Do you feel your community is "child friendly?" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 04-21-2009, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been hearing how our society is not child friendly, and I agree, theoretically, but lately we've had such amazing experiences when we are out and about during "school hours." Nothing spectacular, but I guess because I was prepared to be on guard, to "defend" myself and my children, I was pleasantly surprised. So many people respond with "how cool" when DD says she's homeschooled. And as she's becoming more and more comfortable talking to random "strangers" I witness that people treat her with respect and listen with interest.

But what is also interesting, most people that we meet and talk to, are elderly and retired! I wonder if they connect better to kids and are more willing to listen patiently.

What are your experiences in your community?

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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#2 of 18 Old 04-21-2009, 10:47 PM
 
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That's funny, I have found the elderly most supportive as well. I wonder if once they get to that age and have a better idea of what's important in life they are able to just be cool about it.

I've never had anyone react rudely about it, but I definitely get the usual questions about curriculum and social concerns. They really have been questions though and not criticisms so overall I'd say its a supportive community.

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#3 of 18 Old 04-22-2009, 09:25 AM
 
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I find it's child friendly, but not teen friendly.

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#4 of 18 Old 04-22-2009, 09:29 AM
 
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I feel like my community is not child friendly but that doesn't mean people aren't nice to my child. By that, I mean there aren't a lot of child oriented resources in the nearby area. It's getting better. I see that our library now has a train table and some other toys. And a bouncehouse play place opened up about a mile away. I'm starting to see some of those fast food places with the indoor play areas when I'm driving around, as well. Our mall doesn't have one, like I hear some do. When ds was younger, there was absolutely nothing for young kids in our neighborhood.

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#5 of 18 Old 04-22-2009, 09:36 AM
 
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I find it's child friendly, but not teen friendly.
Definitely not teen friendly. We'll achieve child friendly by the time ds is a teen and maybe teen friendly will come after he's an adult.

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#6 of 18 Old 04-22-2009, 09:56 AM
 
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Definitely not teen friendly. We'll achieve child friendly by the time ds is a teen and maybe teen friendly will come after he's an adult.
You know, I think our society as a whole is really hostile to teens. I live in an area that is very child-friendly. People are patient with other people's kids in public places, there are lots of resources for families, and generally people accept kids to be part of society. But teens have nothing (aside from high school sports). If they hang out at a park they're "loitering" and the police will kick them out, and the local paper will write an article saying that teens shouldn't be there. Overall, teens are treated like criminals or toddlers, and then we're all shocked when they act out.

Have you heard about the strip search case in the Supreme Court right now? Apparently a 13 year old girl was subjected to a strip search at school because there was a rumor that she might have a prescription-strength ibuprofen and they considered that a "safety-issue" which trumps her right not to have take her clothes off and demonstrate that she isn't hiding anything in her underwear. In other words, her dignity and right to privacy are less important than the possible health implications of 800mg of ibuprofen. : What a hostile environment.
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#7 of 18 Old 04-22-2009, 10:59 AM
 
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I find many elderly people around here supportive of me SAH and us homeschooling. But not many other people. There are almost no activities for kids, no accommodations if you do anything and have kids around here, breastfeeding is virtually non-existent and frowned upon, and the treatment of teens or older kids is abhorrent.

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#8 of 18 Old 04-22-2009, 06:52 PM
 
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For the most part, the town I live in seems fairly child-friendly.

One library we used to go to across town was actually really snotty to me when I brought the kids during "school hours" (when all the other kids were in school). The children's librarian took a "tone" with me and seemed generally annoyed with the kids version of "quiet sounds". I could almost hear her thoughts, "Doesn't this woman know that the middle of the day is for relaxing quiet, so I can be rested up for when all the other children come visit after school is out? This family is disturbing my rest!" I got the feeling from that library that children belonged in schools so as not to bother all the adults who were free of children during the day.

The library close by us is much friendlier, and also noisier! Of course, there is always a person here and there who we meet at a store or park who likes to remind us children are for controlling, but for the most part, I get very nice, reassuring glances or smiles, usually from gray-haired ladies who have that look like, "I remember those days."

