Where Have All The Children Gone?

Do you ever notice how empty all of the playgrounds are? Or even your neighborhood? Or if the playgrounds are populated have you noticed that the parent to child ratio is amazingly equal? Have you noticed that the play equipment is drastically different from the type of equipment we used to play on? Does anyone else miss the swings, merry-go-rounds, metal domes and tire swings? Where are all of the children? Why does everything related to childhood seem like it must be eliminated if it has any semblance of danger?

I have hesitated to speak on this topic for fear of, well, getting my head bitten off basically. As a parent I feel I live quite the parody. On one hand during the newborn/baby stage I am an extremely attached mother. I practice Attachment Parenting (wearing my child, sleeping with my child, breastfeeding my child, not letting my child cry-it-out to go to sleep, etc) and in the eyes of most mainstream parents that makes me quite overbearing. On the other hand when my kids (or should I say kid since I’m just barely on the road to doing this twice) reach toddlerhood I take gradual steps back to remove my constant companionship and guide them towards independence and self mastery. Sounds fine, right? However, apparently my concept of acceptable independence and self mastery is quite deviant from the accepted norm. So much so that I’ve just had to learn to keep my mouth shut most of the time in regards to the topic.

That’s why today I was shocked when a blog got passed my way that echo’s the same childhood ideals that I long to provide to my children as they grow. I didn’t even know the concept had a name. I had always just thought of it in my own head as childhood without a leash. It appears there is a more formal term and that term is Free Range Kids or Free Range Childhood. The blog I mention also goes under that title and is found HERE. Reading it has given me a bit more courage to address this topic.

So what are my own parental confessions that tend to get me the neglectful parent award? I’ll name just a few:

– I let my 3 1/2 year old take her baths by herself which equates to a drowning hazard. I do keep the door open but that’s about the extent of my supervision. Earlier tonight I heard a cough, cough, sputter. Do I jump up and run into the bathroom? Nope. I call out and ask, “You okay?” There’s a slight hesitation and then a “yeah, I just got some water up my nose.” Then she returns to playing.

-I allow my daughter to play outside in our backyard with a swing set and a kiddie pool by herself, which equates to a risk of kidnapping, drowning, broken bones and I’m sure some other creative disasters I haven’t taken into consideration. Sure, I can see her from the windows if I am looking but am I always looking? Admittedly, no.

-Sometimes she wakes up earlier than I am ready to get myself out of bed and typically she wakes up hungry. Instead of me bolting out of bed and finding her something to eat, I encourage her to go to the fridge and gets herself one of the self help items that she enjoys in the morning (a soft taco shell, a string cheese, carrots or a Ziploc baggie of dried cereal) and she eats it next to me in bed watching cartoons until I’m ready to get up and make her a real breakfast. I suppose that could equate to many various dangers such as a huge mess, suffocation (maybe she’d lock herself in the fridge – anyone remember that Punky Brewster episode?), a stab wound (perhaps she’d try to get a steak knife to open something) or even poisoning (eating really old leftovers).

-When my daughter gets hurt I don’t run to her (except on very rare occasions). There is usually at least one occasion per day where I hear my daughter crying because she’s hurt. I usually wait wherever I am for her to come to me and then I wait for her to tell me what happened. The only exception I make to this is when there has been an extreme hurt and usually that is very apparent because there is that scary quiet period where they are trying to breathe followed by a half cry/half scream that every mother is probably familiar with. In those cases I high tail it on over. I am also not a gasp mom. Do you know what those are? Those are the ones that have a high pitched breath intake that occurs with every bump, bruise and fall that their child encounters. Amazingly their children are well trained and on queue they can cry the moment they hear their mothers gasp. It reminds me of the whole Pavlov thing. I was one of those really mean moms that when my child was learning to walk instead of gasping every time she fell or running to her to pick her up I did the unthinkable. I clapped. Seriously. She fell; I clapped and said “yayyy!!” in an encouraging voice. The really weird thing is that after I started doing that she would smile and clap for herself and then stand back up and keep walking. If she ran into the wall or bumped into a table instead of gasping or looking worried I’d say “kaboom!” and smile. Now obviously if it was apparent that she was truly hurt I wouldn’t dare do that but I’ve rarely met a toddler that was truly hurt by a small collision with a wall or floor. I’m not sure what danger is posed by not running to your child when they are hurt or not gasping. I mean, they are all ready hurt. Your emotional stress only fuels more emotional stress on their part. For arguments sake, I suppose lack of immediately responding to your child’s owies would have to be filed under some type of emotional abuse or something of that nature.

