There is a French song which was popular in 1998 entitled “Laisse pas traîner ton fils” which could be translated as “Do not let your son hanging around“.
It made me thing of my son’s schoolteacher who called social services, thinking I was a bad mother because my son used to walk to the library and to the park by himself.
When I said my goodbyes to her at the end of the school year, she replied: “Do not let your son hanging around in the street“.
I am aware that her words come from good intentions.
In Tunisia when I arrived, my favorite storekeeper asked me why my children were not hanging around in the streets with the other kids.
Nobody is right, nobody is wrong. The way we decide to raise our kids has so much to do with mindset, culture and habits inherited from our parents.
However, my personal choice is to teach my children to “talk to strangers”, cross the road safely and to offer them as much autonomy as their age allows.
Being an overprotective mother seems as dangerous as letting a child “hanging around” in the street.