Free Range Versus Caged….Kids

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Which ones look happier and healthier?

Life would be so much easier for all of us if everyone just took a balanced approach to things. But no everything has to be extreme, exaggerated and sensationalized. Like the shock of the year; parents who let their kids walk home from school alone.  The police picked these children up and then punished the parents by keeping their kids for hours with the Child Protective Services (CPS).  The CPS decided the parents are guilty of unsubstantiated neglect.  And of course we should not suspect them of having some ulterior motive even with all the scary stories of legal and medical kidnapping going around. Human trafficking in a prettier package is acceptable apparently.  Don’t know why there isn’t more noise about this instead of kids walking home from the park.

So if you let your ten year old go to the park alone, you can get in trouble. But the law gives your seventeen-year-old, and in some places sixteen-year-old, the right to leave home if they feel like it? Confused teens (with raging hormones) that make bad decisions, should be allowed to leave their parent’s protection for something stupid, like say not wanting to do chores?  Yeah that makes a lot of sense because shelters would be far better than parents.

Free range parenting, with just enough helicoptering to make sure the kids are safe from any extreme danger, would be ideal.  But Helicopter parents would probably faint at the idea of letting the kids walk home themselves or lighting sparklers in the backyard. If we look at today’s kids we find all sorts of problems that might be solved from going to the park on their own more often.  How about obesity? Kids who aren’t in the park are sitting at home in front of the television or tablet or what not gadget and munching and watching and munching and playing and munching and chatting. Turn off the damn wi-fi and send those kids off to the park.

Paranoid, depressed, moody kids.  These kids don’t ride bikes, or skateboards or go dig up earthworms. They do watch the stupidest shows ever created, that have nothing to do with reality (although they claim otherwise)and glamorize being bitchy and mean. Or they have perfectly chalked out schedules in which they have no free time to just be kids. They are too busy with ballet, then piano, then lessons for something unpronounceable.  No wonder kids are so depressed these days.  Give them a couple of bucks, tell them to go buy some seeds and grow a vegetable garden or buy some fishing line and a hook then go down to the river to catch dinner. Or just hand them an (uncut-no they won’t choke on it!) apple to eat on their way to the park.

Besides all this Helicopter parents have the horrible habit of doing everything for their kids. As if everything needs to be done perfectly all the time. Just let the kids do it themselves and actually use their brains, it’s good exercise for them! They can do their homework themselves. Then go to the park. They can clean their rooms themselves. Then go to the park. They can make their own snacks. Then go to the park!

When we were kids we would be out all day climbing trees, riding bikes and yes just walking around town. We were just as likely to be kidnapped or killed in accidents as our kids. In fact if you look at stats (here and here) our kids are actually safer than we were.  Our parents taught us to be careful then let us out of their sight. They had a couple of hours of peace and we had hours of fun. The result?  Happy parents and happy (active) kids. So how about we let our kids be kids and enjoy their childhood while they still have one? (Although we have made such a mess of it that we may have to force them to just go be kids!)

(pics from News Track Live and Before It’s News)

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