Article...Stop worrying about your children! - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 12:11 AM
 
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My DS is 13mo. He's walking. We're moving to a small town south of the city we live in now, and yes, there is a registered sex offender living 3 blocks down.

Regardless, I let DS wander the (humongous) yard when I'm gardening. I even go in to fill up the watering can and leave him out there for the 2 minutes it takes me. We have a dog who will bark like crazy if anyone decided to come over our property line, and DS is much more interested in the tomatoes or following me around than anything else right now.

I think a really big part of this is that you have to know your neighbours. I'm introducing us to everyone I see on the street - I want people to know and recognize DS and me, and be able to say (when he's older and wandering the neighborhood) "Hmmm... that's Sara's DS in front of my house. Let me make sure he's ok." I want them to have my phone number so that they can call me if they see him somewhere they think he's not supposed to be.

That being said, fear of those people thinking I'm irresponsible for letting my DS go to the store across the street isn't going to make me stop doing it. Every parent knows their child's limitations (I hope) and I think that we need to take that into account when we judge. I know that my 13mo is safe in the yard for 2 minutes while I get water - your 4yo might not be. We need to be less judgemental of each other and get to know each other better. That's the only way to "fix" this kind of problem.

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#62 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 12:19 AM
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Works for me.

I remember sending my daughter off to the coffee shop a block away from us when she was 7, to buy me a mocha (and I think I funded something for her, too ). It was just a block down a quiet street, but some people freaked. By 10 or so she was wandering around downtown Davis with a friend for a few hours, and by 12 she was flying solo cross country, even changing planes. Once she had a cell phone I really had no worries...

dar
Ah! Davis! In the early 90s we certainly wandered around by ourselves, too. You can bike everywhere and most likely someone you know will be watching you, so everyone behaves. Now, there was still the incident of two teen boys pushing another in front of a train or something, and I remember that being a HUGE deal at the time. But it's not like any of us stopped going around town by ourselves. My mom would give us $10 and tell us to go get lunch and hang out at Longs or wherever, when she had too many day care kids on crazy days. And we'd bike to activities by ourselves, hang out all day... but we just had to tell our parents where we were going to be.
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#63 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 12:56 AM
 
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This has been really interesting!

What I've noticed is that we have been talking a lot about trusting the CHILD, but what about trusting OURSELVES to know?

I grew up in Philadelphia in the early '80's. The city was literally bankrupt. Everyone on our street had brake-ins to their homes. The playground was filled with drug waste and condoms. The streets were dangerous with traffic. Philadelphia is a huge east coast urban center and a little kid is easy to loose in the crush. I wasn't going anywhere alone. And I don't blame my parents one bit.

Now, where we live now, there are tons of kids outside. The streets (obviously) still have cars, but our residential roads are pretty quiet. Certainly not anything like the highways and crazy commuters of my childhood. The parks are clean and well kept with lots of neighbors going in and out. We have wide, clean bike lanes. We have local shops. We have a nice fenced yard. My son, when he is older, will be able to pretty much go anywhere. And even now, at almost 5, he can play in our yard "alone" (with our windows open, and it is fenced) and he can play out front with "light" supervision (a few minutes alone if I know what he is doing, longer if all the other kids and parents on the block are out and about), but he is not ready for me to open the door and say "See ya later". There are too many things he is not able to understand or do just yet, bith physically and emotionally. But one day he will be. Tiny steps at a time.

But you know, it is important to trust yourself and to truly be able to assess danger. For small kids, it is sometimes beyond them to stop themselves from running after a ball in the street. Developmentally, kids up to 10 yrs old cannot accurately assess crossing the street due to perception of distance and speed of cars (obviously, having a traffic light or a deserted road are different). It's not easy to tell if a pond is frozen enough for play and the consequences of a kid misjudging that can be really tragic. But not everyone is near a pond. Or lives in a big, decaying city. Some streets are fine for kids to ride around. Some are not.

WE need to not only teach and trust our kids, but we need to trust OURSELVES to make solid decisions. We have to know OUR dangers.

Also, some stuff that we do now for safety is just plain stupid not to do. There is some country song that was out last year that talks about "When we were kids, we drank from the garden hose, all our moms smoked, yada, yada and we're just fine". Well, duh. We KNOW now there is a BIG difference from the risks of drinking from a garden hose and smoking while pregnant. For goodness sake, SOME things are NOT paranoia. Some things are true advancements in safety that save lives. Carseats. Bike helmets. Pool fences. Suntan lotion. CO detectors. The trick is to know, then do without being carried away.

