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

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#1 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/200...ids/index.html

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Amid the cacophony of terrifying Amber Alerts and safety tips for every holiday, Skenazy is a chipper alternative, arguing that raising children in the United States now isn't more dangerous than it was when today's generation of parents were young. And back then, it was reasonably safe, too. So why does shooing the kids outside and telling them to have fun and be home by dark seem irresponsible to so many middle-class parents today?
What do you think?

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#2 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 10:18 AM
 
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I agree with a lot of things she says and I've been trying for a while to get in that mindset.

I decided we (as a society) were being entirely irrational when one day, I was exhausted and fell asleep and DD's nurse let DS outside to play. I guess he was bothering her and there were some kids outside about his age. She knew I needed sleep and sent him outside rather than wake me up.

When I woke up, I didn't hear DS in the house and I panicked and flew downstairs and asked where DS was. She told me he was outside playing with some kids. I just about lost it on her! I kept my cool though and went outside to check on him. He was just in the side yard connecting the 2 apartments, playing with a 5 year old girl. No harm done.

Then I went back inside and I realized she had opened the window so she could see and hear him. He wasn't in danger. It just never occured to me that a 4 1/2 year old could be safe playing outside alone. DD's nurse is my mom's age. All of us kids played outside by the time we could walk. A lot of times there were older kids to watch us, but they were all of 7 or 8 years old. By the time I was 5 I was playing across the apartment complex and going up and down the street. By the time I was 6, I was walking to school, about 6 blocks away. No doubt her daughter did too.

So I never said anything to her. Instead I thought long and hard about it. I let him play outside alone the next day and the next day.... I can always hear or see him and I made friends with the couple next door. They are grandparents and their granddaughter was the one DS was playing with. They are nice and the grandpa and I compare oxygen supply companies and products like geeks. They adore DD and had a niece with CP who died a long time ago, so they know what I'm going through.

I think part of the problem is we're not as friendly and neighborly as we used to be. Everywhere I've lived, we haven't made friends with our neighbors. Nobody seems to want to talk and I'm quite shy really. I don't know if it's like this for other people. So I've been trying to talk to everyone and get to know them. And in turn, they learn who my kids are and if there's ever a problem, I know they would come to me, like if DS fell and scraped his knee and was crying on the sidewalk. And I would do the same for them. It used to be that everyone kind of kept an eye on everyone else's kids. If you looked out your window and saw little Tommy from up the street talking to some man you'd never seen, you'd walk outside and find out what was going on. You wouldn't just ignore it. It's easier to ignore when you don't know the kid or his parents.

I talked with DS about his boundries....don't go in the street, don't play in the puddle (it gets deep when it rains), don't play around the dumpster, ect. I just had the "stranger talk" with him a few days ago. I don't want to scare him with stranger danger. I told him not to go with strangers, not to let them in the house, not to take things from them, ect. I did NOT tell him not to talk to them though. I don't want my kid thinking everyone is a bad guy and they can hurt you just from talking to you. In fact, I told him if he's ever lost, the best person to find to help him is another mommy. I told him if anyone ever tried to take him, he's supposed to yell, "This person is not my mommy/daddy!".

When he's older and I'm sure all of that has sunk in, I'll let him out of my sight.
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#3 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 10:32 AM
 
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I agree with her on all counts except the police background checks in Great Britain. I had a couple of jobs working with teenagers in England where I had to provide that background check, and it was in no way onerous-- took me a two-minute phone call and that was it. We require criminal background checks in the US too. I guess her concern is that it's required for volunteers too, but really it's EASY and quick. It does not limit the children's freedom the way the other things she talked about does.
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#4 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 10:51 AM
 
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Very enjoyable article. When I was a kid I was shoved out the door in the morning and told to come home when I was hungry.

I hope to do this with my son as well. We live in a neighborhood with lots of kids and they are always outside which is nice.

Now, I wonder about something. My neighborhood is middle to lower middle class and there are always kids around. In the richer neighborhoods I almost never see kids outside just playing. Do you think this huge safety push is more concentrated in upper middle class homes and neighborhoods when in reality those kids are probably safer?
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#5 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 10:59 AM
 
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I have such mixed feelings.

Overall I agree that kids need some freedom in order to learn and grow, and that being outside and in the community is a really important part of that experience.

