So tell me..... allowing a bit more "freedom"

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
kt is 3 months short of turning 13. She's itching for a bit more freedom. Yesterday husband bought an inexpensive set of walkie talkies.

Before PCAs shift, kt took one of the WTs & I held onto the other. kt headed out around the block on her scooter; talked with me the entire way. And she was very proud of her accomplishment.

kt seems to need a fast way to stay in contact with husband or myself & is too anxious to go further than a block away. Yet she came back from her "adventure" so proud of herself.

There are days when kt "appears" very stable & centered & wants to head out to play with her "normal" friends (according to her) with-o Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) worker or PCA in attendance. She's tired of having the kids here (which to me is the perfect scenario - I can keep an eye on things).

I'm hesitant to let kt head out on her own - yet she's determined to prove herself.

It's becoming difficult to find a balance between her health & safety & her growing maturity & ability to make safe choices.

How do you all handle this with your difficult children?


Active Member
Kanga is going through the same struggles. We are lucky that our house backs up to a park district park so she is allowed to go there without me (as I can see the whole park from my house). We have tried allowing her to go to certain friends houses on the block but it backfires as they are allowed more freedom and she just goes along with them - i.e. into a boys house I don't know.

Can the PCA be outside but not right on top of kt? Is there a family with "normal" friends that would let the PCA watch kt from a window if she's in their yard?

It is hard because the consequences can be so severe...


Well-Known Member
This is a problem we had with Cory because he saw the older ones have more freedom than we could allow him because he always messed up when we tried. We had to keep tighter reins on him.

I like the idea of walkie talkies. I can understand her being tired of having a PCA around constantly too. Its a tightrope you are walking. I dont think there are any easy answers.


Well-Known Member

this is a tough question for any of us to answer since our difficult children deal with such different issues. Although it is a topic we can all relate too!

Just within the last three weeks, difficult child has found some kids from his school on our block (two moved in with their grandmother and one is a grade lower who has lived here for years). At first, I wanted to stay out front and make sure things were going well and there wasn't any fighting, etc.!!!!!!

But, with a number of kids in a bunch, they just rode their scooters and bikes, and played in the huge magolia three down the street. So far, so good. Does my heart well.

However, kt deals with complex issues that will never touch my difficult child. Her reactions and triggers are so different. I think what happened yesterday was a good start. Since the weather is getting warmer, perhpas staying outside playing should be the rule for awhile. I think it's easier to stay focused on playing and being active and trouble free when the kids are outside running around rather than inside sitting quietly watching tv or talking (that to me is scarier for meltdowns and frustrations). Also make a time limit for checking in. You have to physically lay eyes on her everyone __ minutes - whatever makes sense to you.

Kt should be proud of herself for her taste of freedom. It's so different with difficult children. At 11, easy child was riding her bike to the pool for her babysitting business!!! One child for two hours at the pool for $8.00. She was pretty busy at 11. No way on this green earth would I allow difficult child to ride his bike to the pool!!!!!! The differenc between girls and boys - certainly some of this in play - but the difference between difficult child and easy child definately!!!!!



Active Member
We got difficult child 3 a mobile phone. We used an old, not very up-market handset (easy child's old one) and bought a cheap pre-paid card to run it. This puts a cap on how many calls he can make because if he runs out of credit, he will tell us, fast. As it turns out he is very good about not overdoing it.

He was 11 at the time, had to go to school a half hour's drive away from home and we had a car pool of parents doing the driving, so he didn't always know who would be collecting him. I could text him to confirm pick up details and he could ring me if he was anxious.

The school had a rule that all mobile phones had to be turned in each morning to the office. They would have made an exception for difficult child 3 due to his anxiety, but he was using the phone to ring me through his school day, which was not acceptable, nor did he need to. So he had to turn in the phone. But it still helped him when he most needed it - for the trip to school, or going home. Any variation in the travel and he would get anxious. With the phone he could ring me to let me know of any change, such as "Mum, Chris's dad has stopped off to do some shopping, we'll be about an hour later than usual."

