I let my kids play outside unsupervised. The area I live in has a lot to do with it. Thats not to say that I don't think there is any risk of anything bad happening, but if the risk was a lot greater, i probably would not be quite as laid back about it.
As for the risk that does exist? I think i am just really resistant to the idea of these bad people controlling our lives so much. I'm not keen on sacrificing my children's sense of independence and simple joys in life for their sake. In return, I have a responsibility to prepare my kids for the off chance that something bad does occur.
Now the walking to school thing freaks me out a little more. Emma is in middle school now and she told me that the middle school students are allowed to walk 'home' from school if they live close by. (Its a private school so not everyone does). I've toyed with the idea of letting her walk to a relative's house that is not too far away, because timing wise, it would make my schedule easier to pick her up from there 30 minutes after school gets out.
Part of me tells me i can't let the fear of something bad happening be the *only* reason that I would not let her do this. But it feels awfully different than playing unsupervised in our own yard.
Cecilia Marie 1/10/10
I did end up letting him play outside by himself, I was just kind of nervous about it the whole time. That's weird for me; I am usually much more laid back about stuff like that, and try to let him be independent wherever it makes sense. Like I said, I think the thing that happened to that poor little girl has everyone on edge.
And yes, I went over it again with him yesterday, but T knows to scream like he's on fire if anyone ever tries to take him.
Alissa-- I'm so with you on how this is affecting our parenting. We are about 45 minutes north of where this happened (though until they caught that guy that kidnapped a girl in Cody, WY, we felt like we were smack in the middle of the scary stuff.)
We let all of our kids play in our backyard unsupervised. Privacy fenced and in a neighborhood. That doesn't make me nervous at all.
Our big girls are 7 & 9. And we have been letting them play outside in our front yard and in the park across the street, pretty much all summer. I have the front door open, but I can't always see them. We let them walk the block or so down to invite friends to play. We let them ride around the block where we can't see them the entire time. They have a "perimeter" that I ask them to stay within. We ask them to stay together. We live in a "safe" city. You can see the police station from our home. Two weeks ago I was literally trying to talk my husband into giving them more freedom (did anybody else read that article that was floating around Facebook about kids and freedom and playing outside?) He and I both spent our childhoods outside playing unsupervised and some of my best memories are that independence.
We have talked to the kids about stranger danger. We had a "serious" talk with them about this on Saturday night. Mostly we just focused on not going anywhere with anyone without our permission and not to go near a car that has somebody in it that they don't know. We talked about the "missing puppy" scenario, and other strategies people could use. I don't know. I don't know how effective that is.
We talked about Jessica-- but we never shared that they found her. Or that she had been murdered. Our kids think people will take them so that they can live with a new family-- not that there is anything sinister or that they would do terrible terrible things to them. *sigh*
I want to give them more freedom. Though it hurts me and makes me nervous. Like Kim, I don't want to be held hostage by my imagination or some creep out there. My dh says he doesn't care about my "damn statistics"-- he errs on the side of super safety.
Can I just chip them and track their every move until they are teens? Probably another debate.
God I hope they find this evil killer.
DD 8.03, DD 6.05, DS 3.07, DD 5.09, and DS arrived 6.17.12
It's their fence and I think one of the idiot teenage sons probably burned one part and they did the loops to make it look like it was supposed to be that way. I'm assuming this since they have almost burned our house, my dh's shed, and my kid's playground down at separate times and also were responsible for cutting all the bus tires in our school system the summer before we moved here. And just reading that pretty much guarantees my kid won't be playing outside by himself anymore.
eta=OH They didn't cut the holes to see into our yard!!! Sorry, I meant They can see into our yard because they cut loops in the top of the privacy fence. Doh
Yeah, they do sound like some juvenile deliquents next door though. I don't blame you for being wary.
At 10 years old I let my boys walk a few blocks to their friends house, and I definitely let them play outside in the back yard earlier than that. There are bad people in the world and bad things do happen, but I don't live my life based on what could possibly happen. The chances of someone abducting a child and killing them are very low, it's just that when it does happen it is all over the news. Kids probably have a much greater chance of being obese because they are stuck inside all day because they aren't allowed outside.
The Myth of Stranger Abduction and Sexual Abuse of Children | Sex Offender Issues - Sex Offender News, Studies, Videos, Etc!In a study entitled National Center for Health Statistics, 255 children aged one through nineteen died from influenza and pneumonia, 452 died from heart disease, 1,921 committed suicide and 11,560 died of accidental injuries. In other words, a child was 2 times more likely to die of influenza or pneumonia, 4 times more likely to die of heart disease, 17 times more likely to commit suicide and 100 times more likely to die of an accidental injury than to become a victim of a ‘stereotypical type’ of abduction. Whilst the odds of a child being ‘stereotypically’ abducted are 1 in 610,000, the odds of dying in an airplane crash in any given year are 1 in 310,000 (two times more likely), the odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 240,000 (2.5 times more likely) and the odds of a pedestrian being killed by an automobile are 1 in 47,000 (13 times more likely).