On the other hand, I think her nostalgia for the 70s is a bit – odd. As someone who walked or took the streetcar and bus to school alone starting towards the end of kindergarten, I remember quite a few bad things that happened that I would prefer not happen to my kid. In a snowstorm I waited for the streetcar rather than walking and my boots were wet and I almost lost some toes. My friend and I discovered a dead baby in a bag in a ravine. I was flashed twice. I was robbed a few times. I was pushed down and broke a finger. In fact there was a lot of older kid bullying.

It was definitely not all la la la roses and joy.

Also, I don't think that it's fear of stranger danger that is the biggest factor in the loss of middle-class kids at the playground & around the neighbourhood.

I think it's actually more about the prevalence of two-income families who actually do find care for their kids (rather than a lot of SAHMs, or using extended family) and of course if you're paying for supervision you expect – supervision. Added to that is a fair amount of pressure to go for organized sports and activities and there's just less time.

And there's the draw of the tv, video games, etc. So the kids themselves may be choosing to stay in.

I think as with most things there is a middle ground, and a lot of parents ARE finding that middle ground. Meanwhile she's making money berating helicopter parents. I think her hype about how all kids are confined is pretty much just that – hype.

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#6 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 11:01 AM
 
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Even the police checked worked -- I think I would be on board with it. But in reality they don't. You can have no record of being a pediphile, physical abuser, or verbal abuser. Also, with our current sex offender list they are becoming useless because they have to many people on it for things that doesn't mean they will harm children.
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#7 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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My 3yo is playing outside right now. I like more contact than "be back before dark"-- I check on them every 15-30 minutes. Our rules are: don't go in the parking lot or street, and ask permission if you're going to go further than my sight range from the porch.
At 6, I rode my bike over a mile to school with my 9yo boy neighbor. At 7, I walked home with my 5yo sister, let us into the house, and played inside or in the yard until my mom got home from work at 5. Nothing bad ever happened to us, if you don't count bickering (which my boys do plenty of with me around).
I want my kids to be equally capable, even if necessity doesn't require them to stay home alone for 2 hours a day. Within the next year, I'd like to be able to leave my oldest at home alone for a half hour. They love the freedom being able to play outside with their friends. The kids I know (family) who aren't allowed to play outside, just sit and watch TV or play video games for many hours a day. No wonder we have childhood obesity!
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#8 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 11:55 AM
 
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While I don't feel that modern times are more dangerous than when I was a kid or my parents were kids that doesn't mean I think they are any safer either. We're talking about an era of Ted Bundy and Son of Sam and John Wayne Gacy and Albert Fish. Modern technology has made it possible to solve crimes more efficiently but also made it possible to commit crimes more efficiently. I live in a culdesac and ALL my neighbors except the one who is gone 90% of the time driving a truck have young children. All our kids go outside every day when the weather is good and play. They play in my backyard or another neighbor's back yard or ride their bikes in the culdesac or climb trees. They range in age from 4-13. They come in when the streetlights come on or we call them in for supper. Occasionally one of us will look out on them to make sure we can hear or see them and they are ok. My 2.5 year old twins play in my fenced backyard alone or with the older kids out there. I leave the window open to hear them and I can see them from wherever I am in the house. I don't reminisce about the good old days because the good old days are always the days of childhood when life seemed simpler because for children it is simpler. You can hardly base the frequency and likelihood of danger on the perspective of child vs adult. To an adult life will always seem more dangerous.
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#9 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 12:04 PM
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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...

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#10 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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But what do you do when you want your kid to have freedom but you live in a town that has a registered sex offender and 2 years in a row 2 different men trying to lure kids into their vehicles. Some of the kids DD's age(9) do wander all around the neighborhood and usually I think it is insane..but then lately I started to think maybe I am a worry wart and then I hear about the guy trying to kidnap kids.
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#11 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dr.Worm View Post
But what do you do when you want your kid to have freedom but you live in a town that has a registered sex offender and 2 years in a row 2 different men trying to lure kids into their vehicles. Some of the kids DD's age(9) do wander all around the neighborhood and usually I think it is insane..but then lately I started to think maybe I am a worry wart and then I hear about the guy trying to kidnap kids.
We ALL live in this town. honestly, all towns have registered sex offenders...and crimes occur everywhere. There is reasonable cuation, and over-caution..and think the author is trying to get us to realize our ideas of reasonable caution have totally croseed the line into extreme overprotectiveness....

