22 May 2012

But What if Something Happened?

Fresh air is good for children, and so is playing with other children. You cannot let them do it ALONE, though. Sure, you and I were out wandering the streets at age seven with our buddies. Riding our bikes without helmets. Throwing sticks. Even wading through creeks. We were just all wild in the 1970's. I mean, until dinnertime. We had to be home before dinnertime. That made it respectable.
Today? If your child is 17 years 364 days old, you'd still better watch him and not leave him alone at the park. I mean... what if something happened? What if he broke an arm or a gang of space aliens came to kidnap him? What if there were a riot and he couldn't find his way home?
My younger children wouldn't do well being left alone, and do you know what? That's why I don't leave them alone. But most children have developed the ability to be alone in public with friends at a younger age. I find it flabbergasting that the news guys almost seem like they want to tar and feather this mom for letting her son GO TO THE PARK AND PLAY WITH FRIENDS.
Next story: Why is there an obesity epidemic and why are children watching TV all the time? Kidding. Though I'm sure it's in the news feed somewhere. I'm thinking of all the "stupid" things one can do with a child, this is by far not the worst.  It's true that this is not how I parent. But if your child is in a group and has reasonable common sense, I don't think we should be blaming you if something (God forbid!) happens to your child while he's out. The "free range" mom is right: we should consider some what-ifs, but let's not all dwell on the worst-case scenarios all the time and deprive our children of the joy of being independent.  Honestly, I think we should save Mommy criticism for the really, really bad stuff.  Not this.


  1. ... like putting your own kid in a laundrymat washing machine

    Seriously though, my parents did not allow us to go to the park by ourselves. Instead we went with older siblings until about 13. I was OK with that.

    I personally gave my kids cell phones at age 11 to encourage them to go wandering about the neighborhood, but like she said... no one else was out there.

  2. Over here kids are also encouraged to get out and about, but just recently there's been some hoo-ha about kids not being allowed to go places on their own, even to a shop or playground if they're 12 and under. What's a parent supposed to do? Drop everything to walk a kid to the shop for the milk, might as well leave the kid home and go get the milk yourself, but then you're not allowed to leave the kid alone at home either....this was on the news a while back, but I wasn't paying attention so don't know the full story.

  3. My best memories of childhood were when Mom packed lunches into kerchiefs, tied them onto sticks, and we all went to the river for the day...traveling across fields with cattle (and BULLS) and hemmed in with barbed wire.

    I feel like a throwback to Mark Twain. The only thing missing is a boat, because the Platte River was a mile wide and an inch deep...


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)