-My daughter has free reign of the house. There are no off-limit rooms. She can play in the bathroom. She can go in the garage. She doesn’t have to ask to go in the back yard. Most of our days are spent with each of us doing our various activities and I don’t always know where in the house she is or exactly what she is doing. What are the danger possibilities? Endless.

-When we go to public playgrounds I don’t always watch what she is doing (because sometimes I am reading a book) and sometimes I can’t even see her if I am looking and that doesn’t freak me out at all. We have this really awesome park close to us called, The Playground of Dreams. And boy, it really is. I would have LOVED to play at this park when I was a kid. Unfortunately, we are not able to get any of our friends to go there with us. Why? Because the way the park was designed there are many nooks and crannies all over the playground where the kids can go and there is no way to see them unless you are literally walking behind your child. This makes my friends nervous and they worry about a sicko hiding in one of these blind spots just ready to pounce on their child. While it is entirely possible that it could happen I just don’t find it likely enough to worry about.

So, do I consider myself a lazy, neglectful, uncaring mother? Absolutely not. To be honest I feel that I am very in tune with my daughter and very involved in her life. I can say without a doubt that I know my daughter better than anyone else on this planet with my husband coming in as a close second. Are there things that I allow in my house and/or in her childhood that could cause her harm? Yes, admittedly so. In the end, the simplest way to put it is that I don’t view it as my job to sanitize or pad my daughter’s existence to such an extent that our lives are spent constantly evaluating “what if?” situations. I feel many of the things that parents seem to fear the most are sensationalized far above and beyond the true risk that is actually posed; it is because of this opinion that I stand quite alone amid a population of parents that choose a “better safe than sorry” path.

I am, admittedly, biased. I grew up with a lot of freedom and a lot of responsibility. I did things at the age of 8 that it seems like most teenagers these days can’t even do for themselves. Like wash my own laundry, make my own lunch, find my own entertainment, etc. I even walked a mile each way to the bus stop in the morning and in the afternoon. I wasn’t alone, either. Every other kid in my neighborhood was expected to do the same thing. As I got older, I did even more. I watched over my brother and his friend. My friends and I (usually my brother tagged along and some of my friends’ siblings as well) walked all over the place in the summers to go swimming by ourselves, or to play in the lake, woods or the creek. I was able to take the city bus with my friends and we’d explore the town, go to the mall or ride it just for fun. There was even a local “crazy lady” that was always on the bus and we were mean kids and did things to try to antagonize her craziness. Usually she cast a spell on us. In short there were a million conceived risks that could have occurred to either myself, my brother or the dozens of other children who lived their summers the same way we did. But we all survived and I don’t think it was out of sheer luck. I also didn’t grow up in the 50’s, 60’s or even the 70’s. I grew up in the 90’s. It really wasn’t that long ago and no, I don’t believe the world is that much more dangerous than it was back then. I believe children are more capable of self preservation than we give them credit for and I think the world, while a dangerous place in many ways, is less of a danger to our children than we make it out to be. So even though I know my opinion is not widely accepted and is typically frowned upon I am willing to stand forward and be counted among those who would like to see kids be able to live a more free range childhood. I am one of the parents that want to say that kids get hurt, they break bones, they get bruises and bloody noses and no, you can’t sue people for it. Bring back the swings, the merry-go-rounds and all other things that were fun and let your kids play – and no, you don’t always have to watch.

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18 comments

  1. Alison · September 29, 2009

    I don’t think we disagree on that much. I agree with you about the chicken pox and vaccines. I was just shocked at the cover-up of the outbreak, as there were school parents undergoing chemo at the time, and I believe the school had a responsibility to inform them.

    Perhaps I am wrong to think of these children as evil. I don’t know. I am not using the word lightly. When the 2 neighbor boys were in my care, I did everything I could to give them a safe, nurturing, even loving environment, and all I could detect was resentment that their family wasn’t like this. My impression of evil is from not only their actions, but from looking in their eyes. Perhaps I’m using the wrong word. I honestly don’t know.

    I don’t think our approach to parenthood differs greatly. I agree with much of what you say, and share many of your values. I’m not choosing to live by “what ifs,” though–the things I fear have already happened in my neighborhood, by people I know (including children being lured off their property–against their parents’ rules–by these kids, though their mom went after
    them within minutes).

