Quick question #1

November 19, 2013

It’s mid-week and crazy busy, but I just wanted to put forth a quick question.

Some of the discussions I’ve had over the years – about gender specific behaviours (for both men and women) in particular – have invoked a common response:

‘It’s always been that way’.

or

‘The core of human nature has never changed’.

I agree. I do. I’ve written that on this blog many times.

BUT…

When I was a kid growing up (in the days of yore: AKA late ’70s / early ’80s), my sister and I spent a substantial portion of our time, playing on the street –  generally venturing to the end of our large street block on push bikes.

Sweet.

Question #191: So – if people haven’t inherently changed, why don’t we let our kids play on the street anymore?

I don’t know anyone who does – including myself.

Actually, I saw a report recently about a possible future rule where parents may be fined for leaving children alone  – like walking home from school.

On one hand, it’s staunchly argued that people need to just ‘relax’ and ‘move on’ about certain issues because it’s always been like that.

On the other hand, we know – statistically – that it’s actually worse out there.

Or is it?

If you agree it is worse out there – the question that must be asked, is:
WHY? What’s changed?

Therein lies the possibility of a path toward some solutions – don’t you think?

What say you?

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Deep breath

x

9 Responses to “Quick question #1”

  1. You raise an interesting question here. I honestly don’t know. I feel like it’s not safe for my children to roam as I did as kid. Now, I could be romanticizing it all (my mom claims she walked 10 miles in the snow but we lived in the deep south) …so I think it’s all a matter of perspective. I also think that there are lots of boundaries because we place them there and because I too come from the generation of latchkey kids (80s) I promised myself that my children wouldn’t have to “endure” being home alone. Alas.

    • questionsforwomen said

      I was lucky in that my grandmother lived with us as we were growing up, so there was always someone there – and we were on the road quite a fair bit.
      I don’t know either. My girls are asking more and more if they can go around the block on their bikes and we’re slowly letting go – but I agree with you, there’s no real logic behind the apprehension I feel.
      Thanks heaps for your comment. 🙂 x

  2. katedrury said

    I let my son (11) out on the weekends to wander about town, so long as he is with a friend and home by 5.00pm. I guess living in a small country town helps? Like you, when I was growing up (country town in the 70’s) we disappeared during the day and came home in time for dinner. I want my son to have the opportunity to have some of those sorts of experiences too; the exploration and adventures. I want him to be taking small risks now, whilst he is in my care. He walks to school most days. His greatest fear is the traffic. He was nearly hit by a car during the last holidays. That shook him up quite a bit. I’m thankful he wasn’t hurt and I’m kind of glad it happened; a very important lesson. (I have since taught him the Hector the Safety Cat Song and he sings it with me as a joke.) As I say we live in a small country town ~ and that was a conscious choice on my part. We know who our neighbours are, this was reinforced again recently with Halloween. Yes, some say American propaganda. I say good opportunity to get to know members of your community.

    As a child I was followed home from school one day by a guy in a van, he stopped and tried to get me into it. Luckily I ran away and he drove off. An important lesson, I learnt to observe my surroundings.

    I’m not interested in protecting my son so much so that when the time comes that he is on his own he will have no life skills. I don’t think I would be doing him any favours at all if I were to adopt this approach. Thankfully we have very good communication going on so I do believe he tells me everything that happens. I think that matters. He tells me the good things, the bad things, the funny things and the naughty things he gets up to. We were all kids once upon a time, we all had our ‘naughty’ moments. Don’t deny your kids theirs cos you’re scared of what might happen. Let them live, learn and encourage open communication so that when it matters, they will tell you. And of course have those conversations about what to do if…. but don’t scare them too much. Just ensure they are prepared. What else you gonna do?

  3. Michelle said

    I recall some great dragstar riding and walking around the corner to school from about 9 years onwards fyi the legal situation in NSW is more stringent than in other states these days. Some neighbours have had Police bring their kids back from the corner shop and warn them quite firmly that a fine of up to $22,000 can be issued for children under the age of 12 being found unattended (not only “unattended in cars” as in other states). Also our school frequently reminds of strong recommendations that no child under the age of 10 should be on roads unattended – see attached link http://www.kidsafensw.org/road-safety/pedestrian-safety/. We have King Street Newtown to cross and sadly a few incidents over the years, so I honestly can’t imagine feeling comfortable about allowing it until about highschool anyways.

    • questionsforwomen said

      That’s what I saw Michelle – I think the rules are a bit extreme. It seems to be feeding the fear.
      I do let my 10 yr old walk a few blocks to the shop and have told her what to do if she’s grabbed but if we keep getting told that, by law, we have to keep kids indoors and ‘safe’ it perpetuates the idea that it’s ‘horrible’ out there.
      Traffic is another issue and I agree it’s much worse. I, however, live in a super-quiet street and it’s like a ghost town. Most of our direct neighbours are old but I wouldn’t know about the rest because there are never kids playing on this ‘ideal’ suburban street.
      Sad. 😦
      Thanks Michelle for the link. x

  4. Amy said

    I believe the world had changed!
    Growing up I was always out in the street playing with friends or my brothers and sisters, it was the best fun and it’s sad that my girls won’t get to experience that. I’m sorry but there are so many creeps out there these days, so many pedophiles, rapists and just plain old nasty kids who have no respect for anyone!
    I know this was around back in the 80’s but it was so different at the same time, rape statistics were never this high. I’m scared to go out in my neighbourhood at night and I don’t even live in that bad an area. People these days are just so angry, back in the day you said your piece and it was done or sometimes you’d have a fight and then be mates again. These days things just et taken to the next level, knives, guns , follow you home and beat you in your driveway whether you’re male or female.
    I want to give my girls freedom but I could never live with myself if something ever happened to them, even if it is to give them some life experience or to teach them life’s lessons!
    Such a shame the world has come to this! 😦

    • questionsforwomen said

      I think you’re right, Amy, in that statistically there are more incidents of violence in the world.
      The thing we have to recognise is that it’s not natural – it’s become worse because what we allow to permeate society is worse.
      I completely hear you – and having two daughters makes it all the harder.
      xx

  5. katedrury said

    Gosh, if that were to happen where I live (country Victoria), so many parents would be in trouble. If you were to drive around here on the weekend you would see plenty of kids (10+) hanging out together, riding their bikes, playing at the park and so on. We have a chocolate shop/cafe that caters to them. It is a wonderful place for them to meet up, after school and on the weekends. I think the more kids out and about, the better, because they can keep an eye on each other and the adults keep good watch too.

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