Children who are let out to play unsupervised grow up to be healthier - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 114 Old 12-30-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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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.
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#92 of 114 Old 12-30-2007, 06:44 PM
 
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really what an excellant article, and so true. It makes me glad that i definelty give my kids "carefully crafted neglect"

Courtney and Cree, baby made 3, added one more then there were 4, sakes alive, then we had 5, another in the mix now we have 6!

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#93 of 114 Old 12-30-2007, 07:03 PM
 
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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.

Courtney and Cree, baby made 3, added one more then there were 4, sakes alive, then we had 5, another in the mix now we have 6!

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#94 of 114 Old 12-31-2007, 03:13 AM
 
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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!

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#95 of 114 Old 12-31-2007, 03:25 PM
 
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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?
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#96 of 114 Old 12-31-2007, 07:19 PM
 
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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.

Busy, hectic, HAPPY single mom to 3 awesome kiddos jumpers.gif DD1 (10) DS (8) DD2 (6)

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#97 of 114 Old 12-31-2007, 09:15 PM
 
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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!


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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.
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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.
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#98 of 114 Old 01-01-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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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.

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
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#99 of 114 Old 01-01-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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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.

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
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#100 of 114 Old 01-01-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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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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#101 of 114 Old 01-03-2008, 01:36 PM
 
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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.
Bolding mine. You make such a good point: I agree with your whole post.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#102 of 114 Old 01-03-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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Love this post and am printing info from that link for my sons step mom, who thinks I am an absolute FREAK for letting him, an almost 14yo, skate around town with his gang of friends/skaters. Heaven forbid they cross the road!!! Ds is so sociable and has learned so many skills from these boys and I love all the boys like they are my own sons, plus they have houses scattered over town so I know they stop by someones house to drink water or eat something and they are off again. Thank heavens for cell phones though!

Me and my wonderful husband serve God. Blessed with twin girls 2/11/11. <3

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#103 of 114 Old 01-03-2008, 07:06 PM
 
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What I don't get is keeping kids so close at a late age 12-14-16, that they never learn to get in a little trouble and a few scraps and grow up and mature. If a 14 can't walk out to a mall or playground with their friends without adult supervision, what happens just 4 short years later, when they go to university in another state and need to be completely responsible for themselves, food, shelter, clothing, studies, balancing their checkbook, and dealing with all sorts of other kids, and adults, all strangers, from different cultures, backgrounds, with various ideas, in all sorts of social circumstances? That sounds like a huge jump to me, and a shaky one.

My kids are only 1 and 3. But I have let my 3 yo play in the backyard by himself many a time, just looking out the window every once in a while. At his age I am concerned with the normal trip or fall or him deciding to do something unsafe (piling up rocks and then trying to jump on them....), not about the one in a million pervert roaming the world. Looks like I am headed down the path of "wild free-roaming" Kids. I'd rather do that, gently giving more and more freedom, over time, then lock them up and then suddenly let them out on the world at 18 and just hope everything turns out ok.
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#104 of 114 Old 01-03-2008, 07:41 PM
 
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Isn't that what MDC is for? To support parents in scoring high on that "benign neglect" meter? : Gosh, it sure works for me!




I admit I'm notorious for laughing at my own jokes. And I can see this is no laughing matter. :
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#105 of 114 Old 01-03-2008, 08:11 PM
 
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And it's interesting to hear how the kids respond to our involvement--"You guys are the *cool* parents--you're always playing with us!" or asking for our help or involvement even when their parents ARE right there later. It just starts to get to the point where I'm like, "Dear lord, where are YOUR parents?" 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.
Maybe it's just the kids you're around. When I was growing up, I hated parents who hovered. I had a friend whose house no one would go to because her mom always wanted to play with us (or sit and chitchat as we got older). Sometimes that's okay, but it can be overbearing. At some point, we were all saying, "I wish A's mom would get a life!" We were great kids - excellent grades, athletes, musicians, artists. We didn't so much as get detention, so it really was overkill.

We're firm believers in allowing independence because of research on how it influences intellectual development. That's the guiding principle of our decisions. We play a good bit with DS (and obviously join in if asked), but we don't believe in solving problems for him if he's capable of solving them himself, even with a little struggle. When I see parents hovering and problem-solving at the playground, they usually seem to be causing more problems than they're solving. If you want to follow your own kid around, then that's okay, but those parents usually seem to step in with all of the children.

