or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Natural Parenting News › Leave Your Kids at the Park?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Leave Your Kids at the Park? - Page 2

post #21 of 34

I don't think I would leave them alone, just because of the entitlement mentality of the other parents there who would feel no qualms about bossing my kids around. Why not stay there, or in the car, reading or something. Then you are there if needed, but not micromanaging their play.
 

post #22 of 34
I find it interesting that there doesn't seem to be much info after the fact. I would love to know how many kids showed up and where.

Judging by the lack of negative post-event press, it would seem that it went on without incident.
post #23 of 34

I think it depends very much on the kid and the park.

 

My son is 8.  We live in a low-crime city neighborhood.  He is allowed to walk to or from school by himself--a distance of 5 blocks, with a crossing guard at the one high-traffic intersection--and is gradually increasing how often he does this rather than having me or his dad walk with him.  When it's agreed that he will be walking himself home, he is allowed to stay and play in the schoolyard for a while (a lot of kids do) but he has to wear his watch and come home by 3:30 (40 minutes after dismissal).  He is not allowed to go anywhere else or accept a ride in anyone's car without calling his dad first to ask if it's okay.  He is allowed to walk around our block anytime as long as he tells us he's going; our block includes a busy gas station, but he has demonstrated that he's very careful about crossing its driveways.  He is allowed to play in our front yard and on the sidewalks up and down the block.

 

He tells me that sometimes when he's walking, an adult will ask him if he's okay.  Usually these are people he recognizes but not always.  This annoys him, but I told him it's a good sign that people care about him, and he can just tell them he is okay and his parents know where he is. 

 

There are two playgrounds (other than the school's) about the same distance from our house as the school, but so far he has not gone there alone.  I expect he'll be doing so within the next couple of years.  Right now, his usual time to play at one park is after school on Fridays, when a lot of his friends go there--all of them accompanied by a parent.  His dad (I'm usually at work when school lets out) has been taking him there for the past 3 years and gradually decreasing his involvement/supervision as our son becomes more independent; he's there in case of skinned knee or whatever, but he talks to the other parents or works on his laptop while the kids run around, whereas when our son was little he would insist that a parent actively play with him on the playground.

 

We feel he probably would be safe at this playground alone, but because all his friends have parents there, we don't want our child to feel neglected or the other parents to feel like we're unfairly expecting them to supervise him.  We'll wait until his friends are going alone or until he asks to go alone at another time.

post #24 of 34
No, I would never leave my kids at the park at 7 or 8. There are safer alternatives to teaching your kids independence. I am by no means a helicopter mom, and I let my 3 toddlers run in different directions at the park all the time, but as long as I can see them, it's fine. However dropping off a 7 year old is just stupid. If the kid can walk there and back (and its safe), that is different. Too many times, the unattended kids end up being watched by OTHER parents anyway (who are strangers), which is just rude and irritating to those parents.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlBoyGirl View Post

No, I would never leave my kids at the park at 7 or 8. There are safer alternatives to teaching your kids independence. I am by no means a helicopter mom, and I let my 3 toddlers run in different directions at the park all the time, but as long as I can see them, it's fine. However dropping off a 7 year old is just stupid. If the kid can walk there and back (and its safe), that is different. Too many times, the unattended kids end up being watched by OTHER parents anyway (who are strangers), which is just rude and irritating to those parents.

This is something to think about. When I was a kid, we walked to the park by ourselves all the time from a very young age... because the park was around the block.  When we were a little older (maybe 9?) we would walk by ourselves to the elementary school playground (about three blocks away) or when visiting our grandmother down the hill and across the field to a different playground.  As an adult, I still have no problem with this.  Yet leaving them at a distant park does seem a bit strange. On the other hand, I believe this is the 4th year in a row this event has gone on without any incident.  But if they are able to get to the park themselves, that's a good sign of independence.

