Friday, January 16, 2015

The Overprotected Child

From the Atlantic Magazine, an article of the cocoon we have put around children and how it completely has changed the experience of being a child. This is an in-depth article, but well worth your time. It is sad, in a way, what has been lost.

In Maryland, this week, one set of parents have been investigated for letting a 10 year old and a 6 year old go walking without supervision. The parents want the kids to have what they think of as normal freedom, expanding as the children get older. Child protective services are now involved in a neglect investigation.

I remember riding all over town on a bicycle, going to the library, to little league games, to the city pool. Going out the door on a Saturday morning and a promise to be home for supper, taking off into the woods with a sandwich and a pocketknife. Building a dam on a creek to make a swimming hole one summer (It took us weeks to make it chest deep, we moved hundreds of rocks, tried different configurations).

We climbed too high in trees, got dirty, muddy, cut up, half-lost. We formed friendships, got in fights, and had a life our parents were only dimly aware of. They had done the same in their time. It is in the last couple of decades this all changed. Children today don't have that freedom, and while they may have less risk, their lives are diminished.

Maybe this makes them more suited to the brave new world we all live in now.


burt said...

My walk to middle and high school was about a mile from home. I either walked it or rode a bicycle, and I did it mostly alone: no other kids in my neighborhood were in the same grade.

Autumn, winter, spring. Rain, snow, heat, cold. By myself.

Today's little darlings can't walk more than 200 feet to a bus stop, and have to be accompanied by mommy or daddy.

burt said...

Correction: Google Maps says it's 1.4 miles.

bruce said...

the stats probably say there isn't any increased danger, the only thing that has really changed is the overwhelming need of the local news to be somebody.

Borepatch said...

Stalin would have had the bureaucrats all shot.

Arthur said...

I was driving a tractor at 10. Granted it was an old Oliver 77 Row-Crop and I got laughed at by the other farm kids on the schoolbus because I was going so slow - "It's old! That's as fast as it will go!"

I am constantly grateful to have been born in a time and place that wasn't insane.

Educated Savage said...

My two cousins and I were allowed to run around the woods all day with guns at that age and nothing bad happened. Most children are as mature as they're made to be and not allowing them to be exposed to a certain amount of risk is unhealthy and to some extent immoral.