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Thread: do your kids play in the streets?

  1. #1

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    Question do your kids play in the streets?

    well not exactly literally... but i just got into contact with two sisters i was best friends with from about the age of 5, and thinking back to 'the good old days' of being a kid, i remembered all the things we used to get up to, on our bikes, roaming around etc etc... probably not so much when we were 5, but certainly when we were a bit older, maybe 8 or so... we didn't really have to check in with anyone, we played on our bikes and just made sure we were home by dark... we were pretty much given free reign (well this is how i remember it anyway)

    now i only have a 15 month old so cant really speak from experience, but i was wondering what you let your kids get up to... as in, where are they allowed to go by themselves, how old are they etc etc etc... the world has obviously changed and is not as safe as it used to be, but by the same token, you can't lock them up and not let them discover things for themselves and well, have a life!

    my sister in law has 3 kids, 7, 11 and 13 and i am amazed at how little they are actually allowed to do... but this might be because we live in a country town, and as i grew up in the suburbs of the city, i sort of think that our little country town is pretty dam safe!!

    i guess for me i want to let my dd have freedom and trust her to use her instincts and be safe... i want her to be outdoors on her bike, playing at friends houses, going down the shops for lollies with her friends, playing in the park etc...

    just wondering what your kids are and are not allowed to do?


  2. #2

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    We used to live in a very small country town - village. We only had a pub, post office & primary school with 12 kids.
    There are kids that at 7 & 8 do ride their bikes where ever they want in town & have alot of freedom, but I would still be a bit strict with my DD. I don't like my kids out of the house unless it's all opened up so I can hear them. I'd prefer it if I was out there too.
    But then we did have a scare last year. They were outside for 5 minutes & dissappeared.
    They went exploring down at the creek behind our house. They were 2 & 5.
    That scared the crap out of me.
    If we move back there I might be able to let DD1 have a bit of freedom in a year or two, but I'd still have to know where she's going.
    She wouldn't be able to have free reign like the other kids do. As unfair as that is to her.

  3. #3

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    DS is only 16m, but he plays in the street. Or rather, his favourite game is crossing the road with Mummy and meeting the neighbours.

    I'm thinking that in Junior school (about 7ish) then DS can tell me he's going to the park with friends and that's fine. He can also go and visit friends without me. But that's assuming that he has good road sense by then as this trip involves crossing two roads. We don't live in a busy area but that's not the point. He can go out on his bike with DH and me until we're sure he has decent road sense, then he can cycle to someone in the village, but I think I'll be asking the mummy of his friend to let me know when he arrives, walking or cycling.

    I think the world is slightly more safe now, where I am at least, because people look out for kids and I know most of the hands-on grandads because I... am a busybody, I guess, but I'd rather befriend everyone than let a kid be kidnapped! I've had a lot of people talk to me for no good reason other than they're just checking DS is OK (yesterday I was told I was "brave" letting DS walk home from nursery, then a few questions as to his age and name etc, even a conversation about feeding, just to check I hadn't snatched him I think!). But because we're more open with our children and people are looking out for them then they are a bit safer than we were because we, well, in my case anyway, had no idea about WHY you didn't talk to strangers or who can touch/see where or whatever.

  4. #4

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    i had a decent amount of freedom as a kid.. more around the age of 10 I suppose.. too old to remember back that far now

    We have just started allowing our son to go places without us. We bought him a phone and have given him restrictions.. as in he is under no circumstances allowed on the beach and can only ride from our house to the park and always stay ont he bike paths.. yestercday however after a week of not beong allowed to go out alone well without an adult I mean he went to a friends house after he was only allowed at the park.. Not a huge deal to him but to me it was as he broke some trust we had rebuilt.... hence today he was not happy as he wasn't allowed to leave the yard on his bike.. I think he learnt his lesson though.. All he had to do was ring me and ask if he could go to ## place and I would have said yes... oh and how did i know where he was LOL.. I rang him.. I ring him every half hour or so, It was a very tough decision to make to allow him out like that...

