The Kids Are Alright: Playtime Before There Was Such a Thing As Parental Supervision by Barbara Sheridan
A show called The Kids Are Alright debuted on TV that highlighted parenting in the 70s. The show has me comparing then to now. You know how the conversations go now:
- You go to a new park with your kids and there is an unexpected splash pad. “Mom?” You can’t because you don’t have your bathing suit on.
- You go to the park and they want to play on the outside of the playground equipment. You can’t – it is not meant to be climbed that way. (Read "Parents, Say 'Yes' to Kids Climbing Up the Slide: Here Are 7 Reasons Why!")
One drawback of our society is that children who are 8, 9, 10 or even 11 or 12, are not allowed to go to the park by themselves and they are constantly monitored. When I was a child, I remember going to the nearby park and forested area with friends – and only friends. We would return home wet, muddy, scrapped up, holes in our pants and knees. My mom would clean us up, kiss our boo boos, give us a drink and send us out the door for more adventures.
Now don’t get me wrong, parenting hasn’t changed too much since I was a child in that regard. When I was out with my mom she never would have let me jump in the water with my clothes on or climb up the wrong side of the playground equipment. What has changed is now kids are almost never without adult supervision. Those small freedoms I remember of playing king of the hill with friends, standing up at the end of play gleeful about how muddy and wet I was before I made my way home, is something my kids are unlikely to experience.
The perfect solution is just allow your children time on their own. But between nosy neighbors, police actions and children’s services in our world, this is at best not always easy, and at worst can have serious consequences.
What do you think? Comment below and join the conversation this month on how to give freedom in today’s world at Facebook.com/campfirechats.
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