Wednesday, March 17, 2010

question of the day

One thing that has not escaped me since having kids is that they are not growing up in the same world that flyboy and I did. Not only have all of our kids been born during this war, but times and society have just changed.

I remember playing outside, when we were elementary age, with our friends and our parents merely peering out the window to check on us. I remember my mother leaving us in the car while she ran into the post office. Flyboy remembers riding his bike all over town after school, walking himself to soccer practice and school.

My kids won't be doing these things. They can't. It's a different time.

We have a giant yard surrounding our house, yet I don't know, if ever, when I'd ever let my kids play outside without me watching.

I'm sure if we're here when they are teenagers and are at the point where they can go bombing around 4 wheeling on the farm I'll let them go, but in terms of running out the door with a "see ya later mom we're going out to play" is that possible anymore?

When the weather is nice my boys are content to be outside all day. They collect sticks, play in the stream, feed the animals, climb on the rock piles, anything and everything, but I'm out there with them. This means that not a whole heck of a lot gets done on the inside.

I'm always torn, get stuff done on the inside or let them be outside, where kids should be?

There are days I wish I could just let them go out and play while I cook dinner inside, but I'm terrified something would happen. Someone could snatch them or some nosy person would be alarmed at the small children by themselves and call cps.

As a disclaimer, I don't think even if it were the good old days I'd let a five year old be in charge outside of a three year old. He's gotta be at least seven before he's in charge.

Eight to wield a stick AND be in charge.

So I'm curious..... what say you on kids playing outside alone?

Does it matter if the yard is fenced in? {to me not so much, our yard is big enough they can't make it to the street easy enough and well a perv can open a fence}

Does it matter if its in a neighboorhood? {but then someone is still watching right?}

What do you do at your house?

And don't even think about leaving your kids locked safely in your car {when the temps are nice} and you run into the post office or something quick, someone will break open that window and free your kids right quick.

You think I'm joking? That happened around here last year.

It seems like the world was simpler back in the day.

Sigh

19 comments:

  1. I was talking about this with my husband not too long ago. I was text book latch key kid and didn't have adult supervision from the time I started kindergarten. I grew up on a farm where my brother and I would play back in the woods for HOURS and I am pretty sure my parents never even knew where we were.

    But like you said, it is a different time. I am with you on this one. My children are not allowed outside by themselves. I worry about the other people out there because there are too many creeps in this world. If my yard was fenced, maybe Charlie could play out there by himself, but really I doubt it. It isn't that I think he will wander off, it is the other people I worry about.

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  2. We are stationed in a pretty bad town (I would never let my child go to public school here!). While I was at the gym, I watched a little boy who looked like he was maybe 7, cross a 4 lane highway! The people around me and I could not believe it! Where were his parents?

    I think it is one thing to let your child play alone in the backyard (When you feel they are old enough), but a little child left alone in a bad town...no way!

    I am with you though, I would be outside with those boys too. Better safe than sorry.

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  3. I remember being left in the car so my mom could run into the gas station to pick up a gallon of milk. When I was in elementary school I would ride my bike across town to the city pool. It really is crazy how times have changed! But also consider, we lived in a nice town that my parents grew up in. It's much more difficult to feel safe and secure when you're a military family moving to unfamiliar places every few years.

    I've been struggling with the outside play issue myself. The whole "be outside with E-Ray so he can play or get things done inside" struggle is no fun. If you could see the inside of my house you'd know that outside keeps winning.

    E-Ray is nearly four years old and I have begun letting him play fetch with the dog in the back yard without constant supervision. The yard is fenced in and an elementary school is on the other side of the fence. He's unable to open the gate and there's not anything he can get into out there. I have all the windows open so I can hear him. I also check on him every few minutes (unless he gets quiet, then I check immediately).