  5. #5

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    Emma, I have had those same exact thoughts.
    We used to just play in the backyards (I grew up in a block of unitsin a suburb in Germany and all the backyards in the streets were sorta linked up). We used to all ride or bikes to school together, our parents didn't pick us up.
    Here, I find that kids are alway picked up, parents seem to be the chauffeurs of their kids' busy lifestyles and kids don't seem to have as much free playtime.
    It really bothers me. But I also realise that it depends very much on where you live. One thing that annoys me is that most kindy's and schools are along major roads (at least here on the Coast). So that adds to the danger. And it is also annoying for general traffic as evrything slows down around the time kids are dropped off or picked up.
    I'm not sure how to deal with it, but I would love to live in a world where I can let my kids walk to school with their friends (the best friendships are made on the way to and from school), and let them play outside, not just in their own backyard.
    Of course only once they're old enough.
    I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this subject. My in-laws and DH are not a good source as they are just scared of their own shadow. And they always say to me: you don't know what it's like, you didn't grow up here, it's not as safe as it might have been back home. I doubt that. I guess, car wise, it is more dangerous, as there is more traffic then when we were little. But they always say that there are more predators these days, while I believe, we just know about more cases. But, I think that if only very few kids walk home from school and they have to walk by themselves, that makes them a lot more vulnerable.

    Sasa

  6. #6

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    hmmm perhaps we were older than 8 when we had free reign, but we definitely walked or rode to school by ourselves and home again, most definitely... it IS very hard to remember at what age we did what though.

    my sister in law's son (7) was at our house recently with his dad and was bored and was nagging to go home, his dad said well you can't go home unless you call mum up and ask her to come and get you. we live in a country town and their house is just around the corner, would have to cross only two quiet streets lined with houses. it was later that it got me thinking how ridiculous it seemed (to me anyway). thing is he is a very 'young' 7, but probably due to the fact that he hasn't actually been allowed to do much - does that make sense... maybe he wouldn't be okay crossing the road, because perhaps he's never had to do it before.

  7. #7

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    The girls are allowed to play out the front of our house and that's about it. They don't go to the park or corner shop without one of us. We live in a pretty crappy neighbourhood but. We are going to move to a better area hopefully in the next 6 months, then the oldest will be allowed to do more.

  8. #8

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    I think it depends on where you live.

    My kids play in the street (ride scooters on the footpath etc with the neighbours kids) they also play in the lane behind our house. My DD has walked to school by herself since was about 10yo. She is 13yo now and goes to the local "village" shops which are just around the corner.

    The main difference between my children's "playing in the streets" and my own when i was a child is that they don't play on the road. When i was a child we lived in a dead-end street with very little traffic.

    Now we live in a very quite and safe area... it has a very family 'feel' to it. Everyone looks out for everyone else's kids. I know most of my neighbours... the ones with kids have all been over to our house for parties etc at some stage. If we lived in a street where we didn't know our neighbours as well i wouldn't let my kids have the freedoms that they have now. We made a conscious decision to live in a place that is family oriented and safe... it's an expensive area but well worth it for this reason alone.

  9. #9

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    I have a real problem getting my head around this one too! I grew up in a small cul-de-sac so virtually no traffic and there were loads of kids and we all hung around together after school. There was a big field in front of the street so in school holidays mum virtually never saw us during daylight hours - and I'm talking from the age of about 4! Then when it was time to come in, she and all the other mum's would nip down someone's driveway and holler for us to come home. I walked to school with a friend from the age of about eight. Mum and my friend's mum would just make sure we met up and then we walked from there. Actually, most days we raced each other to school because that was more fun.

    So we were given A LOT of freedom and I simply can't imagine being a modern child and being cooped up inside all day or being ferried around to unspontaneous activities that are meant to be fun.

    But, I live in Melbourne on a busy street. So even when DD is older it would be too dangerous traffic-wise for her to play there which I suppose will mean that I will have to take her to the park with some of her kiddy friends.

    It really saddens me that she won't have the same freedom that I had and I've honestly thought that it would be better for us to move to the country.

    I also don't think that the world is a more dangerous place these days (apart from the traffic); we just think it is and so if we do allow our kids more 'freedom' than is socially acceptable we're very conscious of being accused of being negligent parents.

  10. #10

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    I also don't think that the world is a more dangerous place these days (apart from the traffic); we just think it is and so if we do allow our kids more 'freedom' than is socially acceptable we're very conscious of being accused of being negligent parents.
    You said exactly what I am thinking. It angers me that if I even utter the words "walk to school" people like my in-laws look at me as if I am the worst mother in the world. I do see the dangers with busy streets and the like. But I also see the need for kids to be kids... It is sad really, and when my in-laws have said in the past that it is just too dangerous here, I have actually replied, "well, then we just have to move, don't we?" they didn't like that...

    Saša

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