Hudson Valley Parent

HVP August 2015

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Page 20 of 43 n Hudson Valley Parent 21 and trust that the children will re- member the lessons. "Teaching your child about trust, your trust is harder than anything," she says. "Like watching your little bird trying to fly out of the nest, you need to trust that your teaching will take hold. The best way is to put it to the test." Communication is key Next, establish and maintain good lines of communication with your children. "Make it clear to the children that the parent needs to know at all times where they are and that they children are not allowed to just wonder off," Grunblatt advises. "In other words, let the children explore within an appropriate boundary, not everything is OK. When parents provide boundaries within some freedom children feel taken care of, and that leads to safety." Saugerties mom Juanita Lor- raine says she has worked very hard to communicate openly with her children, and that it has helped her to know when it is time to let go or alter some of some of the boundaries and rules for her children. She refers to the balance between freedom and safety as a negotiation that she openly has engages in with her children. "I think overall maturity and the expression of needing more space would be my number one sign that it is time to negotiate space," says Lorraine. "I also check in with my children and ask them questions like 'so what will you do different with your children when you have them?' It's a torturous question, but it really has helped me put my parenting in check without putting them on the spot to possibly feel like they are hurting my feelings." Lorraine says this helps her see the gap between where they are and where she is. "The other question I ask, 'Is there something you want to be doing that you feel like you are not allowed to do?' I always do my best to listen, and let loose as they need it." It can be very difficult for parents to balance the desire to protect their children against the desire to make them more self-reliant, especially when faced with the additional fear of being arrested themselves if they give them too much freedom. At the end of the day, parents must decide for themselves what levels of freedom they are comfort- able with for their children. But the next time you catch yourself crying "Be careful!" you may be doing more harm than good. Dawn Green is a freelance writer and mother of two living in Saugerties.

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