Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When did the world become so dangerous?

I grew up being a  latchkey kid..  at the age of 5 I was taking care of my newborn brother all by myself.. (shocking I know!) We lived in Mexico, my dad worked across the street and the neighbor would check on us every hour or so.. I knew how to make a bottle of formula and my dad would come home on his breaks to cook me dinner.. this continued for most of our lives..  Something I could NEVER picture my 5 year old doing EVER!  I was even home alone during the Mexico Earthquake  September 1985,  IT was not near the epicentre but we still felt it..  and  I knew to grab my little brother (then 6 months old) and take him with me and sit under the table. The neighbor then came and took us with her while we waited for my mom to come home (I have no clue where my dad was)  I have such vivid memories of that day.

At the age of 6  I was in first grade, I was in the afternoon school it was 12 to 5pm  I remember one day all the kids were being picked up except for me.. I had no idea where my parents were and so after waiting for so long I decided to walk home.. The school was only half a mile from my home and I was tired of being alone at the school waiting. (School's over there are not as strict with student safety so no one knew what was happening)  I walked home only had to cross one street and no one was there... I waited in front of my house and no one came so I walked back tot he school and it's a good think because It was getting dark, I found my dad, apparently since I didn't sit in one place we kept missing each other.. (my dad was 25 around that time... my mom 29 I have no idea what the heck they were thinking)

At the age of 7 I was able to walk to and from school and at the age of 8 my 4 yr old brother and I used to walk a couple of blocks to the store .. by the age of 11 my brother was 7 we used to go get lost! We used to ride out bikes around the neighborhood and get into all sorts of adventures! All we had to do was come home at a certain time, after that either we had to eat dinner, do homework or depending on the season and amount of daylight we could go disappear for another couple of hours!  Those were the days!

We never thought it was odd or weird, the world wasn't scary, we knew how to cross streets, we knew not to get near strangers and most of the neighborhood knew us.. If something happened we could even go to the nearest store and they'd help us since they were all mom and pop shops.

Funny thing is.. my parents were always so anti sleep overs!! that was one thing that freaked them out!  They would let us our into the world but we couldn't sleep over a friend's house because they were worried about us getting molested or corrupted by the parents and they didn't want to bother getting to know them either.. my dad was very antisocial and my mom was forced to do the same since he was a jealous person.  My dad's mentality to this day is an enigma to me..

Anyway fast forward to me having my own kids..

The world scares me!!!!!

I could never leave my 5 year old to care for her sister.. I don't think she would even know what to do!  I cannot imagine her walking home to and from school alone, ever!  When you see the news about missing children.. it's always the kids walking alone!   Though I know most people that harm children are people the children know..

I want to cover my daughters in a bubble forever  but then again I don't want them to grow up naive, sheltered, scared!  I am sure there is a balance somewhere...  and I have to slowly learn to let go more and more..

Remember the lady that turned into a debate not that long ago for letting her 9yr old ride the subway alone? She has a site Freerangekids  A lot of what she says makes sense.. .

"Not that facts make any difference. Somehow, a whole lot of parents are just convinced that nothing outside the home is safe. At the same time, they’re also convinced that their children are helpless to fend for themselves. While most of these parents walked to school as kids, or hiked the woods — or even took public transportation — they can’t imagine their own offspring doing the same thing."

As my child gets older.. I start wondering about these things.. what kind of a childhood am I going to give her.. a sheltered caged one or a free range one...  Sure there is a balance..  but finding it is going to be one heck of an adventure..

What do you think about the subject?  Did you used to wonder off far from home too? Would you let your children? Have you even thought about this yet?  I'd love to hear your opinions.. especially from those with older children.. Do you let them be kids?

One Scaredy Cat Momma!


  1. I grew up fairly "free range" on our farmland in the country in the 80's. In fact, we went home years later and bought said piece of land- that's how much growing up here meant to be. I couldn't imagine raising my babies anywhere else. Now, would I let them go stomping through the woods in a foot of snow to a friend's house? Nah. Would I call them when it got dark with a cow bell after they'd been in the woods alone all day? Uh, no. It's just a different world than it was when us mommies were kids. I don't know if it's media coverage of craziness that makes us more aware or if there are genuinely more psychos out there, but I could never forgive myself if something happened to my kids because I failed to protect them. I'm torn between wanting them to have the freedom to grow up in the sunlight and craziness of childhood and being terrified that the moments I let them out of my sight, I will lose them forever. Being a mom is hard, because there is just so much gray area...

  2. Thank you for letting me know there was another latchkey kid out there who remembers. I mention that term and get blank stares. I also was alone during daylight hours from a young age. No one knew where I was or what I was doing except when I was playing with a friend who had more protective parents.

    I know all the statistics show that it's actually safer now than when I was a kid. I'm not sure why I feel less safe for them. It's something I'll be thinking about as my kids want more freedoms.

    I won't let my kids play in the front yard alone, but I know some parents who won't let their kids play in the backyard alone and I'm sure there are parents out there who think both of us are nuts.

  3. grrrr, I SO totally left a comment on here this morning but I see it didn't post :(

    Anyhoo what I originally posted was that I can remember my sister and I running all over the place as kids. My grandma lived by a wooded area nad we would go get "lost" in the woods all day long, returning only to eat. We would follow the paths of old abandoned train tracks forever and even play in abandoned shacks.
    Ted said he has similar memoried from when he was a kid.

    I would NEVER let my kids do this though haha. I do not want to be a helicopter mom and I think I have a happy medium when it comes to this but sadly the world is not safe enough to let kids do those sort of things anymore.



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