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Children who are let out to play unsupervised grow up to be healthier - Page 2

post #21 of 114
Like most things, I think the important part of this in an attachment-parenting-way, is considering what are the needs of the kids.

My six year old is such an extreme extrovert, to play outside without company for him would be a tortuous event. It's not that he doesn't know how to do that--it's that his personality is such that being alone is unpleasant for him. He would not be comfortable.

Even with friends over, I try to stay close by--there are numerous instances where the kids need help navigating some situation or another. I feel like it would be a disservice to them to impose a situation where they needed to figure it out on their own.

I don't know. I AM that mom at the playground who's following my kids around loosely on the equipment. There are so many instances where my kids and other kids have turned to me for help b/c I'm the only adult available, or I've had to intervene in some kid trying to whale on mine. It's just not been my experience that kids do better faring for themselves in these situations. Given the choice, it seems that many of them are looking for an adult to help them. I guess if folks are comfortable with that, then that's their business, but I always find it curious that the ones who say they're not right there also assert that the kids are just fine and not needing help--uh, how would they know?
post #22 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
My child can have supervised but non-intrusive play outdoors when I'm gardening and she's wandering around in her own little world, or I'm right inside the window peeking out or sitting reading while she plays. A parent's supervision does not have to mean the child can't be in their own little creative world.
Yep. A parent can be present without hovering or even being involved in the child's play. And a child can be free and exercise his/her independence without being alone.

I think the main issue now is that parents are all over their kids at all times, constantly intervening in everything they do. DS doesn't go to the playground much anymore, but I remember when he was smaller and we used to go and there was a constant chorus of "No!" "Share!" "UP the slide, not DOWN!" "You're supposed to do it THIS way!" "Take turns now!" Parents can be such downers.
post #23 of 114
I do let my 8 year old and 4 year old play outside unsupervised. That said, there are often a few parents outside at any given time and we all sort of look out for one another's kids, but we rarely interfere unless someone is in danger or hurting someone else/themselves. I also do look out the window or open the door and check on them every now and then but I think it's good for them to have a little independence.
post #24 of 114
The article is correct that I had a lot more freedom to roam the neighborhood.

I am lucky that I live on a block with a lot of kids ranging from 5 - 14. There is always a bunch of them outside doing something. We parents make periodic spot checks to make sure all is right with the world and then go back to what we were doing. My sister was visiting yesterday with her 2 children (6 & 8) and the kids went outside to play. My 9 year old asked if they could go down the block (we live on a dead end) and I said sure. My sister looked a little paniced when she couldn't see them. I told her they walked to the end of the block, but don't worry, I told them to stay away from the river. It is not often a younger sibling can get in a zinger. Anyway, the kids were fine. Where my sister lives you don't let the kids off your property. It's just not done.

I do believe that kids need freedom but I also believe that the amount of freedom can be dictated by the neighborhood you live in.
post #25 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
I guess if folks are comfortable with that, then that's their business, but I always find it curious that the ones who say they're not right there also assert that the kids are just fine and not needing help--uh, how would they know?
Maybe they know because, like me, they're always available and their kids always know where to find them?
post #26 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
I don't know. I AM that mom at the playground who's following my kids around loosely on the equipment. There are so many instances where my kids and other kids have turned to me for help b/c I'm the only adult available, or I've had to intervene in some kid trying to whale on mine. It's just not been my experience that kids do better faring for themselves in these situations. Given the choice, it seems that many of them are looking for an adult to help them. I guess if folks are comfortable with that, then that's their business, but I always find it curious that the ones who say they're not right there also assert that the kids are just fine and not needing help--uh, how would they know?
I'm that Mom too and yeah I agree. It's not that they don't need help - it's that someone else is helping them!

