Take Your Children to the Park and Leave Them There?

The first time my oldest daughter announced she was heading out for a run, I had heart palpitations.  What if she’s [almost] abducted in the four block route in which she knows the families living in 98% of the homes, meaning help is never more than a scream and about 25 feet? And she’s sportin’ an iPhone so I can call her every 1/4 block to make sure she hasn’t been hit over the head by a bad guy. Where does the panic come from?

Lenore Skenazy says the fear is media driven and children are actually safer now than when we were growing up. The stats on actual abductions in the Park Cities seem to back that up. So are you comfortable with her latest idea: Take Your Children to the Park and Leave Them There Day?

6 thoughts on “Take Your Children to the Park and Leave Them There?

  • May 19, 2010 at 9:43 am
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    My middle-school kid goes to the park almost every day after school, but she is always with a group of other kids. I think it’s great; they jump in the fountain, climb trees and come home disheveled and joyful. Way less calories than Chik Fila and 7-11, too.

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  • May 19, 2010 at 10:41 am
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    We’ve been letting the kids (6th & 7th graders) head to the park either on foot or on bikes by themselves for about 3 or 4 years. No abductions or even a scary white van story.

    I spoke to one of my friends from Jr. High and High School last night. We were reminiscing about how things had change in the home town. At 10 or 11 years old we would walk or bike a 4 mile round trip to get to the HS, to go swimming, every day in the summer. It was thru woods, across two major highways and by a chocolate factory. It would also not be unusual to leave the house after breakfast and not show back up again until dinner. How did our parents cope? My mom said she never gave much thought about it. It was just the thing you did. Just food for thought.

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  • May 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm
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    When I have children, I would like them to have the same independence and sense of adventure that I had growing up. (They’ll have their whole lives to have it beaten out of them.)

    Children shouldn’t have to be afraid. If you teach your child to be reasonably cautious and aware of their surroundings, there really isn’t to much to worry about. We are lucky enough to live in a community that looks after its own. If I was in danger (or causing trouble), you’d better bet a neighbor would have stepped in.

    When I was eight, a friend and I would regularly walk about 2 miles round trip to M.E. Moses, Bobby’s Snowballs, or TCBY in Snider Plaza. Nothing bad ever happened . . . unless you count my first bra purchased at M.E. Moses (that den of iniquity).

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  • May 19, 2010 at 8:46 pm
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    Times have changed……it’s sad but true….gone are the days of playing outdoors unsupervised…..I used to do it…..but I will not allow my kids to…it’s just not worth the risk to me……I’d rather be with them than home worrying about them…..and no, I don’t drop them off at the mall alone either.

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  • May 20, 2010 at 9:37 am
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    So @ Yikes, how old are your kids? You do realize you will have to stop escorting them everywhere at some point? They will have to be allowed to go to parks, malls, etc. by themselves? What age do you think that is?

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  • May 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm
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    I was just thinking about this the other day, talking with a friend how in middle school I would jump on my bike and head off to all kinds of places for practically all day. No cell phones – just had to tell my mom where I was going and off I went.

    I agree that it’s the publicity that is now making things seem less safe, not that actual crime stats. For instance, crime is actually down in Arizona, but you wouldn’t know it from what you see on the news or the politicians.

    If you keep your kids locked up with you all the time, they just aren’t going to be able to cope when independence is forced on them at some point.

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