I have been reborn and I am now a strong warrior woman. These are my stories.
Published on August 27, 2008 By Boudica In Parenting

Here it goes...when I was a kid...but really when I was a kid we actually did this thing called going outside and playing.  We played kickball, wiffleball, spud, tag, kick the can.  All of the other kids on our street played outside too.  I also did these other incredible and amazing things - I walked to school.  I walked to the store.  I rode my bike to the swimming pool.  This wasn't when I was 12.  I was young.  My sister and I would walk to the corner market when we were five and six years old.  I walked to school with my sister in kindergarden.  I probably was a little older when I rode my bike to the pool, maybe ten.  No one turned my mom into the authorities.  It was a common thing in the 70's. 

Now my boys - not so much.  Part of it is just geography, there are no sidewalks.  Actually thinking about this I may try to find a rental in an older neighborhood.  You know the kind.  The kind where you can walk to the park and to the convenience store or the library.  The sidewalks aren't the only issue.   Our subdivision is boxed in by a busy highway on one side and a not so busy but very curvy (no visibility) road on the other. 

My son did want to walk home from school last year.  I told him he could if his friend was with him.  I do believe in safety in numbers.  I think that if someone did get hurt than hopefully the other could get help etc.  Now with cell phones, it's a little more safe to be on your own.  His friend wasn't allowed to walk and his dad put the kabosh on the idea.  Then I felt like I was irresponsible for thinking it might be a possibility.  Sometimes I wonder how kids are able to tie their shoes and cross the street by themselves when they go to college.   I think our society in general is now carrying kids around on a pillow.  I think it's good to try to keep your kids safe and be concientious but where does it stop. 

So now it seems that barely any kids walk to school.  Kids barely get any daily exercise at all unless they are enrolled in a sport or activity.  The thing is that not everyone can afford to sign the kids up for football, tae kwon do, soccer etc.  Activities and equipment aren't cheap especially when you've got a couple of the rugrats.  My point is ...I don't know.  Kids should not be scheduled every minute.  We act like they have to be in a set preschool schedule when they are three years old.  Then on Mondays they have dance and on Tuesdays they have swim and Wednesdays they have Awanas etc...  Just tell your kids to go outside and play and if you're ever in the position to influence such things as zoning tell them you want to live in a walkable city. 

http://www.walkable.org/


Comments
on Aug 27, 2008

I hate not having sidewalks.  And it doesn't help if a subdivision has them, but the roads leading out of it don't.

I'm too freaked out to let my kid 5 year old "go out and play."  Maybe if we fenced our yard, but its a huge yard and I don't want to fence it.  heh.

I can generally trust him not to go into the street, providing a butterfly he is catching, a ball he is playing with, whatever doesn't go out into the street.  So I guess that means I can't trust him...haha.

My oldest is 12 and I will let him go bike riding now without us but there isn't a whole lot age appropriate within bike riding distance.

I'm like you.  I miss when kids could play outside all day and only come in to eat.  By the end of summer the bottom of my feet were tough enough to walk on glass. 

on Aug 27, 2008

Heh, I remember walking home from KINDERGARTEN! Of course that was in 1967 too. Anyway, I can't imagine letting a kindergardener walk home these days. And yes, I think kid's play time is waaaaay to structured these days. I think it's a good deal to let them use their imaginations and just have fun.

on Aug 28, 2008

Heh, I remember walking home from KINDERGARTEN! Of

HEY!  I dont.  I never went to kindergarten.  But I did walk to and from school until the 5th grade (and then did so again when I got kicked off the bus - several times).

But I do understand the gist of this article.  And agree with it.  I use to thumb to and from school in high school.  Lots of us did, and thought nothing about it.  But I would never let my children do it now.

on Aug 28, 2008

I only have to go back to 1981 when I went 1st grade in New Jersey that I could walk to school with other kids, even during the cold of winter. I would walk to the park with my bother and sister who were 7 and 8 years older than me. Once we moved to Puerto Rico in '84 I lived in a small town where it was common to walk everywhere (supermarket, backery, school, work). Bike riding was for fun (for those who could afford to buy bikes or take several old ones and build a new one). And the only thing we had to fear was coming across kids from the dangerous communities who like to bully others. And during the night we had some small gang wars (nothing too much of a big deal).

Today I barely let my kids play outside without checking on them every few minutes. We don't exactly live in places designed for kids to play outside since we live in an apartment complex with a main road a half a block away. Even i places that would seem like the places we use to play are not safe due to irresponsible drivers and dangerous people walking around. My kids spend way to much time indoors considering I spent most of my waking moments outside playing all sorts of games, riding bikes or visiting friends (normally girls I liked but was to afraid to tell them, LOL).

It's not only that we seem to wanna cover every inch of the world the hang around with pillows, but we, as a society, have allowed these dangers to become common place and would rather keep this kids indoors rather than do something about it more often than not.

on Aug 28, 2008

It's not only that we seem to wanna cover every inch of the world the hang around with pillows, but we, as a society, have allowed these dangers to become common place and would rather keep this kids indoors rather than do something about it more often than not.

Are these dangers really more common place now than they were 20-30 years ago? 

