be prepared for college where it was not much a change to be living in an environment where I could make all my own choices.

On the contrary, I have seen the too much freedom approach fail with others, as well as, being too strict not work out well. So that is why I am interested to hear other experiences.

My experience sounds almost identical to yours… lots of freedom, but I felt an enormous sense of responsibility toward that freedom, so I really didn’t abuse it.
I think having the foundation of parents who cared and were interested in seeing me succeed helped, though… because it can go both ways. I’ve seen overly-controlled parenting that caused rebellions, and I’ve seen total and complete freedom that was never grounded… so somehow there IS a happy medium… and that’s what I’m doing my best to establish for my own kids.

Personally, I had tremendous personal freedom growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, probably too little supervision. However, it was always made clear to me that my freedom was contingent on responsible behavior. I responsible, so I kept my freedom.

I think how much freedom you give a child is dependent on how they use it. Once the child is old enough to reason, I think freedom should be extended on an age-appropriate basis. Explain to the child her/his responsibilities in this regard, and enforce restrictions caused by misuse of freedom. Also explain why certain things are bad and others are good.

I think that this combined approach works well at helping a child grow into a mature, responsible adult. After all, they have to learn how to use freedom somewhere, better done while under (but not held by) the protective wing of a loving parent.

We gave our children a lot of freedom. I hope it was the right thing to do. They seem to be generally okay, just with a few wacky ideas from college or whatnot that I try to ignore. At least they are self-supporting, educated, and out of the house! :stuck_out_tongue:

My childhood was similar to the OP’s childhood. But I also grew up in a time that was much more secure…a small town where everyone pretty much knew each other, there wasn’t the internet or cell phones. Pedophiles were something that happened someplace else, AIDS was just becoming known, teen pregnancies were very, very rare and pot was the drug IF you knew someone who tried drugs.

Now, the world my daughter lives in is SOOO much different. We do give her some freedoms, but going out alone in the neighborhood is something I give a second or third thought to, monitoring computer and phone use is a must, drugs are much more available, etc, etc. We have many, many more talks about freedoms and responsibilities than I ever had with my parents. I think my parents just presumed the world was safe.

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