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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:04 pm 
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"Like most parents my age, I have memories of childhood so different from the way my children are growing up that sometimes I think I might be making them up, or at least exaggerating them."

So true. I know i've talked about how shitty my parents were, but my friends with less shittier parents were left alone to do whatever just as much as we were. My dad had his business in our home until I was around 11, we lived one block from the elementary school and a lot of times I would stay for awhile and play tetherball with my Scope friends and it was no big deal that I came home 30 minutes later than I was supposed to. My grandparents had a farm and when we visited it wasn't uncommon for us to be out in the woods, alone, for hours. I was doing that stuff when I was seven. I was allowed to climb trees, handle knives, light off my own fireworks, play in creeks, ride my bike blocks away from my house. I don't even know what the hell I would do if I had a kid today. If I let my seven year old walk home a block from school i'd probably have CPS called on me.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:18 pm 
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I really liked the Atlantic article. That place sounds awesome.

My childhood was so incredibly different from the kids I know today, and I was only born in 87. I remember this one time when I was 5 I was biking around my neighborhood and fell and skinned my knee and was crying on the sidewalk and neighbors I had never met before saw and I think may have literally carried me home once I told them where I lived--which I don't think was ever seen as something unfortunate that happened because of lack of supervision, but rather something normal that happens because knees get skinned and kids freak out and adults are usually around somewhere. I can't imagine any part of that really happening now.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:34 pm 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
If I let my seven year old walk home a block from school i'd probably have CPS called on me.


I know someone who had that happen and her child was 10.

I remember that the hill in the back of our apartment building was always fair game and we'd just all disappear down there and play catch and hide and seek until it got dark. But that was Vienna, and we all took public transport and were pretty resilient and independent. I can't imagine even having my mother pick me up at school in a car.

But then I also grew up in Kenya, and we were lucky to have seatbelts in our car. Our childseat was someone holding us tight, hahaha!

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:07 pm 
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Yeah, a bunch of stuff resonated with me in that article. The expansion of privileges as sort of stages of growing up was a big one-- I started off being able to ride my bike around the block, then 2 blocks, then six blocks ("Don't cross those two busy streets"), then everything on one side of one street, and so on. What that meant is that I found some pretty intense ways around the places where I _could_ ride, and could get all over town without riding on many streets at all. There were alleys between houses (city land, I guess, left open for fire trucks or something?), parking lots with curbs and strips of dirt between them that my bike could cross but cars couldn't, all sorts of places I and my friends would go but no adults would bother with. We'd fall and scrape up our knees and throw things and tool around town doing our own stuff, and it was fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:44 am 
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I was raised in a pretty un-bikeable, un-walkable suburb with a mother who was fairly paranoid about a lot of stuff, and still feel like I had a lot of freedom and unscheduled time.

Husband used to get herded to kindergarten and back by his brilliant and very well trained sheepdog. The dog would wait for him after school at the right time and take him home (they had leash laws, but this was years ago, so the dog would just carry the end of the leash in his mouth and nobody cared). It was only a few blocks, but just getting away with that now, I can't even imagine!


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:47 am 
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annak, That Is Awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:31 pm 
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annak, That Is Awesome.


Yes. Cutest ever.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:37 pm 
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annak wrote:
I was raised in a pretty un-bikeable, un-walkable suburb with a mother who was fairly paranoid about a lot of stuff, and still feel like I had a lot of freedom and unscheduled time.

Husband used to get herded to kindergarten and back by his brilliant and very well trained sheepdog. The dog would wait for him after school at the right time and take him home (they had leash laws, but this was years ago, so the dog would just carry the end of the leash in his mouth and nobody cared). It was only a few blocks, but just getting away with that now, I can't even imagine!

Wow. Best way to get to school.


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:47 pm 
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Annak that is so cute! I walked to school from 1st-3rd grade and my cat would walk me partway there come meet me as I came home.


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:57 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
mrsbadmouth wrote:
If I let my seven year old walk home a block from school i'd probably have CPS called on me.


I know someone who had that happen and her child was 10.

I remember that the hill in the back of our apartment building was always fair game and we'd just all disappear down there and play catch and hide and seek until it got dark. But that was Vienna, and we all took public transport and were pretty resilient and independent. I can't imagine even having my mother pick me up at school in a car.

But then I also grew up in Kenya, and we were lucky to have seatbelts in our car. Our childseat was someone holding us tight, hahaha!


If the solons of the Rhode Island legislature get their way, even 6th graders will have to be met by parents when the school bus drops them off.

(http://www.freerangekids.com is always filled with teeth-grinding absurdity.)