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  4. lol This is so true, I'm not going to lie, I totally let my son go play out in the back by himself we have a privacy fence so I just leave the back door open, i remember playing out all day without a hint of my mom around probably she just peeked on us through the window, it makes me sad though on what our kids miss out on now with the world such a scary scary place.

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  5. We were talking about this the other day as well. My hubby is super paranoid so our fence gates always have locks. I will let E play out there with our friends kids that are 4 and 5. We moms stay inside but by the open full view window.

    As for leaving kids in cars, no way, especially not around here. Signs up all over postnot to leave them unattended. In fact, 10 years ago when a friend was stationed here the first time (she's here now) she left her then 4 year old son out in the front on post to play. He climbed in the van, the door closed and unfortunately he died within 10 minutes. Can you imagine?

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  6. When I was kid, I played outside all the time. My parents made me stick to the one block but I was allowed to wander with friends that lived within the 1 block. Now it seems like a totally different time. I mean yeah, back then it was dangerous and anything could happen but now it just seems way more unsafe. If it's an enclosed back yard with no road behind it then I think that's pretty safe if the kids stay put.

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  7. I'm with you. I never leave my kiddo in the car either, and I have very clear memories of my mom running into grocery stores and the like with us in the car... but you know, it was small town America and that does seem like ages ago.

    As far as the backyard, here I do let her go outside to play with frequent checks/open windows. But we have a privacy fence surrounding our back yard and she has two very large furry "bodyguards" who bark their fool heads off if someone so much as breathes in our general direction. At our last house on post I didn't let her play outside alone, we were too near a busy road without a privacy fence. I can see why kids watch a lot more TV now, it's too scary to let them run around in the neighborhood.

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  8. I don't know, I feel like this mostly relates to the ages of the Dashes. They are too young to be outside by themselves. I think in a year or two that will definitely change, at least for Dash1. I feel like the whole "the world is so unsafe" thing has become something that every generation says thinking it is a new phenomenon (just like "I remember when a candy bar cost a nickel") when the world has really always been dangerous. When you're a kid you don't know about the dangers, and that awareness comes with being an adult.

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  9. I am super paranoid even living on base. I let Tyler play at the park that is right by our house. But we are usually sitting at our porch where we can see her. If she gets out of my sight, I am yelling at her!! But I am always amazed by how many kids younger than Tyler just run around the neighborhood all day long and no parents in sight.

    I didn't live in the safest town growing up. I was allowed to walk to my friend's house, but we had to walk in pairs. But now, there is no way I would've been allowed to do that.

    Just today on the news, they reported about an airman on our base being sentenced to 5 years of jail b/c child porn was found on his computer. So no, I don't feel safe on base either. Yes I feel safer, but when it comes to my kids, I want to know where they are. Maybe when they are older I will loosen the reins.

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  10. Well, we live in a nieghborhood. But my girls CAN NOT play out front without me. We have a high stucco fence around our backyard. I will only allow my oldest out there without me... and I have to be cooking in the kitchen with the window open so I can hear and see her. and she is ONLY allowed to color with chalk on the patio, sit in front of the window with bubbles or ride her bike or scooter up and down the patio. no going off to the side where i can't see... no going up to the back where there are bushes and I could lose sight of her. Sounds boring! But if she wants to be out there that bad, then she's gotta play by my rules! Oh and we have two sliders on the back of the house... BOTH have to also be open with screens, in case she needs to run in at any moment she always has a way in quickly. Sucks that we have to be so paranoid, but better safe than sorry.

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  11. It is a definite struggle, but I totally agree that now a days you just can't do those things. Good grief, when I was younger as long as we told my Mom where we were going and what time we'd be home she was fine with it. Now you can't even let your child walk to the bus stop by themselves.
    Where we live there was a little girl who was accosted on her way to the bus stop for school and thrown in a ditch. Thank GOD a neighbor saw her in the ditch and immediately called for help...

    It is just sad that we can't trust anyone anymore. It is awful that we are constantly living in fear for our kids safety and making sure that we as parents don't get in trouble ourselves.

