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Barefoot GrandDaughter

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j45108 Sun 06-Nov-11 21:41:21

I really need some opinion here

My daughter and son in law are a normal hard working couple in their late 20s and not hippies, there only strange habit is liking Ikea furniture which I find rather strange. I have one Granddaughter, who always has new, nice clothing.

It was early last year that they announced that they wanted their daughter, then aged 6 to be barefoot whenever possible! I had hoped this would only last a short while but since then my granddaughter has only worn shoes to school.

I have to date refuse to go out with them but recently at a family wedding that while most people found it a little strange most seemed to find nothing wrong with it. Her other grandparents go out with her while she was barefoot.

Last night I went to an organised firework display with my other daughter and my granddaughter just happened to be there with her parents. Again no one took any notice apart for a couple of people who pointed out out that the ittle girl was barefoot to whoever they were with. We went to a restaurant later.

Wherever I go I do not see barefoot children apart for my granddaughter.

My daughter says that while it might not be normal there is nothing wrong with it.

So how does everyone else think.


jingle Sun 06-Nov-11 21:58:26

I'm surprised she doesn't get sharp stones, bits of wood, even glass, hurting her feet. At this time of the year it must be cold too.

What actually is their reason for not giving her shoes? Do they wear shoes themselves?

Carol Sun 06-Nov-11 22:02:52

When my children were tiny, I refused to buy them shoes until they needed to walk outside, but this seems to be taking things a bit too far - she could cut her feet.

HildaW Sun 06-Nov-11 22:05:57

Nothing wrong with Ikea furniture.

However, barefoot in a modern environment does sound a little odd to me. Letting a child run shoeless in a garden or on the beach is one thing but elsewhere does appear strange and quite risky. Are the parents barefoot also?

harrigran Sun 06-Nov-11 22:36:09

Have to admit to going through a phase in my teens when I did not wear shoes. In the summer months I used to take them off when I got to school and even played tennis barefoot.

Jacey Sun 06-Nov-11 23:22:15

Shades of Sandie Shaw ... like harrigan I went through a phase at college of going bare foot is actually very comfortable ...but not so sure about a child doing it in this day and age.

j45108 Sun 06-Nov-11 23:26:53

Reasons, she says it normal in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and other places like South America.

My daughter used to have a friend down the road when she was a child and her friend's mum allowed her daughter to play out in her socks, her white socks and despite telling her of a million times she would come back from Clair's her socks dirty.

grannyactivist Sun 06-Nov-11 23:53:18

j45108 Perhaps you'll find this article helpful and reassuring. Barefoot at age 6 is certainly unconventional, but at that age your granddaughter will be making her own feelings on the matter quite clear. If she's OK with it then I wouldn't worry.

Cressida Sun 06-Nov-11 23:55:51

Have a look at these If you click on where it says 'technology explained' it says among other things that Research on cultures where shoes aren’t worn show that children within these societies tend to have better arch development and stronger feet as they are allowed to develop in their own time.

Joan Mon 07-Nov-11 01:01:50

It is normal here in Australia, though we have had the drama of cut feet. I remember my then 5 year old lad being so very brave when he had to have glass removed by the doctor. I hated them going barefoot, being from England myself, but the kids simply took their shoes off whenever they could. Not for going out though, - there I drew the line.

bagitha Mon 07-Nov-11 06:32:31

Haven't you got anything more important to worry about? Lucky you! wink Seriously though, why do you mind? Because other people comment? Because it's different from what you're used to? There's nothing actually wrong with going around in bare feet, is there. Problems might arise with cold or with sharp objects, but in principle there's nothing wrong with it. Most of us wear shoes to protect our feet from the cold and from hard surfaces but in many places it's (a) not cold and (b) the surfaces people walk on are softer than tarmac and concrete. In both cases, the need to wear shoes is not there and it's definitely better for feet not to be cramped in shoes.

If I were a betting person, I'd bet that the little girl will want to wear shoes when she's older, just to be fashionable. Time will tell. Meanwhile, why worry if it's not doing her any harm?

susiecb Mon 07-Nov-11 08:21:16

Apparently it is very healthy and good for the foot to be unfettered as often as possible. We are ex hippies and never wear shoes at home which some guests have remarked upon and we dont wear shoes in our garden until it gets very cold. In our younger days we would go bare foot in public - more me than DH but I wouldnt encourage children to do this in public for Health and Safety issues (yes I know groan) but realistically broken glass, dog mess etc etc. I guess its one more thing where grandparents are not expected to comment or have a view!

