Friday, April 27, 2012

Your Turn

So, with all the kids that seem to be missing or taken all the time, I thought back to when I was a kid and how we used to always play outside all the time and totally unattended from dawn to dusk. So, my question to you is do you let your kids play outside unattended? Would you? Did you?

68 comments:

msgirl said...

If my kid was with other kids on the same block, I'd sure let him play outside. Unfortunately there were no kids when he was young, and I missed that for him.

As for me, hell yeah, I was always playing on my block unattended. I even walked to and from my elementary school by myself. This was in the early 60s.

A friend of mine insists the stats are the same, it just gets more pr these days. I say BS to that.

evergrey said...

I used to play all day unattended as well, but there's no way I let my kids do that now. Granted they are 7 and under, but I can't even let them out in the front yard alone even though I live in a relatively safe neighborhood and have awesome neighbors.

I just think of some crazy driving by in a van or something and pluck them away when my back is turned or I'm in the bathroom.

Shudder.

I think it's kind of sad for my kids - they won't have the same sense of independence that I got growing up.

evergrey said...

@msgirl - I call BS on the stats too.

Nutty_Flavor said...

I've just started letting my 7-year-old daughter walk the last 300 feet of her journey to school alone, after I take her through the last big intersection. It makes my heart beat fast, watching her bounce away with her purple backpack on her back, but she's so proud of her small independence and her ability to be "in charge" of herself for 2 or 3 minutes each day.

My take is, she needs to learn to take care of herself, and I'm going to help her do that in small steps. I can't do that by accompanying her everywhere.

Audrey said...

I used to be gone all day in the summer on my bike with my friends. No cell phones or helmets either. I don't think more kids are being abducted today, we just didn't hear about them as much then.

EmEyeKay said...

Where we are now, yes. Where we used to live, no. There's no traffic to worry about here, lots of it at our old house. Was more worried about someone getting run over than being scooped up (though I thought about it a lot, probably too much).

When I was growing up, mom didn't see us for hours, but we lived in the country.

hunter said...

From personal experience as a young girl who played in a safe neighborhood with "safe" neighborhood kids I will only say this:

You do your best as a parent but sometimes shit happens.

hunter said...

@EmEyeKay - "When I was growing up, mom didn't see us for hours, but we lived in the country."

Yup, me too and um... that didn't work out so well.

However, I am a happily grown woman and reasonably well adjusted so whatever.

anonlady said...

I used to play outside growing up in the 60s/70s. My 8 year old daughter can play with her friends in our back yard (which is gated) or her friends back yards. They don't play out front unless there is parental supervision. We live in the Houston burbs. I am over protective. I was sexually abused when I was young and I'm going to do whatever I can to protect her. She does not live in a bubble. She plays with friends, is in sports and activities.

She has a cell phone when she is at friends (she has a medical condition and it gives me peace of mind - I also want her to be able to call me if she feels she's in a bad situation. I tell her she can tell me anything, though I'm sure she won't.

Privacy said...

Yes, my son plays outside. He's 11. I don't let him roam the neighborhood alone yet, though. But I've also drilled it into his head that if anyone tries to touch him, he is to make as much noise as possible. Punch, scream, kick, bite, scratch, FIGHT. Whatever sob story the person tells him, he knows to politely ignore. I'll never forget seeing video from some car wash of a girl who was abducted. Guy came up to her and simply led her away. Broke my heart.

RenoBlondee said...

Yes, I let my 7 year old son play outside in our yard with his neighbor friend that's 9. We live outside of the city and down a private road, so it's a little more reassuring to us. We still peek out of the window and walk outside every 5 to 10 minutes too.

And yes when I was little we rode our bikes and went in the woods until dinner time.

Christine! said...

I am greatful for where I live- and the privacy of the 5 acres we live on...my daughter gets to roam and be free- use her imagination and all that goes with playing in fresh air. I am also grateful the bus comes out to pick up our child- one more indepentdent step for her!
I feel sorry for parents & caregivers who have fear, on a daily basis about a child simply being outside- what has the world come to?
We all need to do our part to make it safe for kids to be kids!

Agent**It said...
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Privacy said...

