Missing out

by Richard on September 27, 2004

There was a disturbing article in The Independent last week about the way that British children are being deprived in the name of keeping them safe.

A typical eight-year-old’s “home habitat” - the area that children are allowed to travel around on their own - has shrunk by 90% over the past 30 years. … Parents fear being judged harshly if their kids are seen outdoors unaccompanied… Behaviour that would a few years ago have been ‘larking about’ is now labelled anti-social

Parents are more fearful of “stranger danger’ than ever — the other parents I speak to “know” that the world is more dangerous for their children than it used to be. Statistically though, children are no more likely to be hurt by strangers today than they were 30 years ago. Perceived danger has increased, real danger is constant.

I’m not writing this as a disinterested observer. My soon-to-be 8 year old daughter is desperate to be allowed to walk to school on her own. My head thinks it is a great idea, but my stomach knots at the prospect. I believe very strongly that children need to be allowed some independence, even to be exposed to modest risk, if they are to develop normally. That’s what my intellect says.

My emotions are telling my mind to shut up and mind its own business.

What do you think?

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Ignore No More: more fuel for parental anxiety | connexions
08.19.14 at 11:41 am

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Malc 09.28.04 at 4:35 pm

When I was in primary school, I was dropped off at school by my mum, but I walked home at the end of the day by myself. I was a latch-key kid!! By the time I was in Middle School (Years 4-7) I was going all over the place. I’d go cycling with my friends off to the local rec ground where we’d play ‘Man Hunt’ or over the the grounds of Camberley Town Football Club where we’d play cricket.
I turned out all right!!! ;)


Richard 09.28.04 at 5:06 pm

That’s a matter for debate Malc! ;)


Anonymous 09.28.04 at 7:32 pm

Richard, I can remember how you feel, it isn’t easy deciding how much independance they should have. We never stop worrying - I am not sure that it gets any easier! Wait until she is a teenager and you are waiting for her to come home after a night outin town.


jeff 10.01.04 at 4:09 am

as the father of 3 (almost 11, 9, and 6) i understand completely. when i was in 1st grade i walked to school(although it was with a large group, including 2 highschoolers) and was a latch-key kid from age 12, i never had any problems. my wife and i get into serious arguments about leaving windows open at night. we can have ours open, but she refuses to leave any of theirs open, even with the safety locks, and especially my daughters room, as ther is a huge dresser full of all kinds of crap on top, that if anyone was stupid enough to try to break in they would ake enoug noise to wake our next door neighbors.
next year our oldest starts middle school(year 7-9 for you brits)and i have said i think he should be able to ride his bike since the school is right in our neighborhood. can’t wait to see what happens

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