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Article...Stop worrying about your children! - Page 2

post #21 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommybree View Post
I have three younger siblings that I spent the better part of my childhood watching. My sister is close in age to me and my brothers are 7 and 9 years younger than me. I liked playing with my sister, but we had to watch my brothers. I wasn't playing with them; I was preventing them from jumping off the top stair, etc. I guess we know where my biases come from regarding this issue!
You have a point there! There was two years between each of my siblings. I'd probably have felt different as a 10 year old watching a 1 yr old!

I think though, for kids close in age, the safety of the sibling pack is pretty good for any kids over about 3 or 4. Any younger and there are toiletting issues, etc.
post #22 of 102
This is one of the issues I am thinking I might explore in my PhD thesis:

What effect has sensationalized media had on parental decision regarding freedom, responsibility and accountability in children when looked at under a developmental microscope.


I believe that it is very possible we are in danger of having a young generation of future leaders and decision makers who are stunted in both abilities because they were not allowed to take "appropriate risks" as children. I'm not making a generalized statement about the population on this board or anyone who has replied by as a nation on the whole.

I also find it so interesting that many natural families do things that more mainstream parents would consider far more risky than letting a 10 year old child play outside alone (non-vaxing, not using Western Meds, birthing at home, etc.) but in our realm those are appropriate risks.
post #23 of 102
I think there is a happy medium - but I do agree with much of what she says, just not all.

I try to strike a balance - it's very important to me because I was raised by a super over protective Mom. I was sure safe but it wasn't much fun. And as I got older, it actually did more harm than good.

So with ds, I try to find balance. I'm not worried about stranger abduction - my concerns are more about if he gets hurt and I can't hear him (he has sensory issues and is fairly clumsy). I allow him to play outside alone, go to the park that is right behind our apartment (but I can't see from my windows) alone & walk down to one friend's apartment that is several buildings away. He is allowed in that one friend's house (I will call her Mom and set up times to play) but knows he is never to go into anyone else's home without permission. Unless he is at his one friend's house, he needs to stay within earshot where he can hear me call him in. That's a pretty wide area, and gives him lots of room to play with different kids.

I feel comfortable with our set up. As he gets older, I hope to give him more freedom as well. And yes, he's gotten hurt several times. Skinned knees, stubbed toes - each time his friends have helped him get back home, and since I check around and can hear the kids playing, I can usually tell something is up and go down to help him.

I guess it's all about balance for us. I can't see myself throwing him on public transportation anytime soon. But I do allow him freedom that I think he can handle - I would hope people don't think I'm neglectful - I'm seriously trying to strike a balance between keeping him safe, and giving him freedom to take risks and solve problems on his own.
post #24 of 102
Dr. Worm wrote:
Quote:
But what do you do when you want your kid to have freedom but you live in a town that has a registered sex offender and 2 years in a row 2 different men trying to lure kids into their vehicles.
You teach your kid:
1. Never get into a car with someone you don't know.
2. If a man or older boy flashes you or make suggestive comments, laugh at him like he's the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen. That really takes the wind out of their sails.
3. If someone is making you seriously uncomfortable, come home and/or tell an adult right away.
4. If something terrible does happen to you, it is not your fault.
All these are lessons she needs to learn someday. Why not start now?

Mommybree, I feel that gradually taking charge of my own well-being was one of the most wonderful things about childhood. It was so exciting to ride my bike all the way around the whole block by myself and see that I could take care of myself and find my way home. The first time I fell and skinned my knee when no adult was watching, the thrill of going into the house and washing and bandaging the scrape all by myself and getting myself a cheer-up cookie just about made up for the pain. The key is for these things to be gradual. If you don't let your children take care of themselves at all until they're 16, then expect them to learn to do everything for themselves in the next 2 years, it'll be a lot harder for them to learn and will seem less pleasant because they'll be "spoiled" by having had everything done for them, IMO.
post #25 of 102
I try to see things differently like so many of you. For brief moments, I think about giving my daughter all the freedom that so many say kids need. I was thinking that when I started reading this thread....

....and then I turned on Oprah. She's interviewing the Mccanns (sp?)--the couple who's daughter was abducted in Portugal in May 2007. The kids were apparetnly out of their sight. They checked on the kids every 30 minutes. Mom went to check when 30 minutes were up and one kid was gone.

As much as I would like to think that my kid would be perfectly safe at our small town park (4-5 blocks away) alone, she won't have that opportunity for a long time. Very long. Not sure when--but not in the next 10 years, I'm sure.

