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Children who are let out to play unsupervised grow up to be healthier - Page 5

post #81 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
That must have been absolutely terrifying for your sister and for your family. I have to say, though, that it also underlines how much we underestimate our children and their capabilities, imo.
I totally agree!! So many talk of respecting our children, taking them seriously, etc yet these type of these threads have many of the same not recognizing that our kids are smart and resourceful ir even giving them a chance to show that they are!

While not nearly as harrowing as the one noted above at 6 yo I once woke up at sleepover and no one else was awake. After realizing that I wasn't going to breakfast anytime soon I chose to walk home- 3 plus miles. My parents found me eating a bowl of cereal when *they* woke up and I explained what I did. No one thought it strange but my parents did tell me I should have woken them up when I got home so they could call the sleepover family!
post #82 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post
While not nearly as harrowing as the one noted above at 6 yo I once woke up at sleepover and no one else was awake. After realizing that I wasn't going to breakfast anytime soon I chose to walk home- 3 plus miles. My parents found me eating a bowl of cereal when *they* woke up and I explained what I did. No one thought it strange but my parents did tell me I should have woken them up when I got home so they could call the sleepover family!
Wow! Now I call THAT resourceful.
post #83 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post
I totally agree!! So many talk of respecting our children, taking them seriously, etc yet these type of these threads have many of the same not recognizing that our kids are smart and resourceful ir even giving them a chance to show that they are!
I haven't seen anyone here saying that their kids aren't smart or resourceful or whatever.

I take flak for letting my kids have too much freedom to choose all sorts of things--TV, food, sleep, school, nursing/weaning, etc. I'm perfectly willing to allow them freedom and autonomy and prove themselves as resourceful and competent beings. But, when it is clear that they WANT my presence, guidance, opinion, help, etc. then *that* is what prevails.

And I take issue with articles like this b/c, *in general,* I think that people ought to spend MORE time with their children, not less.
post #84 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
I take flak for letting my kids have too much freedom to choose all sorts of things--TV, food, sleep, school, nursing/weaning, etc. I'm perfectly willing to allow them freedom and autonomy and prove themselves as resourceful and competent beings. But, when it is clear that they WANT my presence, guidance, opinion, help, etc. then *that* is what prevails.
Yes, that's my viewpoint, too.

Quote:
And I take issue with articles like this b/c, *in general,* I think that people ought to spend MORE time with their children, not less.
I see your point -- and I think the main problem is that other people are trying to dictate what each of us should be doing, rather than simply encouraging mothers to be tuned-in with their own children.

Moms who feel comfortable allowing more freedom from supervision get the "stinky eye" (even when in some cases they're actually supervising, but just not being obvious about it). Moms who stay close in response to their children's need and desire for their presence get slammed for hindering their kids' development of independence.

And of course, we're learning that some CPS-units are ready to swoop in (and some neighbors are itching to call them) whenever a child (up to age 7) is spotted playing in her yard without an adult. And some people write articles like this one, critiquing the 50% of parents of children aged 8-11, who still accompany them on any and all outdoor excursions.

The fact is, there may be many good reasons for letting a 7yo play in the yard while Mom's inside folding laundry or fixing dinner. And there may be equally good reasons for some 8-11 yo's to never step out the door without an adult.

That's why we're the parents. We know our kids, we know the reasons for what we do ... I wish everyone would just get interested enough in their own lives, that they'd stop caring so much about my (or your) parenting choices.
post #85 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
It's truly not "off" it's sometimes just personality/temperament. My 7 and 6 year olds come get me, my almost 4 year old just loves to seek out other nice mamas to comment on his cuteness. He loves talking to strangers (often to my dismay), and would totally prefer help off of the ladder from a random mama than from me.
oh my gosh. our kids must be related. Ava is just like that. water always tastes better if someone else's mom is helping her. Snacks from someone else's bag are always sweeter. and chatting with someone else's mom is always more interesting. And why walk all the way over to your mom to get her to tie your shoe when there is a perfectly good mom standing right beside you? not to mention she has never seen my sparkely, blingy, flowery super shoes that came with these beautiful pink barrettes and my sisters came with an etch a sketch that she never shares and we got them for Christmas. and did you notice my hair is the same pink as my barrettes. my mom said it was supposed to wash out but it didn't and I am five and have two sisters and my grandma calls me a chatter box. . . I don't know where she gets such silly ideas from . . I don't even know what that means but I am sure it isn't true . . and . . . and . . . .