I allow my almost 3-year-old a good bit of latitude in dealing with conflict. Hitting, shoving, and other physical retribution is not okay, but I don't have a problem with children discussing (or arguing) over a toy or piece of equipment as long as those children are generally in the same age/ability group. I think it's valuable and must be learned, but some parents want to step into those conflicts immediately and start making a decision about who gets to use the equipment first, etc. Just back off and see if they can figure it out. They usually can without anyone getting hurt (physical or otherwise).

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#106 of 114 Old 01-03-2008, 09:04 PM
 
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Maybe it's just the kids you're around. When I was growing up, I hated parents who hovered. I had a friend whose house no one would go to because her mom always wanted to play with us (or sit and chitchat as we got older). Sometimes that's okay, but it can be overbearing. At some point, we were all saying, "I wish A's mom would get a life!" We were great kids - excellent grades, athletes, musicians, artists. We didn't so much as get detention, so it really was overkill.
Well, I'm thinking about several different groups across many ages, so I dunno...the only kids who seem to resent it are a few kids who are quite attached to the "let's exclude someone 'til they cry" game.

Over Thanksgiving my husband was pig-piled on by a group of 6-10 yr. old girls and had several different wrestling sessions with them, I spent time helping the kids find funny videos on YouTube, we played board games with them, got out Polly Pockets from storage for them, and so on. It's just one example of how we often happen to be the rare adults who venture into the kids' "area" and the kids seem entirely surprised, receptive, and grateful.

And my kids ARE 6 and 2--so it's hardly hitting the creepy-mom-hanging-out-with-my-teen-boys stage, you know.

And it's as much to help my kids deal as it is to prevent my 2 yr. old from leading with his fists on unwitting playmates. My six year old went through a years-long hitting stage, so I was really indoctrinated into hawking him to protect other kids and offer him alternative strategies. He no longer hits, and is quite adept at mediating conflicts and offering solutions. But, he still wants me close by often times.

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We're firm believers in allowing independence because of research on how it influences intellectual development. That's the guiding principle of our decisions.
Yeah, I'm less concerned about research and more concerned about my kids--their needs guide my decisions.

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...but some parents want to step into those conflicts immediately and start making a decision about who gets to use the equipment first, etc. Just back off and see if they can figure it out. They usually can without anyone getting hurt (physical or otherwise).
FTR, that isn't the sort of "stepping in" that I do. I'm very much in the background--offering a hand, a smile, or a "try this" when one of my kids runs into a situation where he's stuck. I'm not interjecting, dictating, making decisions, or otherwise "interfering" with the kids--unless it's obvious "bullying" or coming to blows.
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#107 of 114 Old 01-04-2008, 12:25 PM
 
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I am a big proponent of letting kids play on their own when possible.

but, that article is SO onesided and ethnocentric it's ridiculous.

How about the following:
1. 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? Perhaps the problem is that adults encourage children to play with certain toys. Or adults tend to interfere in social interaction. It may not be the presence of adults, but simply the way they are currently told to interact with kids that is the problem.
2. There is no possible way to measure kids being "healthier" simply because they play without adults around more. It's just someone's opinion. It's very en vogue right now to whine and moan about how overprotective today's parents are.
3. Even if the article is true (and I do personally feel that unsupervised play time is important), writing an article is NOT going to counteract the constant onslaught of media brainwashing that us parents are subject to. Even if I *know* a certain situation isn't really dangerous, but the media has just brainwashed me, overcoming that is incredibly hard.
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#108 of 114 Old 01-04-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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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.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#109 of 114 Old 01-04-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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... 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..
Excellent points.

I have to say, one reason why we picked our neighborhood was because there are sidewalks and TONS of kids - and lots of people who are here during the day.

I personally know of 6 boys in DS1s age group within a 5 minute walk of our house on quiet residential streets/sidewalks. I feel a lot better about letting him out to play with his friends (when he gets older, he is too young now) in this specific environment.

Even though in my earlier post, I came down on the "unsupervised play" side, I do want to say that the vast majority of time, I am there, but in the background. If my boys want to play outside, I am outside too, doing gardening, reading a book, etc.


Even if I am inside, I will be checking every 15 minutes or making sure I can hear what is going on. And I never let my 2 year old be outside without an adult, unless he is on our deck, which is completely enclosed and locked, looking onto floor to ceiling windows/french doors from our dining room. My desk also has an enormous picture window which overlooks the entire front garden, so if my 4 year old is in the front, I can see him 95% of the time.

