Sunday, April 06, 2014

While reading "The Over-Protected Kid" in the April "Atlantic" magazine I realized that this may have been the one part of parenting that I got right, although I may have gone a bit overboard in allowing my children freedom.  I used to plop my one year old in an umbrella stroller and send his 6 year old sister off around the neighborhood to take him for a walk.  She wasn't yet allowed to cross the street by herself so the walk was accomplished by staying on the same sidewalk going in and out of all of the dead end courts in the neighborhood and then retracing her steps to get home.  The handles on the stroller were about at her shoulder height and she would barely be able to see over the back of the stroller.  They'd be gone a half-hour or so and I loved the chance to have them out of the house for a bit.   If I did that now I'd probably be arrested for child abuse.  

1 comment:

Hattie said...

We lived in Germany and Switzerland in apartment complexes that had big playgrounds for the kids where no traffic was allowed. Ideal. All their playmates and play equipment were there. We mothers could go out and socialize on the benches or watch over them from our windows. Shopping was in "minisupermarkets" within walking distance. This is how they deal with high density populations over there.
But in this country the fact is that the traffic has become too dense in most places for kids to run free. We just used to grab our bikes and go all over Berkeley and Albany when I was a kid, along with all the mellow dogs that were not even on leashes. I was telling a neighbor with two young children about this, and she was incredulous. That freedom was long gone even before she was born.
As Kat Stevens said, "Where do the children play?" We worry about predators, but the real danger to kids is accidents, especially accidents involving vehicles.