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Thread: Free Range Kids?

  1. #21
    jenm is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reese14 View Post
    When it is my turn for the carpool, the mother not only walks the child to the car out but buckles the seatbelt for the 9 year old.
    DH and I are parents of an only child who is now 9. Therefore, we tend to do a lot of things for her. But even we stopped buckling her seatbelt a number of years ago. To do so would put the overprotective alert level at Code Red.

  2. #22
    LL2 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I think it's hard, other than really outrageous things, to look at one isolated action and categorize a parent one way or the other. The parent buckling in a 9 year old, for example, could indeed be a smother mother. Or she might know that her kid is a scatterbrain and won't remember, and/or maybe she lost a family member in an accident because they weren't buckled in and it's just her little "thing". The same goes for people in the reverse situation, where we're all ready to condemn someone as a neglectful parent because they let their ten year old stay in the car at the drugstore.

    It's just more big picture than that. Unless you (general you) observe someone consistently and in all contexts, you have no idea if you are seeing typical behavior or the parent's one "thing" that they are extreme on. We've all got them. Most of us just don't want to admit it. I think so many people are so unsure of the decisions they are making that they almost have to bolster themselves by going off on other people's differing decisions.

  3. #23
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    It's very interesting... I guess I am somewhere in the middle of it. We live in a neighborhood without sidewalks, so I don't feel quite as confident about long walks down the street as I might otherwise. However, I do let DD walk our dogs down the street and around the corner. I let her cross our street to see if the neighbor can play and I happily let them play in both front and back yards without supervision. I would not let her go much farther than that... No sidewalks, main thoroughfares, crazy drivers and a *lot* of streets to negotiate make it feel unsafe to me. When she has a cell phone (I'm thinking 6th grade) I would consider more freedom.

  4. #24
    jenm is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by LL2 View Post
    I think it's hard, other than really outrageous things, to look at one isolated action and categorize a parent one way or the other. The parent buckling in a 9 year old, for example, could indeed be a smother mother. Or she might know that her kid is a scatterbrain and won't remember, and/or maybe she lost a family member in an accident because they weren't buckled in and it's just her little "thing". The same goes for people in the reverse situation, where we're all ready to condemn someone as a neglectful parent because they let their ten year old stay in the car at the drugstore.

    It's just more big picture than that. Unless you (general you) observe someone consistently and in all contexts, you have no idea if you are seeing typical behavior or the parent's one "thing" that they are extreme on. We've all got them. Most of us just don't want to admit it. I think so many people are so unsure of the decisions they are making that they almost have to bolster themselves by going off on other people's differing decisions.
    So, you're a seat buckler?

  5. #25
    nmcd is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Her book is worth reading. It's very reassuring and funny. By the way, there is absolutely no evidence what-so-ever to show that the world is more dangerous for children than when we were growing up. The irony is if kids never have to deal with other people or situations on their own, they never develop the instincts that could help protect them when someone really *does* want to take advantage of them.

    I would also dispute the so-called "experts" on child development on when children can cross the street alone to my last breath. It depends on the child and the situation. All over the world, there are children younger than ten who cross street by themselves and more. I walked alone to school at five crossing several streets.

    I think the fear parents feel has more to do with them than it does what their children are capable of doing. I once listened to a man go on and on about not letting his daughter out of the house on her own. And the more he talked the less he talked about his daughter and the more he talked about himself. I couldn't help but think "who is this about, you or your daughter?"

    Fair disclosure, the author is a friend of mine.

  6. #26
    nmcd is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by seals View Post
    Recently a woman who writes a column in the local newspaper wrote against guns and that she would never have a gun in her house. In the comments people asked her if she realized that anyone could now look her up in the phone directory and rob her house with more confidence because now they knew she didn't have a gun.


    Sue
    That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You've got to figure that 1) A robber probably would prefer that there not be anyone home 2) Most people don't keep guns at home - at least not outside of a gun safe so why would this particular woman be so tempting? 3) She might well have an alarm system that would stop a would be robber - guns aren't the only way or the best way to prevent robberies. Also, what are the chances that some sinister would-be perp is browsing the newspaper thinking, "Hmmm, who should I target next? Hey, you know what? I think I'll go rob this woman who doesn't have a gun!, Let's seem I'll put her into Map Quest, maybe I could be there by dark?"