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  12. I'm old as dirt and lived in a tiny town where we basically ran wild from morning to night. But as the stepmom to a 9-year-old who recently was accosted by a man who tried to get her into his car, I am way paranoid now. My sweetie and I just had the discussion of where she can play unsupervised in our new neighborhood, and sadly, the playground within view of the house (but still fairly far off) is off-limits. All it takes is a few seconds of us looking away, and I hate that I'm even typing that.

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  13. My kids are 9 & 6. I generally, as a rule, do not like them to play outside without me. If we had a fenced in yard, I might think differently, though I'm sure that 10 minutes in a yard with no trees, no swings and nothing to do in general would have them back inside!

    I don't let my 9 year old supervise the 6 year old. I just don't. Now...I WILL let the 9 year old ride her bike up the street to see if some of the girls can come out (the girls all seem to live near or at the top of the hill!!), but I tell her that they need to come down and play at our house or outside. If she's with other kids her age, I don't have an issue with her being out unsupervised, but I make frequent checks (like, oh, every 5 minutes!) or I sit in the dining room reading a book.

    There are some kids in the neighborhood completely unsupervised and they're trouble makers. They've destroyed the community center clubhouse, they skateboard in the street with headphones on (someday, I'm gonna accidentally splat one...) and they make mischief. Sadly, their parents don't care, and the few of us who take issue with them don't want to pay over $500 a year for a neighborhood association fee...so we do keep close watch on OUR kids.

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  14. Its sad that this is what it has come to. Everyone is in your business when you parent your children (when you are out in public, leaving your kids in the car reminded me of that) and we just cant do the things we used to anymore. I dont have kids yet and by the time I do, with how fast things are changing, I wont let them play outside with out me watching them or do the things I did without supervision. To be honest, it scares the crap out of me.

    Its sad they wont get to grow up like us.

    PS.. love the new look. :)

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  15. We have a very long driveway and a fenced-in back yard. I allow the kids to play outside by themselves (I have the window open to listen and check on them often). Honestly, they talk so much , and are so loud, that I know exactly what they are doing when they are out there. They are not allowed to go in the front yard alone.
    I remember walking down to the bar in the tiny town I lived in, with a note from my mom, to pick up cigarettes for her.

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  16. Well, I'm of two minds about this one. One, we are often paranoid without real cause. If you look at the crime rates, it isn't too different from when we were growing up, but it's all in your face, now, with 24/7 news, plus the internet. You can't escape it. On the other hand, you can't escape it, so I can't help but be affected by it.

    I let our boys go outside alone, but it is mostly because we live in a place where traffic is a golf cart driving by maybe once an hour. They aren't going to go far before someone sees them and brings them back, either. You also can't get off this base without being recorded as doing so, so you aren't leaving with anyone's kid anytime soon. If we were back in the States, I'd be more careful about it, but if we had a fenced in back yard of our own, I would have no problem with it.

    I know some of this is because of things that happened in my childhood within my own family. The thing is, even the people you think are safe often aren't, no matter how immune you think you are to it. I've found that it's the people you know that you have to fear the most, not the strangers. So, do we live our lives freaking out, or do we just live and hope for the best? I choose the second one, although you will never, ever see me leave my kids alone in the car while I run inside any public place (nor do I let them do that at home, either).

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  17. I feel like I should add that we live in a trailer where I can pretty much see and hear them no matter where they are around the place, and both know to stay close by. I've never had any problems with them wandering off, so it worries me less to say, "Go dig in the dirt, while I do the dishes".

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  18. I remember my sister and I wandering off and spending the day playing in the woods during summer breaks. We'd make it home in time for dinner whether on our own or when we heard mom yelling our names. LOL And I totally agree, I can't imagine ever letting Dylan just run out to play like that.

    On a side note - I like the new blog look. :)

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