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:02 pm 
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I've probably said it before, but when I was a kid—in, say, the mid-70s—we kids would always be playing... somewhere. At Chris's house. In the street. In Blair's backyard. The parents didn't know where we were, not exactly. They knew we were out and about, doing whatever. At suppertime, parents would call for their kids—or ring bells. Each mother or father had a unique call or bell. And when you heard it, you went home.

The part that kills me is that my mother was very overprotective. But back then, even overprotective parents didn't behave the way typical parents do. The whole standard of appropriate parenting has shifted. Can it even be shifted back?

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:21 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
I've probably said it before, but when I was a kid—in, say, the mid-70s—we kids would always be playing... somewhere. At Chris's house. In the street. In Blair's backyard. The parents didn't where we were, not exactly. They knew we were out and about, doing whatever. At suppertime, parents would call for their kids—or ring bells. Each mother or father had a unique call or bell. And when you heard it, you went home.

Yep, I grew up in the same era and this was how it was for everyone. I was a latchkey child and as of grade 3 or 4 (age 8 or 9 or so) I'd go home every day and heat up my own lunch on the stove. I always had to call my Mom so she knew I was there okay, and there was a neighbor next door I could go to if there was a problem, but that was the extent of patrolling. And my Mom was a total overprotective worrywart type as well. Everyone's just more on guard and watchful these days, I guess.

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Last edited by seitanicverses on Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:22 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
Tofulish wrote:
mrsbadmouth wrote:
If I let my seven year old walk home a block from school i'd probably have CPS called on me.


I know someone who had that happen and her child was 10.

I remember that the hill in the back of our apartment building was always fair game and we'd just all disappear down there and play catch and hide and seek until it got dark. But that was Vienna, and we all took public transport and were pretty resilient and independent. I can't imagine even having my mother pick me up at school in a car.

But then I also grew up in Kenya, and we were lucky to have seatbelts in our car. Our childseat was someone holding us tight, hahaha!


If the solons of the Rhode Island legislature get their way, even 6th graders will have to be met by parents when the school bus drops them off.

(http://www.freerangekids.com is always filled with teeth-grinding absurdity.)


When I was in 6th grade I took public transit home! I walked several blocks to the bus stop, took a bus for a while, transferred to a different bus, got off that bus, walked maybe a half mile from there and then went home to an empty house where I was frequently responsible for getting dinner on the table for my family before my parents got home around 7. And this was 1998.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:29 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
But back then, even overprotective parents didn't behave the way typical parents do. The whole standard of appropriate parenting has shifted. Can it even be shifted back?


I think there is a big divide between what parents are told is appropriate and what they can actually do. And so much of it is classist. Many kids still do come home to an empty house, use their key to get in and make themselves a snack, and hang out in the neighborhood or on their X-boxes until their parents come home a few hours later. I mean, what else are you going to do when both your parents work? There really aren't many people who can meet their children at school when it ends or hire a nanny to do so.

And as always, that standard of "appropriate parenting" is enforced against certain people but not others. I know people whose kids have walked home from school long before turning 10, but the friend who had CPS called on her (by the school no less) happens to be a young single mother. And of course if something should happen to the child, then we tut-tut at the parents, without criticizing a system that really provides very little support to working people who have children.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:12 pm 
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I also either walked or took the bus home in 6th grade, in Northeast LA which is super hip now but was legitimately kind of dangerous when I was a kid. I was also young for my year in school so I must have been 10-11. That seems so young to me now, and I so do not want to be a helicopter parent, but I'm not sure if I could feel comfortable with my daughter being by herself like that 8 years from now!


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:13 pm 
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When we moved onto a military base and I met people who had kids who went to the grade school, I was shocked to learn that either the kids had to take the bus or be picked up by a parent every day. One of the friends I made was really miffed by it because you had to wait in line with your car, tell the teacher waiting who you were there for, and then they'd call your kid over, and you had to have a special 'pass' in your car to prove that you were allowed to take a child from the school. No one was allowed to just walk off of the school property or even on their own to a parents car. Keep in mind, this was after 9/11 so getting through the gates without a pass or ID wasn't going to happen ever. I'm not saying that made it totally safe for kids to roam around, but it's safer than a non-gated community.

I'm not sure if parents were required to meet the bus if their kids rode it.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:02 am 
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i can't imagine that law is going to pass. Rhode Islanders are pretty crusty about the law telling them what kind of personal choices to make (seatbelts were optional for consenting adults until not very long ago, and you can still ride your motorcycle without a helmet there.)

