Thoughts on the Lives of Children
Original post made by Freyja on Aug 3, 2007
Today things are different. Parents worry more: Your kids might get kidnapped/raped, might do something bad and 'get in trouble', or take drugs, or get a sunburn, or not make it into the college of (your) choice. The horror. The horror. The horror. So summer is filled with classes, sports, music lessons, and family cruises. As many as possible conducted indoors.
Related to this, I think, is a change in the distinction between "indoor" behavior and "outdoor" behavior. In my childhood, using a 4-letter word or burping in front of others was the height of ill-breeding, and could only be enjoyed beyond the earshot of adults. When outside and running the neighborhood, each child could vanish into the special world of childhood for some or all of the day.
To hear my father (born in 1920) tell it, in his generation the gradient between indoors and outdoors was even steeper. For boys, at least, you were either sitting in auntie's parlor in a starched white shirt, or you were outside smoking cigarettes, starting fires, stealing stuff, and getting into fist fights.
Today, burping and bad language are ok everywhere, but fist-fighting and cigarettes are ok nowhere. Are things better now, or worse? As a parent, I prefer today's approach. But that's probably just because I've fallen prey to the parental paranoias.
I sometimes worry that today's kids lack the free time needed to discover oneself. Or ... are we living in a world today for which "discovering oneself" has become as outmoded a concept as starched shirts in auntie's parlor?
on Aug 3, 2007 at 6:12 pm
I doubt you'll get any positive responses, because everyone on this forum is the type of whining PTA parent that has abolished all forms of fun so they can keep their kids sealed in a bubble where nothing can affect them. kids cant get into fistfights because whining parents will sue each other. kids cant run around and fall down and scrape their knees because whining parents will sue the city for the cracks in the sidewalk. kids cant get drunk and rowdy because whining neighbors will put up a stink about noise pollution. as long as parents and neighbors keep whining and squabbling about lawsuits, nobody will have any fun.
on Aug 6, 2007 at 8:59 am
You give your children the sort of childhood you wish you could have had.
on Aug 6, 2007 at 9:14 am
Last summer we moved from a very busy cut-through street with no children to play with (children yes, to play with, no) to a great neighborhood in South PA. I feel like I have stepped back in time. I expect to see a big old Rambler station wagon cruise down our street any time. My daughters stopped having a jillion activities and went to girl scouts, the swimming pool and that was basically it. They have a neighborhood friend and I was thrilled when I saw them all sitting up in a big tree, chatting and relaxing for an entire afternoon. It's hard to find other kids who aren't overscheduled, but when your kids can ride around the neighborhood on their bikes, cruise to the library and local park to play (independence!) and make up games to play together, it's the best. Far from giving them the sort of childhood I *wish* I had had, I am thrilled that at last they can experience a little of the childhood I DID have, growing up in College Terrace.