Article...Stop worrying about your children! - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 102 Old 07-23-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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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.
It's funny you said this. I once got seriously slammed for letting my 18+ month old(s) out in the back yard alone to play - they figured out the dog door, they head out, they play in a wonderful safe 6' fenced back yard with sandboxes, swingsets, whatever. I'm inside, the back of the house has windows and the big glass door, and I can see them whenever I look up... so they're fine. I love it.

Anyways, the only time (so far, knock on wood) either of my girls ever got hurt - like blood and maybe scar hurt - was when Daddy was back there sitting on the deck and Autumn came running at him so he would catch her and she tripped and fell and hit her forehead on the corner of the deck! Daddy was less than 2 feet from her, but she got hurt.

Gasp!

I've often been told that "they'll get hurt playing by themselves" in the back yard. Sure, they could. And they can get hurt with someone less than 30 inches from them too! I'm betting every mom here has a story similar... you just can't bubble wrap them - nor would I want to.

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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#92 of 102 Old 07-23-2009, 11:20 AM
 
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Disclaimer: I didn't read the whole article and I didn't read the whole thread.

BUT - I think the safety culture that has grown around kids has made them safer, and the way it is practiced by most people I know, it has not stunted their development.

I was raised with huge latitude in the 70s, I think because my mom raised my brothers and sisters in the 50s and 60s, and was so lax with them it would be considered criminal by today's standards. But I was often frightened, I think I experienced a lot of stuff too early, I learned to be tough and jaded, and got hurt way more than I wanted to. I was attacked by dogs several times, was subject to bullying pretty regularly, and had older kids try sexual games with me. None of that kind of stuff has come into play for me as an adult, though, and I don't think going through it prepared me for anything I have done in my adult life. I would have liked a little more adult presence!

Anyhow - I wanted to post to show that death by accidents (not including motor vehicle accidents) in the US has been declining steadily for kids in the past decades. I think that our "safety culture" in the US has led to this change and I applaud it wholeheartedly. Here is a summary of the data from the CDC web site:

Number of average annual deaths per 100,000 people due to accidents (excludes motor vehicle accidents)

.......................AGE RANGE
Year span.......< 1....1-4...5-14

1960-1964........88.....31.....19
1965-1969........80.....33.....20
1970-1974........57.....31.....20
1975-1979........38.....27.....17
1980-1984........28.....23.....14
1985-1989........25.....20.....12
1990-1994........23.....17.....10
1995-1998........20.....14.....9

What can you take away from these data? Either:

(1) gee, kids are safer now so we should loosen up. OR
(2) wow, all that safety consciousness has really helped, let's keep it up!

I am all for #2!

Also note that these are data for deaths only - simply because better data are kept on deaths than injuries. I assume the injury rates are much higher, and also follow the same decreasing trend. For most people, injury rates are more relevant...

aran .......... Mr. aran .......... DS1 .......... DS2
BIL Oct. 1961 - Jun. 2009 taken by cancer
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#93 of 102 Old 07-23-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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That's not the only information that should be taken into account.

Kids ARE safer today. There are NOT molesters around every corner, murderers lurking in the mall, rapists standing in the grocery store. Those are the stats that you need to review. Crime stats. Things like that. Lenore does a great job on her site of covering those.

But hey, it's a free (and safe) world - you can do what you choose with your children. I'm sorry you had a personally bad experience - I know people who have died in auto wrecks, and I've had two myself - but that doesn't mean I can prevent my children from riding in a car, KWIM? Again, it's calculated risk. I freely let my kids roam because I know they're going to be fine. No worries here!

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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#94 of 102 Old 07-23-2009, 11:36 AM
 
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That's not the only information that should be taken into account.

Kids ARE safer today. There are NOT molesters around every corner, murderers lurking in the mall, rapists standing in the grocery store. Those are the stats that you need to review. Crime stats. Things like that. Lenore does a great job on her site of covering those.

But hey, it's a free (and safe) world - you can do what you choose with your children. I'm sorry you had a personally bad experience - I know people who have died in auto wrecks, and I've had two myself - but that doesn't mean I can prevent my children from riding in a car, KWIM? Again, it's calculated risk. I freely let my kids roam because I know they're going to be fine. No worries here!
Yeah, so you choose interpretation (1) of the data I posted. Fine for you - not for me. I understand risk assessment - I do it for a living That's why I am not so worried about abductions and crime, and I didn't post anything about that. I posted about accidents because that's what I am trying to avoid by supervising my kids at the level that I do.