yeah . . why would you walk 10 feet to mom when she knows everything about you already. besides you can talk her ear off when you get home.

also sometimes my kids will ask me to do something (like push them in the swing) and i will say no and they go ask someone else. I really hate going to the park but sometimes will go with some ground rules. for instance - I am not their entertainment committee and they can play as much as they want so long as they are playing and I get to sit and read or chat or whatever. there is plenty they can do on their own. also sometimes I tell them no swings because the swings are out of my range of vision. i also tell the little one no baby swings because she always gets stuck. but without fail some mom will think I am ignoring my kid and put her in them anyway at which point I have to spend the next 5 minutes dislodging her from them.
post #86 of 114
lilyka, I have insight into what my 2.5 year old will be like. I swear she asks other people to do things for her as a sign of love. I just try to tell her that pulling her pants up is my job. The other day at the grocery store, some woman complimented her and I thought she was going to stay with them all day. I mean, mommy compliments her all the time but here is a new person to flatter her vanity.

Oh, and I think I am somewhat in the middle. I try to let DD work things out but since she is young, I stand there and wait for her to ask me for help. She is somewhat timid with kids she doesn't know so she usually does ask for help and I oblige. She does play in the backyard by herself but I watch through the window and she never leaves the fenced yard. Ironically the only time she was hurt in the backyard, I was sitting on a bench supervising.

In the future, I can't imagine supervising her outside all the time (when she is older). OTOH, I won't do what both my mom and DH's mom did and kick her out until dinner. I think it is a fine line.
post #87 of 114
from the first paragraph...
"concluded that children who are let out to play unsupervised grow up to be healthier and more sociable. Healthier because, it was found, children without adults in tow burn up more calories in heightened energy, thus warding off obesity, and more sociable as a result of independence and self-reliance "

My kids get plenty of exercise within well defined boundaries. They're also very sociable, much more than myself. While they need playtime without my constant presence, I don't think they need to run all over the neighborhood unsupervised.
post #88 of 114
I also think that article has a ridiculously utopia-like view of the "good old days." I imagine that much like today, some parents were very involved, others were not (some by choice some by necessity.)
post #89 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by leafylady View Post

My kids get plenty of exercise within well defined boundaries. They're also very sociable, much more than myself. While they need playtime without my constant presence, I don't think they need to run all over the neighborhood unsupervised.

I also think that article has a ridiculously utopia-like view of the "good old days." I imagine that much like today, some parents were very involved, others were not (some by choice some by necessity.)
ITA with all of this. My mom was on her own all the time growing up because she didn't have anyone watching out for her or spending time with her.
My DS does a lot of cool stuff, we walk a lot of places, hike, ski, go cycling, travel, visit people, have visitors... I'm thinking the people being targeted in the article are those whose kids go from school to practice/class/afterschool daycare to video games to homework to TV to bed and get woken up early the next morning for more of the same. I'm not sure the key to raising healthy kids is that the kids are out of sight! There's a lot of gray area between micromanaging and not looking at your kids all day.
post #90 of 114
What's interesting to me is how the writer took this study, which was about increased *activity levels* in unsupervised kids in particular *environments*, and turned it into a diatribe against parents and government-sponsored activity programs, as though this was somehow the parents' or the governments' fault.

This study appeared in an environmental design journal, Built Environment. It's purpose was to reinforce the idea that we need better spaces for kids to play, NOT to attack parents for failing to leave their kids alone. So the author took to task the UK government for over-organizing play spaces, and used to support his argument an environmental design article that proposes that local and government entities should create more of these types of spaces. LOL

As the study made clear, parents don't let their kids outside to play alone because many don't have access to open areas that are safe enough for parents to leave kids, or are safe enough for kids to *want* to hang out in.