Leticia Mon 07-Nov-11 08:23:49

My nephew had a phase so I can see where you are coming from, it is embarrassing if it isn't the sort of occasion when it is normal. However I think that you just have to treat it as normal and 'go with the flow'.

JessM Mon 07-Nov-11 08:35:35

I think that the fact you find IKEA furniture strange is interesting - if IKEA was strange it would not be such a hugely successful business . But maybe this reveals your conventional streak - which makes it harder for you to accept unconventionality.
It is good for feet to avoid shoes. How much worse would it be if she was tottering around in teenage style shoes with heels, which can happen at that age (I've seen it!).
I suspect she will assert herself soon...
My 6ft son has shoes with toes, and he does get some odd looks. I call him a hobbit. He says they are very healthy for feet.
How much worse would it be if your granddaughter had, for instance, a huge facial scar or birthmark that made people stare?
I agree with Bagitha. This is not something to lose sleep over. Look on it as an opportunity to change a little maybe?

absentgrana Mon 07-Nov-11 09:17:32

All my life I have gone barefoot wherever possible. Sharp stones, rocky outcrops and hot sand didn't bother me as a child and don't bother me now. I wore shoes and wear them now when necessary – going to school, going to business meetings, mostly but not invariably walking along streets, on formal occasions such as weddings and always in places where food and drink are served. I joke that I suffer from claustrophobia of the toes but genuinely hate to have my feet encased, wearing sandals until forced into socks and shoes by winter cold. I never wear shoes indoors. I don't see this as a cause for anxiety as long as there is some adjustment on appropriate occasions such as where there is a risk of broken glass.

bigmomma Mon 07-Nov-11 09:41:35

On another thread, I mentioned that I lived in a neighbourhood where lots of people of Indian background have settled and who still wear traditional dress. One of the things I can't help noticing is their beautiful feet with their long straight toes. They usually wear little flippety sandals which are only held on by a loop round the big toe and their feet have obviously been unrestricted since they were born. My own feet, even though I've always tried to get well fitting shoes, are showing many signs of unhappiness which I won't describe! Perhaps your daughter and son-in-law would like "Indian" feet for their little girl. Would you be able to find a pair of pretty, open sandals for her?

Mishap Mon 07-Nov-11 10:15:54

I would just ignore it if I were you - GD will object when she decides she doesn't like it - and D has to have the freedom to make her own parenting decisions. I would be concerned that my children would cut their feet, but it would not be my decision to make when it comes to GC.

GoldenGran Mon 07-Nov-11 10:36:13

Once the frost and snow comes she'll have shoes, don't worry about it, children are very conventional when it comes down to it, and when her peer group start making comments she will beg for shoes and they will give in.

bagitha Mon 07-Nov-11 12:10:34

This thread has reminded me of Dylan Thomas's character Mrs Waldo in ^Under Milk Wood^: "What'll the neighbours say? O... what'll the neighbours...?"

I'm beginning to wonder if it's a classic wind-up too — the kind that can be quite fun though smile.

jingle Mon 07-Nov-11 12:19:34

I did wonder that Bags, but it's quite interesting.

I think it was one thing when children went barefoot all day. The soles of their feet would have toughened up. (But was glass used all over the place in those times?) But if a child wears shoes to school everyday, would that mean their soles were softer?

It's just silly anyway. hmm The child's feet will probably spread and she will be unable to find a pair of shoes to fit her comfortably in the future. Not to mention fallen arches.

JessM Mon 07-Nov-11 12:53:47

I think jingle that no shoes strengthens rather than weakens feet.
What are fallen arches anyway?

jingle Mon 07-Nov-11 12:56:46

I think they are the same as flat feet jess. Not sure really. grin

I don't think current medical opinion agrees with you about shoes, though. (not talking very small children here, indoors)

jingle Mon 07-Nov-11 12:58:07

I do mean well fitting, supportive, shoes.

bagitha Mon 07-Nov-11 13:03:09

Anyone with healthy feet does not need supportive shoes except for things like climbing mountains (and 'barefoot' mountain marathon runners even argue with that). We evolved without shoes. We have all the bones and muscles we need to support our feet. Flat-footedness is a problem but it is not caused by walking barefoot.

My kids probably spent about 50% of their childhoods running around barefoot.