A few weeks ago though I was at this playground and a young girl (about 6 probably) had gotten stuck in the monkey bars and was balling her eyes out calling for her mother. Her mother was lounging on a chair and without looking hollered back "you're OK!" So I helped the girl down and her Mom looked over just as I was putting her daughter down and ran over and shot me the most awful look, like this:

I hate the playground.
post #27 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
Like most things, I think the important part of this in an attachment-parenting-way, is considering what are the needs of the kids.

My six year old is such an extreme extrovert, to play outside without company for him would be a tortuous event. It's not that he doesn't know how to do that--it's that his personality is such that being alone is unpleasant for him. He would not be comfortable.
You know what monkey's mom, and that's really just the bottome line. It's not about "hovering parents" or "helicopter Moms". It's about meeting the needs of your Kids.

My DS is also an Extreme Extrovert. Extreme. It's NOT meeting his needs to be left alone without company for him. (Company) preferably either DH or Myself. That's just who he is.

One size does not fit all. I have to really hold tight to that phrase when I read articles like that.
post #28 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
One size does not fit all. I have to really hold tight to that phrase when I read articles like that.
That's a good point.
post #29 of 114
This is a very interesting thread.

When I was little I was also a roamer. The neighborhood, the woods, we'd go to the corner store sometimes. I am so hesitant to let dd go for a walk around the neighborhood with her friend and not me. I don't KNOW if this is an unreasonable fear. I was okay doing it as a child, why wouldn't she be? Yet, still when she asks to go for a walk I ask her to stay where I can see her (there's a road she can walk down in front of our house that I can see her for about 7 house lengths). I worry about somebody snatching her up (shes 10 and wears size 6x, petite child). So, how do you get to a point that you loosen that leash and let them go unsupervised? At what age did you begin allowing your kids to roam the neighborhood? I know I was doing it when I was 7, but that seems awful young.
post #30 of 114
Sigh. Another writer who obviously lives in a suburban cul-de-sac with a fenced in back yard. Back in the 1970s, most of us grew up in this environment.

Perhaps this person should try living in an apartment in the center of a city (and in a commercial rather than purely residential area) with a few kids in tow. I would then be interested in how she felt about sending the kids out in the street to play.
post #31 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
You know what monkey's mom, and that's really just the bottome line. It's not about "hovering parents" or "helicopter Moms". It's about meeting the needs of your Kids.

My DS is also an Extreme Extrovert. Extreme. It's NOT meeting his needs to be left alone without company for him. (Company) preferably either DH or Myself. That's just who he is.

One size does not fit all. I have to really hold tight to that phrase when I read articles like that.
This is so true. My son is also an extreme extrovert ... he talks to everyone that passes by us or makes any kind of eye contact. We live in an apartment but have a nice green belt back behind us, I can stand out on the patio (3rd story) and see him while he plays. I try to encourage him sometimes to go down there any play, but he has zero fun all alone (not many kids here) and wants me to come down and engage in his games.

It would be the very same way if I asked him to go ride his skateboard or bike alone ... he would be very safe, I would be close by and able to check on him easily ... but he would be miserable. He likes me to race him, we talk while he rides ..

I think like all things attachment parenting, you keep the personality of your child in mind and meet THEIR needs. I think that's a wonderful article and I have fond memories of being independent as a child. But I do think you need to keep your own child's needs in mind .. I can see mine wandering and playing when he has friends from school or other children to engage with .. but all alone? It goes against his extrovert nature. So for now I'll keep playing with him. Happily.
post #32 of 114
I agree with the article. That I am a strange and odd person for letting my little girls PLAY outside on the sidewalk - in my suburban neighbourhood .5 block from an elementary school - boogles my mind.

You should have seen the look of some of my neighbours when they thought I couldn't see them and had a bad look on their faces, and I said hello from my livingroom couch. I supervise unobtrusively. Even my children often don't realize I'm checking on them every couple of minutes.

When your protection is hindering your child's development as a person, you have to question your "protection."
post #33 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp View Post
Sigh. Another writer who obviously lives in a suburban cul-de-sac with a fenced in back yard. Back in the 1970s, most of us grew up in this environment.

