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Wondering

What is wrong with this world that makes me even slightly nervous that I've let a 12YO and a 9YO go to the park at the end of our road on their own for an hour. Ok the 12YO isn't as savy as most kids his age but it's still something I don't think our parents would have thought twice about in the 60s or 70s.

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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
were_gopher
14th Apr, 2010 18:38 (UTC)
My walk to school.

http://bit.ly/bXPBP2

If you look due west to where there is a bit of road shaped like a curser arrow you can see where there used to be a damn fine lido which every kid in the district used to go to, especially in that really hot summer when I would have been Jodies age.
bohemiancoast
14th Apr, 2010 15:28 (UTC)
I slightly fret sometimes. But my nine-year-old goes to the local park and to the corner shop on his own regularly. We don't let him go to the nicer park that requires him to cross a slightly more difficult road. My daughter started walking home from school alone at age 10. But round here the majority of primary school children do not go out alone at all (a small minority go everywhere alone all the time).
were_gopher
14th Apr, 2010 18:41 (UTC)
I think it's because those of us who believe in free range kids are now in the minority that makes us more concerned than our parents would have been. As Coths comment shows, it's the busybodies rather than the red top news induced panics that are the problem.
lil_shepherd
14th Apr, 2010 15:51 (UTC)
Yeah, I know.

I started walking home from school by myself when I was six or seven. About a mile through the Council estates on which I lived with one difficult road.

At ten I was cycling on A roads up to five miles from home. I also went to the speech therapist by myself, which involved two bus routes and an awkward change. The speech therapist thought nothing of the fact that I came by myself.

At eleven we all went to school by bus or walked - mine was four miles away, with two major difficult roads and a half mile walk at the end of it. By this time I knew all the paths through the woods and fields and golf courses within a couple of miles radius of my house, and often walked them by myself.

And I wasn't even a particularly self-sufficient child, and my parents were intelligent and loving and careful.
pwl1
14th Apr, 2010 16:03 (UTC)
When I was 10 I was walking home from school at lunch time - starting a fire in the wood stove, and heating up a can of soup for lunch.

Mind you, our village was very small, and I was related to approximately half of it.

And we are talking over 4 decades ago.
lil_shepherd
14th Apr, 2010 16:26 (UTC)
I hate to say it, but with me we are talking five decades.
aunty_marion
14th Apr, 2010 16:04 (UTC)
Quite.

I walked the half-mile to and from INFANTS' school pretty much from the day I started, except for the occasional day when I met one of the teachers (who went the same way) and walked with her. One semi-main road to cross (it was a T-junction onto the slightly more main road). I took the bus to junior school - about 2-3 miles - but often walked back, sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend. It involved crossing the main road outside the school with the crossing warden, then the main road at the bottom of our street, as well as several minor roads. At eleven I walked the mile and a half to grammar school as a matter of course, apart from the couple of years when I cycled.
jsburbidge
14th Apr, 2010 16:25 (UTC)
Statistically, it's by and large safer than in the 1950s and 60s, assuming similar neighborhoods.

By 10 I was walking to the central public library, about a fifteen minute walk away, on a regular basis, by and 12 I was walking all over downtown. (I still have some paperbacks I purchased at a second hand bookstore while on my own at about 12). Come to think of it, I started high school at 12 and had to walk the same 15-minute walk as to the library every day (the school and the library were across from one another). This was in a moderate-sized city.
coth
14th Apr, 2010 16:30 (UTC)
I went out to play and to school on the train or bus from about 9 years of age in the Sixties. And my 9-y-o daughter is allowed out alone, though she doesn't take that much advantage of the license. But last year I got told off by a local woman who thought a 13-year old (Bohemiancoast's daughter) was too young to supervise an 8-year old in the local park. The general rule seems to be that primary school kids are not allowed out without an adult, and a fair few families keep the rule for secondary school kids for at least another couple of years.
lil_shepherd
14th Apr, 2010 17:23 (UTC)
Was bohemiancoast present? If so, I would really have liked to have been there...
coth
14th Apr, 2010 17:28 (UTC)
No - in fact, the woman told me off at a later date when the kids weren't around - she'd seen them in the park together, and my daughter up a tree as is her wont.
lil_shepherd
14th Apr, 2010 17:41 (UTC)
And stuck her nose in where she had no right to stick it.
were_gopher
14th Apr, 2010 18:23 (UTC)
That was one of the things I was most concerned about. the kids have been going to the corner shop, where they have both been known since infancy, on their own ever since we moved to this house in 2003 (before it would have meant crossing a busy road which at that point had no crossing) and the park is across that same busy road. They are now old enough to trust to cross the recently installed (about 6 years ago) zebra and cynical enough to not believe the car coming is going to stop until it does (which quite often it does not).

If you look at the link you can see how far it is to the corner shop. The play area is in the middle of the park and the school is to the left of it. we used to live in Hilton Place.

http://bit.ly/cqZz3H

Edited at 2010-04-14 18:28 (UTC)
occams_pyramid
14th Apr, 2010 18:24 (UTC)
Ah, so she's spying on little children in the park is she? Obviously one of those perverts. Better report her to the police straight away, you can't be too careful these days!!!!!!!
bohemiancoast
15th Apr, 2010 07:50 (UTC)
Wow! I didn't know this. My only serious concerns for kids out on their own are twofold:

-- cars and road crossing (we're quite careful about this, and their ranging is limited by busy roads)
-- that so many people are heartless or busybodies these days that they won't help children in distress, so that if things go wrong it's hard for kids to get help.
were_gopher
15th Apr, 2010 13:09 (UTC)
It's not always heartlessness. I knew one man who saw a kid slip it's mothers hand and start into traffic. He grabbed the kid before it went under a bus, went to give it back to it's mother and got a mouthfull of abuse and an accusation of being a kiddy fiddler in return for having the temerity to touch her kids. He said afterwards it was the last time he was ever going to do something like that because it just wasn't worth the risk of getting branded unjustly and risking his job (he worked in the hotel trade).
watervole
14th Apr, 2010 17:25 (UTC)
I was cycling a couple of miles to school by the time I was 12.

It's every bit as safe now as it was in the 60s, it's just that newspapers have realised that child molestors sell newspapers.

Stop reading the papers and you'll feel a lot less worried.

I realised the 'stranger danger' thing had got out of hand when a friend's child fell off her bike and was too scared to allow the local vicar to help her.

I decided at that point to tell my kids that virtually all people are nice and that they could do pretty much anything - as long as they ALWAYS told me first where they were going and who they were going with.

They grew up fine.

I remember a few of our neighbours were initially concerned when their daughters started playing with Henry during his university holidays. Age gap of about 8-10 years. He found the company of younger kids relaxing and the gang of girls (and a few boys) liked having a friend who was big enough to give them shoulder rides. I recall one summer where he had a group of them up on the scaffolding tower while he was painting the front of the house. I think he was telling them stories.

He's a natural uncle - and sadly, being a male who enjoys the company of children is enough to generate suspicion in this day and age.

(Just in case you're wandering, he was never alone with any of the girls and almost never brought the gang into the house.)
were_gopher
14th Apr, 2010 18:30 (UTC)
I don't tend to read or believe the papers, it's the rest of the neighbours who read the red tops that make me worried.
jaxomsride
15th Apr, 2010 00:37 (UTC)
I often wished Leonie had been a bit more adventurous with her outdoors play.

However most of the local kids were very insular and fiercely protected their "patches" from others. So she couldn't go too far without running into "hostiles".

If your two don't encounter that problem then all to the good.

Where I grew up the kids weren't so bad, they at least acknowledge the local park as "neutral" territory.
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