Children, How old is old enough?

I caught wind of a new thing going around, where you let your kids run and play outside today, the way kids used to do in the 60’s and 70’s, when we were raised. I have not read enough about this concept they are suggesting called “Free Range Kids”, to actually comment on their ideas of giving children the same running room that kids from “back in the day” were given, but I can comment from my own life and parenting experience.

I have lived in both days, then and now. So when I heard of parents raising the kids now, the way they used to be raised, it just scared the dittle out of me, to put it nicely.

I’ve raised my kids from the late 80’s to now and why anyone would think of acting the old way with their kids, is beyond me. Oh sure, there are parents that do let their kids have the freedom we had as kids and those kids come home just fine every night, no worse for the wear and grow up OK. Then there are others who have been sorry that they did. Living with the consequences for the rest of their lives, daily.

There are more parents now that are in the sorry category than ever before and it’s not because there are more kids. It’s because there are more people out there and more things that can happen to children, than ever before. Lets face it, the world is a much busier place than twenty or thirty years ago and more can and does happen.

We used to go out and the worst thing you would hear of, is a child being accidentally hit by a car, or some kind of an accident where the kid got hurt while playing without supervision, and that’s that. Nothing More.

The world was different then and it wasn’t neglectful to let your kids go out when they asked, not knowing where or who they would be with, or what they would be into. Life was a lot slower then, like the old TV shows depict and there were more concerned people, who did the right thing by looking out for kids, even if they weren’t theirs. That level of general concern, just isn’t there any more, like it used to be. Lets face it. We all know it’s true, because we rarely even know who our own neighbors are anymore. Back then, mom not only knew all the neighbors on the block, but most of the people in the neighborhood. People used to associate more and in fewer places, so most everyone knew of the others they should beware of. It was a built in safety net, that as kids we didn’t know was even there, but as parents we should realize, that the built in safety net longer exists in most communities in America.

Not only have the kids changed, but society has changed as well. Take a look at all the laws we have now regarding children and their safety. Most were developed for good reason and not just because of a few “bad eggs” either.

Sure, I believe in children having as much room to grow and to experiment with things as much as possible. Kids seem to experience things at their own pace back then and sometimes sooner than they should have. So did my kids have the right to know the feeling of having their first Red Rider BB gun like I did and have the right to shoot their eye out? No, and not because I didn’t want them to shoot their eye out, but the laws have changed in the cities and now it is illegal to discharge any gun, BB or otherwise, within the city limits. So they had to experience a different but similar event. That being when they were old enough by law and by my parental judgment, to learn about a gun, they were taught everything they need to know. Then they got the experience of dad taking them to the range, to shoot up some targets and not shoot up the neighbors garage like we did. We got spanked for that and you can’t do that now either.

Now there are more good reasons, why we should require our kids to be old enough, to do certain things. Things are a little different now and for good reason. Laws have changed, societies pace has changed, and people, even parents have changed and we have a lot of people and issues to deal with, beyond what’s best for everybody and not just the kids.

When children are old enough to handle anything they may come across, for their current age and when we as parents feel they are truly ready, then they will be allowed to live out the experiences we did, going by the parents determination of what they are ready for and not theirs and they will be safer because of it. That’s true parenting for the times we are living in now.

However, there still must be the diligence of the parent to set limitations, rules and boundaries that the kids will have to adhere to, which will be expanded as we feel they are ready, not them. We have to do this for their own safety. We now live in a society where you have to look out for yourself, because no one is looking out for you, and children are not always able to make the right choices, even when they have been taught. That issue has been proven by more local news stations, than you have sox.

I think that parents had a more open playing field when it came to raising kids back then, versus what parents have to take into consideration now days. They were great parents and were able to give the kids more freedom than we allow our kids today, but don’t despair. The kids of today will grow up in their own time, but at a rate that we as parents choose, that’s safe for our own children. They will still get to experience all of the things that we did, only in a different manner and time frame in their lives, that’s all. That’s not so bad now after all, is it. Wouldn’t it be better to err on the side of over protection, than to suffer on the side of under protection.


Now look at just one story from 27 years ago, that happened to the best of parents, then go give your kids Free Range, because It’s your choice for you to make for them, as a parent. Not theirs’.

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