CPST
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#12 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 03:30 PM
 
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I had to laugh about the comment on kneepads for crawlers. We almost bought these for DS! Not b/c of the crawling, but due to the fact that he "walked" on his knees until he was 20 mos old. Hardwood, asphalt, tile, you name it! It was one of the craziest things to witness.

On a more serious note....I've decided that as parents we have to pick our battles. I've learned soooo much via MDC and similar forums and at times have become very overwhelmed. I'm now in the mode of continuing to learn but make a very consious effort as to what I get worked up over. It will do my children no good if I'm a nervous wreck.
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#13 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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My neighborhood is more middle middle class. My baby is still young, but I asked my husband one day, when we saw a family riding bikes together, "What if DS wants to go outside and ride his bike, and I don't want to go?" He didn't know the answer. I was basically wondering if/when it was ok to just let him go have fun/get into trouble, what is considered poor supervision, and what is considered neglect. In my neighborhood, you never see kids just riding bikes. We have a pretty nice neighborhood, with open streets that aren't busy at all, sidewalks, and a nice green park area with a trail. That is pretty much all I used to do growing up. If I went to a friend's house, it was always to ask if so-and-so could ride bikes. I would get turned off if every time I wanted to ride bikes I had to twist my Mom's arm, change my clothes and find all of my protective gear, have Mom trail me, then go home when she got ready to go.
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#14 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 04:27 PM
 
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I agree with her 100%.

"So every adult there who has any interest in children is assumed to have an interest that's very prurient -- perverse until proven otherwise."

I've seen this attitude to men frequently on MDC.

"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.

Maybe the 7-year-old will walk the 5-year-old home, and nobody would say: "Oh my God, where are the parents? Let's arrest them."

I've seen this a lot on MDC as well. OMG, unsupervised children at the park. Should I call CPS?

Wasn't there a thread once where someone thought she should call CPS over seeing a 6 yr old go to the store by herself?
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#15 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 04:56 PM
 
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There is a fine line I guess...

I saw 2 1.5 y/os at the park playing by themselves...the parents were out of eye sight, out of ear shot clear across the park. Not USUALLY a big deal...but this park is...well not 1.5 year old friendly IMO. There are 5ft high ledges where you either repel off or use the firefighter pole...slides you could easily fall off...6 or 7 feet. I let James play alone, but I don't let DD play alone...she doesn't have the concept of "Fall from a 5 ft ledge=broken leg" yet...

We live in a safe neighborhood. Maybe around 9 or 10 I'd let James walk to the gas station or the coffee shop alone...if we're still living here (we're about 4 or 5 blocks away)..9 or 10 because we do live on a fairly busy road, and 2 of the intersections he'd have to wait for a green light, the other 3 it's our right of way

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#16 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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I know this won't be coherent, but I just feel like kids should be free to be kids and not be expected to be in charge of their own well-being at the same time. I think childhood is a time for fun and exploration, with adults providing the environment to allow that to happen safely. I don't think a 9 year old should be applauded for riding the subway by himself; I think it's sad that his mother doesn't view him as a child and expects him to do things an adult does.

I think that I disagree with Skenazy's basic view of childhood. I think that children should be encouraged to be children and not be weighed down with too many responsibilities. She sees children as miniature adults. Using Ben Franklin being apprenticed off at age 12 is not a convincing argument for more childhood freedom to me. It doesn't make me think that centuries ago kids were given more freedoms; it makes me think that centuries ago, people like poor Ben weren't allowed to enjoy their childhoods! I think it's wonderful that a modern 12 year old isn't expected to do the level of work 12 year olds did in the past. I don't think Skenazy convincingly makes the argument that children are self-sufficient because they were previously allowed to do things at a certain age. I think children are children and should be cared for accordingly.

I also disagreed with her assumption that people are living in fear of rare situations, like stranger abduction. I don't let my almost 4 year old play outside by herself because I have some irrational, not-based-on-statistical-probability fear of stranger abductions. I don't let her play outside by herself because she is a young child whose limitations I know. My daughter is not capable of making safety decisions for herself (like what to do if she were injured, what to do if approached by animal, how to stay in the yard, not to run after a ball into the street, etc.). There are other dangers that are much more likely than stranger abduction, and it is those dangers that I am worried about for my daughter.