As for me, I can never remember my parents telling me I couldn't go somewhere either with friends or by myself. I remember riding my bike to the YMCA when I was, oh, 8 or 9. I can't remember how far it was, but it was far enough that I had to cross some pretty busy traffic.

seaward said...

Well, when I was a kid I lived in the country and barely had neighbors. Now I live in the suburbs, a pretty close distance to a BUSY road. I'll let my kid play outside when he gets older, unattended, as long as I trust him not to leave the neighborhood.

Susan said...

I live in a small town of 12,000 peeps. It is a town where everyone, and I mean everyone knows everyone. Me and my sisters were out playing all the time for hours on end in my neighborhood, in our friends' neighborhoods. Wherever. We also walked home from school.

I fully intend to let my son play outside. I live in the same small town I grew up in. My neighborhood is two circles/cul de sacs with a few playgrounds. Kids are outside playing all the time. And that's how I like it.

I am a believer in there were just as many crazy child predators when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s as there are now, it's just better documented. We have way more resources.

I also like that I live in place where everyone is looking out for each other.

Alissa said...

When i was a kid (early 2000's) i was allowed to play out all the time till around 9:00pm. I honestly can't count the amount of times i was approached by creepy old bastards. Would i let my kids play out? yeah, probably.

Ms Cool said...

I roamed free. I won't let my son, though. I live in a more suburban area with a lot of traffic. Heck, the bank near my home just got robbed. My son will stop and talk to ANYONE. He is great with adults. I am constantly talking to him about strangers but I still worry.

We've let him ride his bike around the block by himself but then I sit there waiting for him.

Ms Cool said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B23 said...

We have a large backyard but honestly, my 5 yr old doesn't want to be anywhere alone ever. He says he wants to go out and play but he's back in the house in 5 minutes. I'm pretty much convinced he's never leaving home.

Lurky Loo said...

When I was a kid back in the 70s I used to walk everywhere. I didn't live close to my friends so I had to walk or ride my bike to get there.

There were two times that I had something scary happen. One guy was naked from the waist down siting in his car. I didn't know this and he called me over. Fortunately he didn't try to make a grab for me, he probably could have. I was just a kid and wasn't thinking. Another time when I was walking home it was around the time that our local news mentioned some possible child predator sightings in the area. A car was driving down the road and it made me really nervous the way it was creeping along. Fortunately one of my dad's buddies was fishing in the channel nearby and I talked to him until the car left.

All a round about way of saying that things werren't quite as golden as we remember them, and that these days we really need to keep a sharp eye out for children because the predators seem to have gotten even bolder these days.

MISCH said...

Since I live in the city...no.

Syko said...

As a child growing up in the '40s and '50s, I roamed free from sunup until after sundown. I went downtown to the movies when I was only 6, alone. I only recall one scary event, I was in my teens and had gone downtown to window shop with my cousins, and some guy was sitting in a car with no pants on. But nothing bad ever happened.

For my own kids, yes, they played outside alone. But I made them go in groups to trick-or-treat, and if they wanted to see a movie, I went with them.

Now? I'm not sure I'd ever let my kids out of my sight. My younger grandson has just recently started getting to school on his own, and he's 16. It's a scary world.

urban chaos said...

Sadly, no.

My oldest is seven and we live in a large city a few hours from where I grew up. A defining moment of my teen years were rapes of HS aged girls running from crew practice and culminated with a serial rapist/killer and his wife taking a teen the weekend before Easter who was walking home from school.

People can throw out stats all they want but that and a current trial in our legal system about a young girl who was taken yards from her school and killed are more than enough for me to not take that risk.

nolachickee said...

I too was a child in the 70s. My mom's rule was get home when it got dark. Nothing creepy happened to me until I was 16. As a friend and I walked down a busy street, a freak drove really slow along side of us and kept motioning for us to get in the car.

My friend still lives in the same hood we grew up in. She says that it's really changed for the worse, and you can't let your kids roam free now since there are many more freaks out and about preying on kids.

Casual Observer said...

I grew up in a small town with a million kids in my neighborhood. I rode my bike ALL day long all over the place and never worried one second over my safety. It's too bad more kids today can't grow up like that. It felt very free.

Agent**It said...

