I have noticed that parents here in Sweden, generally speaking, are much more laid-back in their parenting styles than uptight, paranoid me. Or maybe they're too careless and I'm the SuperMom. Though somehow I doubt it. I think there's a happy medium here, one that I long to achieve.
There's this cute-as-a-button 2 and half year old, let's call her Dolly, who lives a few houses down from us. The first time I met her, she was with her Mom in the park area a couple of doors down from their house. Her Mom left the park. I thought maybe she had to go check on another one of her kids for a quick sec. She didn't say a word to me. She just left. And the time ticked away. And I became increasingly agitated as I watched this beautiful blonde bubbly babe start to scale the neighbour's fence. I ran over to make sure I was there in case she fell. She didn't. She made it to the other side (something my kid would never attempt) and came back over again. She ran, she climbed, she jumped on the trampoline and then she took off on her little tricycle towards the street as a huge bus was making its way down the road. I ran like a bat outta hell (along with her older brother) towards her. In the nick of time I might add. My heart was racing for the 15 minutes her mother left her alone, in the park with no supervision (except for mine, which was not solicited but came naturally). For the record, this is so not cool.
And then there's the two little boys, one a few weeks younger than mine whose parents let them run down to the pool (no lifejacket or floaties) while they chat out of sight, backs turned with friends. Water and kids and no supervision. Not cool.
And the many kids in the neighbourhood who run seemingly free, many around the same age as mine. Whose parents are perhaps looking out the kitchen window (or not) while their kids play in an unfenced yard.
Then there's me. I never let my kid outta my sight. Even when he's in our gated front yard, I'm there. Or hubby is. He's not allowed to run on the slippery pool deck or climb the rock mountain in the middle of the pool. Or run too far ahead of me. If I notice some questionable interaction with another child, I'm intervening on auto-pilot (protecting whichever kid needs it). Even at the indoor playpark, I'm usually right there beside him climbing to the top.