Life is too precious to take chances, as Mother Mccann just said. My dd's life is too precious to risk it on giving her the freedom that some say she needs.
post #26 of 102
There's the problem with basing your life decisions on gut reactions to media. From what I recall, there are approximately 800,000 children reported missing every year, and of those the number abducted by strangers is around 100. Oprah could do a show on all the millions of children who are just fine and dandy every day, but that would not be nearly as exciting for her audience as this kind of tragedy.

I consider making my own child raising decisions based on the possibilty of a stranger kidnapping them in the same vein as planning my retirement financial strategy on winning the Lotto...it just isn't very logical.
post #27 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommybree View Post
I know this won't be coherent, but I just feel like kids should be free to be kids and not be expected to be in charge of their own well-being at the same time. I think childhood is a time for fun and exploration, with adults providing the environment to allow that to happen safely. I don't think a 9 year old should be applauded for riding the subway by himself; I think it's sad that his mother doesn't view him as a child and expects him to do things an adult does.
Do you have a 9yo? 9yos can be pretty capable. I know that when you have younger children it can be difficult to think about what it will be like when they are older. For a 9yo, riding the subway alone probably would be equivalent to 'fun and exploration.'

I think we do children a real disservice to treat them as if they are incapable managing their own well being. If we choose to breastfeed on demand and trust our kids to know when they're hungry as infants, doesn't that correllate to trusting them not to fall of the ledge of a slide when climbing on a playground as a toddler and trusting them to play alone safely as a young child? I see this as a natural progression. And I agree with a PPer that it makes no sense to protect our children from all possible harm when they are children, but still expect them to know how to care for themselves effectively as teenagers or young adults, when they have had no opportunities to practice.

Quote:
I think that I disagree with Skenazy's basic view of childhood. I think that children should be encouraged to be children and not be weighed down with too many responsibilities. She sees children as miniature adults. Using Ben Franklin being apprenticed off at age 12 is not a convincing argument for more childhood freedom to me. It doesn't make me think that centuries ago kids were given more freedoms; it makes me think that centuries ago, people like poor Ben weren't allowed to enjoy their childhoods! I think it's wonderful that a modern 12 year old isn't expected to do the level of work 12 year olds did in the past. I don't think Skenazy convincingly makes the argument that children are self-sufficient because they were previously allowed to do things at a certain age. I think children are children and should be cared for accordingly.
Children are not miniature adults, but they are far more capable than our culture gives them credit for. FTR, I've read several biographies of Ben Franklin, and he did enjoy his childhood. But he didn't believe himself to be a child at the age of 12, either.

When I was 12, I craved greater independence, I think that is the case with many 12yos in our culture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommybree View Post
See, I completely disagree with her statement "The 7-year-old would be taking care of the 5-year-old, and oftentimes the 5-year-old would be taking care of the 3-year-old." I don't think a 7 year old should be responsible for a 5 year old and I don't think a 5 year old should be responsible for a 3 year old. I think at those ages a child's obligation should be having fun. I guess my sentiment toward childhood is the complete opposite!
But for my 7yo, taking care of her 5yo sister IS fun. And I can't tell you how much my 5yo enjoys running around with her 3yo cousins and friends. We have that EXACT scenario happening at my house, and it works out great. Do I let the 5yo and 3yo run up and play on the highway? No way! But do I have any qualms about the two of them playing out of sight in the basement or in the woods in the backyard? Not at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
I think though, for kids close in age, the safety of the sibling pack is pretty good for any kids over about 3 or 4. Any younger and there are toiletting issues, etc.
I agree. My kids take really good care of themselves and their siblings when they're out and about together.
post #28 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommybree View Post
I don't think a 9 year old should be applauded for riding the subway by himself; I think it's sad that his mother doesn't view him as a child and expects him to do things an adult does.
I grew up in Chicago which is the 3rd largest city in America and at 9 I knew how to ride the bus, though not the trains. However by 12-13 I was riding the trains regularly and it was a good thing since at 14, I went across the city to attend one of the best high schools.

I don't know but growing up in an urban area, I think its important for kids to know how to get around. My folks rarely had a car, heck my mom never drove so taking public transit was a reality.

The problem with sheltering them is that IMO opinion it can hinder them. My oldest is 17 and has been flying alone since he was 5...that was the reality of life with joint custody. Yes, it was scary at first but totally safe. The thing my son's best friend is also 17 and while the kid now drives a car, his Mama still freaks out about her son taking public transit. That is something I totally don't get yet part of it is she never allowed her son to take it so its easier to fear it.