Re healthy, unsquashed feet having difficulty finding shoes to fit. Well, yes, but that's the fault of shoe designers, not the fault of feet!

Greatnan Mon 07-Nov-11 13:04:45

My daughter lives in New Zealand and you see all kinds of people shopping barefoot. My grand-daughter says she takes off her shoes before she goes into school, to be like all the other girls.
Fallen arches (flat feet) can be quite painful - my grandson in England was unable to take part in many physical activities - if he makes a footprint it shows the whole sole of his foot. My ex-husband was excused National Service because he had flat feet and could not march.

JessM Mon 07-Nov-11 13:17:15

I have always suspected that "supportive footwear for children" is successful marketing by footwear companies.

bagitha Mon 07-Nov-11 13:18:14

Sorry about your grandson's fallen arches, greatnan. What a nuisance for him! Did he always have the problem or was it caused by some injury or illness?

Greatnan Mon 07-Nov-11 14:39:21

Thank you, bagitha. He was born with them - fortunately, he is a diver so he is able to enjoy his sport in spite of the flat feet. He throws his feet out when he walks, which looks a bit strange, but he does not need to wear arch supports.

Butternut Mon 07-Nov-11 15:40:15

I've had flat feet/fallen arches for as long as I can remember. In fact there was an exercise I was encouraged to do when very young which was to practice picking up a pencil from the floor by curling my toes around it.

It has only been in the past 10 years that I started to suffer discomfort and pain, but with good, specially made insoles, I'm now v. comfortable. However, I still love going bare foot in the summer, but I suffer the consequences! sad

I think your granddaughter, j45108 will make her own choices in due course.

lucid Mon 07-Nov-11 16:40:37

Both my parents worked in the shoe trade but I (and my brothers and sisters) were actively encouraged NOT to wear shoes or socks. I still hate having to wear them.... It is very bad for tiny feet to be encased in tight fitting socks/shoes. Like Absent I've never had a problem walking about in bare feet even clambering over rocks and walking on stony tarmac. Walking barefoot is not the cause of fallen arches.

greenmossgiel Mon 07-Nov-11 17:14:19

I'm always barefoot in the house, and often in the garden (once I've got past the gravelly stuff)! My feet are really good - no problems with arches, apart from the fact that they are a bit high! smile

expatmaggie Mon 07-Nov-11 17:29:44

In Switzerland it is usual for school beginners - and of course kindergarten children to go barefoot in the summer months.

I go barefoot in summer, too and the rest of the time wear those healthy Birkenstock cork sandals which Germans are famous for wearing and get laughed at because of them, but they do prevent foot problems and I have pairs at all the houses I visit.

NannaAnna Mon 07-Nov-11 19:06:01

I take shoes off as soon as I can, wherever I can. The moment I step inside my front door I release my feet, and I do the same at friends' houses. It has never occurred to me to do otherwise, and I'd never met anyone who has as much as mentioned it. I really couldn't cope with anything on my feet when at home.
My kids used to laugh at me for saying I couldn't think with shoes on, but I can't.
I spent most of my childhood barefoot, and could run across the pebbly Brighton beach with ease. (I can still walk along the pebbles barefoot too smile)
I think nothing of taking my shoes off to walk home if I've been out in heels, regardless of the weather. It actually feels lovely in the rain grin

Oh yes - I do believe I have some IKEA furniture too wink

FlicketyB Mon 07-Nov-11 19:56:25

DH and (adult) children walk round the house barefoot. I slide my feet out of my shoes as soon as I sit down but walk round the house with shoes on. I give all this detail because DH and DD seem to break a toe every few years. I 've lost count how often one or other has damaged their feet. DH has two toes strapped together at the moment, he pranged that toe on a chair leg. Me? never broken a toe in my life.

NannaAnna Mon 07-Nov-11 20:16:08

I've never broken a toe (or anything else) ever. Also have very strong arches, no bunions and great shaped feet smile

j45108 Mon 07-Nov-11 20:55:53

Ah well I now see I am the odd one.

I have actually take my granddaughter to the park after school today despite it being quite cold she was not bothered about it. We later went to Burger King and into the restaurant area. I felt everyone was staring at use, but maybe they were not.

Iam going to go to Ikea on Thursday see if I can find anything I like lol, maybe take my granddaughter too.