And some things HAVE changed. There is more violence and ads on tv and video games. That is a fact. Our parents never had to wonder if we were IM'ing 30 yr old guys or calling them on our cell phones or if they were snapping pictures of eachother in compromising positions and posting them on the internet - kids have more ways to connect and can do it in a bigger way with more privacy from their parents because of technology. In many ways, attitudes toward sexuality have changed. Kids have more influence in financial decisions and marketing is much more aggressive. Keeping your head in the sand doesn't change all this.

Really- we have to be informed and trust ourselves as well as our kids.
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#64 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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And some things HAVE changed. There is more violence and ads on tv and video games. That is a fact. Our parents never had to wonder if we were IM'ing 30 yr old guys or calling them on our cell phones or if they were snapping pictures of eachother in compromising positions and posting them on the internet - kids have more ways to connect and can do it in a bigger way with more privacy from their parents because of technology. In many ways, attitudes toward sexuality have changed. Kids have more influence in financial decisions and marketing is much more aggressive. Keeping your head in the sand doesn't change all this.
No, we used landlines and they could take pictures of us and put them in underground porno magazines. We had D&D with as many gruesome scenarios as you could think up if you wanted. We had our walkmans and our imaginations. We could sit by the side of the pool and unknowingly be flirting with a friend's dad! We could have gotten into any of those cars at the Circle K where we were sent to buy cigarettes for mom, which were sold to us because they guy knew our mom .

Sorry, I'm not buying the technology argument. I grew up knowing not to touch a syringe or a condom because it probably had HIV on it- and I had to know this because they were underfoot at the park. And I'm a reasonably "old" mommy, 32! Who has kids now that did not grow up with pushers (coke, crack, heroin, all the goodies, right?) at their middle school, marijuana behind the football stadium, and kids drinking and driving? Who remembers having a phone in her room? Heathers, anyone?

It's the same old thing, old fogies worried that somehow, some new technology is going to really make things incomprehensible. But while I am aware that the cell phone can bring independence, I also know there's only 24 hours in a day to screw off, which is the same as we all had.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#65 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 02:09 AM
 
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No, we used landlines and they could take pictures of us and put them in underground porno magazines. We had D&D with as many gruesome scenarios as you could think up if you wanted. We had our walkmans and our imaginations. We could sit by the side of the pool and unknowingly be flirting with a friend's dad! We could have gotten into any of those cars at the Circle K where we were sent to buy cigarettes for mom, which were sold to us because they guy knew our mom .

Sorry, I'm not buying the technology argument. I grew up knowing not to touch a syringe or a condom because it probably had HIV on it- and I had to know this because they were underfoot at the park. And I'm a reasonably "old" mommy, 32! Who has kids now that did not grow up with pushers (coke, crack, heroin, all the goodies, right?) at their middle school, marijuana behind the football stadium, and kids drinking and driving? Who remembers having a phone in her room? Heathers, anyone?

It's the same old thing, old fogies worried that somehow, some new technology is going to really make things incomprehensible. But while I am aware that the cell phone can bring independence, I also know there's only 24 hours in a day to screw off, which is the same as we all had.
ITA.

Whenever I start thinking that the world is more dangerous now, I stop and think about all the ridiculously stupid, unsafe things I did as a kid - and I'm only 24. At 11, I was buying pot for a girlfriend from the janitor at my high school. I never had a cell phone - so when I snuck out of my friends' sleepover to my boyfriend's house, my mom couldn't get in touch with me, and nobody else could either.

There's a balance. Technology brings new problems, but also new solutions. If I had had a cell phone in high school, I probably would have been safer - my mom would have been able to reach me more often and I'd have had to stay away from loud parties and not be totally stoned at friends' houses for fear of her calling and KNOWING (because moms always know ).

Kids will get in trouble and do unsafe things - it's a given. It's about building trust between us and our kids, not about shielding them from things.

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#66 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 03:07 AM
 
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I sooo want to not worry but I do. Not about my kids doing something 'wrong' (though that could happen) It is about things like cars or dogs or other people. I worry if they are riding bikes in front of a house that they will get hit. Or they will be chased by a stray dog (it's happened twice) or a weirdo neighbor.

