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Overprotective parenting

Another (long) article on modern parenting, contrasted with that of a generation ago.

in the U.K., shows that in 1971, 80 percent of third-graders walked to school alone. By 1990, that measure had dropped to 9 percent, now even lower

ER visits related to playground equipment, including home equipment, in
1980 was 156,000, or one visit per 1,452 Americans. In 2012, it was
271,475, or one per 1,156 Americans -- so all this supervision and safety measures (like rubber playgrounds) isn't even having much effect.

long-bone injuries increasing, due to risk compensation?

:Failure to supervise has become, in fact, synonymous with failure to parent."

Article describes a UK "adventure playground" basically an acre junkyard, that kids play in without their parents, even setting fires in tin. There actually is adult supervision, but mostly hands off.

My childhood? At school we had a big asphalt playground, and the high points were freeform role-playing organized by someone else. (Low points were me getting bullied; article does note that downside.) At home I was usually by myself in the back yard, certainly not getting watched over by my parents. Sometimes playing two-square on the sidewalk out front with a visiting friend, also without immediate watchover. I think from around age 7 I was free-range in the neighborhood, at least within a five minute walk, being sent out on errands (Sunday paper, gallon of milk, stationary store) or going to the public library on my own. Lots of other kids at the library on their own too, especially Palestinians from the apartment complexes. At 10 I was definitely taking Chicago public transit on my own, trains and buses, to go to my special classes. Then at 14 *everyone* took public transit to my "inner city" magnet high school, no school buses for that.

Edit: I got http://www.japanprobe.com/2009/07/22/japanese-kids-go-shopping/ as a response on Facebook. TV show of a five year old boy being sent off to buy stew ingredients for the first time. He's not by himself -- his almost three year old sister is with him! Annotations available via gear if not on by default.

Edit 2: I'm reminded of living in San Francisco around 2000, and seeing little Chinese kids scurry home from school by themselves. I'd guess first graders? Quite small. Just going a few blocks, but compared to modern Anglo parenting even that seemed exceptional.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/389810.html#comments



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 27th, 2014 11:22 am (UTC)
The Atlantic article was written by Hanna Rosin, who has the reputation as a generator of many eyerolls. She's interviewed people I know thus I know that her writing has two tendencies: One, a notably stronger than average tendency to put the maximum amount of spin on what her interviewees say, not for drama but to support her personal bugaboos. Two, (apparently absent strong external input), she has a stronger than average tendency to disregard data that undermine her personal bugaboos. IOW, she goes closer than she should, to the line of advocacy than reporting.

I consider it a minus that, based only on the author's name, I accurately predicted subject matter, analysis, and conclusion.
Mar. 27th, 2014 12:15 pm (UTC)
Yet this is hardly the only article on this subject, and the general phenomenon is supported by parents I know. I could have "predicted the article" just from the title.
Mar. 27th, 2014 12:53 pm (UTC)
It's easy to predict the point of this article from this title - the title is, after all, the conclusion. But should one be able to predict the subject and conclusion based solely on the author?

Sidebar: when I was a kid, the children's exploratorium room at NY's Natual History Museum, included a bow-and-stick firemaking station.
Mar. 27th, 2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
Also, if my experience is typical, there used to be more kids around, and the kids had more free time. I live in the neighborhood in which I grew up, which makes for an excellent comparison set.

Even 4 decades later, I can remember over a dozen kids in the houses right near mine and those are just the ones I remember, the ones with whom I played. We were clustered in roughly a 10 year age range. So if I wanted to go out, there were plenty of kids to hang out with and to keep watch over each other.

Fast forward to today. My kids have very few neighbors near their age. I'd have to think long and hard to get a dozen and some I've only seen, never met. The five youngsters on my block are almost never out in common areas just playing, and two of them I swear never play outside their house at all. Rarely is there an answer, the few times the kids and I have knocked on someone's door.

So in addition to parents being more cautious, the environment that made it safer for kids to be out without parents has also changed.

And about that playground at Beauvoir. Beauvoir rules are that each age range must stick to the appropriate section of the playground. My rules are my kids can go wherever they want. It's one of the weird, awesome things about kids that they're comfortable with both sets of rules and know when each applies.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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