Regarding the OP and the article, I like thos woman, I remember when she got all that flack and honestly I think it was overblown. The thing is we have to gradually give kids freedom otherwise you end up like my son's best friend on the cusp of adulthood and not having been allowed to do things because of fear.

Its not about turning them into mini adults but recognizing that we need to allow them to grow up.

Now I was not allowed to walk home from school at 5, but by 8.5 I was able to, now it seems very few folks allow their kids to walk home.

Shay
post #29 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Works for me.

I remember sending my daughter off to the coffee shop a block away from us when she was 7, to buy me a mocha (and I think I funded something for her, too ). It was just a block down a quiet street, but some people freaked. By 10 or so she was wandering around downtown Davis with a friend for a few hours, and by 12 she was flying solo cross country, even changing planes. Once she had a cell phone I really had no worries...

dar

I agree!

My kids bike,  and some folks in town have been "OMG!" I told my 15 yr old to bike home (less than a mile home from a friend's home--which he biked to) and the mom's friend thought that was too much and brought him home in her car! lol I laughed when I saw them pull up! The next day I asked him to walk back there and ride his bike home, and he did. lol Imagine! less than a mile being too much for a middle teen.


Edited by UUMom - 6/11/12 at 7:15pm
post #30 of 102
I don't agree with much of what that author has to say. How can a parent be criticized for being mindful of their little one's safety. Furthermore, how can others think that it is any of their business? Now, we are going to judge/monitor not only neglectful parents but careful parents as well?

My parents were always very cautious with my siblings and me. We were not given the chance to roam our neighborhoods freely. We were to call home and check-in regularly. But, I also was able to fly across the country on my own at 10 yoa.

I understand that children need to be allowed to be children. I agree that most media outlets will sensationalize violent criminal activity. But, my own motherly instinct tells/will tell me to be cautious.
post #31 of 102
I just don't think that children should be responsible for their own safety. I believe this is disussed in Protecting the Gift by Gavin Debecker (sp?).

I have seen studies that talk about teens' brains and how they are not fully mature enough to fully appreciate the consequences of their actions. I have seen reports about children who when left alone did not listen to their parents' warnings about not touching guns.

W/my own children (6 1/2 and 3 1/2) I def. know they aren't capable of taking care of themselves in case of an emergency. They routinely do things that show lack of adult judgement.

I do feel like there are some parents that hover and that losing that closer knit community means we lose some freedom and sense of safety for the kids.

The reality is that while my kids would probably be safe down the street w/out my supervision, there are a myriad of things that could happen that I am not confidant that they could and should be able to handle on their own.

Interesting discussion though.
post #32 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
I've seen this a lot on MDC as well. OMG, unsupervised children at the park. Should I call CPS?

Wasn't there a thread once where someone thought she should call CPS over seeing a 6 yr old go to the store by herself?
Right.

More than fear about what would happen to the kids, I fear the nosy busybodies who would call CPS over my parenting protectiveness not living up to their standards.

Although, whether luckily or unluckily, my current neighborhood would give a lot of the "should I call CPS" people around these forums absolute fits. So I trust that my neighborhood as it currently is wouldn't generally have people calling CPS on us. But it only takes one person moving in and disagreeing with the way most people around do their parenting . . .
post #33 of 102
I loved the article. Our kids have relatively free range in the neighborhood. So far, they haven't expressed interest in going to the park themselves, but ds is 8, and I would let him do that.

Today as I was leaving for work (dd was home with dh), dd was going out into the front yard to have a 'picnic'. She'd made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, mangled it into small pieces, packed an apple, wheat thins, carrots and a bottle of water. She had a towel, a backpack, her coat and her imaginary friends. She was having a blast preparing for this event. And thought at the time about reading about kids the same age (4, going on 5) who weren't allowed to play in their front yard unsupervised.

