When to cut your child loose from the apron strings? When to give them a taste of independence, to help them develop into confident, self-reliant individuals. It’s a dilemma that faces almost every parent.

If I had my way Master A would be bound by them until I quit this mortal coil – even then I’d probably find a way of mollycoddling him from beyond the grave.

That’s, of course, if he hasn’t already created the serum of ever-lasting youth by then – it’s what is going to put him on the map, he tells me.

Australian radio presenter and talk show host Carrie Bickmore has faced a backlash from parents after admitting she lets her nine-year-old son walk to school on his own. She said it was a way of “teaching him independence”.

She reflected on how, when she was younger, attitudes were a lot more relaxed.

She opened up the discussion to listeners but instead of getting support for her decision, she was slammed for it.

Parents were critical, saying nine was too young for a child to walk to school on their own, with some even accusing the radio host of being negligent and unfit to be a parent.

Parenting has changed. When I was around nine or 10, I had a key to my house and walked the 1.6km to school on my own.

I wasn’t the only child. On the way, I would hook up with a couple of friends and we’d make our way in together.

In fact, on reflection I can’t recall seeing very many parents at the school gate. Unlike today when there appears to be more parents than children hanging around at drop off and again at pick up.

I salute Carrie Bickmore for giving her child the gift of freedom. But, for now, I’ll still be the mum driving past with Master A riding shotgun.

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