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#9 of 18 Old 05-15-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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I don't feel my community is child friendly at all, but then again what can you really expect from a town that decided to replace Halloween with Mardi Gras.
And there's been talk of turning the beach across the street from the only playground within walking distance from us into a nude beach. Not to mention the public schools are having to get sponsors for their classrooms to be able to afford basic supplies like pencils because the budget has been so grossly mismanaged. Dd is only 18 months but I really hope to be out of here before she's school-aged even though we plan on homeschooling and possibly unschooling. School hours or not, in this community children seem to be an afterthought at best.
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#10 of 18 Old 05-15-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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I don't feel my community is child friendly at all, but then again what can you really expect from a town that decided to replace Halloween with Mardi Gras.
And there's been talk of turning the beach across the street from the only playground within walking distance from us into a nude beach. Not to mention the public schools are having to get sponsors for their classrooms to be able to afford basic supplies like pencils because the budget has been so grossly mismanaged. Dd is only 18 months but I really hope to be out of here before she's school-aged even though we plan on homeschooling and possibly unschooling. School hours or not, in this community children seem to be an afterthought at best.
Oh no, what a shame! And that's in Key West? Good to know, as my DH talks occasionally about us moving from Naples to Key West.

Naples, meanwhile, is very child friendly for homeschoolers. We never ever have any issues at all and are always going to the library and everywhere in town during the school day. Perhaps partially because our city is such a tourist destination, that people are used to seeing children out and about often, even during "school days".
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#11 of 18 Old 05-16-2009, 08:59 AM
 
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DD is only 3.5 so I don't usually get any hostile stares or anything while out and about during the day (although I have had various people ask if she goes to preschool). In general I've found our community to be fairly child-friendly (we've only lived here for 8 months). We have a huge nature park right down the road from us and also a community park complete with a community center and library as well as playground. Also right down the road there is some sort of adventure center with tubing during the winter, miniature golf, and other things (we've haven't checked this out yet but I've heard it's a fun place). About 15 minutes away is the zoo and about 25 minutes away is a Children's Museum. I've heard there is also an aviary that I'd like to visit. The bad thing is that a lot of the child-centered things cost money, which is annoying. At least the parks are free!

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#12 of 18 Old 05-16-2009, 12:14 PM
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I find it's child friendly, but not teen friendly.
Yeah. Like our local mall that doesn't allow teens to shop without adults watching over them on a Saturday afternoon.

 
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#13 of 18 Old 05-17-2009, 02:06 AM
 
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U.S society? not so much, especially as kids get older. I didn't hs my grown sons, but I can imagine getting a lot of weird looks being out with two older boys during school hours.

I live in Queensland Australia now and YES : very child friendly! I get the best responses most of the time when it comes up that we homeschool, whether we're grocery shopping, playing at the park or having a hot chocolate at my fave coffee shop Even teens don't really get too much static other than being required to leave school bags at the door if they enter some shops due to shoplifting by other students And teens can get a train or bus to just about anywhere here

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#14 of 18 Old 05-17-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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U.S society? not so much, especially as kids get older. I didn't hs my grown sons, but I can imagine getting a lot of weird looks being out with two older boys during school hours.

I live in Queensland Australia now and YES : very child friendly! I get the best responses most of the time when it comes up that we homeschool, whether we're grocery shopping, playing at the park or having a hot chocolate at my fave coffee shop Even teens don't really get too much static other than being required to leave school bags at the door if they enter some shops due to shoplifting by other students And teens can get a train or bus to just about anywhere here
I want to live there!

My town seems to be pretty child friendly, and we have a great homeschooling group. However, I'd say after the age of 9 or 10 or so, it goes down hill pretty quick.

What would a teen friendly town look like? I don't think I've ever seen one.

What comes to mind for me, is overall freedom. Our local library has a "teen zone" with age appropiate books and computers and bean bag chairs and such, but that seems kind of lame to me. Plus, I've never once seen a teen hanging out there.
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#15 of 18 Old 05-18-2009, 08:52 AM
 
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What would a teen friendly town look like? I don't think I've ever seen one.