  7. #27
    nmcd is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I wish there were more sidewalks in general both for kids and adults. It's a drag that people have to walk in the street. Most people I come across when I'm driving do wear the right clothign to be seen, but I've also seen people who, I'd have never seen if I wasn't driving my car slowly just-in-case.

  8. #28
    northy is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default crazy, isn't it? i grew up in a BIG city... (m)

    i was walking to school with a friend, but no adults or older kids, at age 5 and 6... it was a good 15 / 20 minute walk, not just down the street... at age 8 or 9, i was allowed to go to the mall myself... i remember shopping for books ($1.59 for hard cover nancy drew!!!!!)... and when i was 9 i remember my mom had a summer garden party one afternoon and i was being a pest so she gave me some money and i went to the mall and deliberately bought a green t-short knowing she hated the colour green...

    at 9 i switched schools and had to take a schoolbus to get to school... so my friends were much further afield... there was absolutely NO issue about me taking public transit on my own to visit my friends... and no one walked me to the bus stop or met me at the bus stop...

    sadly, it seems, we are no able to teach our kids the independence today that they are going to need later in life...

  9. #29
    northy is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default i agree... as i said, we were walking on our own at (m)

    Quote Originally Posted by jvirginia View Post
    Source?

    My kids have the cognative ability to reach unbeleavable heights on video games, way better than any adult ... how could they not be able to cross a street? Your negligent neighbor notwithstanding, I think there's an element of learned helplessness with kids who are protected, hovered over, and insulated from the real world all the time.

    ETA: Okay, I found the source. I still think it is nutty. I walked to school when I was in 2nd grade. 10 is OLD.

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cps/newtips/pages/tip8.htm


    I think a kid who has been given a fair amount of independence and trust is likely to be a lot more resourceful than one whose parents assume they are incompetent to do the most basic tasks.
    age 5... most kids were... i don't recall anyone being hit by a car... i nearly WAS hit by a car when i was in my early teens... i was too busy chatting with a friend to check the street properly...

  10. #30
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    Default free-range is great up to a point -

    On one hand I think we, as parents, are over protective and make decisions based on real or imagined Fear and on the other hand we try to accelerate 'independence' and turn children into mini-adults way before it's appropriate.

    I let my 6yo cut up vegetables for dinner with a sharp knife, not a butter knife and have done since he was 3. I let him climb trees and jump off walls. I let him snow ski (with helmet and glad of it when he hit a tree last year) and swim in the ocean and climb rocks and pick up blue bottles (stinging jellyfish) and let snails crawl up his arm(not dangerous but ewwwww) and capture dangerous spiders and all sorts of things but I wouldn't let him cross the street by himself. Why? because he still doesn't stop, look and listen and I know he doesn't, not consistently, not when he's excited or distracted or whatever. Too many people and a lot of them (most of them?) kids are killed or injured as pedestrians. Heck, I've almost been hit when crossing at a red light (jet lagged) and another time because I was majorly distracted/zoned out/something. What benefit is gained by letting him do this? none that I can see. Not at 5 or 6 years old.

    I don't buy into the whole marketing of fear in general or to parents specifically and I don't believe in turning children into mini-adults either or making them 'independent' for the sake of independence rather than when it is appropriate for that child to attain the next level/layer of independence.

    I think children should get to be children which means that I'm the parent and as the adult/parent then I'm responsible for the safety of the children which includes teaching children about safety, crossing roads, not walking behind horses, not swimming alone, keeping gates closed after walking through them and so on. Rules of the road for the road and other activities but ultimately it's my responsibility to ensure that reasonable precautions are taken and that the children in my care practice these things until they are able to take over those responsibilities.

    factoid:
    5,000 pedestrians are killed and another 64,000 are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year in the US.

    and from Australia studies show that the 10-14yo age group is 'over represented' as are males. Probably due to increased independence and increased 'risk taking' behaviour in this age group.

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