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#67 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 03:10 AM
 
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Too true about phones being safety devices!

Can you imagine that at 16, 16, 15 and 15, we used to drive two hours to the nearest large city to spend the weekend with a friend's older brother?

Without a phone in anyone's hand? And only enough money to pay for three meals a day at Taco Bell? And no credit cards, that goes without saying.

And now at more than twice that age my mom asks me if I have my phone when I drive 35 minutes to the supermarket.

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At 11, I was buying pot for a girlfriend from the janitor at my high school.
AAAAAIIIII no, no, you're not helping this discussion for our side anymore...

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#68 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 03:25 AM
 
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AAAAAIIIII no, no, you're not helping this discussion for our side anymore...
I can think of far worse things, tbh. Not saying I approve of it but... Frankly, that's part of growing up- learning to deal with that kind of thing. Should kids learn to deal with it that young? Maybe, maybe not. Who am I to say yes or no for every child? : But that's our job as parents- to teach our children what our values are and what we believe they should do in just such a situation, right? So that they'll do so, even when we're NOT around.
I'm of the opinion that the more closely they're "guarded" when they're younger, the less likely they are to employ their own intelligence in such situations as they grow up and opens them up to peer pressure. But that's my opinion.

ETA: Not saying they shouldn't be protected at all, just saying that they do require some room to try out new feathers when they get them.

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#69 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 03:36 AM
 
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imo i think a lot of parents have turned the natural, good aspect of fearing for children and wanting to protect them into a very disordered manifestation.

i can't help but see inconsistencies in risk assessment.

how many children are correctly restrained and properly installed carseats? um, i have yet to meet someone who can say yes to this. oh and no one irl rfaces past a year.

yet how many people freak out about iron lungs and death...and fully vaccinate their children?

does anyone even know how risky it is to drive? and how rare it is to contract a vaccine related disease...and even rarer to have a complication from it?

we're called to be terrified of some stranger abducting our child...when statistically our children have a greater chance of being hit by lightning.

yet how many people care about what gerber/nestle do? how many people care about what their kids eat?

we freak if our child needs to go to the bathroom in public. it's easy to make this situation safe w/o freaking.

yet how many people screen family members before allowing them to babysit? how many people turn a blind eye to family incest or touchy neighbors or a doting teacher? the statistics say 80% of victims know their perpetrator.

i can't think of any aspect of danger in America where the parents properly use fear. we are really messed up.

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#70 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 03:38 AM
 
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i can't think of any aspect of danger in America where the parents properly use fear. we are really messed up.
what about cars??? Sorry but that is my main #1 fear when my kids walk out the door

Kelly,newly single mom of four wonderful children.

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#71 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 03:43 AM
 
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I was raised with a lot of freedom. The first 5 years, I spent in Europe, where me and 3 other kids my age played outside alone. At age 5 - we rode our bikes everywhere, went to the store to pick up some basic ingredients for our parents, had fun on the playgrounds together, etc. Now, we did live in a neighborhood complex where cars weren't allowed. The garages were like 3 miles away, lol. So, that was a bonus.

But, this is a country where you leave your newborn in the stroller, outside, while you go into a grocery store. At any given time, you can see 5 plus strollers lined up outside of various stores. It's just not a country that has this "someone will steal my baby" obsession.

Then, we moved to Philadelphia, and in 4th grade I walked to and from school - sometimes alone, and sometimes with a friend. I also went to the playground to meet up with friends, no parents were there. By 4th grade (age 8/9) - I pretty much knew that getting hit by a car = not a good idea. And so I knew how to cross the street without that happening.

Nothing ever happened to me or any of my friends, and I never felt in danger. I don't think that was luck. It was just being smart - I learned not to speak with strangers, to leave if I felt unsafe, to yell for help if needed, etc. At the same time, I wasn't ever afraid that anything would happen. I was taught common sense, basically.

It wasn't until I became an adult that I noticed all this .... fear people had. I often think that a lot of the fear is unfounded. I just don't believe that in 2009 there are, all of a sudden, millions more pedophiles/kidnappers/murderers/etc. than there were when I was a kid in the 1980s and 1990s. It's probably the same amount. It's just that society, as a whole, has become so fear based.