My kids have to tell me where they are (someone's yard, someone's house). But in reality, there's a group of kids who play together (somewhere between 4-10 depending on the day), and the little kids learn a lot from the older ones. The older kids are pretty good about watching out for the younger ones, and not too many stupid things happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Worm View Post
But what do you do when you want your kid to have freedom but you live in a town that has a registered sex offender and 2 years in a row 2 different men trying to lure kids into their vehicles. Some of the kids DD's age(9) do wander all around the neighborhood and usually I think it is insane..but then lately I started to think maybe I am a worry wart and then I hear about the guy trying to kidnap kids.
This happens no more often now than it did when I was a kid 35 years ago. I heard about it then, but no one stopped me from playing outside. And for the men who tried to lure kids - they didn't succeed, right? So, you equip your child with tools to trust their gut and the confidence that they will do so. Any 5 year old is capable of understanding 'Why would a grown up ask a KID for help? Grown ups are supposed to be more knowledgeable and more capable. So if a grown up asks you for help or to come with them, come get your mom or dad, because we're in a better position to help another grown up."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kappa View Post
My neighborhood is more middle middle class. My baby is still young, but I asked my husband one day, when we saw a family riding bikes together, "What if DS wants to go outside and ride his bike, and I don't want to go?"
Work on boundaries with him as to where he can go, and when you're confident that he can respect those boundaries, let him go by himself. My experience is that kids don't wander that far on their own. Really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommybree View Post
I don't think a 9 year old should be applauded for riding the subway by himself; I think it's sad that his mother doesn't view him as a child and expects him to do things an adult does.
The difference between a 9 year old and even a 7 year old is pretty big. The difference between 9 and 4 is huge. 9 year olds WANT responsibility. They don't want to be treated like they are not capable. It doesn't mean that they need to work 12 hour days, but it does mean that they should see themselves as capable humans. My 8 year old is learning to do the laundry. He LIKES doing the laundry during chore time. My kids' favorite chores are: recycling, mopping, laundry and cleaning the bathrooms. Everyone in the family contributes.

I walked to the library by myself all the time when I was a kid. I was taking the bus by myself when I was 10. I cooked dinner for the family when I was 10. I rode my bike a good 5 miles to my flute lessons. I was fine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommybree View Post
I don't let my almost 4 year old play outside by herself because I have some irrational, not-based-on-statistical-probability fear of stranger abductions. I don't let her play outside by herself because she is a young child whose limitations I know. My daughter is not capable of making safety decisions for herself (like what to do if she were injured, what to do if approached by animal, how to stay in the yard, not to run after a ball into the street, etc.). There are other dangers that are much more likely than stranger abduction, and it is those dangers that I am worried about for my daughter.
Our daughter played outside without supervision a lot last summer. She turned 4 in May and spent a good chunk of the summer outside, without me. Sometimes I'd be down there, but most of the time, no. The kids who play outside are very good about watching for cars. Any time they see a car, you hear the word "Car!" being shouted out from all directions.

I probably wouldn't have let her be out there so much if there hadn't been other kids, but then she wouldn't have wanted to be out there when there weren't other kids!

She WAS capable of learning basic safety. If she fell and hurt herself, what was her initial instinct? Come find mom and dad!
post #34 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
Mommybree, I feel that gradually taking charge of my own well-being was one of the most wonderful things about childhood. It was so exciting to ride my bike all the way around the whole block by myself and see that I could take care of myself and find my way home. The first time I fell and skinned my knee when no adult was watching, the thrill of going into the house and washing and bandaging the scrape all by myself and getting myself a cheer-up cookie just about made up for the pain. The key is for these things to be gradual. If you don't let your children take care of themselves at all until they're 16, then expect them to learn to do everything for themselves in the next 2 years, it'll be a lot harder for them to learn and will seem less pleasant because they'll be "spoiled" by having had everything done for them, IMO.
The summer after 7th grade (and then again after 8th) I participated in ISYM (http://www.music.uiuc.edu/isym/index.html). Back then, participants were housed in the residence hall FAR, and that name was an ironic joke because it was the FURTHEREST residence hall on the Champaign/Urbana campus from just about everything else. (I also recall the camp was two weeks long, back then, compared to the one week sessions they now appear to have.)

All us kids had to do was show up at our weekday ensembles/practices and our two required evening performances, and be back in our rooms by lights out. Any time not occupied by those requirements was ours to do as we pleased. I spent that time all over the Champaign/Urbana area.

So, at age 12, I basically lived "on my own" for two weeks with minimal supervision, all over a smallish urban area. When my clarinet lost a pad during a practice, one of my instructors gave me me the name of a shop, directions on how to get there on the bus system, and sent me on my way. So, I had to make my way there, negotiate having my instrument repaired ASAP, and get myself back.

It was one of the best experiences of my life.

But my parents had also well-prepared me for participating in something like that--by 12, I had a far amount of travelling freedom around the areas in which we lived.

So, sometime before age 9: I was allowed to ride my bike all over our Chicago neighborhood, bounded by a box 1-1.5 miles in all directions. When it was warm, I/we also walked or biked the 1 mile to/from school, and had been doing that for several years. (Sometimes it was just me, sometimes it was me and sibs, sometimes me and friends.)

