I was born in 1981, and I remember doing the hiding-in-the-racks things by the time I was, oh, 5. So that was maybe 20 years ago. But it's not like my parents didn't have some idea where I was, and vice versa; we pretty much always were within the same department, knew what to do if we got separated, knew our parents' names, etc. Nor was I an unholy terror pulling things down (though some kids are just like that, both then and now, usually through no fault of their parents'). But they'd be Bad Parents if they did that today.
It's a fascinating phenomenon.
I think there are way too many judgemental parents on all points of the spectrum.
If parents are too permissive, other parents have a problem with that. Some are very strict, and other parents are horrified by that.
I was born in the very early 70's and we did LOTS of things unattended as kids. We used to ride miles on our bikes to spend our allowance on Saturday afternoons at the quikie mart. It was no where NEAR my mom's eyesight or range of hearing. I was a good 5 minutes away by car, winding through the neighborhood. I did this as young as 10 and 11 yrs old.
Today, some busybody would call the police because there were unattended kids bicycling!! Oh, the horror!
I agree that it's pretty horrible that that mom didn't come for her kid quickly, and seemed to be very nonchalant about it. Sad.
But overall, I'm really sick of the freak-outs who constantly butt their noses in, in inappropriate ways.
When we first moved to our new house, in town, with lots of nosy but not friendly neighbors, they called THE POLICE because my daughters were riding their bikes ON THE SIDEWALK TWO HOUSES DOWN from our house! I was THERE, watching them, but the people who called didn't bother to walk out of their house and see me, watching my kids playing and getting to know their new neighborhood.
What jerks. It would have been a simple matter to look outside and wave and ensure the kids were being watched.
But instead, the couch potatoes called 911 because little kids were playing "unattended".
A total waste of taxpayer money and time.
Not heros, not responsible people... just LAZY busybodies!
The first thing I'd do if there was a kid walking around outside MY house "unattended" is walk outside and look up and down the sidewalk to see where the parent was. I've done it before and I'll always do what I can to help out another parent... not frantically freak out and call the police because little johnny got away from mom by a house-length.
The expectations of some people today are beyond absurd and completely exclude the idea of neighbors and of people acting decently.... if you see a lost kid, help that kid find it's mom or dad... dont freak out and call the cops, for godsake... can't YOU find their mom or dad with them?
This is what people used to do. I fell off my bike in front of a neighbor's house when I was little and hurt my head. The neighbor was nice and called my mom and she came and got me. The neighbor didn't assume because my mom wasn't trailing behind me with a big safety mat, that she was a bad parent. She assumed, rightly, that I was just a kid, out playing, who got hurt, as kids do. She gave me a tissue for the little cut and waited for my mom. No big deal.
In fact, we couldn't get away with ANYthing in our neighborhood, because people KNEW each other and socialized and had each other over for dinner or BBQ's or block parties. We trick o treated at each others' houses. We traded Avon catalogues and went to each other's tupperware parties. We watched each other's kids and kept an eye on each other's houses when on vacation. We would take in the mail, get the paper, water the lawn or plants. People were NEIGHBORLY, even if at the grocery store or at the mall. NO one was busy passing judgements or tsk tsking... everyone was helpful and nice and would put themselves in that person's shoes.
I know, I'm making it sound like mayberry, USA, but it was a lot nicer knowing that if I needed something, I could get it from a neighbor, whether it was help with a flat bike tire or to use their bathroom, or pick their persimmons off their front tree... people interacted with each other in a neighborhood and knew each other by name at the grocery store.
If I DID get lost in a store I knew to ask the clerk for help and usually mom was just an isle or two away... no drama, just nice, normal people acting normally....
I'm getting older and crotchety, I suppose, but I think if people aren't willing to be helpful, then just shut up. There's no point in berating people... they will simply get defensive and ignore you. If you have helpful advice, present it in a way that parents, especially moms, don't feel beat up with... moms get enough of that from EVERYwhere.. the media, other moms, society in general, their bosses, their kids!, their daycare, their church... often moms never feel like they can measure up.... and then if you lose your kid in the store... now you're a villan....
Maybe we can all lighten up and walk a little more in each other's moccasins. Bad things happen, yes. If you can help prevent it, please, by all means, do. But don't rake a mom over the coals for losing her kid... for all you know she didn't hear the announcement and was frantically searching the back room or outside or whatever, before she realized where her kid was...
Just playing devil's advocate... you just never know where people are coming from....