Also, I realize just how dangerous it is to ride in a car. That's why when we do, my children are restrained in the safest manner possible for their size (currently they are both rear-facing). It is precisely because riding in a car is so dangerous that car seat safety is so important.
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#17 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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I don't think a 9 year old should be applauded for riding the subway by himself; I think it's sad that his mother doesn't view him as a child and expects him to do things an adult does.
I don't think he should be applauded either. I think it should be so much the norm that no one bats an eyelid.

My DDs were both well able to navigate public transportation by 10 years old. It doesn't take adult skills.
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#18 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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I agree with her 100%.

"So every adult there who has any interest in children is assumed to have an interest that's very prurient -- perverse until proven otherwise."

I've seen this attitude to men frequently on MDC.

"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.

Maybe the 7-year-old will walk the 5-year-old home, and nobody would say: "Oh my God, where are the parents? Let's arrest them."

I've seen this a lot on MDC as well. OMG, unsupervised children at the park. Should I call CPS?

Wasn't there a thread once where someone thought she should call CPS over seeing a 6 yr old go to the store by herself?
See, I completely disagree with her statement "The 7-year-old would be taking care of the 5-year-old, and oftentimes the 5-year-old would be taking care of the 3-year-old." I don't think a 7 year old should be responsible for a 5 year old and I don't think a 5 year old should be responsible for a 3 year old. I think at those ages a child's obligation should be having fun. I guess my sentiment toward childhood is the complete opposite!
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#19 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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See, I completely disagree with her statement "The 7-year-old would be taking care of the 5-year-old, and oftentimes the 5-year-old would be taking care of the 3-year-old." I don't think a 7 year old should be responsible for a 5 year old and I don't think a 5 year old should be responsible for a 3 year old. I think at those ages a child's obligation should be having fun. I guess my sentiment toward childhood is the complete opposite!
I had two younger sisters for whom I was often responsible. It didn't take away from the fun at all - we were used to playing together as a unit. I didn't have to earn the rent and food money, just bring them to my mom when they fell and cut their knees. We all fell and cut our knees a lot, but you know, that didn't take away from the fun, either.
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#20 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 05:25 PM
 
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I have three younger siblings that I spent the better part of my childhood watching. My sister is close in age to me and my brothers are 7 and 9 years younger than me. I liked playing with my sister, but we had to watch my brothers. I wasn't playing with them; I was preventing them from jumping off the top stair, etc. I guess we know where my biases come from regarding this issue!
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#21 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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I have three younger siblings that I spent the better part of my childhood watching. My sister is close in age to me and my brothers are 7 and 9 years younger than me. I liked playing with my sister, but we had to watch my brothers. I wasn't playing with them; I was preventing them from jumping off the top stair, etc. I guess we know where my biases come from regarding this issue!
You have a point there! There was two years between each of my siblings. I'd probably have felt different as a 10 year old watching a 1 yr old!

I think though, for kids close in age, the safety of the sibling pack is pretty good for any kids over about 3 or 4. Any younger and there are toiletting issues, etc.
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#22 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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This is one of the issues I am thinking I might explore in my PhD thesis:

What effect has sensationalized media had on parental decision regarding freedom, responsibility and accountability in children when looked at under a developmental microscope.


I believe that it is very possible we are in danger of having a young generation of future leaders and decision makers who are stunted in both abilities because they were not allowed to take "appropriate risks" as children. I'm not making a generalized statement about the population on this board or anyone who has replied by as a nation on the whole.

I also find it so interesting that many natural families do things that more mainstream parents would consider far more risky than letting a 10 year old child play outside alone (non-vaxing, not using Western Meds, birthing at home, etc.) but in our realm those are appropriate risks.

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#23 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 05:51 PM
 
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I think there is a happy medium - but I do agree with much of what she says, just not all.

I try to strike a balance - it's very important to me because I was raised by a super over protective Mom. I was sure safe but it wasn't much fun. And as I got older, it actually did more harm than good.

So with ds, I try to find balance. I'm not worried about stranger abduction - my concerns are more about if he gets hurt and I can't hear him (he has sensory issues and is fairly clumsy). I allow him to play outside alone, go to the park that is right behind our apartment (but I can't see from my windows) alone & walk down to one friend's apartment that is several buildings away. He is allowed in that one friend's house (I will call her Mom and set up times to play) but knows he is never to go into anyone else's home without permission. Unless he is at his one friend's house, he needs to stay within earshot where he can hear me call him in. That's a pretty wide area, and gives him lots of room to play with different kids.

