Sunday, September 16, 2012

What happens to those who get over coddled?

I was amazed that in the US, some parents are being reported as negligent for letting their children play outside in the yard unsupervised. Long gone are the days where parents let their children go to the grocery store to pick up some milk before dinner. It seems people think if a child is outside alone, he is in grave danger of being hurt or kidnapped. 

Yet statistics does not show the rate of strangers hurting children has gone up. Generally children are hurt by people they know, rarely by strangers.

I wonder about this world. I remember in 1968 taking the city bus all by myself at age 6 to go to my ballet lessons. I was a 2 minute walk from the bus stop and the bus came along every 5 minutes and was 2 minutes walk from my ballet classes.   I also used to go to the grocery store, the bakery, the five and dime store and the convenience store to help my mom. I was hyper and my mom didn't have the of health. What better way to utilize my natural abilities and get exercise all while helping my single mom. I used to even go and deposit my mom's paycheck at the bank starting at age 6.  

My mom considered me to be resourceful and dependable. I brought back receipts and exact change.  I don't remember ever being harassed as a child while running errands for my mom. I was also allowed to ride my bicycle around the neighbourhood once I mastered the art of riding it.

I also remember walking to my swimming lessons by myself from age 6 to 10.  That was a long walk and sometimes I scared my mom by talking longer then I should walking home. I'd run into a dog or cat and follow it for a while, until I realized I needed to go home. Or I'd get lost in games inside my head and take forever walking.

I let my kids be kids and got chastised for it a lot.  When I split up with my ex-husband I moved to a low rent housing complex that was on the edge of one of the few big wooded areas left in Montreal, Le Bois de Liesse.  I liked the fact our apartment building was on the edge of the woods, so there was at least a place for my children to play outside the street. I told my kids that they could go in the forest so long as they saw the buildings so they would not get lost. Of course with time and hanging out with other kids they got to learn the woods really well.  The worst incident that happened to them that I know of, is my youngest falling through the ice of a small pond when it was close to freezing. But she was close enough to home and with her sister, that nothing bad came of it.

I pity those who aren't allowed to leave their homes unless accompanied by a parent.  By the time they turn 18, they won't know how to get around and imagine having these coddled children as work colleagues?  How resourceful do you think they will be?


  1. Hilarious because we only told you about that ice incident when we were already in our twenties. har har.

  2. I think about that too. At age 12 I was cooking when my dad wasn't home and caring for my little brother. I had to make his lunch and send him off to school because my dad left to go work at 4 am.

    Today my friends 14 year old son is only now starting to stay home with his sister. Doesn't get up on his own for school. It seems like children are maturing more slowly now then you and I did....

    Then again we had circumstances that perhaps pushed us to grow up more quickly

  3. Perhaps because we had single parents. I lived alone with my mom till I was 12.


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