@Syko-Love it,you are(slightly)older than me. Now I feel more comfie:)

@Alissa-Love it, "growing up in the "early" 2000's". Bless you, sweetie.

You gotta love the CDAN diversity !!!

billybob said...

I would cycle from my home to my previous home which was more than twenty miles away. It would take all day and I would arrive home with a lovely tan.....down one side of my body! I was aware of stranger danger probably because the notorious Moors murders in the UK had made a huge mark on parents and society in general. We also had a river flowing at the bottom of our street and us kids would play for hours, catching frogspawn and generally getting a good soaking. Ahhhhhhh sweet memories. I haven’t got kids, if I did I would be the most neurotic mother ever! I had my nephews for the weekend recently and they went to the shop which is 200 yards from my front door. I told them not to talk to anyone especially anyone that asked them to go and look at puppies(!?!) and insisted they took their mobile phones with them.

lalaland said...

Before high school i was outside with the kids on my block every chance i got. even though a good portion of that time was spent in one kid's yard (it was the biggest on the block), things still could have turned pretty ugly. this was the late 90s and i was 11 or 12. My friend with the big yard had a neighbor.. a guy who was in his 60s who all of the parents seemed to love.. he would walk over to the fence and watch us play from the other side. he would give all of us gifts for holidays, although the gifts for the girls (i was one of only 2 girls on my entire block and the only other girl, my friends little sister, was around 8) were way more extravagant. one day he was standing by the fence again while we played wiffleball or something and out of no where he started telling us dirty stories about how he was having sex when he was 12 and asked us if we had (the answer was a big NO all around). he started making comments about my boobs and how he wanted to see them. the worst part came when i was walking my friends little sister back to her house and he came outside as we walked by (he was always looking out the window if he wasnt out there) and he actually attempted to slap my ass! i spun around and backed away so he missed. i was kind of in shock for a second and he wasted no time in going after the 8 year old and he slapped her right on the butt. i gave him a little shove and scooped up the girl and ran. sadly we never told our parents about it.. i wish i had an explanation for that but honestly, i dont think i even considered it at the time. ughh so many sick people in the world.. i would want to let any future kids of mine get out and enjoy the fresh air and have independence too but im not sure i could.. id wanna watch them like a hawk :/
sorry for the long post

Maja. With a J. said...

Don't have kids, but if I did and we lived in our current neighbourhood, yes, I'd let them play outside.

redronnie said...

My daughter grew up in a different era in a small town. We moved to the "big" city when she was nine, we developed different rules and a different social structure. My daughter is very proactive with my grand-daughters, they are aware women are strangers too, in Canada we have had two high profile murder cases which involved women enticing the victims to vehicles where their boyfriend/husband were waiting.

lalaland said...

he did get hit by a car and was killed not very long after.. it could have been a year or so later but i think it was even less. karma baby :o)

Sandy said...

My sisters and I used to play outside in our LA suburb (yes, until the streetlights came on) but now no kid in the family is allowed to play anywhere but the back yard.

Yesterday I was driving by an elementary school in a quickly-gentrifying part of the city, and noticed a little girl who seemed to be about 3-1/2 running around alone across the street. I slowed down and soon she was joined by her barely-5-year-old brother on a scooter. They ran wildly up the street, ignoring cars and driveways. No adult supervision at all - these tiny kids were totally alone.

I pulled up next to them and asked "Do you guys live near here?" The boy pointed vaguely down the street. I told them firmly, "I want you to go home now and stay there!" They looked at me solemnly and then obeyed. I watched them until they turned into what I hope was their driveway.

Yeah, I'm paranoid, but there have been several cases of attempted child abduction in this general vicinity. No one should allow children under 10 to run around alone in any LA neighborhood without adult supervision. Maybe their parents don't give a damn if they're snatched or run over, but I sure as hell do.

Lizzie said...

My kids almost never played unattended. I was so scared for them. When they were little, child abduction was a huge thing happening in America. Sad that it's happening again.
When I was little, we left in the morning, played until lunch, left again, came home for supper. Sad our children can't do that anymore.

Ms Cool said...

It is weird how many people mention dudes in their cars without their pants on. That happened to me, too, and scared the crap out of me as a kid.

califblondy said...

