Thursday, April 11, 2013
Playing Out Alone
I've done a fair bit of pondering on this one and asked quite a few friends about their views on it.... at what age should children be allowed to play outside by themselves.
It came about after I had been for a walk with my son and seen some of his classmates on the comp by themselves...they are nine years old.
I was a bit shocked because at nine years old there is no way on this earth that I would let my son down at the comp on his own.
Let me describe the comp to you....it's a big open space with at least six football pitches on it that local teams use for footy matches and training sessions.It has astro turf pitches,a sports centre (which is only open when a match is on) trees and and a derelict patch of ground where teens go to jump on their bikes and it has a river/stream running through it.Its quite a big place really,lots of people walk dogs on there but at the same time it can be lonely there as all wide open spaces can be.
So would you let your nine year old play down there by themselves?Was I right to feel a bit wary of this situation?Or was I over worrying yet again?
I sat and watched the children play,as my son was welcomed into the group,there were 3 children there altogether.
I know without a doubt that at nine I wouldn't even consider my son playing there with friends if there wasn't any adults present.He's just not mature enough.
And I just wouldn't want him to anyway.I love being with him,we walk and talk together and he wouldn't dream of asking to go anywhere by himself,he just wouldn't.
These kids were playing in the stream & having a good time but I could see danger,I mean kids and water,it doesn't take much for a accident to happen,does it?
I started to think about when I was young,we used to go everywhere on our own!Parks,fields,all over the place.
When I think off the things we got up to...making dens with old sofas that probably were full of bugs and goodness knows what....walking through rivers and actually jumping across rivers...swinging on rope swings (the best feeling!) and even walking home along train lines (not at all clever or condoned) but we survived,didn't we!And in the making learnt how to gauge true danger and negotiate our bodies to deal with physical challenges.Yes we had bumps and scrapes but nothing that couldn't be put right.
I wonder if we perhaps wrap our children just a tad too tightly in cotton wool.Bubble wrap them until they become unable to cope with some situations.Breed very unstreet wise kids.
And is this good?
I can understand why we do this,I really can,but hey generations grew up before our kids and they survived didn't they.
I know there is more traffic on the roads and this is a worry and most parents worry about people snatching their kids and this thought alone makes me want to keep my kids at my side 24-7.
But has the figures of child murder and abduction rose lately?Im not sure but I tend to think it hasn't rose as dramatically as we may imagine.
I don't know any answers but it did throw up a myriad of thoughts as I watched the kids on the comp play....by themselves....
There is a very funny end to this post....
You know the wrapped in cotton wool kid....yep,my son....weeell he fell in the river whilst under the supervision of his oh so watchful mum!Whereas the lets roam free kid may have paddled in the water but he didn't fall in!
And yes I do see the irony in this!