Quote:
Allowing children to leave the house without an accompanying adult has significant benefits, but we need to design and build environments that children feel comfortable in and that parents feel confident to let them use on their own.
The idea that we should shove our kids out the door "for their own good" even if there is nowhere safe for them to go is ridiculous, and seems to me reflective of the current overly-prescriptive parenting approach to which we seem so prone nowadays.

Parenting is not about a series of things we *do to* our kids, it's about who we *are with* our kids.

As the study made clear, when kids have safe places to hang out, parents *are* more likely to let them do so independently.
post #91 of 114
Interesting subject. Our neighborhood seems to have families who follow both extremes. We live in a small town (pop. 634), on a dead end street with only six houses. All of these homes have good-sized yards. One neighbor won't let her 5 and 3 1/2 year old boys off the front porch unless she is right there with them. A 7 year old boy from another family rides his bike all day.

We fall somewhere in the middle. I like for my kids to play outside by themselves. It gives them time for their imaginations to take hold. And it gives me a bit of time for myself! They have bounderies. When my three year old is outside by herself, she has to stay in our yard or on our driveway. When she is outside with her brother, they are allowed to go to the corner. They can knock on the 7 year old's door once to see if he can play.

The only time we've had to modify our rules was when a pack of wild dogs roamed the neighborhood. Noone spent any time outside until they caught the dogs.
post #92 of 114
really what an excellant article, and so true. It makes me glad that i definelty give my kids "carefully crafted neglect"
post #93 of 114
i am surprised by the responses as i read back through. But what i got out of the article was "carefully crafted neglect". They aren't saying don't be involved in your children's lives at all, they are saying they need the oppurtunity to experience that sometimes. God we had that as kids, we had a whole street full of kids who hit the cul-de-sac, the woods and fields behind our houses the creek. and we had fun, we ran wild, we experienced diffrent roles and it's something we couldn't have done if our parents were right there with us. They weren't ignoring us or NOT being involved in our lives, because they were there when we needed them, when we ran in crying or upset they helped us. And not just our parents but most of the parents on the street. Someone else's mom wasn't afraid to tell you that you were out of line and you could be sure that your parent would hear about it. I think it is sad that things aren't mor elike this. It teaches you a lot more about the world and how to deal with it, then having mommy or daddy constantly there interfereing and protecting you. I think kids miss out on some improtant experiences by not having this.
post #94 of 114
I do not micromanage my kids lives, but I do supervise. No way I'd let my seven year old go off down the block, out of my sight alone. Did I at that age? Yes. (and back then, if I were down the block, other moms knew who I was and were looking out for me, how many of us even know our neighbors these days?) Was I ever molested by the nice old man next door? Yes again.True that stranger danger is a slim risk. But being molested by a relative, family friend or neighbor is much higher and can go on undetected for years. And if you dont know where your child is, you dont know that they ARENT in a neighbors home.I guess my ds started wanting to walk home from school by himself around nine or ten and I did let him at that age. At the park when he was little, I could sit on a bench and let him come to me when needed, I didnt "hover" but nor was I dropping him off and leaving him on his own for an hour or two. My favorite park to take him to was the site of rape of a little girl at one point. That was horrifying. Sure it only happened once in the ten years I lived there. But I dont want it to happen at all, so Im vigilant.So, yes, I recognize my childrens need for independance and I also recognize how my own issues play into things. Maybe I AM more paranoid becuase of what happened to me, but its not uncommon. Statistically speaking, one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be molested by a relative or family friend. It may not be the stranger you have to worry about, but little susies dad down the road, or whoever. Oh, and on playgrounds, if I left my two year old unsupervised Id probally get lynched by the other moms as we are in a hitting phase.....BTW, my oldest is 16 now and he leaves school on his own and walks all over, to friends homes, the local convinace store etc but we live in a small town now and he's 16. But he does not seem hanicapped in any way, socially or otherwise. He's very popular and very compentent. He wanted a guiena pig and looked online to get directions to build a cage, built it himself and then made them a diet plan based on guinea pigs specific needs...all of it without my help. So Im just not seeing that he became overly dependant on me just because I did not "neglect" him when young. He did play out in the yard alone at about five in our fenced yard where I could watch from the window and when he wanted to walk home from school alone at ten and I let him, I found out I was breaking the law as a child is suppose to be twelve before left alone. Hm. I was babysitting other peoples kids at that age! Again though, I would not leave my children with a 13 year old babysitter. Just me though.Oh yeah, I live in the country now and things like coyotes and bob cats are a real risk so I go out with my lil ones!
post #95 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by leafylady View Post
I also think that article has a ridiculously utopia-like view of the "good old days."
I totally agree.

