Friday, 20 January 2012

Let the children play

There was a conversation on the radio today about children not being allowed out to play without their parents and the alarming fact that we have become so scared of what might happen that many children these days don't even learn how to ride to bike!

I understand that parents are afraid of what might happen, I am one after all! But in trying to protect our children from every little thing are we in fact hindering their growth as people? How will they learn to assess situations, decide what is dangerous, learn common sense if we as parents do it all for them.

Times have changed and mainly thanks to the media we are more aware of the worse case scenario but to what expense?

When I think back to my childhood I went out to play for hours on end without a mobile phone I might add(had they even been invented then?) and if my mother wanted me she would come out into the street and call me! I was told how far I could go and if I went to the park with friends not parents, I know how bizarre! I was told not to speak to strangers, cross the road carefully and be back by what ever meal time was next. I climbed trees, hid in bushes, made dens and did dares and from what I remember had fun!

Now when I think back to all my children growing up I can see that times and attitudes have changed, when my sons were little I let them play out (still without mobile phones) and told them the same as I was told, they would mostly ride their bikes and play football all thankfully without incident but then the world seemed to change a little, the fear of pedophiles, the increase of gang crime and I started to worry more, by time my daughters were old enough to play out I was a lot more cautious I let them play out, ride their bikes but they were told to stay close so if I came outside or looked out the window I could see them and park trips were accompanied by a parent.

I now have a 3 year old and I'll be honest I don't know how I will react when she reaches the age that she wants to play outside of our own garden, I hope my common sense will kick in but who knows, at least I have a while to think about it!

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