A Cup of Jo linked to this article yesterday and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Warning: it's a long read, but a worthwhile read, and really interesting too. It made me somewhat nostalgic for many of my childhood memories - when my parents would leave me at my cousin's house for what was supposed to be a summertime weekend but I would keep extending it until I had been there for more than 2 weeks! ...we had so much fun there, just being kids. Playing in the woods, reenacting scenes from Robin Hood.
While times have changed, I will do my best possible job to remember how happy those times made me and give them to J. He deserves it. It's hard, now as a parent, to not warn your child about what might happen...or help them find the easier way. But the exploration, the hits and the misses, are so critical.
If you have a chance, please read it. I think it was so important.
"Even though women work vastly more hours now than they did in the 1970s, mothers—and fathers—of all income levels spend much more time with their children than they used to..."
"It’s hard to absorb how much childhood norms have shifted in just one generation. Actions that would have been considered paranoid in the ’70s—walking third-graders to school, forbidding your kid to play ball in the street, going down the slide with your child in your lap—are now routine. "
It is no longer easy to find a playground that has an element of surprise, no matter how far you travel. Kids can find the same slides at the same heights and angles as the ones in their own neighborhood, with many of the same accessories. Now the playground can hold only a toddler’s attention, and not for very long.
“look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.” But adults have come to the mistaken view “that children must somehow be sheltered from all risks of injury,” Frost writes. “In the real world, life is filled with risks—financial, physical, emotional, social—and reasonable risks are essential for children’s healthy development.”
Children, she concluded, have a sensory need to taste danger and excitement; this doesn’t mean that what they do has to actually be dangerous, only that they feel they are taking a great risk. That scares them, but then they overcome the fear.
Hart can’t help but wonder what disappeared with “the erosion of child culture,” in which children were “inventing their own activities and building up a kind of community of their own that they knew much more about than their parents.”
"There is a big difference between avoiding major hazards and making every decision with the primary goal of optimizing child safety (or enrichment, or happiness). We can no more create the perfect environment for our children than we can create perfect children. To believe otherwise is a delusion, and a harmful one; remind yourself of that every time the panic rises."