    I’ve seen the pain on the face of a colleague whose young adult sister disappeared (believed to be abducted and murdered, but was never found).

    When terrible things happen to people one knows, at some point, it adds up, and changes one’s perceptions in a way that’s
    very different from just reading about it or seeing it on the
    news.

    I’m not trying to change your mind on how to raise your kids here–I’m just presenting an alternate perspective, born of different experience.

    Thank you for giving me the chance to present it!

  2. Alison · September 28, 2009

    Thank you for your very thoughtful comments.

    We’ve actually already tried everything you’ve suggested, with no happy results whatsoever.

    Some of our neighbors put all the blame on the kids’ parents. I don’t know what to think, but I guess I’m not looking for blame, but solutions. The kids’ parents (2 different families) seem to be thoroughly nice, caring people–but they are NOT involved with the kids’ lives that we can see. The kids roam around the neighborhood at all hours, with no activities or hobbies to keep them busy.

    The neighbors can do everything in their power to turn things around, but in the end, it comes down to the fact that both the kids and their parents are the ones making the choices. We’ve sat down with the parents, invited the kids to our house (I used to take care of 2 of them in the mornings before school), and talked with school officials, and we’re not the only ones who have tried.

    Both mothers say that they “don’t know WHAT to do with those kids!” One says she prays. The other has at least one of her sons completely spaced-out on ADD meds (which can cause violent behavior, but this kid has been violent both before and after starting meds).

    We didn’t find out about the local lurings from the media but from a memo from a private school that a neighbor showed me–our school district didn’t tell us. It didn’t make the news, either–just like the chicken pox epidemic that hit 2/3 of our local elementary did not make the news.

    I guess my point is, there is an awful lot that can be going on right in your own neighborhood (like problem teens, chicken pox epidemics, and vandalism) that you might not know unless you have a really tight neighborhood network.

    I don’t believe that our kids are as safe in our yards as you think. And the post above, from someone whose neighbor’s child was nearly abducted, proves it.

    I really do hate to say this, or even think this, but I truly believe that it’s dangerous to recommend letting one’s toddler play unattended in the yard. I know your experience tells you there’s no problem, because you haven’t had a problem. But that’s like saying that it’s safe to give peanuts to toddlers because you haven’t had a problem with peanuts. Maybe it won’t be a problem for 90+%–but it could be deadly to a small minority, and that minority is not as rare as you seem to believe.

    • journeytocrunchville · September 28, 2009

      I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree. For my own personal philosophy of life I refuse to raise my family in fear. We all have to pick and choose the things that we are careful of and that which we emotionally invest our time in. I would rather teach my children that the people in this world are basically good. That human beings are wonderful, full of compassion and there is a lot we can learn from everyone around us. There are always exceptions. There are lost souls. There are those that are so lost and far removed that have made choices that have deteriorated their souls to such a degree that some may choose to see them as “evil”. However, I would never use that term lightly. I try to teach my children that there are no “bad” people only people who have made “bad choices”. Granted some of those choices are horrendous and sure maybe some of them are evil but I personally have never met an evil person. I have been through some awful things in my own life. But even those who have harmed me the most I do not consider evil. The things they did were atrocious and reprehensible but underneath their actions is a person and by connecting with that person you can find commonality and forgiveness.

      Anyway, that is quite the tangent. We simply view some things differently. I would not consider a chicken pox outbreak to be something of concern anymore than an outbreak of roseola or flu, it’s a communicable illness with little risk factors if the immune system is basically healthy. Now, if I had a child with a severely compromised immune system that changes things a bit. But again, I am different. I am the parent that will be hoping my children will contract chicken pox naturally and obtain lifetime immunity rather than taking chicken pox vaccines throughout their life.

      I also don’t equate problem teenagers with the need to shelter children as if the teenagers will suddenly abduct and murder them. Granted, I would not ask them to babysit or anything of that nature but unless they showed in inclination into harming actual people then I would conclude that they are simply lost teens. It’s happened in every generation. It’s not new. There’s many movies that show teenagers doing just those kinds of things. It doesn’t excuse the behavior. I certainly don’t condone it but I also don’t think we need to build more into their actions than needs to be done.

      My daughter (now almost 5) and I talk a lot about the feelings we get from other people. I’ve taught her to trust those feelings. I’ve taught her that if someone makes her feel funny or icky inside then she does not have to talk to them or be around them. I never force my children to give people hugs (even relatives). I teach my children to honor their bodies and we teach them from babyhood that their bodies belong to them. As my children grow we elaborate on these things and take them to the next level.