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#72 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 03:49 AM
 
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what about cars??? Sorry but that is my main #1 fear when my kids walk out the door
Well, what I am trying to say is that the general 'they' aren't using that feeling of fear effectively.

I'm not saying the fear itself is invalid.

For example, I know there are some very educated mamas on MDC who selectively vax. They have a fear of particular things, they researched it and they applied it effectively.

But the general 'out there' ideas? Nah. It's just this one big sponge of anxiety and blood and gore.

Maybe I've just had too many people say, "But your baby could DIE!"

Yes, we do all die. I prefer to use my scant energy and what's left of my 24hrs to plan against the most obvious, most frequent methods of death.

(and in short: i suppose being hit by a car is a good one!)

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#73 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 10:29 AM
 
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imo i think a lot of parents have turned the natural, good aspect of fearing for children and wanting to protect them into a very disordered manifestation.

i can't help but see inconsistencies in risk assessment.
I think it's all in each of our personally determined "calculated risk" beliefs. I know people that have died in car wrecks, but I certainly won't stop driving. I hope we're okay, but sure, the possibility is there that something could happen. We lick the beaters. There's a risk, sure. Heck, at the risk of being totally attacked, I will admit that the netting on our trampoline fell off a year after it was put on and my kids freely jump, with neighbors and friends, without "protection". So do the 4 and 1 year old. And, knock on wood, nothing's happened. But what IF a broken arm happened? Well, we'd deal with it and move on. Would we change anything? Nah. It's worked well. For US. Others would be freaking out, replace the net twice, or get rid of it.

Others fear driving. Some fear tummy sleeping. Others fear the family bed. It's all in a personal comfort level. I think it's wild that there are women so scared to even smell a cup of coffee while pregnant, or lay on the "wrong" side, yet ask for dangerous drugs the minute the first contraction comes.

This is their personal calculated risk. Or sometimes, in the case of the drugs, just ignorance as to the actual risks.

My biggest point, however, is that those that fear the stranger in the public bathroom so much that their child at the age of 10 isn't allowed to use it, is doing a huge disservice to their child, and themselves. Ride your child rear facing until they get their own driver's license, whatever - sure, accidents happen in vehicles a LOT. But kids abducted in restrooms? Eh, not gonna happen.

I think that's what you're talking about, at least.

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#74 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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About the cell phones and technology- I'm not saying better or worse, just that it is different and was not around when we were kids and parents need to be aware and understand it. It *can* be a danger if used imporperly and/or if parents are cluelesss as to how it works or ignorant of signs of troubl or potential danger with it.

The world isn't the same and to say "Ah, its no different than when I was a kid!"... Well, it is different (sometimes in ways not easily seen, like the significant uptick in marketing and the changing images on TV because these have happened slowly and have a more cumulative effect) in the methods of trouble sometimes and parents need to at least be aware.

And just as a scenario- not others taking clandestine pictures of you to market to an underground porno, but my opthomologist was telling how her tween daughter and her friend took some giggly sleepover and suggestive videos and were uploading them to youtube to "share with their friends". We did versions of this too as kids (took silly and more "grown up" pictures at sleepovers), but didn't have the chance to share it with 100 million people at the click of a button and our privacy was a bit easier to preserve, at least on that scale. Sure, there were other ways to get into trouble, but not *this* way and we should at least know it is there.
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#75 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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But there's a privacy setting on YouTube. And frankly, those kind of videos are not going to get a ton of hits, just like if they sent them to a bunch of porno mags, they wouldn't get published. They're not as interesting as we might fear, not to most people, anyway.

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About the cell phones and technology- I'm not saying better or worse, just that it is different and was not around when we were kids and parents need to be aware and understand it. It *can* be a danger if used imporperly and/or if parents are cluelesss as to how it works or ignorant of signs of troubl or potential danger with it.

The world isn't the same and to say "Ah, its no different than when I was a kid!"... Well, it is different (sometimes in ways not easily seen, like the significant uptick in marketing and the changing images on TV because these have happened slowly and have a more cumulative effect) in the methods of trouble sometimes and parents need to at least be aware.

