Give children a chance to be independent

Saturday November 30 2019


By Min Atek

We met on the staircase of a busy mall. As we exchanged pleasantries, she asked about my children and I replied that they were all grown up.
She inquired about the age of each one of them and I said they were old enough to take themselves to and from school.

She stopped mid-way her sentence. Apparently, she was rushing to brave the traffic to take her teenager back home by public means.
She was taken aback that my children did not require me to pick them up. She asked about schools they were admitted in and I mentioned each child’s school. ‘Wow,’ she remarked, awed by what was seemingly a normal situation.

We live in interesting times. On one end of the spectrum, is a generation of children who walk to and from school, the same way we did during our times.

On the other side of the pendulum, is a breed of children who have never crossed the road by themselves and have been picked and dropped to school from kindergarten to high school. One breed is familiar with city life.

They can navigate the traffic without any challengeThe other lot has never been to the city centre. They have no idea what happens in the Old and New Taxi Parks. Of course they know how to operate their smart phones,tablets and they are familiar with Google maps, even when the family driver always knows the routes to ply.

This is a subject of debate in many circles. Many parents are quick to point out all the dangers waiting to pounce on their beloved children in case they are not in direct care of their parents or in the hands of those deemed safe by the parents.


Explanations range from reckless drivers on the road to the folks who can kidnap, harm and sacrifice children; the horror stories are many and scary. The key question, however, is at which point is a parent able to fully shield and protect their child?

Are we empowering children to face the real world or children are being groomed into self-entitled brats, who are incapable of navigating the waters called life?

In the years to come, which one of the two broad categories is at an advantage and for how long will they enjoy the special treatment?