      Anyway, I appreciate your concern but I choose not to live by what if’s. I try to use common sense and focus on raising my children with my end goals in mind. It doesn’t mean I am right and you are wrong. It means we are just approaching parenthood differently.

  3. Alison · September 28, 2009

    Are you only allowing comments that agree with you?

    I left a comment that did not get posted.

    I agree with you in principal–but where I live, every year, there are reports of attempted (and sometimes successful) lurings at the bus-stop. Within the last decade, an 11-year-old boy was abducted and murdered. There are registered sex offenders living within a mile or two. In our neighborhood, there is a gang of teen-age boys who dress all in black and wander around with air-guns.

    Two days ago, at 4:30 in the morning, they threw an enormous rock through our front window.

    AND WE LIVE IN ONE OF THE NICEST SUBURBS IN PITTSBURGH.

    I would never, ever let a toddler play unattended in our yard. Neither would anyone else in our neighborhood.

    Sure, I’ve taught my kids to be responsible and caring. But there are people out there–some not even adult yet–who are EVIL. And that forces us to make a choice between giving our children as much independence as we’d like, and safety.

    • journeytocrunchville · September 28, 2009

      Alison,

      Of course I allow comments of differing viewpoints. The comments are automatically approved and posted to the blog and I only delete comments that are spam or vulgar. I assume your original comment didn’t come through out of some sort of glitch of one sort or another.

      It is up to every parent to evaluate their own neighborhoods and make their own choices. Just because I feel a certain way doesn’t mean I expect you to.

      However, I must point out a few things. Obviously I can not be in your neighborhood to evaluate things for myself but here are a few things that came to me while reading your post.

      It sounds like an organization of your neighborhood is in order. No doubt there are other parents in your neighborhood that want it to be safe. There is no reason determined parents can not turn a neighborhood around. These teenagers have parents somewhere. Maybe sitting down at the table as a group would help? Maybe befriending them would help? Maybe not. But I would be hesitant to label these teens as evil. Misguided and destructive and selfish. Yes.

      And I agree there are lurings but they are far more rare than we think. The media uses them to gain ratings. Anyway, I’m not telling you to let your kids loose in your neighborhood. I’m not telling you to do anything at all. Just observing things that I would think about if the neighborhood was my own. My biggest goal would be to try and change the life of just one of those teens. Their just kids and they’re hurting inside.

      In general I believe society has massively been failing teens. I don’t have too many collected or researched thoughts on that but just pain in my heart for them. I remember some of the stupid stuff I did as a teen (never like that, granted) but I was just hurt and looking for help.

  4. Pingback: Playing with Knives « Journey To Crunchville
  5. Liz · November 13, 2008

    When my daughter was around 10 one of her favorite pastimes was playing in and around an “Indian hut” she and her friend had errected (of pallets and other scavenged materials) in the front yard of our property (we have an incredibly huge front yard – no post card lot). One of the things they liked best was to have a fire (outside the hut). My husband frequently started one for them. They would cook concoctions of roots, weeds, berries etc. (they never ingested these concoctions of course). All in all they had a wonderful time. When my daughter was in college she described this particular pastime with some friends. One of them immediately dubbed us as her parents as irresponsible because of the fires.. My daughter was insulted. She knew that there had been nothing irresponsible about it. For one thing her father wasn’t that far away (generally in the garden or somewhere else unobtrusive, but available if needed, for another she was doing all kinds of other adult things at that age (including assisting in delivering baby lambs). In point of fact she did her first solo delivery of a lamb when she was only 11.

    I had read Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series to my kids and they saw themselves as being capable in the same way the characters in the book were. They weren’t sailing ships because they didn’t live where that was an opportunity, but they certainly did other sorts of things that most people wouldn’t think kids capable of. When my daughter was 6 she fitted her first wool sheep. She was very tiny and yet she was using sheep shears (which look rather like hedge trimmers) at an age when most kids are still only using safety scissors. If you treat kids as if they’ll be responsible and make sure they have adequate instruction to begin with they are capable of all sorts of things. Of course you have to know your child. Some kids are too impulsive to not be carefully supervised, and others are simply not coordinated enough to safely climb up the side of a slide safely.