Age 9: I learned how to ride CTA buses, and go to the pool with friends.

Age 10: moved to suburbs, and I remember being all over our suburb on my bike within days of moving in.

Age 11: Could ride my bike the 2+ miles to Aqua and the library.

Age 12: Spent those two weeks in Champaign/Urbana and learned how to deal with downtown Chicago on my own.

And this was all the late 1980s, which I can't really call any safer a time than we are in now. And I think my parents appropriately built up my freedom and responsibilities over time, and I hope to do it the same way with le kid. It's not going to be the same, because our situation isn't the same (unfortunately, our area is pretty "boxed in" by roads I wouldn't feel safe crossing as a pedestrian or bicyclist right now).

I don't really care about people who want to be more paranoid about it, until they start calling me neglectful or irresponsible for following what I believe to be a responsible course. Unfortunately that seems to be far more common nowadays than in the past.
post #35 of 102
Oh, but I wanted to add:

For a couple of years when I hit puberty (so 12-13), my mom did restrict me from taking the bus by myself. She explained to me why: Girls your age want to be liked, and they're often afraid to say they're uncomfortable because they want so much to be liked by other people. Sometimes this can lead them to do things they don't want to do.

So, early puberty is a time when my kids will be supervised with a closer eye, but I'll still let them play all they want in the neighborhood!
post #36 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post
I just don't think that children should be responsible for their own safety. I believe this is disussed in Protecting the Gift by Gavin Debecker (sp?).

I have seen studies that talk about teens' brains and how they are not fully mature enough to fully appreciate the consequences of their actions. I have seen reports about children who when left alone did not listen to their parents' warnings about not touching guns.

W/my own children (6 1/2 and 3 1/2) I def. know they aren't capable of taking care of themselves in case of an emergency. They routinely do things that show lack of adult judgement.

I do feel like there are some parents that hover and that losing that closer knit community means we lose some freedom and sense of safety for the kids.

The reality is that while my kids would probably be safe down the street w/out my supervision, there are a myriad of things that could happen that I am not confidant that they could and should be able to handle on their own.

Interesting discussion though.

post #37 of 102
This is fascinating to me...I think we are all pretty well split 50/50

Gavin De Becker is a huge advocate of understanding the difference between actual, instinctual fear and what he calls "manufactured fear" like from television or the internet. He is also big on acknowledging the fears of children and actually listening to them since most abuse will come from someone the child knows and not a stranger. He is fantastic and I have had the privilege to attend two workshops and a seminar with him. I also love his advice about teaching children TO talk to strangers so that they are less of a predator's target and can say no. However, he is also big on giving kids freedom as long as it is developmentally appropriate. Listen to your instincts but you have to have confidence in your instincts...that's the trick! I think that is where all parents need to find the balance...are they irrationally scared to the point that their child's development of life skills they need as adults (because that is what childhood is...a time to learn to be an adult...the idea of childhood as a time to play only manifested after WWII, before that, children were expected to contribute to the household either through labor or through actual work...interestingly the idea that children and childhood was to be sheltered and cherished was championed by BF Skinner, the father of Behaviorism psychology)

Also, did you know that the human brain doesn't actully reach maturity until about age 27? So, full reasoning capabilities don't mature until we are well into adulthood. From an evolutionary stand point, that makes sense...we want out main warriors/protectors/hunters to act and not ponder. Ditto goes for our breeding aged women, we want them to find a mate quickly and have children...(I wasn't at all surprised to learn that a woman's fertility begins to decline around the same time her brain fully matures...)

This is an awesome discussion!
post #38 of 102
Thread Starter 
My first instinct is to protective of my children. But my brain is saying give them some space they will be ok.

We are currently renting a townhouse and only have green space for a backyard and an attached patio. I have been dreading warm weather because I know they will want to be outside and I can't watch them 100% of the time.

So this article I posted is definately food for thought.
post #39 of 102
Yeah. It's not that I think children should be responsible for protecting themselves, it's that I don't think there's that much out there to be afraid of. If you live in Gaza I take that back, but for most kids in most of the world....

And the idea that teens are too immature to make good decisions has always irked me. Until the last hundred years or so, teens were considered adults - they were working, marrying, starting families, the whole shebang. Brains are constantly changing - a 50 year old's brain is different from that of a 20 year old, too. Reactions are slower, memory isn't as good, etc... but we never argue that 50 year olds are thus incompetent to care for themselves wisely.

dar
post #40 of 102
Thanks for sharing this article!
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