Are we hurting our own kids?


Haggis McBagpipe
#1
One of the most disturbing things I can think of is the lack of children playing outside. You can drive through family neighbourhoods, and you'll see kids, but they are always with their parents.

You don't see kids careening along on bicycles. You see kids carefully riding behind the parents, all in a row. You don't see kids wrapped up in elaborate all-day pretend games. You see organized fun.

Kids don't develop their imaginations and sense of self under constant supervision, they develop it when they're out and about, when they're free. Adult-supervised activities stifle kids, for the activities are invariably what adults think kids would enjoy, and very rarely what kids themselves would be doing if adults weren't around.

People keep kids inside in front of the television and computer to keep them safe from 'the world out there, and all the weirdos in it'. If a child gets grabbed, suddenly every child is kept under lock and key to keep them 'safe'. Schools are fenced in, walled in, keeping kids 'safe' from life. Kids are taught to be afraid, very afraid.

People tell me, 'It has to be this way, why, it is a dangerous world out there!' I say, what is happening is more dangerous. People are doing a wrong thing to kids (sedentary lifestyle, junk food, too much supervision) in order to protect them from the shadows, from an enemy looming mainly in the parent's paranoid imagination.

People say, no, it is more dangerous now than it ever was in the old days. I don't believe that for a minute. I can recall so many hairy experiences when I was a kid.

At ten or so, my friend and I were hanging around our favourite woods behind Park Royal mall (yes there were actually woods there back then). A nasty looking guy came along, and we were chased, really chased hard, by him, he was quite intent on catching us. We got out just fine (young legs being what they are), told my mum, who said, well, that was something, be careful in there. It never occurred to her, and she was a very smart woman, to tell us to stay out of the woods.

If that happened today, the woods would be closed permanently to kids, maybe bulldozed just in case, there'd be a city-wide manhunt, the kids would receive 'counselling', the schools would issue warnings, the city would, essentially, shut down, and everybody would be scared out of their minds.

So the question is, are we, as a society, harming our children in our goal of keeping them safe? Is it worth condemning Little Johnny to a childhood spent in the security of his home to avert the one in a million chance that something could happen to him unsupvervised outside? Why are we so afraid, and why are we so willing to harm our own children in an over-reaction to our fears?
 
Haggis McBagpipe
#2
Oh! Goodness gracious me! This is such an important thread, I am so glad you posted it, Haggis. I plan to say something, just don't know what yet since everything you said is right as always. My god you are perfect, how the heck do you do it?

Signed,

Anonymous Poster/Hacker who has hacked into Haggis's acct in order to post this which is why it LOOKS like it is posted by Haggis but it ISN'T REALLY.
 
Andem
#3
Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a safe neighbourhood anymore. I don't see it as harming children to restrict them. Cities are larger, there's more of a chance of getting lost, especially in some neighbourhoods that are a quiet place inside of a city. All it takes it going over a couple of blocks and kids are in serious danger.

Take a look at a recent article here about Holly Jones, a child who was kidnapped very close by to her own home. http://www.canadiancontent.net/commtr/article_690.html
 
Andem
#4
By the way, my opinions are valid towards the big city here in Toronto and/or Montreal. Smaller towns don't face as large of a problem as we do here in T.O. That said, there's still the issues we all face with predators in our society as a whole. Not just urban and fringe suburban.
 
Haggis McBagpipe
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Andem

Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a safe neighbourhood anymore. I don't see it as harming children to restrict them. Cities are larger, there's more of a chance of getting lost, especially in some neighbourhoods that are a quiet place inside of a city. All it takes it going over a couple of blocks and kids are in serious danger.

Take a look at a recent article here about Holly Jones, a child who was kidnapped very close by to her own home. http://www.canadiancontent.net/commtr/article_690.html

I, too, speak of the big cities as much as the small towns.

The oft-heard litany that 'there is no such thing as a safe neighbourhood anymore' seems to produce knee-jerk paranoia rather than reason. What are you seeing that is dangerous, and in what way is this danger absent from years ago when it was still considered safe to allow kids out on the streets?

Children are quite able to understand danger, and to react appropriately to it. If you were to teach a child common sense and street smarts in lieu of teaching them fear and keeping them locked up, that child will go forth and be quite safe.

