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Free-range kids and related stuff
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Author:  FootFace [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Free-range kids and related stuff

Today's free range-related outrage:

A thoroughly conscientious mom is ticketed for allowing her 5-year-old to walk home from school.

The blog post:

Quote:
A mom is ticketed for letting her 5.5 year old son walk home from school. Even though she BEGGED the school to let him take the bus. Even though she went to city council meetings and BEGGED the town to put in crossing guards. Even though she makes her son wear an ORANGE VEST AND HELMET so as to be as visible as possible along the route she taught him — the SAFEST one possible. Even though she has a younger child at home AND an older child with cerebral palsy. Nah, none of that matters, She was charged with negligence.

Author:  AmandaMelanie [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Why has letting your kids walk to school developed into neglect? When did it change? I started walking to school either by myself, or with my friend when I was 6. At 6 years old, we knew to go straight to and from school, not to talk or take rides from strangers, etc. We knew basic safety rules. The only kids who got a ride to school were the ones who were really late.
The same elementary school I went to now has huge line ups of cars every morning and afternoon. Almost EVERY child is picked up and dropped off. One of my friends lives next door to my parents house, so her two daughters go to the school I went to. I asked her why she wouldn't let her daughters walk to school. Apparently it's because there's a short section of the walk- a path between houses and streets - that is partially wooded. She thinks child molesters and perverts might hang out in the bushes... In someones backyard?

Author:  Aliks [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

I'd be afraid of all the crassholes texting on the road hitting my son. I have to drive him to school because we are one block too close for the bus and every week I'm almost wiped out by someone not paying attention in the lot. But I live in an area that's notorious for that.

Author:  Tofulish [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Just to add more color, according to the comments, she has 6 children, one with cerebral palsy. The children who are in school walk together. This one instance the five year old got into an argument with brother and left school, and the mother made him take responsibility for his actions by having him walk back to school.

I just don't get it. And what happened to the van that was supposedly following the child? Why was this enough for the mother to be arrested but not to have the person in the van stopped?

Apparently there is a guy in a car near us who is following children home from school, but because the children here have learned that you don't stop and talk to strangers etc. and that you report it immediately, so far no children have been hurt. I think the key is educating children on how to handle stranger danger, not in creating some Handmaids Tale version where parents are serfs to their children. Well, any more than they already are.

Author:  Vantine [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Stranger danger is not the real problem. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime:

Quote:
Perpetrators of child sexual abuse come from different age groups, genders, races and socio- economic backgrounds. Women sexually abuse children, although not as frequently as men, and juvenile perpetrators comprise as many as one-third of the offenders (Finkelhor, 1994). [b]One common denominator is that victims frequently know and trust their abusers.[b]


The chances of the problem being a guy in a van is much smaller than the chances it's the soccer coach ...

Author:  Tofulish [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

You're completely right. Thanks Vantine.

What happened to teaching your child how to handle things for themselves, while always knowing that you're there for advice and support if needed. Otherwise we're going to end up with a generation of college students who have to go everywhere in helmets and are only allowed to eat with spoons.

Author:  FootFace [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

What happened is that parents—most of us—got scared to death. Not because of statistics (crime has been on the decline for many years), but because of… Well, I'm not sure what, exactly.

Customs that were totally uncontroversial when we were young (kids walking to school and basically living their lives without constant parental supervision) have become almost completely taboo in many parts of the country. (World?)

I don't understand it, but I know I'm susceptible, too. It has become the water we all live in. It's right to be afraid for your kids, always, because—and I guess it's true in its way—something bad might happen! Something bad could always happen. You could get hit on the head by a falling airplane engine, but we don't give any credence to such fears. Likewise, something horrific could happen to your kid. It's a rarity and always has been, but we've allowed ourselves to be convinced that it's always about to happen.

The free range kids blog is really good.

Author:  Vantine [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

FootFace wrote:
What happened is that parents—most of us—got scared to death. Not because of statistics (crime has been on the decline for many years), but because of… Well, I'm not sure what, exactly.

Customs that were totally uncontroversial when we were young (kids walking to school and basically living their lives without constant parental supervision) have become almost completely taboo in many parts of the country. (World?)

I don't understand it, but I know I'm susceptible, too. It has become the water we all live in. It's right to be afraid for your kids, always, because—and I guess it's true in its way—something bad might happen! Something bad could always happen. You could get hit on the head by a falling airplane engine, but we don't give any credence to such fears. Likewise, something horrific could happen to your kid. It's a rarity and always has been, but we've allowed ourselves to be convinced that it's always about to happen.

The free range kids blog is really good.

My great grandfather was killed by a falling steel beam. True story. He was a construction work though. Not too many falling pieces of steel in the library.

Remember in the 70's when there was that rash of "evil children" films? That flipped to "Oh, our children are under attack!" in the 80's.
Either it's Reagan's fault (Bloom County is 30 this year) or the theory I read which suggested that it was the baby boomers and their desire to not screw up their second round of kids that did it.

