Yahoo reported: A Maryland family is under investigation for child neglect this week after allowing their kids, ages 6 and 10, to walk together, but without adults, to neighborhood playgrounds.
While the decision to let these children walk from the park (alone) was not a good decision, do you find these parents unfit? Should C.P.S. have interviewed the children to determine if the children were in danger (without the parents knowledge)?
The parent(s) explanation:
“The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood,” mom Danielle Meitiv told the Washington Post. “I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.”
Reading the story, I realized we live in a different society now. At first I thought they were a little young to walk by themselves to and from the park. At that age, are they aware of predatory behavior? Are those children capable of deciphering adults looking after their children and those who mean to do harm. Are they physically able to fight off an attacker at those ages?
I can recall walking to the store with my sister, a few blocks away. Maybe not at the age of 6 and 10 but maybe a few years older than these two children. Do you remember the days when parents left children in the house and explained not to let anyone in and we'll be back in a little while? The house didn't burn down, no one got shot or bothered the area where the guns were kept in the house (yes, we knew exactly where they were), and everyone was fine. We live in fear, afraid that someone will snatch our children and/or harm them it makes us want to protect them every single second of the day because it only takes a few minutes for a child to be coerced by a stranger and never be seen again.
Years ago I remember the terror I experienced while watching a child's friend play on a crowded playground. I was watching her play and began talking with another parent briefly. I only took my eyes off of her for literally a minute or so and my heart stopped when I saw her talking to a man in jacket and shades (looking like a pedophile trying to lure her away) a little ways away from the playground. I felt like running over to her but I didn't want to make her panic but I ordered her to come here "NOW!" All that happened while there were at least 30 kids playing on the playground and other parents watching as well. The man left the playground right after I called her away.
What do you think? Do you think these parents are grossly irresponsible? Do you think it was an error in judgement or do you think people are over-reacting? Reflecting on your childhood and fast forwarding to the present, what are your thoughts?
I saw this story when it first aired. I'm no expert in this area. And we know nothing about their life at home and how hands on (or hands off) the parents are. If we were basing a call to CPS purely on this one reported incident, I don't think it would be enough. My brother and I walked to school everyday at the same age as these kids. Today's world is definitely different. So I believe the parents could potentially at least do SOMETHING to help keep them safe. E.G. walk with them or follow closely behind in their car, or give them something to use in case of an emergency. We don't even know if they've talked to their kids about the dangers of strangers and the importance to remain as visible as possible while walking to school.
So is it neglect? Who knows. That's up to a judge to decide.
I walked my brother to the park when he was younger than six. I was about 8. I remember trying to get his little flip-flops to stay on his feet. We had to cross a major street to get to the park, but the park was only a block away.
We walked about ten blocks to school every single day, rain or shine, alone or with each other. I don't remember any lectures about not taking rides from strangers. I don't think my mother even had a fear of the possibility. Once, she sent me to swim practice about seven miles away alone on the bus. I was about eight.
One time a nineteen year old babysitter took my seven year old daughter and my eleven year old son to the beach on the beach bus. She left them both on the beach and went to the Santa Monica Pier with the friend she brought along. Eventually, my son left his sister there on the beach on a towel to find his babysitter! My daughter told me she had observed a man eyeing her. Luckily, the babysitter, her friend and my son returned shortly afterwards.
I was quite alarmed and fired the babysitter after that.
I was always conscious that my daughter could be easily snatched away, but I let her walk to school by herself.
You never see elementary school kids walking to school by themselves!
Q. Should C.P.S. have interviewed the children to determine if the children were in danger (without the parents knowledge)?
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