  6. Liza · August 22, 2008

    You are my kind of Mama! :)

  7. Beth · August 18, 2008

    I agree with a lot here – and I think allowing your children room to grow and be independent is great.

    I do agree with Sam about the pool . We have a 4 foot inground pool now – and Morgan loves to walk aimlessly. Thankfully we have a pool fence. ANyway – one day when I was right there – she was wandering around the pool – got to close – lost her balance and plop in the water. I looked like the chicks on bay watch jumping in — well minus the hot bod :) Anyway – that is one area I am not willing to ‘let her have her freedom” – and she’s almost 3.

    Anyway – I think every mom will have her limits as to where the freedom stops. I try not to shadow my 8 yr old – but then right before we moved a guy parked in front of the neighbors house – where they were all out playing and got out and grabbed the neighbor girl (smallest of the bunch). Dad ran out hearing screams – bad guy let go and left. So – sadly – I am the sit out front mom while the kids play now.

  8. mommy bee · August 18, 2008

    Do you mind if I just link straight to this post from my blog?
    You are spot on.
    I often have other mothers ask me if I’m distressed that my 8 (5, 4) year old is climbing up the outside of the slide at the playground. Um, no. He’s a good climber for one thing, but also I remember wanting to do–and in fact doing–the same thing as a kid. Is my telling him ‘no’ repeatedly going to make him stop? No, it will just mean that when he gets busy playing and forgets the ‘no’ and climbs again then I will have to get him in trouble for disobeying. Might he fall? Sure. Is it likely? Nope. Meanwhile, i just established the rule that if there are other kids on the playground, then the inside of the slide (where no one can see him) has to be down-only, to prevent collisions. He’s amenable to that.

  9. Andrea · August 12, 2008

    dont worry Jess, you didnt offend me it was just passionate opinion for us both. I just thought most people who would comment are gonna be those who agree not disagree and just for the sake of making it more real I thought I should be honest and not shy about my opinion. And I wouldn’t say it struck a nerve with me, it just pulled out a part of my personality I don’t think I’ve shown you much. People who’ve known me for years know every once in a while I show a bit of a defensive/ opinionated personality sometimes when something matters enough to me.

  10. Lisa · August 12, 2008

    Jessica………have you seen this:

    http://www.glumbert.com/media/dangerchild

  11. journeytocrunchville · August 12, 2008

    Amy,

    You have definitely never come across to me as a helicopter parent. I actually laughed when I tried to imagine you gasping. :)

    Sam,

    We have the same rules for playgrounds. If you can’t do it yourself then you are not big enough to play on it yet. We also don’t allow unsupervised front yard play yet either. Someday, but not yet. If we lived in a different area where cars weren’t a risk then I would be willing to allow her to play in an unfenced area.

    Andrea,

    I’m sorry it offended you. And yes, it is absolutely OK to disagree and I never expect anyone to agree with everything I say. That would be weird.

    My blog is definitely not a prescription of how everyone should parent. It is a reflection of my thoughts and opinions on various topics and often my opinions change over time with experience, new learning or just plain the realization that I made a dumb choice.

    Giving children freedom is something I am passionate about for my children and honestly I do wish there was more freedom for more kids but obviously parents have the obligation and the right to choose boundaries, rules and environments for their children based on their values, their experience and their children’s temperaments/personalities.

    If it really struck a nerve with you though I would take some time to think about why it did. Often times we learn a lot about ourselves over incidences like that.

    Chandra,

    Yes, the pool is a touchy point. I definitely wouldn’t leave an 18 month alone with a kiddie pool. However, I’m going to have to point out that there is a big difference between a 3 year old drowning in a pond and one drowning in a kiddie pool and by kiddie pool I mean one of those pools that holds about a foot full of water. I mean in a pond there are all sorts of scenarios, like his feet getting stuck in the muck, etc. I tried to find statistics of how many kids actually die in a kiddie pool and what their ages are but I wasn’t able to find anything. Anyone have a link? The problem is that what is considered a “kiddie pool” varies. For example look at this link:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2000/jul/13/local/me-52360

    It tries to say a 10 year old almost died in a kiddie pool. Um, yeah right. What really happened is that she dove into a big inflatable pool with 3 feet of water that had the tarp on top of it and thought she’d be clever by lifting the tarp off of the pool from inside the pool.