Perhaps this person should try living in an apartment in the center of a city (and in a commercial rather than purely residential area) with a few kids in tow. I would then be interested in how she felt about sending the kids out in the street to play.
I live in an apartment in the city, in what is not a purely residential area, and I have no qualms whatsoever about sending my kids out to play.
post #34 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
I think like all things attachment parenting, you keep the personality of your child in mind and meet THEIR needs. I think that's a wonderful article and I have fond memories of being independent as a child. But I do think you need to keep your own child's needs in mind .. I can see mine wandering and playing when he has friends from school or other children to engage with .. but all alone? It goes against his extrovert nature. So for now I'll keep playing with him. Happily.
I totally agree with this. It's all about getting to know OUR OWN children and meeting their needs.

When this is our focus, there's no need to criticize parents who do things differently -- as in Demeter9's experience where the neighbors had ugly looks on their faces when they thought there was no adult watching her little girls.

When we're each just in tune with our own unique children and their unique needs -- we're generally too busy to evaluate and criticize other parents.
post #35 of 114
It's not that letting an extrovert out to play free doesn't work; it's that it doesn't work when no one else does. If there were already half a dozen children that the extroverted child already knew outside playing, I'm sure it would be different. So, we don't live in an ideal world, where we live near lots of families we know with kids of compatable ages, who all trust each other, and let their children play freely. That doesn't negate the idea(l) of free outside play.
post #36 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn View Post
It's not that letting an extrovert out to play free doesn't work; it's that it doesn't work when no one else does. If there were already half a dozen children that the extroverted child already knew outside playing, I'm sure it would be different. So, we don't live in an ideal world, where we live near lots of families we know with kids of compatable ages, who all trust each other, and let their children play freely. That doesn't negate the idea(l) of free outside play.
Very true.
post #37 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
You should have seen the look of some of my neighbours when they thought I couldn't see them and had a bad look on their faces, and I said hello from my livingroom couch. I supervise unobtrusively. Even my children often don't realize I'm checking on them every couple of minutes.
That's one of the ways I expanded my boundaries with ds1. I remember leaving him to play in the toy aisle at the grocery store for the first time. He never knew that I was hovering in the next aisle, and periodically poking my head around to check on him. I did that several times, until I was satisfied that he really would stay there, and wasn't causing any problems with the toys. He thought he had that independence sooner than he actually did.

I underestimate the kids all the time. I don't even let dd out in the complex without an adult (or ds1 and/or his friends). But, at just a few years older than her, I was catching the bus across town. I could manage that, so why don't I think my dd can handle walking to the playground in our complex (about a half block away)?
post #38 of 114
I don't know. I had a lot of freedom growing up and I got into a LOT of trouble.
post #39 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by HelloKitty View Post
I don't know. I had a lot of freedom growing up and I got into a LOT of trouble.
I got into a lot of trouble, too - as a teenager...mostly at school, though. When left on my own, I was mostly okay.
post #40 of 114
I had an almost adult free childhood - actual serious neglect - and while we did many things that were scary and stupid, we also were very independent and capable. I rarely got in trouble, though sometimes trouble found me. And sometimes it was scary. But often it gave me lots of latitude to direct my own course.

I have a very hard time with the idea that my very bright children should be treated as if they are too incapable to live life. So, while I supervise almost everything I find that I question the reason why I'm doing so with the oldest fairly often. I'm really not sure that I am doing her a favour. But I also don't want anyone calling protective services on me. And the NASTY things women say about children playing by themselves! Holy Crap - I don't want that directed at my children.

Then everyone wonders why children are suffering from lack of vitamin D, and exercise, and increasing diabetes and heart disease! Because I AM AN ADULT and I legitimately have a ton of things to do - like make dinner and making sure my children have clean clothing. Why my children should be forced to stay in because I have things to do seems ridiculous.

Rant off.
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