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#95 of 102 Old 07-23-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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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..
The scowl was rude, not her actions, and I smiled at her and thanked her because I knew she was just trying to help. I was just annoyed that she felt the need to give me a "look". I return kids to their parents all the time at the Y (and the supermarket) but I don't scowl! And I hope I'm teaching them to be trusting.

Anyway, re: accidents, what kind of accidents are those? I'm not opposed to putting bleach on the top shelf (or keeping it out of the house altogether), putting outlet covers on electrical outlets, etc. I am opposed to keeping kids on such a short leash that they're never alone and never have the chance to develop their own instincts.

And if kids are still just as at risk because they spend more time in the car getting driven to "safe" places to play, but die in the car on the way there, vs. dying in the backyard, frankly, what's the difference? A child is a child, a loss is a loss.

Finally, molestation, kidnapping, and murder- what people so often bring up when they worry about a kid at a park alone- are not "accidents".

So I don't find that list compelling counter-evidence.

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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#96 of 102 Old 07-23-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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I think:

Amen.
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#97 of 102 Old 07-24-2009, 10:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by aran View Post
Anyhow - I wanted to post to show that death by accidents (not including motor vehicle accidents) in the US has been declining steadily for kids in the past decades. I think that our "safety culture" in the US has led to this change and I applaud it wholeheartedly. Here is a summary of the data from the CDC web site:

Number of average annual deaths per 100,000 people due to accidents (excludes motor vehicle accidents)

.......................AGE RANGE
Year span.......< 1....1-4...5-14

1960-1964........88.....31.....19
1965-1969........80.....33.....20
1970-1974........57.....31.....20
1975-1979........38.....27.....17
1980-1984........28.....23.....14
1985-1989........25.....20.....12
1990-1994........23.....17.....10
1995-1998........20.....14.....9

What can you take away from these data? Either:

(1) gee, kids are safer now so we should loosen up. OR
(2) wow, all that safety consciousness has really helped, let's keep it up!

I am all for #2!

Also note that these are data for deaths only - simply because better data are kept on deaths than injuries. I assume the injury rates are much higher, and also follow the same decreasing trend. For most people, injury rates are more relevant...
I think it's interesting that the biggest drop is for children under 1 year old - those least likely to be affected by playing unsupervised. So I won't have any regrets about letting my children have a childhood.
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#98 of 102 Old 07-24-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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Mamas (and Papas), I love all you guys. Until someone has walked a mile in your shoes, it's too easy for me to say "Unlike me who is enlightened, you are obviously motivated by an overly abundant attitude of __________ in the world"

Has anyone ever read "My Side Of The Mountain" (fiction)? It is fantastic! It features the ultimate and I would say, only true free range kid there has ever been. I think Sam is about 11 or 12 yo. He had a great time -- I think most people fantasize about having the kind of boy's life the protagonist did: He left home in NYC to live alone in some old family land in the Catskills. He built a little house inside a giant tree. He had a trained falcon as a best friend and small game hunter. He made all his winter clothes and shoes out of deerskins. He entertains occasional human guests in his tree cave house. He completely lived off the land. (And had he broken his leg anywhere in the mountains, he would've been screwed and probably died in the woods) His free rangeness ended when, after being gone from home for about 1 year in the Catskills Mtns, his parents and sibs coms to see him in the mountains. He's elated to see them. He learns they plan to build a house right there on his side of the mountain and protests. His mom basically says something like: "Sam, when you're 18 years old, you can do as you like. But until then, all the law I can find says I have to take care of you. And my way of taking you means a having house with walls and a door." So her and his interpretation of "MAMA IS CLOSING IN" is actually having to live inside a house for most for the year.

The ending is really good (I haven't given it away) with what it implies. If you are feeling up in the air about all the FR stuff, check out this book at the library. The book's ending (as opposed to the movie's ending) is very appropos to this discussion of FR-ness.

Just like the statement "I'm an AP parent, and you're not. I can't believe you're not AP. You and yours will suffer for it" is uninteresting, so is substituting "I'm a FR parent and you're not. I can't believe you're not FR. You and yours will suffer for it". Unless you can prove your AP-ness by some universal ex-utero standard for AP-ness like there is for citizenship, it just don't matter. People do give up some AP longings in light of some harsh realities like car seats even if the baby cries in protest. Then there's diapering and EC. By definition, the only true AP parent is a biological mama who is still attached her baby in the womb via umbilical cord. So the purists' definition is a little restrictive and basically weird but this is the only literally true AP parent. Short of that, all AP is an attitude manifest into actions. And one's actions always must find balance to get along in life. Otherwise I suppose you become an extremist and, for FR-ers, maybe start arguing for lowering the # of police force and EMS everywhere (world is safer right?), and the emancipation of all minors lest they experience tyranny in the form of parenting and denial of total freedom.

