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Member Name: pearlydewdrop
Keeping Your Child Safe from the Outside World
Advantages: Er on the Side of Caution i think
Disadvantages: Children arent carefree anymore, they are too wary of other people
Talk about a contentious issue! Still, its certainly relevant to us parents, especially with all the recent coverage of alleged child abduction, kidnapping, holding of children hostage for years in basements, and child-trafficking. Frightening, of course, but is the supposed danger simply media scaremongering? How do we, as parents and carers, ensure that we take a responsible line in protecting our children, but also enabling them to have freedoms like we did as kids.
I was born in 1980, and I remember my Mum and Dad having few qualms about allowing me to play out the front of the house, with friends, probably from the age of 7. I was even entrusted with my younger brother (about 4 years difference), and felt obliged to kept an eye on all the younger kiddies. My parents educated me in the threat of strangers, but I was never terrified of people outside of the home- I had a healthy wariness, thats all. I think the adults of my childhood had three main concerns about us playing in the street, and these worries are essentially the same issues that we ponder today, as modern day parents.
1. Road Traffic
2. Abduction/The Stranger Threat
3. Wandering too far/Mucking About and Having a Nasty Accident.
So, what has changed? Why are we so scared to allow our children out of our sight? My parents always trusted us to stay within eye and earshot, and that belief in us was enough for us to enjoy our freedom and not abuse it. I know its a cliche, but my parents knew most of the neighbours that surrounded our terraced house, and pretty much all of the parents who had kiddies. The other parents would check on us from time to time, and we would trudge in and out of each others homes getting our obligatory drinks, food, and toys stash. Of course, thinking back, I can think of a few shady adults who lived or walked up our street and said hello to us- people who would strike the fear of God into us parents now, should we encounter them chatting with our little ones. So, did my parents just have more faith in human nature than me? My parents lived through the Hindley and Brady Moors Murders, and my Dad was abused by a man posing as a policeman in the 1950s, so surely they must have had the same fears as we do?
When I analyse my behaviour in public with my 4 year old, I think Im very vigilant and cannot stand to lose sight of her for one moment. I once took her to a bouncy castle day in a large Essex park, and I momentarily found her merge into a crowd of youngers- my heart pounded, my mind was absorbed in rising panic as I scanned the park enclosure. That feeling was awful, and I cannot explain the sense of relief I felt when a friend had found Amelia panicking, like her old Mum, but instead at the top of a crazy bouncy castle! I pretty much always expect her to hold my hand or stay very close to me in the town centre, and I actually find myself getting quite angry and snappy if she disappears out of sight for a minute. I mean, is this normal, or is it a reaction to the moral panics reported in the media? I would be lying if I said Madeline McCanns disappearance didnt affect me. However, shoot me down in flames for saying what I think, but I wouldnt have left my child in an appartment alone...simple as (although of course they didnt deserve their child being abducted!...it just seems daft to tempt paedophiles etc by leaving your child unattended). I might add, I wouldnt leave my child in my home alone for 10 minutes whilst I popped to the corner shop for some milk- tucked up in bed or not.
Anyway, my kiddie is 4 years old, and I cant justify leaving her unattended for any period of time in a public place. It feels wrong, it panics me, and that worry comes from somewhere. Its such a shame really, but I dont want to take a chance with my daughter. She is allowed to go to friends houses where a Mum will watch her, I take her to the park, the library, the towncentre, etc, but she cant play out the front of our flat. No way. That is a risk Im not prepared to take, because I couldnt live with myself if she got hurt, and it was avoidable.
I personally think that, in the modern day, we need to support our children to become confident adolescents and adults. So, when they are young, they need structured extra curricular activities, without their parents, so that they can spread their wings a bit. Surely that must be the compromise? You cant smoother your kids and stifle their development, thats just grossly unfair, but freedoms have to be tempered with responsible adult boundaries and control. Its sad, but gone are the days when I would feel comfortable allowing a 7 year old to have a run about in a park or field alone. Thats just my view. However, we all want the best for our kids, dont we? Only thing is, what exactly is THE BEST?
Thanks for reading my opinion!
Summary: Id rather my daughter was kept as safe as possible and enjoys structured supervised activities