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:44 am 
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I grew up on military bases and we were very "free range". I just had to be home by dinner time and was pretty much otherwise able to do whatever I wanted - As a 2nd grader (how old is that?) I walked the nearly one mile to school with my other second grade friends - no adult and my brother and I (he was 3 years older then I) would regularly ride our bikes the 3 miles out to a different housing development because they had cooler playgrounds. I absolutely cannot imagine letting my child do that!! I really am going to have to work on not being a "helicopter" because I am a worrier.


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:18 am 
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I started public school when I was 9 and lived far enough to be bussed. But the bus driver was scary and I wanted to go to school with a friend of mine who lived downtown, so I used to leave the house at dark o'clock, walk a mile downtown, cross a four-lane highway, pick up my friend at home, walk down the 7-11 to buy "breakfast" (lemonheads, Boston baked beans), cross the highway again, scamper up an embankment, crawl under a fence, walk another half a mile or so, and then we were at school. My mother had no idea this was my route, since there was a perfectly safe, residential-only route to school I could've taken instead. It was awesome. The thought of Malka doing the same puts fear in my heart, even though I totally feel like she is just like me - super adventurous, but absolutely risk-averse - she will not get into any adventure she doesn't know she can get out of.

I run a supplemental school and have a rule that parents have to get out of their cars and come into the building to pick up their kids. The only reason I do this is because the alternative here is to run a carpool line, and there is no way in hell I'm spending half an hour each day doing that. The alternative here is not to just let the kids go (and some are small enough where it really wouldn't be appropriate anyway, especially because we're on a pretty busy street and have an active parking lot with low visibility). Any kid whose parent tells me in writing that their kid is a walker gets to walk home by themselves, no questions asked. ETA: And when I went to a school like the one I run, 20+ years ago, there was a carpool line and no one was allowed to walk home, even with permission. So we made a huge game out of escaping unseen to walk home by ourselves, which succeeded several times - clearly their attempts at keeping us safe were not so well executed.


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:40 am 
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FootFace wrote:
Each mother or father had a unique call or bell. And when you heard it, you went home.

The biggest downside to this in my time was that when your parents called, you were in danger of the other cheeky kids in the neighbourhood pretending to be you and shouting, "No!"
I have no idea if the girl who I used to imitate got in trouble, but I remember her dad saying she was in trouble when I was busy pretending to be her and telling him I wasn't coming home. That guy was loud -- he was shouting from another street!!
My parents (this was the mid 80s) were REALLY strict compared to my friends' parents and I still was occasionally allowed to play down by the river.
I'm gonna be honest here, I'm not sure I'd trust my kids playing by the loch alone, although they are a lot (a) younger (b) wilder than I was.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:28 am 
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my favorite time was when i stayed with my grandparents in a urban area just outside NYC and we played in the street, on bikes, in parks, chasing each other around, getting kicked out of stores, until the whistle- the fire whistle blew at 7 in the summer and 6 in during the school year. When that whistle blew you'd see everyone hauling asparagus to get home.

Every time my kid announces she's going somewhere on the bus, my heart is in my throat. But the fear is my problem, not hers- I need her to be a relatively responsible person who can do things on her own, and she's going to learn by doing.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:57 pm 
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http://gawker.com/parents-call-cops-to- ... socialflow

10th grader arrested for handing out copies of a Sherman Alexie book that had been cut from her school's curriculum.

"Police arrived after getting a call from "someone concerned about teenagers picking up a copy of the book without having a parent's permission," local news station KBOI reported."

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:39 pm 
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jordanpattern wrote:
http://gawker.com/parents-call-cops-to-stop-kids-from-handing-out-banned-1569491566?utm_campaign=socialflow_gawker_facebook&utm_source=gawker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

10th grader arrested for handing out copies of a Sherman Alexie book that had been cut from her school's curriculum.

"Police arrived after getting a call from "someone concerned about teenagers picking up a copy of the book without having a parent's permission," local news station KBOI reported."


WHAT YEAR IS THIS AGAIN?!?!

Le sigh.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 8:23 am 
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A friend posted this story on FB, and it is just nuts. These children were less than 1,000 feet from the house, and knew their phone number. Why on earth would the "good samaritan" call the cops instead of their parents, or just walking them home, if he was that concerned?

http://www.freerangekids.com/to-the-man ... r-parents/

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:34 am 
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that is SICK.
the answer of course is that people don't actually CARE anymore. they only care about themselves and how they want to be right instead of giving a shiitake about seeing anything from anyone else's perspective, having a smidgen of sympathy, or Heaven Forbid, learning something. /pessimistcurmudgeon

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