I feel comfortable with our set up. As he gets older, I hope to give him more freedom as well. And yes, he's gotten hurt several times. Skinned knees, stubbed toes - each time his friends have helped him get back home, and since I check around and can hear the kids playing, I can usually tell something is up and go down to help him.

I guess it's all about balance for us. I can't see myself throwing him on public transportation anytime soon. But I do allow him freedom that I think he can handle - I would hope people don't think I'm neglectful - I'm seriously trying to strike a balance between keeping him safe, and giving him freedom to take risks and solve problems on his own.

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#24 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 06:06 PM
 
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Dr. Worm wrote:
Quote:
But what do you do when you want your kid to have freedom but you live in a town that has a registered sex offender and 2 years in a row 2 different men trying to lure kids into their vehicles.
You teach your kid:
1. Never get into a car with someone you don't know.
2. If a man or older boy flashes you or make suggestive comments, laugh at him like he's the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen. That really takes the wind out of their sails.
3. If someone is making you seriously uncomfortable, come home and/or tell an adult right away.
4. If something terrible does happen to you, it is not your fault.
All these are lessons she needs to learn someday. Why not start now?

Mommybree, I feel that gradually taking charge of my own well-being was one of the most wonderful things about childhood. It was so exciting to ride my bike all the way around the whole block by myself and see that I could take care of myself and find my way home. The first time I fell and skinned my knee when no adult was watching, the thrill of going into the house and washing and bandaging the scrape all by myself and getting myself a cheer-up cookie just about made up for the pain. The key is for these things to be gradual. If you don't let your children take care of themselves at all until they're 16, then expect them to learn to do everything for themselves in the next 2 years, it'll be a lot harder for them to learn and will seem less pleasant because they'll be "spoiled" by having had everything done for them, IMO.

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#25 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 06:18 PM
 
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I try to see things differently like so many of you. For brief moments, I think about giving my daughter all the freedom that so many say kids need. I was thinking that when I started reading this thread....

....and then I turned on Oprah. She's interviewing the Mccanns (sp?)--the couple who's daughter was abducted in Portugal in May 2007. The kids were apparetnly out of their sight. They checked on the kids every 30 minutes. Mom went to check when 30 minutes were up and one kid was gone.

As much as I would like to think that my kid would be perfectly safe at our small town park (4-5 blocks away) alone, she won't have that opportunity for a long time. Very long. Not sure when--but not in the next 10 years, I'm sure.

Life is too precious to take chances, as Mother Mccann just said. My dd's life is too precious to risk it on giving her the freedom that some say she needs.
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#26 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 08:21 PM
 
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There's the problem with basing your life decisions on gut reactions to media. From what I recall, there are approximately 800,000 children reported missing every year, and of those the number abducted by strangers is around 100. Oprah could do a show on all the millions of children who are just fine and dandy every day, but that would not be nearly as exciting for her audience as this kind of tragedy.

I consider making my own child raising decisions based on the possibilty of a stranger kidnapping them in the same vein as planning my retirement financial strategy on winning the Lotto...it just isn't very logical.
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#27 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mommybree View Post
I know this won't be coherent, but I just feel like kids should be free to be kids and not be expected to be in charge of their own well-being at the same time. I think childhood is a time for fun and exploration, with adults providing the environment to allow that to happen safely. I don't think a 9 year old should be applauded for riding the subway by himself; I think it's sad that his mother doesn't view him as a child and expects him to do things an adult does.
Do you have a 9yo? 9yos can be pretty capable. I know that when you have younger children it can be difficult to think about what it will be like when they are older. For a 9yo, riding the subway alone probably would be equivalent to 'fun and exploration.'

I think we do children a real disservice to treat them as if they are incapable managing their own well being. If we choose to breastfeed on demand and trust our kids to know when they're hungry as infants, doesn't that correllate to trusting them not to fall of the ledge of a slide when climbing on a playground as a toddler and trusting them to play alone safely as a young child? I see this as a natural progression. And I agree with a PPer that it makes no sense to protect our children from all possible harm when they are children, but still expect them to know how to care for themselves effectively as teenagers or young adults, when they have had no opportunities to practice.