 

As for other parents watching the kids, I have mixed feelings on that.  On one hand, it's a good sign of community. On the other hand, the kids went to the park BY THEMSELVES.  I don't think parents, when things look to be going well, should feel obligated to watch other kids. In other words, it's their own fault for watching these kids and then getting upset over it.

post #26 of 34
We used to walk to a park near our house as a kid and it was no big deal, but I think back then (1970s) it would have been normal to drop your kids off at a park while you went grocery shopping too and then pick them up afterward. Not one kid, but two or more.
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post

Umm, no. I think it's crazy at 7 or 8 for all children and even for those older depending on personality. We don't live in a world where everyone is looking out for my child and my children shouldn't have to be responsible for their own safety.

I know that crime is lower but what about someone calling CPS? That is a very real risk if you leave your children alone anywhere at that age. The involvement of CPS in my family even if it's just an interview is not worth the supposed benefit of leaving them alone at the park. It's about weighing risk vs benefit right?

My kids play outside in the back yard by themselves, I let them handle conflict with each other, I don't hover at all. I'm very satisfied that they are developing the skills they need.

Exactly !  Im sure the laws vary from state to state but I know its illegal ( for good reason) in most to leave a seven year old unattended  in your own home let alone in a public place .

Why take the chance.
Kids are growing up fast enough these days as it is, why add to it by making them learn how to be alone in the world at 7 years old ???

We are called to nurture and protect them till adulthood I have never seen good come from  leaving children to fend for themselves on a regular basis as a parenting practice.

post #28 of 34

I dont know .. my kids just aren't old enough to think about this. I have teenagers that go places on their own but my 7 yr old and 4 yr have to stay close to home. They aren't scared of the world they would love to roam...I'm just not ok with it. Lots of kids in this area go to the park by themselves etc but I'm not ok with my kids doing it... to each his own

post #29 of 34

Well, when I was about 10 I encountered a sick pedophile at a park near my home, so I'm very much against leaving kids unsupervised...ever, even older children.  I have to say, I grew up very much free range and had many other miserable experiences because of it....and I know my free range peers did, too.  My free range upbringing was....well...traumatic.  That's why I shamelessly watch my children pretty closely.   Honestly, I think Skenazy is way too flippant when she encourages people to free range based on (usually) the single statistic that they likely won't be abducted, as if no other dangers exist in the world.   Also, on her website, there often tends to be a disturbing attitude as if children should just be hardened to "reality" or that encounters with danger or injuries will somehow toughen children up somehow...prepare them for life.  Well, whatever....I don't want my child to be hardened. 

Skenazy also fails to acknowledge very few people live in outright safe communities, and no matter where you live there are real and common dangers: bike or skateboard accidents, car accidents, unsafe playground equipment or older children/teens playing dangerously, emotional and physical abuse from peers or older children, violent games, dare-deviling, railroad tracks, poisons or chemicals, child molestation, guns, stray dogs, drugs, alcohol, smoking, drowning, gangs, bad crowds or influences.  If your kids aren't white, there is racism to deal with.   If you have an older kid, there is also the danger from friends driving or drinking and driving. These dangers are NOT uncommon, not at all. I had encounters, or knew of kids in my community growing up who had encounters, with most of these dangers I listed.  Some ended up seriously injured or dead, and lots just messed up.


So, please don't blindly follow all this free-range stuff!  Trust me, it is not all fun and games.  I would have so much happier, as a child, had someone helped me spend my time more productively and made sure I was better supervised! 

post #30 of 34

[Ooops! It's too late to quote now, but this is in response to MamaRaya's comments about there being laws about leaving children home alone]

I used to think it was illegal to leave my kids home alone. But there was an issue with a neighbor that to handle myself I would have had to leave the house, so I called the police. I asked for their assistance, but they laughed at me! I said, "So I should break the law, leave my baby and 4 year old home alone, and go over there?" And he said there is no law against leaving your children home alone, at any age. I was shocked and said, "Well I won't say it should be a law, since we have too many of them already, but that is something I will not do."

