- This topic has 0 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 12:21 am on January 3, 2019 by jenniec.
01/03/2019 at 12:21 am #30527
Our family recently moved back to the States after three years in Kenya and nearly five in South Africa. For those last five years, we lived in a little village in the Western Cape, and our children (ages four to 17) free-ranged everywhere, as did their friends. We had a river running around the border of the village and never worried about them drowning (they all had swimming lessons but also knew to swim in groups and never alone). They could walk to the grocery store, the post office, the butcher, and anywhere else to run errands without me once worrying. All the other parents in the village had the same free-range approach to parenting, so we were totally supported on all sides…not to mention the many retirees who acted like grandparents to our kids. There was never a raised eyebrow at a child out walking to a friend’s house or kids playing unsupervised on either of the local playgrounds. If I ever lost track of who was where, I could send a message out to the moms’ group on WhatsApp and find out where everyone was. It was the most glorious and wonderful childhood anyone could ask for their kids.
But that has come to a slamming halt now that we are living in Montgomery, Alabama. People have told us that kids can’t be out in their own yards to play. We don’t live on a busy road with fast traffic, and we are in a very lovely old neighborhood that is walkable and bike-friendly. We have a swing in our front yard and a play area and swing in our back yard. My 14-year-old and 9-year-old daughters have been yelled at by passersby for swinging in the front yard (!). One persistent busybody kept driving by in her car, stopping, rolling down her window, and telling my girls to get back into the house or asking where on earth their mother was. I am gobsmacked. I had no idea things had gotten this bad since we left. My kids are so miserable here, as the city is too sprawled out to make it easy to do anything, and they get snapped at if they dare to go outside without a parent. What. On. EARTH?
So, hubby and I have decided to get out of Dodge and try to find a small town that still supports and embraces free-range children. We don’t want to move to somewhere just because it looks charming and quaint and kid-friendly, only to find out someone will call CPS if our kids are in their own front yard! We are looking at Florence, Alabama, and Newnan, Georgia, but we are open to other suggestions. We need to stay close to family in AL and be convenient to an airport for my husband’s work.
Overprotection is suffocating. We have had enough. 😐
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