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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 6:26 pm 
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Flounceiad 2011
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torque wrote:
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
I know! I was pretty gobsmacked by this. All this guy had to do if he was concerned was ask the kids if they were okay, and if he was really concerned about them being out on their own, he could have simply called their parents to come get them or walked them the 1,000 feet home. Instead he's caused this huge kerfuffle that will probably have a lasting impact on these families; it's unconscionable.

It's bizarre how rapidly this change has occurred since I was a kid (and I'm not that old!). This sense of constant, imminent danger seems increasingly endemic to parenthood - and, more sadly, to childhood - and yet I've read that statistically children are no more likely to be abducted now than they were then. When I was a little girl, my mom (who wasn't lackadaisical or irresponsible by any standard) gave me incrementally more freedom as I got older. When I was 4-5 I could go across the street on my own to see if my friend could play, always in her or my yard. When my mom wanted me she'd holler, and if I didn't answer she'd call my friend's house to have them send me home. I walked to our (very local) school with a few other kids, some of whom were older; then I was allowed to walk around the block to the store with a friend if we didn't cross the busy street, and so on and so forth...all these things happened in stages, and I never felt or was encouraged to feel frightened or at risk, because I wasn't. Nowadays if two little girls were seen buying candy bars on their own, it seems like law enforcement would get involved, which can't be good for children's developing sense of confidence, competence, or safety!

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 7:15 pm 
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That is insane. I will say that 6 and 7 is a little bit young to be wandering but I think giving the parents notice would've been sufficient. My elementary school though where kids as young as 5 years old walked was certainly 1000 feet or more from my home so it isn't an incredible distance for known locations.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 8:17 pm 
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I wonder if the man was worried about being taken for a kidnapper/molester/boogie man himself. Men face a lot of suspicion when it comes to strange kids these days.


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 1:28 am 
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It does seem a little strange to me to be unaware that kids that young are wandering off to a mall and telling them to go play by a creek without supervision. I don't think it was that strange of a response for the guy to call the cops, although the response thereafter sounds extreme.


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 10:48 pm 
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I think the guy's response was reasonable. It sounds like the cops who took things too far here. Not that I have all the details, maybe there was some other compelling reason for the cops to go as far as they did, but it doesn't seem like it.


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 8:41 am 
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annak wrote:
It does seem a little strange to me to be unaware that kids that young are wandering off to a mall and telling them to go play by a creek without supervision. I don't think it was that strange of a response for the guy to call the cops, although the response thereafter sounds extreme.


Well, in the past, the kids would have been punished in whatever way the parent's deemed fit (, time out, grounded, or spanking...), not the whole family itself having to defend itself in court.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:43 am 
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Nooch of Earl
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This isn't exactly free-range (I mean the kid was presumably in a car seat? Does that make him a battery cage kid?), but it seems like it kind of fits in this discussion:

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/03/the_day ... socialflow

Personally I find this dilemma super annoying always. If you have a sleeping or unwilling kid and it's a cool, non-sunny day, it's crazy irritating to have to drag them out to do a quick errand. This is part of why I really mourned V outgrowing her removable bucket car seat (and if I'd known there was a toddler version on the market I would've used it even though I'm sure they're crazy heavy and annoying).

Anyway I thought it was really interesting that this wasn't even clearly illegal.. but the court system, according to the lawyer, was set up in such a way that made it so inadvisable for the mother to try to fight this.


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:30 pm 
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Never let your 9 year old go to the park alone. Because someone will call the cops, you'll be jailed for abandonment and lose custody of your child. Even if you left her at a safe park with a cellphone.
http://reason.com/blog/2014/07/14/mom-j ... -9-year-ol

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:36 pm 
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Ugh, that's just ridiculous. I can see this turning into a generation afraid to go out and do things, to fear living and taking chances and connecting with nature and with other people face to face. I would definitely be afraid to be a parent in times like these, where the world's judgment is on your shoulders and you're afraid to let your kids actually grow up (not saying parents here should be afraid, just how I would respond in the situation). And then the people who do do the wrong things get away with them scot-free. I was at customer service at Walmart a couple of weeks ago and a boy about 8-9 came to the desk because he got separated from his dad. When they reconnected the sales associate told the father that his kid did the right thing by coming there, and she had a proud tone in her voice. The father said that no, he clearly didn't do the right thing because he had gotten separated...like it's the kid's fault for getting lost. Father told the kid that he should've stayed playing video games until he whistled for him. Seriously?

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:08 pm 
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I feel for this parent but what if everyone used public parks as day care while they were at work? Why *doesn't* everyone do that if it's an acceptable alternative to paid child care? It wasn't just a kid playing at the park for a little bit, this was hours and hours. This parent needed support and it's such a shame they weren't getting it.


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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:09 pm 
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I don't know, we grew up in the Chicago suburbs and spent days alone at the park sometimes. Hours and hours. Now, my parents were teachers so they were at home not work during the summers. But WE were still spending days alone at the park or the pool or just around the neighborhood. And this was the mid to late 1980s, not the 1940s or something. It was totally normal and acceptable...

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:10 pm 
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Though I agree that it sounds like this particular woman needed more support, but the person who called the cops didn't know those details. She just saw a kid in a park, so the situation could have been us as kids too.

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:19 pm 
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I don't think there is anything wrong with calling the police where a child seems to not be supported, I think the issue is with what the police then chose to do - arrest the mother and put the girl in foster care. And the sad thing is that police don't have a lot of options.

A friend of mine is a social worker and we were talking about the fact that the only support the system offers is criminalization of parents and removal of the children. There isn't anything in place (outside that paradigm) to help the parents deal with an overwhelming situation. You could keep families intact and avoid situations deteriorating if there were measures that could be used earlier, without criminalizing or shaming the parents. Its hard to be a parent! And even harder when you are poor and have no family support and don't even begin to know where to turn for help. But instead you have to press charges against someone to get the child removed, and that means here the mother gets arrested, probably loses her job, has to spend money and time fighting a legal case (which she could lose) and that all means a lot of trauma to the child.

Why can't we have something where the police calls social services, the family gets a caseworker who helps them find some other options for care etc during the day. Why have to damage this family more than they have already been damaged?

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 Post subject: Re: Free-range kids and related stuff
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:22 am 
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I think using the park as daycare is a crappy idea (as was just having the girl sit at a table at McD's all day), but I also wish people had better options. Friends who work and have older kids seem to send them to a series of camps all summer; I don't know what parents who can't afford that are supposed to do if they don't have family or friends to help out. And agreed that arresting the woman and putting the girl in foster care isn't going to help address the fundamental problem (poverty) at all.

At the risk of getting (slightly) political, Tlish, I see half your posts on fb and think wow, I'm grateful that the military provides an environment where these resources are available at reasonable cost to families. Say what you want about defense spending (and I know it's not most people's favorite thing), but it's one of the few environments that supports families with, for example, high quality subsidized after school and summer programs. How much would it really cost to make this stuff available for everyone? We already bus and supervise kids places most of the year...


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