Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Things to Think About if Your Kids Go Off in the Woods By Themselves

If you've been following the goat saga you know Malia's been anxious to take the baby goats for a walk through the woods to the creek.   We used to do it with our big goats and it was always fun.

I was in the middle of a project so she headed off without me.  About an hour after she left she came in and said she thought she had hurt her arm falling on a log.  She's never been a whiny kid about a scrape or a cut so I knew if she said she was hurt she was hurt.   The arm was swelling so to the ER we went.   Broken in 2 places.

I am not one to be afraid to let her go off to explore on her own within a certain distance from the house.   I think we live in a safe place and although anything could happen more than likely she's safe in the woods behind our house.  At least from human predators.    Snake bites and falls are another matter entirely.

I have a 3 rules about her going off by herself in the woods and I think they worth sharing.

1.   Wear boots.   If she wants to take flip- flops for when she gets to the creek, fine but we've seen more than a few copperheads and high rubber boots like English Wellies are fine.  She has an adorable pair of black boots with neon polka dots we got at Tractor Supply.  She wears them many times with a denim skirt when we go to town because they're cute.   With girls, not ugly, can be a biggie.

2.  Take a 2 way radio with you.   They can be bought pretty inexpensively today.   I think we paid about $30 for ours.  Amazon is my go-to place for checking ratings on things like that so I can buy inexpensively and have what I need and still get a decent product.

3.   Use something for bug protection.   We've been using the Cutter product that is a combination of Avons Skin So Soft plus some deet.   There is so much West Nile Virus in some places it's prudent to use something if you are off in an area that is sure to loaded with mosquitos.

Parenting today is hard.  "Don't be a helicopter parent but be involved".  "Let them make their own decisions; just be there to guide".  "Natural consequences are best".

It's hard to know when and where to make a stand sometimes but these are my rules for the woods.   The little girl down the lane doesn't have to wear boots in the woods but Malia' does.   Oh well.

Today could have been worse, much worse but she had a way to reach me even from a 1/2 mile away.  We never think these things will really happen, but they do.  And if you live near woods you know voices don't carry as well as you might think.

 In fact, she didn't call me.   She came home and penned up the goats before coming in the house to tell me.  Not a tear one.  An apology for making me have to take her to the ER.   I wished she had called me but I was so proud of her.  She's so level headed and she was anything but dramatic about it.   Still, had it been a leg and she couldn't get herself home she had the means to reach me.   And I am even more grateful we have the rules in place that we do.  We just never ever know.

Tomorrow we call the hand / arm specialist and she gets to go to school with a story to tell all the kids.



  1. Congratulations! It is such a hard thing for a parent to do, letting go, giving the gift of freedom, the chance to make a mistake, to hurt yourself, to solve a problem. How else can they learn? Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi! You are a good parent. You let your child practice free will but your still there when she falls. That's the best thing parents should do. Guiding and supporting there children.
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  3. It's a fine line and one easily crossed over both intentionally and unintentionally isn't it? A daily struggle but she's the love of my life.

  4. Oh my, I missed this. I hope Malia is healing well. We use the 2-way radios here too. With our weird steep terrain, it's just too easy for something to happen, and not be heard. I'm very impressed that despite being in pain, that she saw to the goats first. I think your daughter is very mature for her age, and a great testament to how she's been raised.

  5. A walking stick is a good idea. I learned after taking my goats on walkabout that I need a walking stick. It helps keep balance if needed. Deters critters I may need to direct away from me and more. I now have one that my brother-in-law personalized for me with pink paracord and a yellow bow. Put's Little Bow Peeps walking stick to shame :)


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