Wednesday, March 19, 2014

something our kids are missing out on

We talk so much about what our kids have being the new generation. The technology, knowledge, possibilities, the same sex marriage. What we don't talk about as much is what they don't get to have. This was posted by a friend in a group of moms I belong to on Facebook: 

So an old man just asked if when my kids get to the age of playing hide and go seek am I going to let them? ... My answer was I'd watch them play. He said did your parents watch you? I said no. He then asked me to think about when I have grandkids and what the world might be by then?
The Moms (myself included) responded with a grand general consensus. Our kids don't play out front without parents. They don't go to the neighbor's unless they are escorted. They don't go to the park alone. This all from a group of hundreds of women, living in Napa. A city with a crime rate well below average. Several of us live in small neighborhoods, next to good schools, where we may not know our neighbors names, but are friendly.

This whole conversation broke my heart a little.The days of unsupervised roller hockey at the park down the street, running through the neighborhood without supervision, having limits of "when the street lights come one" or "I'll holler for you when dinner's ready" are things our kids may never know.

Our kids will face bigger challenges than we ever saw. How do we manage give them enough freedom to learn who they are. I lived down the block from a school and about 3 blocks from a large park. I knew every kid within a 3 block radius.

The park was the scene of my first time climbing up a slide. The first time I skated backwards on my Roller-blades, the first time I fell out of a tree and my first bee-sting. The school was where I learned to shoot a free-throw and archery, climbed on the roof in hide and seek and the scene of the first (and one of the only) punches I ever threw.

It scares me to think that we may be limiting their opportunities to learn from their peers, and take chances. I did try stupid things but usually only once. I learned a lot from those kids, and consider many of them dear friends to this day. There's something to be said for allowing our children the opportunity to make good decisions, or at least learn from bad ones, but I can't seem to find where that falls in line with keeping them safe in our ever changing world.

Do you (or would you) let your children play with the same level of supervision you were given?
What is one thing your parents would have KILLED you for doing, that taught you a powerful lesson?


  1. Never thought about this. I was always playing outside with friens without my parents. I played outside until the street lights came on then had to go inside. My parents never worried about us, but yea the world sure has changed a lot since then.

  2. it's so crazy to think about what i did on my own and my parent's didn't think anything of it. but today there are just too many sad stories to not be a little cautious.

  3. Well, I was my parents only child, and they were very protective of me. I remember feeling to suffocated by them, but I always knew they loved me. I told myself that I would give my kids more freedom than I had, and I do. But I do make sure to tell them about safety away from the home. We live in an apartment complex and I let them go all around the complex so long as they stay where they tell me they will be. I may go and check on them once in a while to make sure of it, but they haven't let me down. I didn't let them start going until this year when I felt that they were old enough to have more awareness of their surroundings, and to listen to my directions and rules of our deal. I feel like this freedom fosters more mutual respect among us as a family.

  4. Yah I'm cautious and my parents were too. I hope to have my husband build my daughter an awesome treehouse where her and her friends can have some privacy and fun safely. Great point though!

  5. Something to think about... has the world changed all that much- or has the speed and way in which we receive information changed.

    I want to give O freedom and independence. I want to teach her that bad things happen in the world but that doesn't mean we should live in fear of it. I want her to explore and feel secure. I want her to run and play and be able to be a kid.

    ... all while I watch her from the window :)

  6. I recently had a conversation about this with my boyfriend, I'm 26, and don't have kids yet (or will I in the near future) but I made the comment that "I have a feeling I will be the kind of parent other parents of my generation will be shocked by" meaning that I think it's important that my kids get to go play in the woodlot across the street all day long without supervision, that riding a tricycle around the driveway might not mean having a helmet on all the time, and that climbing trees and building forts is essential. Now I know its easy to say these things before you have kids (I don't yet have the overwhelming desire to protect them from everything) But I also don't think that the world I grew up in a mere 20 years ago was any less safe than it is today, and although it seems to me a whole lot more precautions are taken now than in the late 80s/early 90s. Great post!