I hate the "here's what's wrong with kids/parents today....they need to be more like they way we were....." conversations.

I always think, well how the heck do you think we GOT here if you all were doing such a bang-up job?
post #96 of 114
I'd be mortified if my kids did some of the things I did when I was a child. Left to my own devices, I made some VERY unwise decisions. That being said, I was also afraid to tell my parents all the truth about what we wanted to do. Riding our bikes to the creek, trespassing through yards to get there? Probably not the best idea on its own, but far worse for none of us being willing to tell our parent what it is we wanted to do in the first place! I just sit here and imagine the physical injuries we could've had and no adults even knowing where to begin looking for us.

I do find myself a lot more lenient than many of my friends, but that's with the safety of a fully fenced back yard. It still feels odd to toss all 3 kids outside, especially when the youngest was 18 months old, and just watching through the windows and listening. And yet, the only crisis this entire summer happened while there were THREE adults in the yard, and we all watched and my 5 year old broke her arm.

I fully admit to being a playground yeller. The biggie is "Go DOWN the slide, not UP!" but that's because I don't want another child injured, or worse, experience the wrath of the other Mommies who are there. But I'm just as likely to tell my screaming, entirely over-dramatic 5 year old to get herself down from the situation she's just gotten herself into. I CAN tell the real deal from the fake cry, even if other parents can't. It's not that I'm neglecting her, really. I just know that this is the very same child who climbed on the roof of the playhouse, WITH the broken arm and when I said that it was a really bad idea, her response was "Mommy, it's okay, I won't break my other arm!" So believe me, she doesn't actually NEED the help getting down.

As the kids get older, I'll work more on letting them have freedom within our world, not just our home. This article is serving as a good tool for re-evaluating just how necessary certain aspects of freedom are.
post #97 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
It's been my experience over and over again, too.

Those kids don't seem healthier or more capable, it seems like Lord of the Flies. I'm not comfortable letting my children navigate those sorts of situations, and I know they're not comfortable trying to navigate them without me.
Yes!


Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
Yeah, if those were the sortsof intereactions I'd witnessed I'd feel the same way.

And within certain groups, (like my friend's extended family) I've seen the same thing. And we're all extremely comfortable letting the kids play together with very little supervision.

Unfortunately, what I've seen play out over and over again at the playground or in other groups, is that the way the kids "work it out" involves the bigger kid(s) overpowering the smaller one(s). I'm *really* uncomfortable with that dynamic--as are my kids. And the parents are talking about how important it is for the kids to be independent and how great they work it out for themselves--but I'm just not seeing that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
Whoah, whoah, whoah!
What I have a problem with is adults who are standing back and teaching their kids to "work it out" at the expense of others (namely my kids ).

I *really* have a problem with those parents (my SIL acting like I'm insane when I'm following my kid around--when it's largely to protect him from their children.

And I don't so much resent the parents whose kids end up coming to me for a drink of water and help getting up a ladder and tying thier shoe, but I do start to wonder what's going on in the parent/child relationship when a kid who doesn't know me at all (or very well), will come to me vs. go to his/her parent. I think it's off.


I am beginning to think that maybe Monkey's Mom and I should have a playdate.

I am far less worried about stranger danger, than about one of his "friends" bashing in his head with a rock, or trying to hold his head underwater in a bucket.
post #98 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imogen View Post
I had a LOT of freedom to roam and play out when I was younger. I remember going out to play by myself from the age of 5-6 onwards. But we're talking the late 1970's. There were predators even then though.