I am surprised that FRK has gathered any attention. Just more evidence that parents with enough money and time on their hands will buy another book feeding their neurosis that they are doing something wrong. While FRK happens to empower parents to take a nap in the good name of children's lib, that's fine but there is nothing new in this. One must, however, recognize that it is trial by fire. I doubt the Walshes or McCanns advocate the FRK book. I doubt the author would even want the McCanns endorsement. I doubt anyone advertises in Craigslist for free range babysitters. (Or maybe they would. I won't judge them if they do. I'm just saying I think it is very unlikely they do and obvious to me why)

Here's an activity for the kids to experience freedom ... (you're waiting for a bookish answer from me aren't you?) ... start by pretending they already have it, and help them love, really love and cherish, what they have.
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#99 of 102 Old 07-24-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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Aran wrote:
Quote:
I wanted to post to show that death by accidents (not including motor vehicle accidents) in the US has been declining steadily for kids in the past decades. . .
What can you take away from these data? Either:

(1) gee, kids are safer now so we should loosen up. OR
(2) wow, all that safety consciousness has really helped, let's keep it up!
Or (3) accidents are less likely to be fatal as surgical techniques and emergency response have improved. That's the reason U.S. troops in the current war are less likely to die than troops in earlier wars--it's not because fighting a war is safer than it used to be or because the military has become more safety conscious. I'm not certain how much of a factor it is in children's death rates, but it's certainly a possibility to consider when all you have is the number of deaths, not the number of accidents.

Interesting that motor vehicle accidents are not included in these stats. I've read elsewhere that vehicle accident deaths among children have increased...and it's not because cars are more dangerous, it's because children are spending more time in cars. Cars are my biggest safety worry for my kid--that he'll either be hurt as a passenger or hit as a pedestrian--and statistically, that's a lot more realistic than worrying about kidnapping.

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#100 of 102 Old 07-24-2009, 07:24 PM
 
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Aran wrote:

Interesting that motor vehicle accidents are not included in these stats. I've read elsewhere that vehicle accident deaths among children have increased...and it's not because cars are more dangerous, it's because children are spending more time in cars. Cars are my biggest safety worry for my kid--that he'll either be hurt as a passenger or hit as a pedestrian--and statistically, that's a lot more realistic than worrying about kidnapping.

This is my mindset too. I was explaining to my sister that it is best to keep her infant dd rf as long as possible, and talking about the laws, etc. with my grandma present and she said something about back in the day they just sat the baby in a bassinett on the seat etc., implying that the carseat laws are overly causious etc, and i reminded her that back in the 50's kids just weren't in cars all that much and at the length and speed as most children today...For instance i would imagine children that sah with their parents rather than commute daily to a sitter are more likely to be in an accident as they are in the car more, etc. But also as you mentioned, i too am afraid of ds being struck by a car more than being abducted by a stranger. mainly because of his age that he doesn't have the judgement necessary to notice a car backing out,etc.

I live in a culdesac where the kids run wild in the streets, there are 5 homeschoolers on the block and the kids play outside a lot and so do the ps children. But these kids are a lot older than 3 yo ds, and i don't allow him to play outside in the street with the other kids unless i am in the front in eyesight. I try to encourage ds to play in the fenced backyard alone, but he won't stay out there unless dh or i am out there. I do consider myself a bit overprotective, we live right off a busy street where the speed limit is 40, but also for his age i don't think it is appropriate for me to allow him to 'play all day with the neighbor kids in the streets', but in a few years when he is older and more aware of his surroundings and fully potty trained, i will probably relax a bit and allow him to play in front w/o my constant watch

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#101 of 102 Old 07-24-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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I think a lot of this has to do with where you live. IMO, if you live in either:

-an urban area where there are lots of kids around to play with, good public transportation, and lots of places to walk to for activities/fun

or

-a rural area where the kids can roam land in a pack with lots of area to explore and not a ton of other human traffic

free range sounds great. There's safety in numbers, lots to do and explore, etc.