And just as a scenario- not others taking clandestine pictures of you to market to an underground porno, but my opthomologist was telling how her tween daughter and her friend took some giggly sleepover and suggestive videos and were uploading them to youtube to "share with their friends". We did versions of this too as kids (took silly and more "grown up" pictures at sleepovers), but didn't have the chance to share it with 100 million people at the click of a button and our privacy was a bit easier to preserve, at least on that scale. Sure, there were other ways to get into trouble, but not *this* way and we should at least know it is there.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#76 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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I think it's wild that there are women so scared to even smell a cup of coffee while pregnant, or lay on the "wrong" side, yet ask for dangerous drugs the minute the first contraction comes.



No kidding...

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#77 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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I'm on fence. I agree that it is good to encourage our children to have freedom so they can be independent and confident. On the other hand, I don't feel comfortable having other parents judging me as a bad mother by thinking that I don't care for my children then they don't want their children to go near my house or etc OR someone snatching my children and I never get to see them again. KWIM.

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#78 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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I had a friend tell me once that we have no right to know what others think about us. I try to think of that as often as I can.

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#79 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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Yeah, things have changed. Now we all have laptops & cable & cell phones. But all thats changed is the *technology* - PEOPLE haven't changed. And thats what it comes down to. The vast, vast, vast, vast majority of people in this world are GOOD & HELPFUL & TRUSTABLE - the tiny itsy bitsy minority that are going to rob, rape, kidnap, kill or otherwise harm you is tiny, and it always had been. The difference today isn't that theres more of it, its not that theres MORE pedeophiles or MORE rapists or MORE thieves or murderers or whatever. Its that we *HEAR* about them more.

And so, we *THINK* that there just must be more of them than when we/our parents/grandparents were kids. But there aren't. Its just that the technology has changed - now instead of the nightly news on CBS, NBC or ABC we have 24/7 news coverage on MSNBC, CNN, CNN Headline News, FOX news, and random news bites on a dozen other channels. We hear about the kid getting kidnapped in Washington - only to have it quietly dropped when they "find" her with her dad who just forgot to tell mom where they were going. We happen to know about the pedophile down the street because our we have laws which mandate that they register - where as they used to just move in quietly and everybody went on with their lives. Its not that theres MORE actual crime or MORE actual criminals - its just that we hear about what there is much more. And so, we learn to fear more.

But theres just no reason to. Because probably there was a pedophile down the street when you were a kid too. You just didn't know he/she was a pedophile - you knew him as the creepy guy down the street whose house you avoided. There just wasn't an amber alert system, so your friends mom couldn't report her missing when her dad picked her up from school w/o tell her. Etc.
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#80 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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In the salon article from the OP, the FRK author says:

"My big idea is: 'Take Our Children to the Park and Leave Them There Day.' I think that would be a great thing for our country."

Why haven't I seen 10,000 meetup events like this happening across the USA? I think it's because it just doesn't sound like a good idea to a lot of people.
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#81 of 102 Old 07-20-2009, 05:18 PM
 
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Did you see the post in parenting where a woman's neighbours called the cops on her because her toddler escaped and was running down the street with her in tow?

I think this isn't happening because people don't want to get arrested or have their kids taken by CPS or get a mark on their record, in case of a divorce that ends in a custody proceeding. It's litigation that scares most people about this (including me!).

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In the salon article from the OP, the FRK author says:

"My big idea is: 'Take Our Children to the Park and Leave Them There Day.' I think that would be a great thing for our country."

Why haven't I seen 10,000 meetup events like this happening across the USA? I think it's because it just doesn't sound like a good idea to a lot of people.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#82 of 102 Old 07-21-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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I was thinking about this thread this weekend cause we rented season 6 of penn and tellers bullshit. Anyway, one of the episodes is about stranger danger, it's a good episode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pNhMR4Vs9M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHPUo...eature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b1XC...eature=related

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#83 of 102 Old 07-21-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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I LOVE P&T!!

Last week they were showing the BS behind thinking a video game creates killers... they're fantastic!

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#84 of 102 Old 07-21-2009, 12:23 PM
 
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I LOVE P&T!!

Last week they were showing the BS behind thinking a video game creates killers... they're fantastic!
definitely!