But that freedom that I had, I'm nervous about my son having that same level of freedom to roam and play out, because the world has changed a lot in the past 30 yrs.

Peace
I believe that violent/stranger related crime has actually decreased overall since the 1970's, but that our perception of the danger has increased tenfold (there are stats on this somewhere). The real dangers come from more vehicles on the road, and the fact that drivers seriously don't watch where they're going.

That said, the world *has* changed, and some areas are much more conducive to unsupervised play than others. At our current house (in the country) and last house (in a quiet suburb), I am/was able to let the boys play outside on their own with only a periodic peek out the door. This is true at Dh's parents' house (a mile off the main road, on 5 acres, with acres of farmland surrounding), and at their cabin (on 365 acres). At my mom's house and at the house we had when we first married and ds#1 and #2 were babes, it is/was impossible -- the vehicles fly past at unbelievable speeds (including the UPS/Fed Ex trucks), someone is always coming or going, and the neighbors themselves are the kind you often see featured on COPS or the evening news. To let the boys out unsupervised under *those* conditions would be neglectful, imo.

The age and maturity of the children involved plays a big part, too, but even teenagers/adults are susceptible to certain dangers. We shouldn't stay inside, or never let our children explore, but we do have to understand that not everyone has the same options as everyone else. Of course, I do know people who won't let their 5-8 year old children out in their own fenced back yards without an adult -- even when the adults can look out the window and see what's going on. That's extreme to me, but I still like to give the parents the benefit of the doubt.
post #99 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
I totally agree.

I hate the "here's what's wrong with kids/parents today....they need to be more like they way we were....." conversations.

I always think, well how the heck do you think we GOT here if you all were doing such a bang-up job?
OMG, that's so true, and I think it all the time; if everything was so darn great before and everyone had such a handle on things in the "good old days", then why are so many things screwed up now? Seriously.

I also hate the argument that it was good enough for us and we survived and all that -- it discounts all the people who *aren't* here because of those very practices, and all of the people who quietly survived certain atrocities of being left on their own.

That said, I do think that overall, children need more freedom to do their own things. I see so many parents micromanaging their children's every move and activity. We experienced it firsthand with Dh's parents over this holiday -- egad, the boys couldn't make a move without someone commenting on it. By the end, the boys and Dh and I were so ready to get home and out of their watchful sight. Ironically, Dh had A LOT of personal freedom growing up.
post #100 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by theatermom View Post
I believe that violent/stranger related crime has actually decreased overall since the 1970's, but that our perception of the danger has increased tenfold (there are stats on this somewhere). The real dangers come from more vehicles on the road, and the fact that drivers seriously don't watch where they're going.
I'm personally about 1000X more paranoid about cars than I've ever been about strangers...

DD got out a year or so ago. We'd let her out to play on our patio (completely surrounded by a fence about 6 ft. high), and she was being very quiet. It turned out that when ds1 and his friend had gone out, they hadn't closed the gate behind them, and dd had slipped out to find them. It was just starting to get dark and I freaked. I was worried about the river near our place, and about the two busy roads that are very close to us...strangers barely crossed my mind.

I found ds1 and sent him to check on area while dh and I were going in two other directions. I figured I'd check by the river, then come back and call the police if she hadn't been found. As I was coming back, I heard ds1 yell, "I've got her, mom". He caught up with me and told me that "two older men" had brought her to him.

And, this is where the media comes in. My first thought was "I'm so lucky those men weren't creeps" - and then I really thought about it. We weren't lucky. Lucky is when you beat the odds in a good way. Unlucky is when you beat the odds in a bad way. The vast majority of people out there, on finding a 3 year old wandering around, wouldn't want to hurt the child - they'd want to help her/him find her/his parents. We weren't "lucky" that these two men were decent people...we simply weren't so unlucky as to have a pervert find her. The odds were that if someone found her, it was going to be a decent person. Even though I try to resist it, there really is a media-created tendency to believe that every other person on the street is a dangerous pedophile, just waiting to leap on our children...and it's just not true.

I'm awfully glad she didn't wander into the street or the river, though...
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