Thanks for al your input to my post, however if most people thinks that iy is OK for children to go round without their shoes (and these around me seem to do so too) then why is it not more common?

bagitha Mon 07-Nov-11 21:08:00

Good question. Maybe most people find it too cold, or too uncomfortable, or too unconventional. But if one doesn't think it any of those things, there isn't a problem.

crimson Mon 07-Nov-11 21:40:02

Only ever seen one person without shoes and that was a rather grubby looking man who lived in the next village; he used to cycle through our village [barefoot] on his way home. Have to say I would probably stare at a child with no shoes on and would worry about such things as treading on broken glass or [if in the garden] wasps or bees [I trod on a bee once, and it was jolly painfull]. Interesting to read of so many people having healthy feet and not wearing shoes much in their youth. My feet are awful. Think most people tend to take their shoes off in their homes now, but can't say I've seen it outside of the home.

harrigran Mon 07-Nov-11 22:46:54

FlicketyB have to agree about broken toes, I have done it twice whilst barefoot and it is agony when you do it.

jingle Mon 07-Nov-11 22:50:21

"I felt everyone was staring at use, but maybe they were not".

j45108, they were staring at you.

harrigran Mon 07-Nov-11 23:49:30

jingle behave grin

bagitha Tue 08-Nov-11 06:21:17

grin. She is behaving — badly! grin

JessM Tue 08-Nov-11 18:43:12

Quite difficult to go to IKEA and not pick up a little something in the portable item section... their houseplants are rather good.
And a cheap, grandparent friendly cafe!

j45108 Wed 09-Nov-11 15:09:44

Quite difficult to go to IKEA and not pick up a little something in the portable item section... their houseplants are rather good.
And a cheap, grandparent friendly cafe!

In that case I really do need to visit Ikea! I have promised to take GD out at weekend so hoping for nice weather, so put Ikea on the list.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 09-Nov-11 15:52:16

tealights and paper napkins...

jingle Wed 09-Nov-11 16:05:22

That was an inspired post Cari. Can we have some more? smile

jingle Wed 09-Nov-11 16:06:49

wink grin

I'm sure the tealights and paper napkins are lovely. (Waitrose any less hard on the old legs?)

Gally Wed 09-Nov-11 16:15:56

I'm a bit confused; thought I was going to expound on bare feet and here we are having a discussion about Ikea and tea lights? confused

jingle Wed 09-Nov-11 16:18:14

Much nicer though isn't it. All neat and clean. smile

jingle Wed 09-Nov-11 16:35:46

Not that Ikea is particularly neat and clean. And I'm sure barefoot grand-daughters are spotless, apart from the soles of their feet"!

No offence meant. shock

JessM Wed 09-Nov-11 19:17:24

I particularly like the trays in the ikea canteen which enable you to manage more than one person's meal at once if you need to. yee-ha!

HelenRace Sun 20-Nov-11 21:33:14

Had to reply to this thread!

My GD aged seven and nine also go barefoot and I am not bothered what others think but it is ageing me considerably. I watch them riding bikes, climbing trees, jumping off the play equipment in the park, running around with their friends sure they will hurt themselves, they never do but I can't help the feeling. Rough ground does not bother them but it bothers me.

Never forget getting to their house when the thow had just started last year after a freeze. the sun was hot and there was ice under the standing water, the snow that had been moved to the side of the drive was also melting, to find my GD running around dressed in summer dresses and white knee high socks and no shoes. They had done snow angles in the melting snow and were sliding off the snow into the water. I expected to be visiting them in hospital the next day, but they did not even get a runny nose.

irisflag Thu 30-May-13 11:57:50

I noticed on the thread that Butternut mentioned you have fallen arches. May I ask where you get your insoles? I am having terrible trouble finding any, and my podiatrist charges £6000 per year to fit them which is beyond my means. Any tips would be gratefully received!

Butty Thu 30-May-13 12:19:18

Irisflag. £6000 seems a massive amount for special insoles. Aren't they provided by the NHS for a nominal fee? I'd be v. interested to know, for when/if I return to England.

I live in France, (which doesn't help you any I'm afraid) and my podiatrist charges Euros 130.00 a pair to my prescription, which he makes on site - and they last me just under a year. I wear them most days. I walk a great deal, and they are marvellous.

happycamper Thu 30-May-13 14:41:24

£6000 sounds way too much! You can get them for much, much cheaper I'm sure. Have a shop around...

Nelliemoser Thu 30-May-13 19:50:17

I am quite surprised at how many of you seem to go for this barefoot buisiness. It would have probably done my feet some good.

