The Kids Are Alright: Playtime Before There Was Such a Thing As Parental Supervision by Barbara Sheridan

5 years ago

The Kids Are Alright: Playtime Before There Was Such a Thing As Parental Supervision

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.

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.

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Donna John
My grandparents lived less than 100 feet from a railroad track. My cousins and I would walk those tracks for hours when we were young - alone. We'd put pennies on the track when a train was coming and wait as it passed to see how flat it was. Good times, but nothing like that would happen today. We also lived on our bikes and knew to head home when the sun started going down for dinner. Things have definitely changed. Barbara Sheridan
Tanya Kuzmanovic
i agree whole-heartedly -- i let my 8 year-old walk to school (1km) all by himself once in a while - he also walks the two blocks to our park to see if any friends are there - if no - he comes home - if yes - he stays for a while. if anyone complains to me or about me - i'll deal with it . . .
Mike Prochaska
I think the freedom u can give your kids these days depends on where you live and what kind of neighbors you have! I love this tip as I am sure you all Already know. Kids need time to just play and parents need other parents to leave them alone so kids can play! This another Awesome tip
Ron Howard
In today's world, you never know who is going to turn you in for neglect if you let your children play the way I played when I was a kid. I read a story not too long ago about a mother who was turned in for allowing her child to walk to school. If I remember right, the child was 5 or 6 but he was accompanied by his sister, who, I think, was 10 or so.
My children are 5 and 7. I allow them to play outside in our front yard. They know to stay out of the street. My only worry is when other kids from the neighborhood come by. They don't have the manners that kids have. Their language isn't what it should be; and once a little girl just walked right in my house without knocking. She was looking for my daughter to play with. I was the only one home. The kids and my wife were gone for the weekend. Some might argue that I should have had my front door locked, but then again, a little kid should know better than to just walk into a stranger's house.
I have to admit that I've become a bit paranoid when allowing my kids to play all by themselves. I'm trying to get over it so they can spread their wings. Unfortunately, we live in town and I will say that a majority of drivers around here aren't that observant and they drive like they don't care who or what is in the road.
Also, a little girl was abducted and raped last year. Her and her family lived just 2 blocks from my house. An isolated incident, I know but it raises the cockles on your neck to know that it happened literally within a stone's throw from here.
I have to work hard at letting my son to just go. I have agonized about how far and to where but it’s getting easier. He’s now riding his bike all over our neighborhood trails and visiting friends. I have to remind myself that my anxiousness should not hinder my son’s play time. Now nosy neighbors...I could care less. 😆

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