- This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 2:28 pm on September 27, 2018 by davenam.
09/24/2018 at 5:59 pm #29529
When I was in elementary school — we’re talking the early years here, 3rd, 4th grade — my parents afforded me a great deal of personal freedom.
I was born in 1972, so it was more the norm back in the early ’80s for kids to be given independence. I vividly recall getting up before the rest of the family in the morning and leaving the house by myself to wander the neighborhood and concoct imaginative play scenarios. I remember walking alone along a busy road (my parents trusted me not to run into traffic) about a mile and a half to a local used bookstore to browse. On the return journey one hot summer day, I recall going into a local bar and grill and asking for water at the bar (!). The bemused servers let me sit at the bar, chatted with me and gave me a glass of ice water before I continued on my way. Were that to happen now, I have no doubt someone would detain me, call the police and get my mom into a whole lot of scalding water.
I took that freedom for granted, and I am convinced that it gave me a sense of independence and self-sufficiency that has served me well throughout life. I fear my own kids — ages 4 and 7 — will never be able to have that sense of autonomy. My wife and I don’t always see eye to eye on these issues, with me advocating for more freedom and her putting roadblocks in place. My kids aren’t even allowed to walk alone (or together) to the busy street at the end of our block, though I’m advocating to change that. I sense an unease and anxiety in both of them that saddens me. Their day-to-day world is so much smaller than mine was. I feel like the path to freedom and independence should be so easy to give to them, but there are so many pressures conspiring to keep that from being a reality.09/27/2018 at 2:28 pm #29561
I’m struggling with this big time. I have had CPS called on me 3 times now for letting my kids play outside unsupervised. They are 6,7, and 9. I played all over the place at those ages and loved it. I agree that it taught me how to be confident and independent. We live in a neighborhood not on a busy street. My kids love to ride bikes, scooters, skateboard and roller skate amoung other stuff. I’m always pushing my kids to be more independent and to play outside to learn about and appreciate the world around them. Now I’m being ridiculed for it. Why is this a problem. Is it better for me to plop them in front of a TV for hours on end?? I could easily do that and forget about them for long periods of time. Frankly I feel safer with them outside experiencing the world than watching TV or being on devices with all the crap that’s available at their fingertips. That scares me way more then letting my kid figure out for themselves the best ways to stay safe while riding their bikes. Of course I teach them safety but ultimately they are their own people and will learn the way that teaches them best. If that means they rode their bike through road and had a close call with a car, then I’m confident it scared them enough to know better then to do it again. I just want to be free to parent the way I feel is best without having others in my business. You do it your way and I’ll do it my way. It’s ok to do things differently that’s what makes the world an interesting place (at least when I grew up in the 80’s). This world now is backwards.
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