There is a new type of mobile phone out now that would have been my choice if it had been around back then - it's called Tic Talk.

The phone numbers are pre-programmed in by the parents, set by the parents and the phone cannot dial any other number, nor can it text. The child selects phone numbers 1, 2, 3 or 4, or emergency. The parent's phone is billed, or we can use pre-paid.

I'm not sure if it's also Tic Talk that has GPS capability, parents can set the phone to restrict the child's access to certain locations. So if the child goes out of bounds, the phone beeps to warn the child, and the phone also sends out a signal to email the parents to let them know that little Johnny is down by the wharfs again.
And at any time, out of bounds or not, the parents can go online to track exactly where their child is.
So if Jenny is walking home from school and stops off to visit her friend Hannah, instead of panicking Mum can either ring Jenny's phone, or have a peek online. (I just checked when I dug a bit deeper - yes, I think this DOES have GPS or similar).
This phone looks like a palm-sized, streamlined stylised padlock, it easily clips onto a schoolbag and is no use to anyone who steals it because they can't unlock it to access the data and be able to program it to other phone numbers. What use to a thief is a phone that only rings the owner's home number?

It's got other useful educational games on it, too - it is from Leapfrog, so it's not surprising.

I suspect kt would love one.


PS I just did some more digging and found the one I remembered seeing reviewed. This one DOES have GPS, but from what I read I think TikTalk does too.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
This is always so tricky. For us a lot depends on how stable difficult child is on a particular day. He does ride around the block by himself and lately there is a neighbor girl he has been hanging out with. Sometimes they go to the park about 2 blocks away. The good thing is he never wants to do that by himself!


Well-Known Member
I've experimented alot with this issue and have, more or less, finally gotten to a median. No brilliant advice. I think it is
a very individualized issue. Good luck. DDD

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I believe this too will be a slow day by day or even hour by hour kind of thing. For me, it's an "experiment in terror"; for kt it's the natural order of things - growing & spreading wings a bit.

We'll see how this goes.

Thanks for your thoughts & responses.


Active Member
difficult child's spreading his wings right now so I know how you feel. We build up--first accompanying them to a friend's, then accompanying them halfway, letting them go alone but call home to let us know he got there, etc.

Set down rules like always take the same route to a particular friend's.

Review "safe houses" in the neighborhood in case of problems. I'm on the main walking path home from school to our neighborhood and I've had kids stop by for using the bathroom, getting bandaids, and waiting out a thunderstorm.

I bought a "kidphone": $20 Tracfone and bought one year of service + 500 minutes during a promotion for $90. It's not to be used by kids for social purposes and has been very handy.


New Member

I love the walkie talkie idea. difficult child has just begun asking if he can ride his scooter up the block to the local drug store when we need milk or something. He is 11, but . . . I feel your description of the "experiment in terror". There are so many reasons I can come up with for not letting him. I talked him into a compromise - we are beginning slowly and he has agreed. Last time we needed something from the drug store (happened to be milk), I stayed at the front and looked at the magazines and he went and retrieved the milk, stood in line and paid for it.

He kept sneaking looks at me and standing there in line grinning. It was pretty cute. Next time, I have promised to sit in the car while he goes in. I am sure it will feel like an eternity. By the time school gets out, I will have to bite the bullet and let him give it a try - on his own, but I am so hesitant as the traffic can be tricky there. Perhaps I will walk him through it a few times while he rides his scooter, etc., in preparation.

I might even get a set of walkie talkies - I think that is brilliant!

While I think it is important that he be able to do this for his own self-esteem, there are so many facets of him that are still 8 years old - and I would never dream of sending easy child up the street alone, so . . . I am hesitant.

Guess we're all in the same boat on this one. Good luck - and wish us luck, too!