Judging by numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, we are safer now than we were in 1973 (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/cv2.htm).

Going more towards kid-specific numbers, the 80s and early 90s represented a high point for crime against people aged 12 - 24.  Now it's pretty much at it's lowest rate, again since 1973. (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/vage.htm).

Homicide victims by age... http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/homage.htm

 It looks like, overall, the 80s and 90s were the period that things were bad.  They're in fact considerably better now than they were even 30 years ago.

So is it actually that the world is more dangerous (the numbers don't seem to back that up), or that we're just more aware and thus more paranoid than before?  24/7 news channels, constant access to information via the Internet, regional crime getting national coverage etc.  It may FEEL like it's worse now than it was before, but could it just be that we're overexposed?

 

 

 

on Aug 28, 2008

I'm like you. I miss when kids could play outside all day and only come in to eat. By the end of summer the bottom of my feet were tough enough to walk on glass.
  Those were the days.  When my boys were driving me crazy all summer I was thinking we didn't stay inside under my moms feet all summer.  We were outside playing. 

And yes, I think kid's play time is waaaaay to structured these days. I think it's a good deal to let them use their imaginations and just have fun
  The sad thing is that kids don't even know how to play without being directed. 

I use to thumb to and from school in high school. Lots of us did, and thought nothing about it. But I would never let my children do it now.
  That's something I've never done. 

My kids spend way to much time indoors considering I spent most of my waking moments outside playing all sorts of games, riding bikes or visiting friends (normally girls I liked but was to afraid to tell them, LOL).
  This is the problem, that we have a whole generation of indoors only kids.  I wonder why childhood obesity is up.  I'm not saying this is the only reason but it has to be contributing somewhat.

So is it actually that the world is more dangerous (the numbers don't seem to back that up), or that we're just more aware and thus more paranoid than before? 24/7 news channels, constant access to information via the Internet, regional crime getting national coverage etc. It may FEEL like it's worse now than it was before, but could it just be that we're overexposed?
  I think you are right.  I think a lot of it is perception.  When I was a kid we didn't have amber alerts, 24 hour news cycles, a dozen all news all the time channels, lifetime movies of the week or Oprah.  I think its good to be aware of the dangers but really we have to know that the odds of our kids getting abducted by a stranger are pretty slim. 

on Aug 28, 2008

One of my friends said that the media has created a culture of fear because it sells.  Maybe they're right. I actually know a woman who's child was abducted and murdered.  It's more of an association thing, she's a friend of my cousin, but I had met her a few times before it happened and once after.  I guess I don't feel it's as unlikely to happen as I did before this happened.  My understanding is that she was just out riding her bike around her apartment complex and got abducted by a neighbor.

One thing about the staticstics I wonder about if the 80's and 90's had the same number of kids escorted to school.  Maybe that's why crime is down.

I hate that raising kids seems to mean you have to have eyes on them constantly. I'm not talking about toddler, I'm talking about kids becoming independent.  I think it's hard on parents to always have an eye on their kid.  That seems really stressful.  Also, when does the kid get to make her own choices?  I really think people need alone time.  I really think kids need that alone time to have to make their own choices, solve their own problems and deal with the consequences. It seems a shame that enabling them this situation seems to be the same as sacrificing them to the altar of chance and death.

on Sep 01, 2008

When I was in 4th to 6th grade, I lived on Penang Island in Malaysia.  This was in the early  70s.  We rode our bikes everywhere, walked all over the island and never once got into any dangerous situations.  As a teenager, I hardly spent anytime inside except when I was playing guitar or watching television.  Every waking moment, just about, was spent outside and out of parental earshot.

on Sep 28, 2008

Kids barely get any daily exercise at all unless they are enrolled in a sport or activity. The thing is that not everyone can afford to sign the kids up for football, tae kwon do, soccer etc. Activities and equipment aren't cheap especially when you've got a couple of the rugrats.

Amen! I'm up against precisely the same problem!

I'm too freaked out to let my kid 5 year old "go out and play."

This mentality sickens me. Sick, sick, sick. I know that there have been so many kidnappings and horrific events over the years that make it necessary for us to keep our kids under complete supervision these days. It all sickens me, culminating in my sickness that I have to keep my kids directly under my supervision, or shell out big bucks for someone else to supervise them.

We DO let our 5-year-old go out & play when the neighbor kids are. I confess that I HATE having to be out there with him every minute he wants to play, especially when it was SO HOT over the summer. But if I tell anyone how much I hate being outside on a blistering summer day staring at my kid while he's having fun, I'd be considered an uncaring parent. MMMM!

The last couple weeks have been lovely though. I've been playing out there right alongside my kids & all the other kids on the street as the temperature has been letting up, and it's still not too cold yet.

As for all the weirdoes out there  who we're protecting our children from (call me naive but I've only seen them on the news, not in real life): I wish they'd go dig a hole and do ill to each other instead of to our children so we could let our kids play independently.

on Sep 28, 2008

The last couple weeks have been lovely though. I've been playing out there right alongside my kids & all the other kids on the street as the temperature has been letting up, and it's still not too cold yet.
  This time of year is the best for outdoor activities.  You can actually breathe.  It's so nice.  Too bad it can't be this way all year. 

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