These statistics show us two things. Firstly, if we are really serious about stopping child abductions, we need to examine the most common group of perpetrators: family members. Of the 69,000 child abductions that occurred in 1999, 82% were perpetrated by family members. Another 11.3% were committed by friends of the family or other people well known to the children. It seems apparent then, that measures need to be taken to prevent family abduction, which is, by far, a more serious problem than stranger abduction.
Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013
I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson
Here's a very interesting article on why "stranger danger" doesn't work, and what works better:
'Stranger-Danger' Warnings Not Effective at Keeping Kids Safer
Weston is still at an age where we don't let him out of our sight except when he's on our back patio. We're in the middle of a city block where the buildings literally touch one another. To get into our yard, someone would have to get through a locked garage and/or storage area and/or over a couple of fences; there are six fences between our yard and the closest direct access to the street. Our patio area is pretty much our playroom, our kids are always out there unattended, rain or shine. We have no front yard, just a wide sidewalk, so the only time we're out front is to ride bikes, and then there's always a parent supervising. We let Tiven ride all the way to the far corner, but not around the block, not because we're afraid she'll get snatched, but afraid of an idiot pulling into his driveway at warp speed & not seeing a kid coming on a bike.
Tiven gets plenty of practice walking "alone" by walking on the other side of the street on the way to or from school. I'm actually more worried about her crossing some of the busy streets than I am about being abducted, but we're doing what we can to protect her against both things. We can watch her make sure there isn't anyone sitting in a car she's about to pass, and she watches for open doorways. She knows to cross the street if something ahead doesn't look right. She also knows places to run to for help that are along the way, the police station, the pharmacy, the laundromat usually has people in it & also has cameras installed, the pool, the playground, the corner market. We've also practiced "getting lost" at the mall; she looks around for people who would be "safer" to approach, store employees with a nametag, uniformed security officers with a radio, a mom with children especially if she has a cell phone. Tiven also knows never to go with one of those people anywhere else, if they can't help her right there, then they can go get help & come back to her. She is to always stay where other people can see her. And we use a code word so if anyone says, "Your mom told me to pick you up," she knows to ask the code word, and run away if they don't know it. At least I *hope* that she knows all of this!
Tiven is eager to walk home from school next year when she's in 4th grade, but we're not so sure, especially since none of the kids who live near us come home directly after school so she would be walking alone. Predators are known to pick kids who follow the same route; they watch to see who else is around at particular places & times. There could be a few variations on what route to take home, but that could also make it harder to find her if she goes missing. I think what we might do is arrange a "walking school bus" to walk *to* school with a few other families so that one parent either walks with the kids, or watches them, down the street to the next house where another parent takes over.
Last edited by Spacers; 10-15-2012 at 03:44 PM.
"No more hurting people. Peace."
-- Martin Richard, age 8, Boston, MA
Rest in peace, Martin.
I wanted to add I think it depends on where you live. I would not have any problem with my kids playing outside at my parents house. They live in the middle of 180 acres. There are no near by neighbors and the house is far from the road. My house however is in the middle of the city. There is both traffic, and 2 houses down someone was shot last year from a drug deal gone bad.
As far a an 18 month playing outside alone, this I am not sure I would be ok with regardless of the area unless it was completely fenced in. My girls would wander into the road at that age. I might be completely uptight, but I did not leave my kids at that age unless they were sleeping in their crib.
I try not to overreact to the things that I see in the media. Statistically the crime rates are down and kids are for the most part safe. It is those exceptions that are so terrifying. I try to look at the situations realistically. How does it affect my city and my daughter's safety. Because in truth my city is pretty safe. There is crime and danger, but it isn't astronomical. I have lived here all my life and I can only think of one true stranger abduction. There have been plenty of family related abductions in the news though. So, I try to remember reality and not go overboard, yet at the same time stay safe.
So we are working with DD to learn to stay safe. We talk about the rules and as she shows that she is responsible she gets more freedom. We did the same with DSD. I need to know that I can trust her because I know I don't trust everyone else in the world. We will be talking to her about safe people and who she can talk to if she needs help. At the moment she is supervised 99% of the time. This is because she is not yet a safe kid. She has been known to be distracted by the road. She has gone too far in the yard when I ran into the house to pee. She also likes to climb and take risks. So she doesn't get tonnes of freedom and she does get lots of reminders. She also gets a decent amount of time where she is supervised from a distance (me on the deck) so that I can remind her if she does something silly. If our yard was totally fenced I wouldn't have an issue letting her play outside by herself, but there is a gap with no gate so I just don't trust her yet. Now, if there were a predator or a recent abduction in our area that would make me tighten the reigns significantly. But not if it was an incident far away from us.
All in all, I think it depends on the kid and the area. We all have to make that judgement call and pray that things do not go wrong.
eta. I just googled abductions in my area and there are none with the exception of the one I was thinking of. But there are quite a few attempted abductions. But in all cases the kids ran, sought help and saved themselves. This strengthens my opinion that one of the best things we can do is train out kids to know how to protect themselves.