What comes to mind for me, is overall freedom. Our local library has a "teen zone" ...
See, we would love that here.

Our library has one floor for "adults" and one floor for "children" (ie picture books and beginning chapter books.) There is one small bookcase with "young adult" books. Now, my older kids don't restrict themselves to YA books, but that setup is not exactly welcoming to the teens.

"Teen friendly" would be a place without a daytime curfew. And with a place for the teens to hang out--currently, they hang out on the playground equipment (which doesn't work for the younger kids) or the gazebo, where they're routinely chased off for "loitering." (Great idea, install benches, then tell people they can't sit there.)

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#16 of 18 Old 05-19-2009, 03:36 AM
 
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I want to live there!

My town seems to be pretty child friendly, and we have a great homeschooling group. However, I'd say after the age of 9 or 10 or so, it goes down hill pretty quick.

What would a teen friendly town look like? I don't think I've ever seen one.

What comes to mind for me, is overall freedom. Our local library has a "teen zone" with age appropiate books and computers and bean bag chairs and such, but that seems kind of lame to me. Plus, I've never once seen a teen hanging out there.
Hehehe come on down

We are part of a sorta homeschool group (it's a distance ed 'school' but the lady that runs it is an unschooling mom & former teacher, so it's very unschooling friendly ). We have a 'senior' students group which is ages 13ish and up that is quite active and pretty much self directed. So far they are learning Japanese and not sure what else!

When I say teen friendly, students can get cheap train/bus fares and go all over the city well before the age of driving without a parent in the car . All malls are pretty much welcoming to teens as long as they are mostly well behaved , and they are generally full of school uniforms in the afternoons.

Teens here, public schooled, homeschooled or unschooled can register to take all sorts of courses at TAFE (like vocational school), so if they've figured out what they want to do in life yet, they can get a head start I don't know so much about libraries etc... my kiddos are still young and I just haven't noticed I definitely have to say that I think being a teen here is FAR more free an experience than it was for me in the U.S. !

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#17 of 18 Old 05-19-2009, 06:48 AM
 
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Honestly, I have been surprised at how my children have been welcomed into the activities of the community. I make sure to bring some quiet activities for them, and if I'm not sure whether children are welcome, I will call first. Also, it helps that many (though not all) of my social activities are with other homeschooling mothers, so it's understood that our children go wherever we go. But even outside of those circles, like at knitting groups and things, people seem to pretty readily accept that my girls will curl up in a chair together with a couple of books, and no one's had any problems with it.

This is way, way up there at the top of my Things I Love About Homeschooling list. My daughters are able to be integrated into the community. They're a part of real life. They come with me to babywearing meetings; they watch new moms learn how to wrap up their newborns, and they see women gathering together to offer each other friendship and support. When we were at our neighborhood's LLL meeting the other week, I noticed that my 7yo had put down her book and was avidly listening as we all talked about our newbie nursing experiences with a pregnant mama. We discussed the tricks and tips of getting used to nursing.

It suddenly struck me that this is the way it was supposed to be -- girls learning about things like breastfeeding from a young age, watching their mothers and sisters and aunts help solve each others' problems and offer help and suggestions. A lot of women miss that basic foundation of shared knowledge, and have to re-learn it all from scratch when they have babies. Being able to weave my daughters into our community and mother culture from a young age is an awesome privilege.

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#18 of 18 Old 06-21-2012, 11:40 AM
 
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We are in an area that doesn't seem all that child-friendly -- most kids are in daycare and/or school from birth until they drop out (ok so not all of them drop out but it's pretty high among the lower income folks, esp. minorities). My husband often works remotely at cafes and libraries, and he sees the kids come and just hang out after school, nothing to do but sit around, every day. Or at parks they just kind of wander around. We previously lived in the Seattle area and it was pretty much the same, but there were a bit more kids with their parents than here, and more homeschoolers.


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