I’m really sick and tired of hearing stuff like this.
I’m almost 51 years old and grew up in the late ’60’s, 70’s and early ’80’s before I graduated high school.
When I would play outside with my friends–in the middle of the street no less–our signal to come into the house was when the garage lights were turned on. It was either that, or I would hear my mother yelling from an entire block away.
She’s Italian. I don’t think I need to explain any further.
Were there child pedophiles back then? Yes. Was I allowed to walk around the block, or go to the convenient store with my friends without my parents? Yes. Did I have to wear a helmet with knee pads when I rode my bike? No.
Let’s fast forward to me being a parent. My son was born in 1993. Did I allow him to stand on the corner to wait for the bus by himself when he was 12? Yes. Did I allow my son to go to a friends house who lived a few blocks away by riding his bike or his roller-blades unattended by me? Yes, I did. Did I insist my son wear a helmet and knee pads when he was learning to ride a bike or roller-blade for the first time? Hell, no. I wanted him to fall. I wanted him to learn to get back up and try again.
What I keep seeing today is so sanitary, it’s making me sick. So, in order to prevent me from vomiting on my computer keyboard, I’m just going to vent on my blog for a moment.
USA Today posted an article about parents in Maryland who are now on file with the city they live in as being neglectful parents for allowing their children to walk home alone from a playground. You can read the article here.
This is what I think: there are too many God damn “Gladys Kravitz’s” who live in their neighborhood. For those who don’t know who Gladys is, you’ll have to go back to watch some old episodes of Betwitched. She was the nosy neighbor who was always peeking out of her window, looking for some infraction or irksome person she could claim was a definite problem. She’s complain to her husband by saying, “Aaaaabner! Our neighbors are on the roof!” Or, “Aaaaabner! Our neighbors are letting their children walk down the street…..by themselves!”
Ya know, if I lived in gang-land territory, I think I would have enough smarts to not let my kid walk alone anywhere. But, the Maryland couple in the article do not live in a bad neighborhood. What they are doing is teaching their kids to take baby steps toward independence. They know their kids. They have taught their children the danger of strangers, and they feel confident that their children aren’t going to fall for anyone saying, “Hey, little girl, I’ve got some candy for you.”
Parents today, in my opinion, need to lighten up.
Yeah. You heard me. LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP.
Raising kids today is hard. But, guess what? Raising kids at any point within the last 100 years is fucking hard. Adults have put so many restrictions on allowing a kid to just be a damn kid, that kids aren’t behaving like children anymore.
Jesus – let the kid fall down and scrape his knee. Let him sprain an ankle, or break an arm. Let her walk home from a friend’s house by herself if you feel she is confident enough in doing so.
By raising kids in bubble wrap, parents are neglecting the opportunity afforded by themselves when they were growing up.
Cut the cord. Set them free and let them walk to school if it’s only a few blocks away. Don’t sit in your car while your kid waits for the bus at the bus stop. That’s fucking annoying. Your kid is standing there with three other kids and you’re in your car waiting until he plants his ass on a bus seat.
Or, it’s winter. The kid doesn’t want to stand out on the corner in the cold, so you drive him–less than a block away–to the bus stop and allow him (or her) to sit inside the warm car until the bus arrives.
Are you kidding me???
They have a problem with cold weather at a bus stop, but have no problem snowboarding or sledding.
If you don’t lighten up and let your children live, make mistakes, get used to dealing with responsibilities, and quit protecting them from the weather, getting hurt (physically or psychologically), they will never know how to cope with these simple truths as they get older.
And, do you know what that means for you?
It means that as a parent, you’ll end up having a kid who will suffer detachment issues, paranoia, and OCD. He’ll end up not being able to cope in college because he doesn’t even know how to do his damn laundry. He’ll freak out when he realizes he has to walk–OH MY GOD–WALK to class, which is about a half mile away.
She will not know how to cut a piece of meat because she’s never handled a knife in her life since you’ve been cutting up her meat since her inception. (Yes. I know parents who are like this). She will end up dropping out of school, getting a part-time job at a fast food restaurant, and living in your basement until she’s fifty and has ten cats.
At that point, you’ll wonder what the fuck is wrong with him? Why the hell did she turn out that way?
To the parent who likes to be a helicopter and hover over your child to protect them every step of the way through their entire childhood, and to the parent who wraps their kid in bubble wrap so they will never know pain, you are only inventing a monster that you will have to take care of for the rest of your life.
Do you want that?