Personally, I think if anyone from our county tried to argue my kids were unsupervised in their own garden, they'd have a hard time.

I am not of the "send 'em out at 10am and don't let 'em back in until dinner time" kind of person - and honestly, I don't know any parents like this any more.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#110 of 114 Old 01-04-2008, 01:35 PM
 
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This is a UK article and the context in which it was written may be unknown those of you in the US.

Some people believe that our government is hell bent on removing parenting from the parent and moving it to the state. Our 2 year olds are to be subject to a curriculum with targets and assessment of their skills if they attend nursery classes, schools now offer 'wrap-around care' from 8am to 6pm' so that more mothers can get back to work, our older children are tested and tested to provide data for league tables and show 'value added' by the school.

There is a feeling of intrusion by the state in to many areas of of our children's lives and this micro-management and control are now driving a rebellion of sorts, hence this article and others like it.
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#111 of 114 Old 01-04-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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This has been my favorite discussion on MDC. I think quite a bit about my child hood (and my DH's) and how we want to raise our (eventual) children.

We're both children of the 70's and were allowed to roam within reason. We always asked permission to go and knew when to be back.

My summers were spent at the lake where my grandparents summered. We roamed freely there - even in the water. By the first grade, I could out swim many of the neighborhood adults, so it was considered ok. I knew the adults too. We were introduced and re-introduced during grandma's daily walk up and down the beach. I viewed most of these people as family, after a fashion and there was no question that they would get after us if we did anything that we shouldn't (and fear of that made us NOT do anything we shouldn't).

I e-mailed the link to the article to DH and he said:

"Kids need a balance between parent involvement and self development. Without unconditional love demonstrated through parent involvement and giving "permission" to act without the loss of love, children become afraid to take chances and explore reality. Without alone time to figure out the world, children do not develop the mechanism for cooping with the reality that they don't need permission to act but that there are consequences not always within their control."

Man, he's so much more elloquent than me. Makes me glad that I won't be the only parent. I hope that when we are parents that I can somehow foster the same community relationship that my grandmother did - up and down the beach.
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#112 of 114 Old 01-04-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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Olerica, I'm so happy for you! It's not many couples who so thoroughly discuss these issues before having children. I think you're off to a great start.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#113 of 114 Old 01-04-2008, 05:19 PM
 
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Over Thanksgiving my husband was pig-piled on by a group of 6-10 yr. old girls and had several different wrestling sessions with them, I spent time helping the kids find funny videos on YouTube, we played board games with them, got out Polly Pockets from storage for them, and so on. It's just one example of how we often happen to be the rare adults who venture into the kids' "area" and the kids seem entirely surprised, receptive, and grateful.
I think the kids are grateful. I don't know the situation with the parents/kids above, but this happens to DH regularly. He is a big bear of a man and they love to use him as a jungle gym.

I think they love him because he 1) plays with them - imho sometimes too roughly but never dangerously 2) has boundries and 3) stops playing with them after awhile to hang out with the adults.

I think kids want you to play WITH them and not just supervise what they do all of the time. I think your approach is awesome!
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#114 of 114 Old 01-05-2008, 01:57 AM
 
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Yeah it seems to me that there are a lot of micro managing moms out there... some of our friends are so 'right there' to address every single move that is made by their child that it is actually no fun... I do understand that there are stages children go through and moms do know their kids, but most of the time I will let my 3 year old work things out with her friends.... a watchful eye nearby at first, but if playtime seems to be moving right along I will just stay within earshot. It seems to me that at this age 2 or 2.5 and up there is enough communication and enough 'experience' for children to get on without mommy being 'right there'. In fact more often than not I see mom's annoying and sabataging their children (without even realizing it). I say let the kids alone.

Also, I think in homes where both parents work and someone else cares for the child it is expected that one or both of the parents spend every other waking moment with their child... in this culture I think that guilt works on parents to be involved in every activity that their child is in outside of work time because that is the only time they really have... I don't completely get this as I SAH, but it makes sense that instead of dropping a child off for an activity on the weekend you would accompany them if you haven't spent anytime with them all week.... I think a tremendous amount of people fall into this catagory and aren't really micro managing or overbearing... they are simply tagging along.

N
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