When you speak of kids going 'two blocks over' and suddenly finding themselves in grave danger, why do you think they are in grave danger?

As for the kid kidnapped near her home, what of the one in California who was snatched right out of her home? As a result of this, should children be kept in upper-level rooms with bars on the windows?

Restricting children as they are now restricted is, I believe, far worse than exposing them to any potential danger 'out there'. Rules do not harm a child, but constant restriction brought about by over-reaction to a shadowy, unknown danger does harm that child.

During the bombing of London (one can safely say that it was more dangerous than, say, Toronto) children continued to go to school, unattended, and they were allowed to be out and about playing all day. How is it that we have come so far from that?

People are afraid of their own shadow these days, and this is being passed along to the next generation. This is a bad thing. It teaches children that the unknown is always a frightening thing, something to be avoided. Had our forebearers felt this way, nothing would ever have been accomplished. We'd still be living in Europe.
 
researchok
#6
I agree with Andem-- while smaller cities don't face the same problems of bigger cities, even they have become more 'urbanized'.

I do think small towns and villages still offer kids and everyone for that matter, the best quality of life. Unfortunately, popular media has made those types of lifestyle 'irrelevant', 'uncool', and out of the mainstream.

Pity.
 
peapod
#7
I remember my sister was alway making up little scenarios with her daughter. She would paint a very dire situation and than wait for her daughter to tell her what she would do if confronted with the said scenario. My sister always had to keep changing her scenario's due to commerce.

I remember some doll came out that every girl her age had to have. My sister painted the scenario of a stranger in a car with the said doll trying to lure her into the car.
My sister waited for her reply, the girl was hesitant. My sister was freaking out! You could see the girl was trying to figure out how she could get the doll and get away to. My sister was getting more and more upset, but the girl wanted the doll. I told her maybe you should just tie her back up to the tree in the backyard. she went out and bought the girl the doll, scratch one less scenario.
 
Haggis McBagpipe
#8
Perfect illustration, thanks Pea.

We had a neighbour with three children.one was fifteen, one twelve, one five. None were allowed any freedom, even the twelve year old was not allowed to cross a moderately busy street by herself, the fifteen year old was not allowed to bicycle to the store, about a mile down the road, although he 'escaped' one day and was gone - gasp! - for 1/2 a day. When he returned, all hell broke loose.

The kids were allowed in the house and in the yard. They were taught to be fearful of everything and everyone.

Those children were the most unhappy, screwed up kids I've ever seen. They had a dead look in their eyes, for the thrill of discovery in life was gone. The only things they were allowed to discover were things mother presented to them. It was sick, far sicker and far more dangerous than anything 'out there'.
 
researchok
#9
Good Morning, dear haggis.

I was thinking--can I live in your house?

Really, Im not particular.

I like my eggs over easy, LIGHT.

I like stuffed cabbage-- homemade-- once a week-- be sure the rice isnt sticky.

Pasta is always good. I prefer fresh, not store bought. Also, hand rolled. I hate those pasta machines, don't you?

I don't like food on a plate that touches each other. You know, veggies not touching meat, not touching potatoes, etc.

Antway, there are a few other minor details, but we can get into that once Im there.

I hope you dont use scented soap or imitation vanilla.
 
Haggis McBagpipe
#10
>>I was thinking--can I live in your house?

8-) Truly and completely incorrigible.

>>I like my eggs over easy, LIGHT.

Pfft. Poached, in restaurant only.

>>I like stuffed cabbage-- homemade-- once a week-- be sure the rice isnt sticky.

I also hate sticky rice, but why mess up perfectly nice fluffy rice by sticking cabbage all over it? Aside from which, I don't cook so the State of Rice is sure not my problem. When it is my turn to cook, I always turn to my favourite cookbook - let me think now, what was that cookbook called, hmmm, oh yeah - 'Menu'.

>>Antway, there are a few other minor details, but we can get into that once Im there.

I agree! You have an open invitation to come stay as long as you like. 8-) Finding out who we are and where we live, well, that's part of the adventure, right? My suggestion would be, start knocking on doors....
 
researchok
#11
I will make you 'Happy Meals', with a book as the prize.

By the way, I laughed at your 'cookbook'.
 