BUT, if you live in a place that doesn't have a ton of kids available as a pack to play with, doesn't have a ton of land to roam OR good transport/close by places to walk, then maybe it's not so great, or not as easy to allow kids the free range.

I think it has a lot to do with where you live, and what your kids' temperament is. I'm all for giving kids responsibility and independent playtime, but for every kid it's different when they're ready to take more control of the reigns.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#102 of 102 Old 07-25-2009, 01:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aran View Post
CDC web site:

Number of average annual deaths per 100,000 people due to accidents (excludes motor vehicle accidents)

.......................AGE RANGE
Year span.......< 1....1-4...5-14

1960-1964........88.....31.....19
1965-1969........80.....33.....20
1970-1974........57.....31.....20
1975-1979........38.....27.....17
1980-1984........28.....23.....14
1985-1989........25.....20.....12
1990-1994........23.....17.....10
1995-1998........20.....14.....9

What can you take away from these data? Either:

(1) gee, kids are safer now so we should loosen up. OR
(2) wow, all that safety consciousness has really helped, let's keep it up!
A previous poster offered a third option, that death from injury is far less likely to occur now or in the most recently listed year of this example than in the earlier years. Also general safety, emergency response and knowledge of first aid/CPR/etc... trained neighbours has increased. I don't know how many people were certified for such things in the earliest mentioned years, but now almost everyone has to have it here, at least, to have a job. From counselors to cleaning crew leaders to babysitters and grocery store managers. This training is so widely available and inexpensive (though out of range for many still, I do understand) that most people who endure an injury anywhere near other people, will probably receive immediate care before even medics arrive. This is a pretty significant social change and one that would definitely impact the statistical outlook, imo.

I have another option, too. What if the number of deaths has decreased due to children doing less on their own and little else has actually affected the stat? They aren't doing anything because they are not allowed to, but if they were, the stat would remain somewhat similar? Maybe we are all doing a better collective job of preventing deaths in children in all but the most dire and unavoidable cases. The reason I wouldn't lump this in with option 2 is that maybe even though we've managed to decrease deaths, we've also decreased the quality of life, development, and freedom of our children. I'm not concluding that we have, just that it is a possibility.

I disagree that children who do not have the opportunities to make decisions about where they will go and what they will do will somehow suddenly have the understanding necessary to do so at a later time, or that this is innate.

It would seem that no matter when the free-ranging starts, they will have the same lessons to learn. It is easily argued that this isn't so imperative at very young ages, but instead increasingly as children mature, rather than, 'well, you're crawling, so off you go! See ya later!"

So, my 3 oldest children free-range, but we have chosen to live in remote places where the range itself is very safe, if not counting the wild animals, but we choose the peril of animal encounters over the common perils of city-life. So, it would seem that I may be of two minds about this, but really, I've just found a way to manipulate my life to accommodate my ideals in this way.

I could easily have died on several occasions as a free-ranging child, and had multiple abduction attempts that could have ended badly- two of which would have landed me in the hands of criminals who were later captured but not before they had killed several little girls. I avoided them by running, learning to walk facing traffic, yanking my arm from the grip of a man (on several occasions actually) and choosing to take routes that I felt were safer.

HOWEVER!!! This free-ranging didn't even seem to give me the requisite wisdom to avoid such things later as a teenager and still even later as a young woman. I'm not even sure that now, had I not purposed to regain my instinctual awareness (which had been badly tampered with by my parents during my childhood), that I would be any better off free-ranging as an adult.

Otoh, I also know people who were very protected as children, very limited in their 'ranges' and they do seem to have a better grasp on dangers than I did, but they also had parents who protected them out of genuine concern which was evident in every other aspect of their upbringing. I was free-range, but in EVERY way, which meant some unenforced/able and incoherent rules and otherwise no guidance.

My children free-range within a large and safe perimeter and I am a very attentive mum, so they have freedom limited to what they each can handle, and presently our eldest has been maturing so quickly that his range has been drastically increased in the last few weeks, and they have the guidance they want and need as well. I err on both sides all the time, and that's because I'm a free-range mama and making mistakes and learning from them is part of the territory, no matter how free.

I guess I had no idea that there was a movement or definition for FR until this thread, so I'll happily count myself in the same way I do with HSers, Free-birthers, libertarians and whomever else with whom it may be possible to relate something of value to us, of whatever sort, and not feel obliged to justify it.

Free range to me can exist within a limit, but to be free and not just range, that limit should extend beyond the capacity of the child just enough to let him/her learn and grow without hindrance. I am confident that this looks different for almost everyone.

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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