|My bike set me free. I rode it all over town.|
I was watching the news last night and they had a story on about a mother who let her ten year old son and six year old daughter go to the park alone. For this normal parenting the mother was visited by the police, and then a few hours later by child protective services. When I Googled this incident I found many other examples of over reaction by those who pretend to be protecting the children. In another case a total stranger knocked on a woman's door and presented her with her son who was playing in the yard, telling her that children should never be left alone. The busy body then called the police who came and questioned the mother. The police then called child protection services, who also visited and questioned the woman's three children about pornography, alcohol, and drugs. Subjects the children never needed to be exposed to, until the 'authorities' introduced them.
When I was a kid I always thought my mom and dad were much too overbearing and protective. I now know that they were the complete opposite. They actually encouraged us to be independent, but I was too stupid to realize it. They let us go to the park alone, walk up to the drug store and dime store alone, and walk to friend's homes alone. Even the school allowed us to walk more than halfway home alone. In doing that we learned a lot of things.
- I learned early on about money, about how much things cost, and what change was by stopping at Rudy's candy store every day after school.
- I learned not to get into a car with a stranger because my mom told me not to. I'm not sure how many times I turned down rides from friends of my parent's, and how many times the ride was being offered by some deranged pedophile, because no matter the enticement I said no.
- I learned how to find my way around the scary woods near our house, and which leaves in those woods were good for cleaning my butt if I had to take a poop while exploring the woods.
- I learned the exact layout of all the streets for miles around, resulting in my never getting lost and my innate ability to know the difference between north and south, east and west, and where the bad dogs lived.
- I learned that all the housewives in our neighborhood spent a lot of time looking out the front window. Either that, or they were spies for my mom. Now that I think about it, they were spies for my mom.
Allowing your children to wander the streets, within reason, teaches them a whole lot of things about self-reliance, and independent thinking. It's also a great way to weed out the stupid. So parents, let the kids play and have a good time. Let them learn about the real world. Either that, or go ahead and continue to be helicopter parents, and be ready to still be babysitting them at home when they're forty years old.