In case you haven’t heard, parents have been getting into BIG trouble based on the simple fact that they are allowing their children to play outside, at parks, in yards..wherever..unattended. If there isn’t an adult around, another adult will call the police. And ARRESTS have been made.
What the f$%k people? Is that really necessary? Weren’t you allowed to play outside when you were young? Didn’t you go to the neighborhood park to play while your mom was in the kitchen making dinner and your dad was on his way home from work? I did. And I lived to talk about it.
Which brings me to this..this past weekend, my 1o year old son was bored. His friends were busy and couldn’t come over to play and he was sick of sitting on the couch playing video games. He was also sick of being indoors. It was beautiful out and he wanted to play in the commons area of our neighborhood.
HE WANTED TO PLAY OUTSIDE.
Normally, when my kid asks permission to play outside, I tell him ABSOLUTELY. Kids need to be outside, running around. Especially now that school is back in session and they are cooped up inside their classrooms with Common Core being shoved down their throats. They need that fresh air. They need the exercise. They need to do something more than stare at a screen. They need to be kids and to use their imaginations.
I actually had to think twice. I had to argue with myself as to whether or not my son playing outside was actually as good of an idea as it sounds. Even though I KNEW it was a GREAT idea.
GOD FORBID a neighbor saw my kid outside, playing on the swing set or wandering around the commons area without an adult. And, that judgmental, overprotective, controlling busy body decided that it was neglect or something that my son was outside alone, unattended and so they called the police.
Because my son wants to be doing what a kid should be doing. Playing outside. (GASP) Unsupervised. (GASP GASP) In the commons area of our neighborhood. (GASP GASP GASP). Where I can actually see him from my kitchen window. Because, I make him stay in an area sort of close-ish to our house.
So, despite the nagging paranoia tumbling around in my brain, I took my chances. I made him put on shoes and a jacket, though. I wouldn’t want to add more fuel to a potential fire. It was a nippy morning and there was some dew on the grass.
I let him go outside.
Without an adult.
And, he roamed the commons looking for stray cats. Or frogs. Or toads. Or maybe a turtle. And he played with sticks, turning them into swords to battle zombies.
Then, guess what happened?
He came back in after about 45 minutes.
It was a rinse and repeat throughout the weekend.
My kid played outside. By himself.
OH, the HORROR.
Luckily, no one reported us to the police. Or the Secret Service. Or Child Protection Services. And if they did, hopefully they were laughed at.
Parents, people, friends…need to lighten up. Calling the cops on parents who allow their kids to play…that’s wrong on so many levels. You’re creating a unwarranted paranoia amongst other parents AND our children. There are so many other things to worry about in this world. Young kids playing outside should be the least of your worries.
And then there’s the whole…MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. Seriously. Worry about what your own children are doing. If we want to allow our children the permission to run wild in backyards. Or to go to a park, a block away…then that’s our business. If we trust our kids enough to give them this little bit of freedom, then back off. Our kids, not yours.
Yeah, this whole issue of grown up tattletales is tiresome and distressing. It’s creating an environment full of distrust and, well…paranoia. I understand if a parent is abusing their child, then that’s an entirely different monster. Call the appropriate authorities.
But when my kid wants to play outside and I have to worry about what other parents are going to do or say, then we have a problem.
I want my kid to have a happy, carefree childhood for as long as he possibly can. Part of that happy for my kid is to be able to go outside and pretend play. Part of that happy is for my kid to have parents that allow him some freedom to do that.
Shame on other parents for trying to ruin our children’s happy.
Shame on other parents for trying to make it a crime to allow our children to play.
I’d just like to know..to understand…what has happened in our society over the past couple years that something as simple as letting kids play outside by themselves in now bordering on parental neglect?
Because…it isn’t. Not even close.
Neglect is NOT allowing your child to play outside. But, that’s your choice. And, I’m not going to report you to the authorities.