Haggis McBagpipe
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by researchok

I will make you 'Happy Meals', with a book as the prize.

By the way, I laughed at your 'cookbook'.

Okay, mister, you got this thread off-topic so you can go right ahead and put it back on. Tsk. Rebel. 8-)
 
Haggis McBagpipe
#13
What kind of childhood did you have, in relation to this thread? What freedoms or lack of did you have? Picture the freedoms of your own childhood, then picture the restrictions faced by kids today. How do you feel it would have affected you?
 
galianomama
#14
Quote:

The kids were allowed in the house and in the yard. They were taught to be fearful of everything and everyone.

I also grew up in this type of household. My mom is still pretty paranoid about almost everything, but since living with us, has shook it a little bit. I know when she was raised, she was taught to fear most everything and you definetly did not go outside of the house 'boundaries'. I was raised the same way, and obeyed the rules, but I raised my own children differently.

They have always been given freedom without the paranoia. Encouraged to do things as an individual. not follow a pack, be a leader not a follower. Maybe it has something to do with self confidence of the parent in charge? If yourself you have confidence in life and what is around you, do you then pass it on to your own children?

Now that does make sense in my case. Case point - my mom is/was deathly afraid of water. Yet my dad was a boat builder, we always had a boat and went away almost every weekend on it. I can remember being about 2 - 3 years old and walking around the boat while we were speeding off somewhere. Never thought twice about it, and I don't remember my mom ever saying anything. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that she told me how deathly afraid and scared "something was going to happen" on those trips. She never passed that over to me though.
 
Haggis McBagpipe
#15
Galianomama, this is exactly what I was hoping for, to get a better idea how we came to where we're at. Sounds as though you raised your kids (or are raising your kids) the way we raised our daughter.

Okay, now, so did anybody else have a childhood?
 
researchok
#16
Actually, my best memories as a kid were summers we spent in the Laurentians, about an hour out of Montreal. My family had a cottage up there. Actually, it was more of a large shack fire trap-- but who knew?

We'd get up early in the morning, play outside--cowboys and Indians, badminton-- our rules were that you could smack your sibling with the racket if he/she missed and so on. Breakfast in the country never varied-- your choice of hard boiled eggs and toast or Sugar Smacks.

After breakfast, we'd climb trees and get stick with sap or run down to the river-- an adventure into the woods. We'd throw stones, rocks or hunt for treasure till lunch

We'd meet up with neighbour kids, start of defend ourselves during 'wars' and generally just have fun-- absolute carefree fun. We's sit on the porch in the evening, get eaten alive by mosquitoes and listen to the grown ups laugh and tell 'do you remeber when' stories.

We didnt know our cottage wasnt a castle, or notice not a single plate matched. Our cousins would come over and we'd all be scrunched together in a bed till te kicking started and the lucky ones got to sleep on the floor...

And the best part was, we got to do it all over again next day.

We were kids, in no rush to grow up-- and our mission in life was to have fun.
 
Diamond Sun
#17
I grew up in the Prairies, on an acreage outside of Edmonton. (And no, an acreage is not the same as a farm, we didn't have any animals save a dog and the odd squirrel who fell down the chimmney).

My mom was pretty good. We used to bike ride around the neighbourhood, drop in and see people without plans, and just generally play outside. We were given all the standard warnings of not taking candy from strangers, saying no and going and telling someone we trust etc etc. I used to bike 3 miles to school in the morning, or to a friends on the weekends. I think my mom became more protective as I got older and was hanging out more with people from "town". All in all, I don't think she sheltered me too much, not that there was much to be sheltered from in a town of 3500.
 
American Voice
#18
Sheltered you from boys, DS.

The closest analogy I have for this is our family summer vacations, on the south shore of Lake Erie. The smell of the pines, and the sound of the breeze whispering, sometimes shouting in the trees. Those were good times.

Maybe I could be a good father, but I'd have to marry a woman so much younger, people would think I was our childrens' grandfather, and my wife's father. Oh, what the hell, who knows?
 
Haggis McBagpipe
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by American Voice

Maybe I could be a good father, but I'd have to marry a woman so much younger, people would think I was our childrens' grandfather, and my wife's father. Oh, what the hell, who knows?

Just curious, why would you have to marry a woman so much younger?
 

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