We always played outside, but when the Mum called ollie ollie oxen free you'd better come running or risk getting a wuppin'.

When I was very young a little girl was kidnapped and killed, which was highly unusual in my little town and the Mum freaked and I remember being so scared. We always got the talk about strangers.

Me said...

we live on a court and all the kids run back and forth between the houses. trampoline in one yard, pools in some, play houses, forts, rope swing off the canyon behind one yard, attic hide-away. its really a great place to be a kid. there is a park a block away, and this is a safe neighborhood, but i don't let them go there. to many bushes and too many freaks.

honestly, my biggest fear is my freak of an ex husband snatching them. lately he's been mentioning a place in mexico that a friend of his owns, and how he's going to take them there. (custody order violation to take them out of the country).

OMAMA is BROKO said...

yes. it's not like we didn't have perv's driving around ready to grab us when we were kids.

just educate them. tell the lil bugger's the truth. as scary as that may be.

Texshan said...

I grew up in Sugar Land, a suburb of Houston, back in the 70s and 80s. It's a pretty busy place now, but back then it was basically quiet farmland -- lots of crops, armadillos, and jackrabbits, a few small subdivisions, and not much else. All of the kids in my neighborhood were kicked out of the house every day in the summer and basically told not to come back until the porchlights came on (no streetlights).

Then the summer before 7th grade my parents had a pool put in the backyard, and all of the neighborhood kids congregated in our backyard every day. Houston is damn hot, so the pool was a big draw, and my mom didn't work outside the home, so the other parents knew there was adult supervision.

It was a pretty carefree time -- you didn't really hear about kidnappings or the like back then. And msgirl, your friend is correct -- there hasn't been a real growth in child kidnappings, murders or sexual assaults. It's just that with the news cycle we have now, they get publicized much more.

That being said, if I had a kid, I'd only let him play in an enclosed backyard without adult supervision.

Tempestuous Grape said...

I would never let my dogs play unattended outside, no.

McSpanky said...

I don't think I even need to bother answering this one.

My parenting motto and it's a good one, you pregnant folk, so listen up: If it's not bleeding or cut off, don't open mommy's door. Stay out, baby!

CJ said...

We played outside till dusk in the early 80s. We live in the country now with no neighbors, and my 4.5 year old is allowed to play on the front porch. But nowhere near the road.

AndrewBW said...

I'll tell you what I wouldn't let my kids do: Star in a Disney TV series!

msgirl said...

Great comments all. Then if the stats are the same, there is definitely a different feel - I grew up Brooklyn and don't remember EVER getting the stranger talk. I do remember once walking to the library by myself and saw a guy waving his penis around, looking straight at me. It was uncomfortable and I hastened home, but I can't say I freaked. Perhaps it's because growing up in NYC even kids get street smarts?

But I drilled my son about strangers, someone asking if he could help find his lost dog, bad people may in fact look like a nice person, and to yell FIRE if anyone approached him.

Miss MacLean said...

I am in my early 20's and grew up in a tiny Canadian town. We were all over the place, playing in the woods, building forts, riding our bikes everywhere. My parents had very few rules for me, and were entirely too trusting. I always call myself their "test baby" being an only child. When I was 10, some of my best friends were 14 year old boys, who were my parents friends kids. If they only knew the trouble we use to get into. That being said, those boys were and still are very protective over me. I can remember one of them actually screaming at my mother, when our hands slipped as she was helping me out of a pool. My hands were wet, and I fell back and hit my head. He told her I could of died. They were never inappropriate and wouldn't tolerate anyone that was. I just lucked out. I know the situation could have been much different.

In the future, when I have kids, I will never be that. I know the stuff we use to get into, and cannot fathom trusting my 10 year old girl in the hands of a bunch of 14 year old boys. But in my opinion, kids do need some degree of freedom. Its how they learn. I may not agree with what my parents did, but I did learn to take care of myself.

With all this stranger talk, I feel the need to point out, most things that happen to kids, are not caused by strangers. The whole "stranger danger" campaign basically taught a whole generation, that only strangers do bad things. Sadly its far from the case. Kids need to be taught what is inappropriate, and that its never ok, no matter who the person is.

