I took my kids to the park today as we did not feel like being stuck in the house. I sat there watching them run around and play and felt pretty sad. I was remembering being a kid myself and I knew what I wish I could give my kids. I wish I could give them the freedom I had.
I used to come home, chuck my school stuff behind the door and head out to spend time with my friends. We would play, we would argue, discuss everything under the sun, fight and get up to stuff that our parents would probably smack our bums for or ground us for a month :) But we also learned. We learned how to interact with other kids without a grown up being around. How to sort out our squabbles. Learned that some games were pretty unsafe and ended up in accidents and some games were just really boring.
We would head home at tea time and do the same the following day. Yes there were still rules, we had to stay near enough our house so mum could see us, we needed to tell our parents where we were going and if we decided to go elsewhere we had to run home to let mum know first. But it gave us freedom and independence. I had my house key from when I was 8, I was sent to the local shop to buy things from when I was about 4 (we did live in a village and going to the local shop did not mean crossing any roads and everyone knew everyone there :) )
My son is turning 10 this week and I still walk him to school and pick him up. He gets to have friends over and we do go to the park and on trips, but he never gets the freedom of being without a supervising grown up. I send him to Scouts, to school trips, to summer camps just so that he gets to experience a little bit of the freedom and makes memories for years to come.
A child psychologist said to my mum (who works with kids) that bringing kids up nowadays is so much harder than it used to be. We are always looked up to to provide entertainment, to plan what they will be doing. When we were kids there was no worse punishment than the dreaded sentence: "You are grounded!" Saying this to my kids would have absolutely no effect as being grounded is no different from what we do every day.
If there was one thing I could wish for, this would be it. Simpler life where kids can just be kids and run out and play with others.
What are your thoughts? Let me know below, i would love to hear your views. xxx