Why don't parents let their kids be kids anymore?
Recent local news story: Mother arrested for letting her 9 year old walk 3 year old 1/4 of a mile from their home, about less than 5-6 houses away. The majority of the comments implied parents don't let their children out of their sites even when they are upwards of 14-15 years old. With crime rates actually lower than they were in 1990 what is the reason parents basically keep their kids on leashes now?
Considering our local babysitting list includes 11 year olds (admittedly that sounds a tad young to me), I can't imagine people reacting that strongly to a child slightly younger watching a toddler close to home - especially when it's a sibling. If I can have some random 11 year old come watch my toddler then I don't see why this would be a huge issue.
I completely understand being cautious but some people do seem to take it to the extreme. Who called the cops on this woman? I think it says more about the person who saw this situation and thought it to be dangerous than anything else.
I think ultimately the media makes people think the world is a lot more scary than it is. Obviously some areas are worse than others so it's good to be aware, but in most cases I think a 9 year old walking around the neighbourhood with a 3 year old sounds perfectly fine.
More of story came out. Apparently they lived in city and child was walking down sidewalk to McDonalds. Which is a bit of a risk, but not worthy of arresting parent over. If it was just the 9 yr old I wonder if they still would have arrested mother.
The fear of the predator lurking out there to abuse children leads to "never let kids be alone".
Then there is the nanny state, assuming 20 year olds can't handle adult life without careful supervision (though they can have free love per liberal standards). You get college students who freak out over word choice and hearing dissenting opinions, views reinforced by the state and administrators who see the average person as an idiot.
So you get Child Protective Services who assume the adults are idiots and children even more vulnerable when raised by those idiots. And to avoid charges, the parents only have the defense "I was a helicopter hovering over the kid".
The real "predator" is really almost always someone who is either family or knows the family. So the kids are actually safer around strangers based on statistics. But CPS does seem to step in when there is no abuse and not step in when there reallyis
I'm guessing there's more to the story than is said here. Maybe it's a bad neighborhood. Maybe there's city/city-like traffic. Maybe it's a country-ish road with no sidewalks, and both kids were at risk of being hit by a car. OR, maybe the nine-year-old didn't know enough to hold the three-year-olds hand while walking. (Young kids, including six-year-olds, can have a tendency to suddenly dart out in the road.) Maybe the older kid was "torturing" the little one (as older kids often do when out of view of the parents and/or if they're been required to let a younger sibling join them. Maybe there's a little pond or other water nearby, and they stopped to hang around at it....
Could have been anything. Not all neighborhoods or kids are alike. I'm fairly certain no police would show up if I allowed a nine-year-old to walk with a three-year-old for a few houses on my street, but it's a quiet, residential, street where everyone kind of knows everyone else for the most part.
All that said, a nine-year-old is generally considered too young (by law) to have a three-year-old in his/her care. The "best nine-year-old in the world" isn't capable of knowing what a three-year-old might do.
People who don't adequately understand children are often prone to thinking that other people watch children too closely. The reason for that is they're just unaware of what they don't see, don't know, don't realize and/or don't think will possibly happen. That's not an insult toward anyone who doesn't understand children well enough or toward anyone who thinks, for example, that a nine-year-old should have a three-year-old in her care. (Yes, there IS such a thing as "over-protecting" a child, but a) this isn't it, and b) much of the time what looks to people who aren't big on protecting children like "over-protecting" is actually just protecting them (which is what parents should do). It's not much of a childhood if someone gets killed or seriously injured when hit by a car, or if a kid falls into a nearby pond and disappears, or if a predator gets them both.
People often grow up seriously resenting their own, say, mother for not allowing them to do some outrageous thing they wanted to do.. So, they grow up with a real "thing" about protecting kids and not just letting them do whatever they want to do at whatever age they want to do it. Parents have to be grown-ups and separate from any "thing" they grew up with - and protect their kids within reason.
I understand protecting the child, however still never letting children (big kids) out of our site is borderline abuse. How are they ever going to be kids if they are handheld constantly? PPl commenting saying they didn't let 13-15 yr olds out sight!
I believe it has a lot to do with an influx of news 24/7, Internet, and newspapers in a battle to increase advertising profits.
The number one thing that draws people's attention is "shocking news". And if there is nothing horrific happening your local town they'll report on something that took place across the country or around the world. People naturally have become overprotective and paranoid.
Perception is reality. You watch enough negative stuff in the news and people living in small suburban towns behave as if they're living in some major urban area known for high crime.
There was a period in the early 2000s that some parents took to walking their children on leashes like dogs!
When I was in kindergarten I use to walk to and from school which was about 5 or 6 blocks away. When I was 9 and older I would ride my bike just about everywhere.
We knew how to catch city buses and local trains as preteens.
Back then 12 and 13 year old girls were babysitters.
In fact during the summer months it was so lax that TV stations would run public service announcements:
"It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?" LOL!
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