The Fame Whore said...

I was thinking about this the other day and how my grandmother let me take mail up to the corner mailbox all alone when I was about 7. She didn't even come out on the front porch to watch me do it. I can't imagine anyone would do something like that now.

I let mine play outside, but when they do, our collie and/or german shepherd go out with them. I know if I hear lots of barking, then something's going on.

One time the collie was barking his head off so I went to the front window to see what was wrong. He had herded all three kids into a group and was standing in front of them barking at the meter reader who wouldn't get out of his truck.

DavidsFan said...

I did play outside unsupervised. It was a heaven back in those days. I was in Tokyo recently and was reminded what a safe society theirs are when seeing a 7-8 yrs old girl, still in her school uniform, riding the subway alone at 7-8pm - apparently home after spending time with friends. It was amazing. It said a lot about their world and ours.

When my children turned 9-10, I let them played in the front unsupervised- as long as I was inside and could hear them. To do that, I kept our garage doors open and installed a screen door at the door between the garage and the house so that door can be opened as well -without worry about bugs in the house. The best $100 investment we ever made.

Pogue Mahone said...

Our now 17 YR old was almost abducted right out of our fenced-in backyard when he was a YR old.I had just gone in for a moment to pee and left the older kids watching him(they brought him in when the guy tried to jump the fence and grab him). It was terrifying and since then I don't even leave them in the yard unless I'm there(and when I go in so do they) and they're never anywhere alone and don't do sleepovers.It's scary how easy it is to happen!! When I was a kid in the 70's it was safer and I was always out by myself.

allthesun said...

I absolutely would not let my theoretical kiddo play unsupervised. I got flashed as a kiddo walking alone to the movies and why trust strangers to look out for our kudos safety? That is mental!

selenakyle said...

Shoot, we'd be a couple miles away from home sometimes when I was little.

I just thank Jah that none of us or no one we ever knew was nabbed, etc.
("etc." meaning all the awfulness I can think of but just leavin' it at "nabbed").

selenakyle said...

Hell to the yeah, @ AndrewBW! You said it, there.

I'd let them take their chances in the neighborhood any day over shilling for Disney or Nick!

Boriqua said...

My sisters and I used to be able to play outside for hours at a time with little to no supervision. That said, things are very different nowadays, and I wouldn't feel comfortable letting Coraline play outside unsupervised.

feraltart said...

Born in 1969 and grew up in a small town. Would be out all day. Go into the bush and there were mine shafts covered with a bit of tin, our parents would say, "Don't go near the mine shafts" and we didn't. No-one ever fell down them. Played in the creek behind our house and got leeches on us and dad would say just let them suck the blood out and they'll drop off, poor leeches. Played in mud, grabbed golf balls for my dad from the golf course in the stagnant eel infested water on the course. Great time growing up and I am fiercely independent. Have no children but am feral about looking after my friend's kids. Sad for them that they will never have the experience I had.

Del Riser said...

I was one of the lucky ones. I grew up by Green Lake in Seattle. My girlfriend and I at age 7 and 8 walked to the lake in our bathing suits every day in the summer. We would go to Woodland Park and lead the ponies at the pony ride for free rides when business was slow.
In summer we got up had breakfast, did a chore or two and played outside until lunch. Then back out, didn't come in till supper. After supper back outside to play until dark.
I took my brother to the Ridgemont theater every Sat. for the double feature. No adults along.
My son and daughter had quite a bit of freedom, but not as much as me. They grew up in a neighborhood where we knew everyone on both sides of the street for a couple of blocks, so they were pretty safe.
I would not want to have small children today. I was so lucky, I loved my childhood, and was actually able to be a child.

msgirl said...

Del Riser! I live one block west of Greenlake!

Del Riser said...

@msgirl, it was a truly great place to grow up. You live a little closer than I did, which makes it all the more remarkable that we walked there every day. I knew every square inch of Woodland Park.
They used to have free swimming lessons every summer at Greenlake.
It was a great time and place to be a child.

disenchanted said...

When I was a kid we were out all hours, all over two different neighborhoods until late night. Now as an adult, I won't even go back to that area in the day time.

Jesse D said...