Jillian wife to Ryan and mommy to Janelle Ashlynn (9/09/2002), Kincaid Chance (3/29/2004), Travis Neil (8/13/2007) and River Anderson (5/02/2009).
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#85 of 102 Old 07-21-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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I think this isn't happening because people don't want to get arrested or have their kids taken by CPS or get a mark on their record
This is what I tell my 4-year-old when he wants to stay in the car while I go into a store: "I know you would stay in your seat and wait safely for me. But lots of people think kids are not safe alone, especially in a parking lot, and they would call the police and get us into trouble." One time he asked a lot of questions about exactly what kind of trouble, and the answers were a bit disturbing to him, but I still think it's better than telling him he can't stay in the car because he WOULD get kidnapped, as many parents do!

Penn & Teller's show is pretty good in general, but the one about recycling was garbage. :

Mama to a boy EnviroKid treehugger.gif 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby baby.gif!

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#86 of 102 Old 07-21-2009, 09:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
This is what I tell my 4-year-old when he wants to stay in the car while I go into a store: "I know you would stay in your seat and wait safely for me. But lots of people think kids are not safe alone, especially in a parking lot, and they would call the police and get us into trouble." One time he asked a lot of questions about exactly what kind of trouble, and the answers were a bit disturbing to him, but I still think it's better than telling him he can't stay in the car because he WOULD get kidnapped, as many parents do!

Penn & Teller's show is pretty good in general, but the one about recycling was garbage. :
eh, I think the second hand smoke one was a little off as well, but I watch it mostly for entertainment, I mean, they are magicians/comedians...

Anyway, isn't the reason you shouldn't leave your kid in a car due to temps, like when it's 90 out the car can become 130 in like 10 minutes, not due to kidnappings? Anyway, I couldn't leave my kids alone in the car...if I leave them alone in their bedroom for 10 minutes they draw on the walls (rented apartment, so not allowed, and they know this), I don't want to know what thing they know not to do that they would do if left alone in the car for 10 minutes.

Jillian wife to Ryan and mommy to Janelle Ashlynn (9/09/2002), Kincaid Chance (3/29/2004), Travis Neil (8/13/2007) and River Anderson (5/02/2009).
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#87 of 102 Old 07-22-2009, 02:30 AM
 
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This is what I tell my 4-year-old when he wants to stay in the car while I go into a store: "I know you would stay in your seat and wait safely for me. But lots of people think kids are not safe alone, especially in a parking lot, and they would call the police and get us into trouble." One time he asked a lot of questions about exactly what kind of trouble, and the answers were a bit disturbing to him, but I still think it's better than telling him he can't stay in the car because he WOULD get kidnapped, as many parents do!
nak

i say that too! "you need to do X because otherwise someone will say i'm not taking care of you and they might want to give you a new mommy." (she doesn't care about "trouble" lol)

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#88 of 102 Old 07-22-2009, 05:08 AM
 
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I am also of a mixed mind, not regarding children's needs for freedom, but just how that plays out in my life. And I'm becoming seriously weary of how often I also have to tell my children that we do xyz because other people are uncomfortable if we don't/might think they are not being cared for and remove them from our home and family, etc...

We live in the woods, and in bear country. For this reason, we have a large range with a bright blue string tied tree-to-tree to mark the perimeter of the area that I feel comfortable about them being without supervision. We have no fences and our three oldest play outside around the cabin and to the markers all day with a window open for me to hear them. We also have geese, who I trust to provide an advanced warning system, unless they were to hide instead- there's no real telling what they'd do if faced with a grizzly or black bear or cougar.

Anyway, it's usually in town where we have all of these manufactured rules about walking proximity and wandering ranges. In the deli, ds1 wandered around out of sight for a long while once he'd finished eating and i still was. At the park, all of my dc go in whatever directions they choose, and I do keep a closer eye on our 20 mo. old, but even he is often at the other end of the playground.

For the youngest, the most common problem is when others try to stop him from doing what he is competent or willing to risk doing. I don't climb with him or hover unless he's asked me to, which is next to never unless the challenge is completely new to him.

If we had a dog, I don't think I would be even as concerned about safety as I barely am now. I would let the three older ones wander with the dog, but this is a very rural area with dirt roads and not a city.

*I* feel tense in the city, and so do my dc. We're just not used to the pace of the city, but even so, I am happy to let them run a block ahead, from light to light.