Author:  coldandsleepy [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Tofulish wrote:
You're completely right. Thanks Vantine.

What happened to teaching your child how to handle things for themselves, while always knowing that you're there for advice and support if needed. Otherwise we're going to end up with a generation of college students who have to go everywhere in helmets and are only allowed to eat with spoons.


Quoted for truth.

Author:  Vantine [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Tofulish wrote:
You're completely right. Thanks Vantine.

What happened to teaching your child how to handle things for themselves, while always knowing that you're there for advice and support if needed. Otherwise we're going to end up with a generation of college students who have to go everywhere in helmets and are only allowed to eat with spoons.

Um, I would check with Desdemona about that. That generation of college students is already there. Hence the phone calls from mommy that I had to field...

Author:  Vantine [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

FootFace wrote:
What happened is that parents—most of us—got scared to death. Not because of statistics (crime has been on the decline for many years), but because of… Well, I'm not sure what, exactly.

Customs that were totally uncontroversial when we were young (kids walking to school and basically living their lives without constant parental supervision) have become almost completely taboo in many parts of the country. (World?)

I don't understand it, but I know I'm susceptible, too. It has become the water we all live in. It's right to be afraid for your kids, always, because—and I guess it's true in its way—something bad might happen! Something bad could always happen. You could get hit on the head by a falling airplane engine, but we don't give any credence to such fears. Likewise, something horrific could happen to your kid. It's a rarity and always has been, but we've allowed ourselves to be convinced that it's always about to happen.

The free range kids blog is really good.

Toby's dad and I argue about stuff like letting him walk the 20 feet to the public bathroom alone. This is in a bookstore where I used to work, know almost everyone there and where I am sitting near the door. He's 9 and wants to do small things that making him feel like a big boy. I asked his dad "Are you a pervert? You use that bathroom!"

Author:  FootFace [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

But his position seems reasonable when that's what everyone thinks!

I am always pushing against my own implanted fears.

Author:  Vantine [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

I don't want to raise my kid believing that there are strangers hiding everywhere, waiting to do him harm. So, I fight the urge to overprotect and let him have some freedom.

Author:  jildez [ Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Vantine wrote:
I don't want to raise my kid believing that there are strangers hiding everywhere, waiting to do him harm. So, I fight the urge to overprotect and let him have some freedom.


this.

Author:  lycophyte [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

I loved the occasional chance to walk to school when I was a kid...and this ALL happened under the age of 9, when we moved to the 'burbs and there was more bussing and lived a few too many miles to actually walk in due time (turns out its only 1.6miles to my other elementary but whatever, that pretty much doubled the time to walk it).

However, I don't remember there being a big deal about it. I guess we were walking in a group, but still! I'd walked o the park or the library alone occasionally too. And I know I at least walked in 1st grade.

Yeah, I get scared by the growth in fear of perv culture, that isn't really any worse than any other time in recent memory, and the fact that kids aren't allowed to trust their own judgments, at all.

Like, how do they build independence if they don't get to be somewhat independent!

Author:  FootFace [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Things aren't more dangerous, but we're all far more scared. That's the bottom line.

Author:  FootFace [ Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

The 2010 "Golden Helicopter" Parenting Awards

Author:  FootFace [ Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Today's free-range outrage:

Mother ticketed for letting her 14-year-old babysit her 3-year-old

She was cited for child cruelty!

Author:  Fee [ Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

I really want to hear Ann M. Martin's take on this, please.

Author:  Aubade [ Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

I 'like' inhabitots on facebook. Last week they asked parents a question - at what age would you allow your child to ride a bike or go to the park alone. Most comments said never! I thought of this thread.

I remember riding my bike by myself all over the place when I was in grade school. It is so sad to me that society has become so scared.

Author:  j-dub [ Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Fee wrote:
I really want to hear Ann M. Martin's take on this, please.

Ha!

Author:  monkeytoes [ Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

Jeez, by the time I was 14, half the neighborhood had hired me to babysit their kids. I guess I lived in a neighborhood full of criminals. If a girl has a baby at 14, does she automatically get cited unless she hires a babysitter who is older than her to supervise 24/7?

Author:  FootFace [ Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

monkeytoes wrote:
Jeez, by the time I was 14, half the neighborhood had hired me to babysit their kids. I guess I lived in a neighborhood full of criminals. If a girl has a baby at 14, does she automatically get cited unless she hires a babysitter who is older than her to supervise 24/7?


Yes.

Yes, she does.

Author:  AmandaMelanie [ Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

I thought 12 was the age you're allowed to start babysitting? That's when they let us take the babysitting course at school/

Author:  Larisa [ Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Free-range kids and related stuff

When I was a kid -- I don't know if it's changed since then -- you had to be 11 to take the Red Cross babysitting course. (It pretty much taught safety rules for infants and toddlers, like how you need to support a baby's head and shouldn't leave toddlers alone even for a few minutes, how to change diapers, how to decide when an emergency is something you can deal with yourself and when you need to call the police or an ambulance, and what to do if the kids' parent starts getting creepy.)

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