I don't go around barefoot much, I hate cold feet. Somehow though I am always shedding footwear when I am home.

Lost a shoe? I look under the last table or chair I was sitting at.

merlotgran Thu 30-May-13 20:03:13

I buy my arch support insoles on as chips!!

I spent my childhood barefoot as we lived in the middle East and flip-flops were worn for special occasions. I was told when I was about 14 that I would always have trouble with flat feet and boy, are they flat!! I can't wear ballet pumps without pain shooting up my legs and flip-flops are a thing of the past. Thank goodness for the insoles which I wear in all my shoes and boots.

FlicketyB Fri 31-May-13 16:04:31

My family walk barefoot round the house and my daughter barefoot in the garden. At least once a year one or the other badly damages a toe, including a number of breaks, when the stub it on something.

Me? I wear sturdy backless clogs, which I slip off as soon as I sit down. I have never broken a toe or cut a foot badly.

Iam64 Sat 01-Jun-13 07:25:07

Entertaining thread - I was a barefoot teenager and love having bare feet now. Your granddaughter may well use shoes as one of her rebellions as she gets older. IrisFlag - I have inflammatory arthritis and associated foot problems so I have orthotics made via biomechanics/podiatry at our local clinic. They are fantastic in helping avoid foot pain, but also work to help support my knee/hip and lower back. Like many people, I have one leg slightly shorter than the other, so one insole is built up. I have been lucky enough to be made 2 pairs a year, so I can keep one pair for walking boots/shoes and the other for decent shoes. Also, if my hands are inflamed and weak, it means I don't have to struggle to move them between shoes. I just had a new pair made, but was told the cuts mean I have to pay for the 2nd pair, £50. The podiatrist told me they'd cost £200 if I had them made privately. Being barefoot hasn't caused my foot problems, it's partly genetic and mainly arthritic.

LizG Sat 01-Jun-13 07:57:40

If I can get out of shoes then I do. Spent most of my young life either in flip flops or barefoot and my feet hardened up. I could walk over a stoney beach without a whimper. It did get cold in winter so I tended to spend three miserable months in shoes. Now my feet are mis-shapened with arthritis and people say 'you should not have worn silly, fashion shoes when you were young'. I can honestly say I never did.

Stansgran Sat 01-Jun-13 08:20:51

One thing I wonder about. I was told that feet had more nerve endings than anywhere else in the body. I have no idea if its true but I find reflexology amazing. If the soles of the feet are like leather presumably this wouldn't work. I go unshod in the house but I used to break a toe every year but I don't rush round as much now. I have repulsive feet so I wear clogs when visitors come unexpectedly

Aka Sat 01-Jun-13 08:44:21

That's just an urban myth put about by Reflexologists Stansgran, hands have more 'nerve endings'. Check out
I hardly ever wear shoes in the house or round the garden. Far better for your feet and ankles.

london Sat 01-Jun-13 08:52:26

I used to walk round Newcastle bare feet was the fashion 50 years ago ..we would get the bus from home with shoes then put them in a locker at central station until it was time for home ..mother never new x

TwiceAsNice Sat 01-Jun-13 13:05:55

Love this thread! I hate shoes and walk around at home and in the garden barefooted whenever I can. When I,m out or in work I wear sandals for as long as I can according to the weather and from March to October never wear socks or tights as I hate them even more.

Mychildren were often like me and she'd footwear as much as possible although I made sure they wore something in the street. My grandchildren aged 4 are barefooted as much as possible but interestingly now their mother and aunt are grown up they like their feet to be warm and wear socks and fleecy slippers as much as possible so we can all change.

Being barefoot will give children beautifully shaped healthy feet.

Galen Sat 01-Jun-13 13:08:14

Always barefoot in the house. I have yet to find a comfortable pair of shoes with my arthritic feet and ankles.

laidback Sat 01-Jun-13 20:23:33

Re: fallen arches, get a referral from yer GP to the local' foot hospital'. They should be be able to make you in soles or whatever you

Stansgran Mon 03-Jun-13 14:00:23

Thanks Aka but I gave up at the point where Ramandachan said that women who had a foot or feet amputated had greater orgasms. How did he find out I don't think I want to go there.

annodomini Mon 03-Jun-13 15:45:51

I have noticed that in New Zealand, a great many girls and young women habitually go barefoot even in the cities. Wouldn't like to do it myself though.

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