My biggest concern about the city is that while I rust my dc, people in general aren't anticipating children even being there like they did when I was a child. In parking lots, it is imperative that I have all of their hands because drivers simply are not looking for their little bodies way down there. They see me, though. In the streets which here are very pedestrian-friendly and even in stores, my dc are commonly nearly knocked over by fast-moving, unaware people whose gaze simply doesn't meet the little people. My dc have not been knocked over because they are very adept at maneuvering their bodies to avoid it, but the adults are clearly not aware and when they become aware, after near-misses, they apologise to me, surprised by having such a close encounter with a little one. I see this all the time.

I don't think that's reason to hole up, though, just something to consider and maybe remedy with fluorescent orange hats.

I was extremely free-range as a child, in many diverse neighbourhoods and cities in Canada, and lots of dangerous things happened to me, injurious to this day. I do wish my parents had been more aware and concerned for my safety. They didn't consider the environment or my needs. If I said that I was afraid to walk home in the dark, they said I'd be fine. I wasn't always. I was also taught to suppress my instincts. Bad combo, imo.

So, my solution is to assess the environment, my child's abilities and desires, encourage their instinctual development and awareness, help them strategise and work through things as they want my help, and otherwise, to let them learn, which I think they are innately competent to do.

Our children wander further away as they are comfortable, just like when they were babies. They have a sense of how far is too far, I think, except the 20 mo. old presently- or maybe it is just me... hard to tell...

We also equip them with observations in situations they haven't encountered, like at the family park day we happened across on the weekend. We just pointed to a few things so they'd be aware of their presence. Then they ran about the various tents and activities and I stayed with our 20 mo. old while he wandered over to listen to the music in the front row.

When it was time to go, the three oldest all knew where the others were, even though they'd gone in different directions, and we gathered and left together.

I am learning how to apply my understanding and being open to our dc's expressions of needs and desires every day, and this aspect of being together seems to be in constant flux too, according to our situation.

I guess I just anticipate that we'll all adapt to whatever we need to, and given that we're making a conscious effort to meet one another's needs, even if I miss some and mess up some, and some more, my dc will have learned well enough what they need to go around me if I'm the obstacle- though I'd rather never be that!

I hope to be more like a lighthouse they can rely on to be there when they want to come home. Always there, always welcoming and indicating a safe and warm place to be, and to leave as desired. I try to be that in everything and everywhere for them.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#89 of 102 Old 07-22-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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Today I let my almost-three wander while I paid for the Y nursery. She was within earshot, playing "hide-and-seek" (i.e. dart and watch mommy freak) by running into the women's locker room. A lady urged her out and glared at me. As if I wouldn't have people glaring at me if I were making a red mark on her arm holding her and scowling as she flailed around. :

So the point is, what did my daughter learn from that?

She learned that strangers return you to your mama. Good job, lady!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#90 of 102 Old 07-23-2009, 01:04 AM
 
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Today I let my almost-three wander while I paid for the Y nursery. She was within earshot, playing "hide-and-seek" (i.e. dart and watch mommy freak) by running into the women's locker room. A lady urged her out and glared at me. As if I wouldn't have people glaring at me if I were making a red mark on her arm holding her and scowling as she flailed around. :

So the point is, what did my daughter learn from that?

She learned that strangers return you to your mama. Good job, lady!
This is interesting. In that same thread where the mama got the police called, many people chimed in about how their child ran off and people just let them go by, or held a door open. Seems if you happen to run into a loose kid and you help out and bring the kid back to mom your a rude person, and if you just let them do their thing you are a rude and uncaring person.

Personally, if I see a stray kid, I don't worry about it. Unless the kid is visibly upset, or being chased by an adult saying "stop that kid", I'm just going to go about my business.

I have so many fond memories of being out an about, doing my own thing, as a kid. I took the bus in kindy, rode my bike around the neighborhood, walked to the corner store, got into some trouble, and dealt with bullies all by myself. Lots of learning experiences that I wouldn't have had if mom was following me around.

The one time something really bad happend, it was when I was in the front yard while my mom was unloading things from the car into the house. Two men in a van stopped in front of the house and called me over asking my name. The passenger started getting out of the van, and I screamed my fool head off and ran for the house. By the time my I got into the house and my mom came outside they were gone. I was afraid to go outside for a few weeks.

My point is that bad things can happen regardless of how "right there" you are. Life is full of things you can't control, and living in fear of that 1 in a million thing happening to you or your kid is no way to live.
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