Thursday, June 30, 2016

Just Being a Kid is Hard Today

Let me start out by saying that, as a kid, I pretty much was outside all-day in the summer and only thought about going home to eat and to be there when the street light came on (which we do not have in my area now).  During the school year, I walked to school from third grade through sixth grade. The school was about 3/4 of a mile away.  So, from the age of seven, I was pretty independent.

Nowadays it is much different.  We have instilled this fear in parents that our children are only safe if they are firmly attached to the parent or guardian.  No playing in the park without an adult standing next to them.  No going to the beach on a school trip less the sun damage them.  No walking to school alone because they may be grabbed by a pervert.

If you think I am exaggerating, I am not.  One of the blogs I follow on a daily basis is Free Range Kids.  I learn this stuff there and do a head-smack every time I read a post.

Today I read of an IKEA recall of dressers that may topple over and kill a child.  29,000,000 dressers to be precise.  Three deaths.  27 years of sales.

I can only imagine that at some point we will all be told to nail down everything that may possibly move.  My HDTV is too heavy for me to budge and I cannot fathom how a toddler can 'tip' it over, yet we are told to secure it firmly to whatever it is sitting on.

I raised three boys and saw my share of mishaps.  The older two boys were playing in one of those small wading pools that kids have.  One grabbed a toy and clonked the other one on the head.  In the ER, my husband and I were treated like criminals (this was around 1982?) for allowing this to happen.  I can only imagine that today we would be reported to child services if not arrested on the spot for negligence.

My oldest fell off his bike as a pre-teen and injured his shoulder, but neglected to tell anyone he was hurt cause he wanted to stay at his friend's house for the week-end instead of going to the ER.  I wondered why he was walking with his arm close to his side when I picked him up and that is when we knew something was wrong.  He had told the other mom he was just fine.

My youngest son, Charlie's dad, was the worst of the three.  There was the dive into the bathtub with a cut on the forehead.  There was going down the slide head first, with a cut on the chin.  There were the soccer injuries.  When he was about five, he was playing in the family room and I was in the room talking with a neighbor.  My friend said to me to turn around slowly and see what he was doing, but do not spook him or freak out.   My heart jumped.  There he was walking the banister over the open stairwell.

Fortunately, he got down and nothing happened.  He didn't see what the problem was.  And the apple doesn't fall to far from the tree.  Charlie has no fear and does all sorts of idiotic stuff.  He thought he might try to hang off the ledge of the climbing structure in the park.  The 5 foot high ledge.  I grabbed him and told him 'NO', which he thought was fun.  Go figure.

His mom dropped him off Monday with a bruised knee and a bump on the head from a visit to the local water park.  Yesterday, he decided to try surfing on his small wagon bed and fell off scraping his forehead.  That did seem to put some fear into him.  (should we recall all toy wagons?)

Children and adolescents will do all sorts of crazy stuff.  It is part of learning and growing up.  The experiences force them to think about consequences before they do something stupid in the future.  It is always sad when children die or are seriously injured and my heart would surely break if it happened to me.  But we cannot expect our children to be responsible adults if we do not allow them to have any responsibility as they grow up.

Walking to school, playing in the park, swimming on a beach, riding a bike (even if as an adult you admit that you got lost a few times riding around the subdivision).  It's your childhood.  You need to live it as a child, not a puppet attached by strings to mom and dad.

Just my opinion, of course.


  1. I'm with you 100% there Denise. Too much mollycoddling these days. Not to mention insufficient discipline as well.

    1. Quite the dichotomy. I watch everything you do but refuse to discipline. Makes no sense, but then perhaps the parents have none.

  2. I agree with everything you said. To a point! It is still the responsiblity of the parent to protect their children from known dangers. But there will always be tragic accidents that will take children from their parents. And it is for these parents we must offer our support!! Tragic, preventable accidents do happen!

    1. It's a very delicate balance. I am so thankful. One of the things I did not mention was my oldest being hit by a car. We were right there in the yard as he crossed the street, but a teenager came around the corner speeding and hit him. Fortunately, he was not seriously hurt. But I could hardly corral him on our lot.

  3. I don't have kids so maybe I'm not in the position to comment, but I have to agree about overprotective parenting nowadays. How did we survive growing up in the 50s and 60s? That's not to say that the invention of seat belts and air bags (for example) isn't a good thing but I think good commen sense must be utilized too.

    1. Except there are lots of folks with no common sense. Some even run for President.

    2. I really did LOL then.


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