 

There are also, in many places, no actual laws about leaving children unattended in a vehicle (look for them in your state - I found nothing in MA). These are things that conscientious people do not do, or do very strategically, under only the best conditions. But thinking there should be laws against these things, and them actually existing, are two different things:)

 

Tracy

post #31 of 34
Having been raised in an okay neighbourhood in a primarily white area of a city that was the second-largest in my state, I can safely say that this is the second most irresponsible idea I've encountered in the guise of caring parenting. The most irresponsible being the idea that it is okay to sexually experiment with your children, or expose them to sex in any way because it's "healthy" and "normal."

I'm very upset because obviously no one is thinking about abductions, violence or peer-to-peer molestation and rape. Yes, your son may be more grown, but why do you think he is that way? Some things has happened to him. You should ask him what those things are. I guess hardly anyone has been to the real world where bad things happen? Where 99.99% of the people you meet do not care about your children in any way near the way that you do? Even in the early 90's I was molested and taught sex by my block mates, exposed to sexual activity by my sister and knew a young guy who lived on the block that killed himself playing Russian Roulette. This was a middle class white neighbourhood. I would definitely reconsider what you think is acceptable, even if you live in a small town. If you live in a city, any kind of city, this is a great idea for permanent damage to be done to your children.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracya View Post

[Ooops! It's too late to quote now, but this is in response to MamaRaya's comments about there being laws about leaving children home alone]

I used to think it was illegal to leave my kids home alone. But there was an issue with a neighbor that to handle myself I would have had to leave the house, so I called the police. I asked for their assistance, but they laughed at me! I said, "So I should break the law, leave my baby and 4 year old home alone, and go over there?" And he said there is no law against leaving your children home alone, at any age. I was shocked and said, "Well I won't say it should be a law, since we have too many of them already, but that is something I will not do."

 

There are also, in many places, no actual laws about leaving children unattended in a vehicle (look for them in your state - I found nothing in MA). These are things that conscientious people do not do, or do very strategically, under only the best conditions. But thinking there should be laws against these things, and them actually existing, are two different things:)

 

Tracy

 We were intvestigated because someone thought we left a child in our car unattended in a store parking lot and  they came to our home and interviewed us and our child in was a very unpleasant experience to say the least .The CPS worker said it was illegal to leave a child 7 yrs old alone anywhere and the older ages there are very specific amounts of time you can leave them .I had a friend you also checked this with the police department  in  the state we were living in at the time. Don't know about what the police told you but I really don't think there would be no law on leaving them alone.

post #33 of 34

There are actually very few states that have strict laws on what age a kid can be left alone.  But I believe many have guidelines.  In the end, I think it's the parents business in most cases to determine the safety.  They know their kids, they have an eye on the potential situation.  I think I would be disgusted if more states butted in.

 

Here is the list. Don't know how current it is.

post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ocelotmom View Post

 

Taking the kids to the park implies that they are reliant on me to get them safely there and back.  Leaving them at the park unsupervised is essentially temporarily abandoning them.

 

If they can get to and from the park on their own, it's a different story. One situation allows for self-regulation. The other does not.

As I was reading through this thread, I was thinking, "what if they decided they were done?"  And this was the only post that mentioned it.

 

My girls like the idea that I am there somewhere.  I don't need to be hovering over every move, but I might be that parent drinking coffee on the other side of the park, in case they want me.  They would freak out if I left the park.

 

However, I like that my girls can go outside without supervision.  In our house in town, they were able to play up and down our small, quiet street (read: no cars) and now they have a huge area they can range in at our new place, including down the road to their friends' house.  But they like me to go with them there.  I would not feel so casual about it if I lived in a busier neighborhood, in a busier city.

 

I think that the issue is more getting kids out, allowing kids some time away from intense adult supervision.  But now I am writing that, if adults were less intense with supervision, if kids didn't have to be where their movements and voices were monitored all day, and then have everything monitored at home and in the yard afterwards--if they didn't feel like adults were there to constantly squash their drive and imaginations, maybe needing this time alone at a park or somewhere else wouldn't be such an issue.  Currently, that is their typical interaction with adults, and that's sad.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Natural Parenting News
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Natural Parenting News › Leave Your Kids at the Park?