    All though I agree that deep pools are a definite risk for the age 3 crowd I really don’t find the actual risk of my daughter drowning in a foot full of water big enough for me to worry about. Now of course, anything is possible and it is not out of the realm of possibility but again it’s something I’ve considered and chosen not to worry about given her personality, her capabilities and the fact that there are no younger siblings to worry about. Now next year will be a different story because we’ll have a nearly one year old next summer and that is all together a different risk category. :)

    I didn’t figure you were the gasping type. :) Not sure how you could find the time to gasp with Catharine. LOL.

    And I burn the midnight oil, that is how I write these things out. And no, no contractions yet. Just the infamous braxton hicks.

  12. chandra · August 12, 2008

    You know I am your number one fan (your Mom may disagree), but….in the end, I am numero uno.

    I agree with most everything in this post. I did want to comment on the backyard/swimming pool point though. Obviously with Catharine, I watch her like a hawk still, hello she is 18 months old and always getting into trouble (she almost drowned in our bathtub two months ago when Madelyn was taking a bath, I was turned around and she fell in face first…she didn’t even move, I had to scoop her out in a hurry. The thought of not being in that room still terrifies me.) BUT I am so cautious with water and my children. We have a precious family that we are close to whose 3 and a half year old little boy wandered out of his house and through his yard to their pond and drowned. We hear ALL the time in our state of children drowning in pools, kiddie pools, etc. And most of these kids are over age 3. I can’t imagine this happening to Madelyn, BUT isn’t that what those parents would say? If I can prevent her from drowning by just being there, boy will I be there, ya know?

    Just for the record, and for snaps from you ;) I am not a “gasping” mom. I am quite proud of this actually, Justin and I thought this through together when Madelyn was still a baby. It works very well. I could relate nicely to what you said about this.

    I love you :) How do you find time to do all of this passionate writing with that 4o weeker about to come out!!! Aren’t you having contractions or something??!!

  13. Andrea · August 12, 2008

    I can’t help it Jessica, I still love you, but I had to respond with some of my thoughts. Your read was just too passionate it stirred me up a bit.
    I must admit I am a parent who gasps, and some have given me a hard time for it, in fact I think I am the minority for it. I have never decided I am going to gasp when my child falls, I just simply do it as a reflex like people do when something startles them. There have also been times when I have clapped for Corina falling too, just to encourage her its okay. I honestly dont think anything you said in your article is abnormal for a 3 1/2 year old, but maybe a 2 year old it could be.
    We all definitely parent differently and there are things that I have agreed with you on and I still applaud you for speaking your mind, and like I said your still my dear friend, but I think its okay to agree to disagree sometimes and really there is no wrong way (maybe a few) when it comes to a parent genuinely loving and working at caring for their child.
    I think I’ve also realized too that when it comes to parenting and many other things there are always something to contradict another and it really isn’t about correctness but more so confidence and you are definitely confident, but with all respect so am I.
    I don’t believe all parents are confident and I think THAT is what is truly lacking in some parents.
    I know this comment may have sounded mean, but honestly I love your blog and I love it that you speak your mind, I dont know how not to speak my mind and it just feels good to have a true opinon about something. So in many ways we ARE similar in our thinking.
    BTW Camden is proof that your doing a great job as a mother, I dont think your doing anything wrong.

  14. Sam · August 12, 2008

    I do agree with most of what you wrote. I have four daughters and they have a lot of freedom… I certainly do not follow them around the house cause dude I don’t have time;)
    I don’t follow them around the playground and I just kinda look around to make sure they are still around once in awhile… I don’t help them do anything at the playground because they have to learn to do it themselves… I really don’t have time to help them do everything anyway;)
    The only thing I do different is I don’t allow them unsupervised in the pool or out front of my house… but it is where we live. When we lived in the country they had WAY more freedom to play outside, but here there have been children taken from their front yards…. and I don’t like pools because of the fear of drowning… but that is my own fear;)

    I applaud you for not being the “hovering” type parent… the children NEED to learn how to be functioning members of society and we just simply cannot be there at all times for the rest of their lives;)

  15. Amy Reid · August 12, 2008

    I think I do all those things you said as far as letting Camden have her freedom now. My boys have the same freedoms and I don’t worry about them at all. You know how many times Javen gets hurt in a day, I CAN’T freak out over every one of them. That would be ridiculous. So I don’t think you are a neglectful parent. If you are, then I am, too.

  16. Me · August 12, 2008

    Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

    I could have written most of this except that I grew up in the 80’s and I do have off limit areas of the house for my sanity not their safety.

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