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I think that I disagree with Skenazy's basic view of childhood. I think that children should be encouraged to be children and not be weighed down with too many responsibilities. She sees children as miniature adults. Using Ben Franklin being apprenticed off at age 12 is not a convincing argument for more childhood freedom to me. It doesn't make me think that centuries ago kids were given more freedoms; it makes me think that centuries ago, people like poor Ben weren't allowed to enjoy their childhoods! I think it's wonderful that a modern 12 year old isn't expected to do the level of work 12 year olds did in the past. I don't think Skenazy convincingly makes the argument that children are self-sufficient because they were previously allowed to do things at a certain age. I think children are children and should be cared for accordingly.
Children are not miniature adults, but they are far more capable than our culture gives them credit for. FTR, I've read several biographies of Ben Franklin, and he did enjoy his childhood. But he didn't believe himself to be a child at the age of 12, either.

When I was 12, I craved greater independence, I think that is the case with many 12yos in our culture.

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Originally Posted by Mommybree View Post
See, I completely disagree with her statement "The 7-year-old would be taking care of the 5-year-old, and oftentimes the 5-year-old would be taking care of the 3-year-old." I don't think a 7 year old should be responsible for a 5 year old and I don't think a 5 year old should be responsible for a 3 year old. I think at those ages a child's obligation should be having fun. I guess my sentiment toward childhood is the complete opposite!
But for my 7yo, taking care of her 5yo sister IS fun. And I can't tell you how much my 5yo enjoys running around with her 3yo cousins and friends. We have that EXACT scenario happening at my house, and it works out great. Do I let the 5yo and 3yo run up and play on the highway? No way! But do I have any qualms about the two of them playing out of sight in the basement or in the woods in the backyard? Not at all.

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Originally Posted by choli View Post
I think though, for kids close in age, the safety of the sibling pack is pretty good for any kids over about 3 or 4. Any younger and there are toiletting issues, etc.
I agree. My kids take really good care of themselves and their siblings when they're out and about together.

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.
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#28 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mommybree View Post
I don't think a 9 year old should be applauded for riding the subway by himself; I think it's sad that his mother doesn't view him as a child and expects him to do things an adult does.
I grew up in Chicago which is the 3rd largest city in America and at 9 I knew how to ride the bus, though not the trains. However by 12-13 I was riding the trains regularly and it was a good thing since at 14, I went across the city to attend one of the best high schools.

I don't know but growing up in an urban area, I think its important for kids to know how to get around. My folks rarely had a car, heck my mom never drove so taking public transit was a reality.

The problem with sheltering them is that IMO opinion it can hinder them. My oldest is 17 and has been flying alone since he was 5...that was the reality of life with joint custody. Yes, it was scary at first but totally safe. The thing my son's best friend is also 17 and while the kid now drives a car, his Mama still freaks out about her son taking public transit. That is something I totally don't get yet part of it is she never allowed her son to take it so its easier to fear it.

Regarding the OP and the article, I like thos woman, I remember when she got all that flack and honestly I think it was overblown. The thing is we have to gradually give kids freedom otherwise you end up like my son's best friend on the cusp of adulthood and not having been allowed to do things because of fear.

Its not about turning them into mini adults but recognizing that we need to allow them to grow up.

Now I was not allowed to walk home from school at 5, but by 8.5 I was able to, now it seems very few folks allow their kids to walk home.

Shay

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#29 of 102 Old 05-04-2009, 10:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar View Post
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

I agree!

My kids bike,  and some folks in town have been "OMG!" I told my 15 yr old to bike home (less than a mile home from a friend's home--which he biked to) and the mom's friend thought that was too much and brought him home in her car! lol I laughed when I saw them pull up! The next day I asked him to walk back there and ride his bike home, and he did. lol Imagine! less than a mile being too much for a middle teen.

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#30 of 102 Old 05-05-2009, 10:31 AM
 
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I don't agree with much of what that author has to say. How can a parent be criticized for being mindful of their little one's safety. Furthermore, how can others think that it is any of their business? Now, we are going to judge/monitor not only neglectful parents but careful parents as well?

My parents were always very cautious with my siblings and me. We were not given the chance to roam our neighborhoods freely. We were to call home and check-in regularly. But, I also was able to fly across the country on my own at 10 yoa.

I understand that children need to be allowed to be children. I agree that most media outlets will sensationalize violent criminal activity. But, my own motherly instinct tells/will tell me to be cautious.

Libby blahblah.gif, momma to my precious little girl (6/29/07) 
                        and wonderful little man (12/1/10)

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