Originally Posted by ShadowMom
What if the true meaning is that the way parents control children's play is the problem, not necessarily letting them play without parents around?
I think this is very likely true.
I, for one, haven't felt comfortable enough to send my children out to roam the neighborhood without me -- nor have they expressed a desire to do this.
My children are only slightly older than Monkey's mom's -- and of course the article's highlighting the 8-11 age group. This may be creating some misunderstanding -- I'm especially thinking of the current interchange between BrandiRhoades and Monkey's mom.
My oldest is 7, she'll be 8 in April -- and I do see some shift in how much she requires and wants my presence when she's playing with her friends. When she has friends over, they love to spend hours playing in her room, and they keep the door shut because our almost 3yo isn't quite at the stage of respecting other people's games and projects (meaning she's liable to tear stuff up, and knock stuff down, that's important to them).
Even though the door's shut, I do periodically pop in to check on them, offer snacks, etcetera. And sometimes they need a little help from me to resolve conflicts -- but they need me way less than they did a couple of years ago.
Dd no longer seems to feel a need or desire for me to "join in" when she's playing with her friends -- but of course when they're not here, we play together A LOT. So I don't exactly feel "dissed" or anything.
I'm sure that as dd grows, I'll be doing less "popping in" to her room when she has friends over. Right now, no one seems annoyed or overwhelmed by the extent of my involvement.
About the freedom to roam, I'm not sure how that'll work out for us. As I've said, there's currently no desire on the part of my children to leave home without me or their daddy with them. I think that in the past, most children "roamed" in groups.
For instance, the author of the article talked about how a group
of 9yo girls can totally dis a flasher. There was no mention about the difference between a group
seeing this kind of thing, and a lone 9yo
suddenly being faced with a man exposing himself.
I think those are two very different situations, and unfortunately, as people become more self-contained in their homes and disconnected from neighbors, and as scheduling increases, the latter scenario seems more likely than the former -- simply because it doesn't seem likely that my 8-11yo is going to be able to find a whole group of 8-11yo girls in our neighborhood, who are all going to be available at the same time, to go roaming en masse.
So it seems likely that our children will continue doing most of their branching out under dh's or my watchful eye. The key is for dh and me to learn the art of unobtrusive supervision. Sigh. They may never get to dis a flasher (but then I never got to, either -- not 'til I was 25 -- even though I got to do lots of roaming as a kid), but hopefully they'll still get plenty of opportunity for other kinds of skill-building.