When we were kids growing up in Louisiana, you played outside all day all summer or mom would find work for you to do, like washing the car or the dog. We lived in the 'burbs. I rode my bike easily ten or more miles a day, played in the woods, etc. I had a paper route at 13, got up at 4 and rode five miles in the dark delivering papers. Would I let my 14 year old do that now? Hell no, she doesn't have that much common sense. We live in semi-rural TN now, and I let her go on walks outside with her four year old sister for short periods of time. But I would not let them be gone all day like when I was a kid.

WUWT? said...

I agree with hunter, stuff can still happen with vigilant parents.

My mom let us roam, in the 70s. We went MILES from home on our bikes, for hours at a time. Or we played in the vacant lot behind our house. It was not safer to be closer. Stuff happened.

My sister was never going to let her daughters roam. Drove them the four blocks to school, "never" let them out of her sight...but playing in the backyard with the kid next door, with sis watching "now and then" from the window, stuff happened, and she missed it.

Stranger danger is real (one example: a guy at a bowling alley my sister was dropped off at with a friend at 11ish years old, in the seventies, because that's what parents did, noticed that she and her friend were looking for lighter-weight glittery bowling bowls, and let them know he had "a couple pink balls" back in his van they might like). But the stranger talk doesn't protect kids from the older brother of their best friend or neighbor, or the friend of their older brother. The worst stuff happens when the people you trust are not the people you CAN trust.

DueDiligence said...

I was a kid in the 60s and 70s. We went everywhere by ourselves. The thought of some predator getting us seemed very remote. This was in a small city (30,000) in the South. Child abductions was thought of as a "California" or "NY" problem.

We don't have kids (yet) but we will not be that free wheeling with them. It is a very different world than 40 years ago.

Mooshki said...

We ran wild as kids, and my next-door neighbor got molested by some guy in an empty house on our block. The creeps were always around, we just weren't bombarded with the news about them.

Skelliblog said...

I agree that not all strangers are bad, but one should always be wary. However, since the sexual abuse was happening inside my home, I stayed outside as much and as long as possible.

Now, I would not leave my 10 yr old daughter unattended outside at all, even though we live and a "safe" community. Our two loud blarge protective dogs go out with her, I sit on our porch and she stays within view.

We've had "the stranger talk", "the good touch/bad touch" talk, and the "the world is just not a safe place" talk. So, she is always aware of who is around and what she is doing.

However, I fear for the safety of any one who may decide she is a fair target, considering she is months away from getting her black belt in karate! She is one tough kid, though she doesn't look it. Between her and the dogs, anyone trying to get her WILL end up in the hospital.

csproat said...

I had a bucolic childhood near a large university I the 70s
As kids we would have parades up and down the street.

An older single man who lived up the street would give us candy every day when he got home from work; he was a great guy who wouldn't harm a flea.

I cannot imagine kids being allowed to do the things we did back then.

I have family in the middle east though, and in that culture children seem to be very safe....they allow the building manager to take their children to the bus stop. babies are like public property...people stop you and want to hold your baby...it was a big adjustment for people coming from north American where you might assume people acting like that we're interested in kidnapping your children...

Amanda said...

That's really cute. What a good pup!

MirandaPriestly said...

@Texshan--I grew up in Sugar Land too!!! I live inside the loop now though

MirandaPriestly said...

And I was allowed to play outside unsupervised, but we lived on 12 acres and it was gated by an 8" fence.
And no, my 3 year old is not allowed to play outside by herself, even in the backyard bc we have a pool. It has a gate around it and she knows how to swim, but she is still only 3.

:| raven |: said...

i used to go outside and play form 9am until dinner time. my parents never had to worry about us.

now? not in a million years would i let my kids outside unattended - even living in a relatively safe area. every morning i drive to work through some residential areas and i always see kids .. little kids like 5 - 8 or 9 .. walking to school alone. it frightens me.

the world is NOT a nice place anymore. hasn't been for a very long time.

Lelaina Pierce said...

I'll never forget my mom telling me the story of Adam Walsh when I tried to wander off in a mall. That always made me a little wary. I don't recall ever being restricted too much, except when we were in Jersey. If we have kids, I guess it depends where we live and how safe I feel the neighborhood is.