Sunday, May 20, 2012


These are what is left of the tulips after the neighborhood deer decided to have them for a night time snack.  Do I like deer?  Mmmmm, not so much anymore.

Yesterday was national "Take Your Child To The Park And Leave Them There" day.  This is a grass roots idea by American parents that feel like today's children are not given enough independence and are hovered over by their parents way too much.  So the idea is for parents to bring their children to a pre-picked park at 10 am, offload them, and leave for a half hour, hour or two hours - whatever feels good to the parent.  This way, the children can join together for independent play without parents micro-managing everything.

I say the same thing can be done by parents simply sitting on a park bench and reading, which is what I always did.

If you are worried about your child being thirsty, well don't be.  Children are always hungry or thirsty, they can be that just as well unsupervised in a park.

Anyone ever here of dehydration or heat stroke?

Worried that your child might get hurt and need help?  Well being alone in the park will teach them how to go to a totally unknown person to ask for help, teaching them self-reliance and independence.

Who this kindly, unknown adult will actually be, I don't know, because presumably, all the parents will be gallivanting for an hour or so anywhere except the park.

Abductor or pedophile anyone?  And just think, on this holiday they don't need candy or a puppy! The child comes to them!!!!

But heavens, don't worry, child abduction is at a 40 year low!!  What is the reason for that do you suppose?  Do you think that humans have just evolved in the past 40 years to be nicer people?  Or do you think cases like Etan Patz (still missing since 1979), or Adam Walsh (dead) changed society, making us more observant, more vigilant and much less trusting?  May-be the statistics need to be interpreted a different way.

And yet, for all that vigilance, we still have had Sandra Cantu (kidnapped from her street in 2009, found dead about a month later), Shawn Hornbeck (riding bikes with friends on a dirt road, kidnapped 2002 and recovered 5 years later),  Jaycee Dugard (2001 from her bus stop, recovered 18 years later), Jorelys Rivera (2011, kidnapped from apartment complex playground, found raped, beaten and murdered).

Lastly, as my husband says, if the child that is taken is yours, the statistics don't mean a thing!

What do you think?

Some other blogs and what they think:


The Redhead Riter said...

I love deer LOL but they haven't eaten my plants.

Abduction makes me want to vomit...just sick.

Mary Bennett said...

I agree. It's just awful!!!

Dawn Conklin said...

My kids are not allowed to go to the park by themselves (I take them all the time and work on my phone while they play), I don't allow them to go to the bus themselves either. We have actually had an increase in crime around here - from shootings to people trying to pick kids up walking home from school.

They do play outside at the house by themselves or with friends that come over tho. Our yard is completely fenced in and the only way to get in is to be seen on cameras across the street. They also get their time of freedom at a friend's house where they can all play outside but yet be seen from the window of their friend's house. They play in big groups.

I used to be able to go all over outside as a kid, but we literally grew up in the middle of nowhere and people couldn't find us with directions to the house!

katlupe said...

Of course, my child is grown up but when he was growing up, I don't think I would have left him off in a park by himself. Maybe if he was with his friends or a class project with a teacher. I always knew where he was, at least, until he got to "that" age.

Ila East said...

This is a good puzzle to think about. My children are grown so I can't really relate to parents today, but our children played without supervision in our neighborhood all the time. Didn't need to go to a park.

As for the deer, several years ago we used Liquid Fence for deer and it worked fine. It smells like rotten eggs when fresh. After it dries, we didn't notice any smell and it won't wash off in the rain. We had to respray about once a month.

Carolyn Watson-Dubisch said...

There is a book called "The Gift of Fear" which can help you teach your child how to identify a safe adult. Such as always chose a woman, and a woman with kids is a good bet. Also learning to yell and scream-ESPECIALLY if they say not to. Yelling "This is not my father(mother)!!!" etc.... Seems like a good idea in these times we live in.

Mary Bennett said...

Carolyn, I was thinking about what you said. Unfortunately women, even women with children have been known to kidnap, both children and other women that trusted them. We live in twisted times, but I still feel that the book "The Gift of Fear" could still be very helpful.
Many children have been abducted by complete strangers, like Jaycee Duggard and Sean Hornbeck for example. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped by a man who did odd jobs around her house, and then kept captive by the man who abducted her and his wife. Same thing with Jaycee Duggard, it was a man and his wife that kept her captive.
But then you look at Sandra Cantu, and she was abducted and murdered by her friend's mother!
We all have to learn, not just children, that just because we see someone, or even do activities with someone, often, that does not make them a friend. Think of all the teachers and coaches that have had illicit sex with students, they have seen these people at least a few days out of every week, yet, they were not friends but fiends waiting to take advantage of them!!!

Margaret Mary Myers said...

I read your great blog post, then followed one of your links and commented there. But I'm going to share that same comment here: Okay, here goes. I am 59 years old. When I was a child, my parents (and other parents of my time and place) practiced what would seem to me to be free-range parenting...although they didn't call it that in those days. A boy cousin six years older than I was sexually abused me. The first time it happened, I told on him, thinking he was at fault. I'm guessing he was either scolded or punished because the next time we were alone, he told me never to tell again. After that, I thought it was my fault - because no one told me what to do if there was a next time so - after all - I guess I was supposed to be responsible for myself, because that was the order of the day in most areas of life. I thought it was so much my fault and my shame that I didn't tell anyone again until I was in my forties...and while I'm a responsible, successful person, yes, it affected me. Also, two of my cousins (that one and another one about the same age) once put me in a dryer (when I was little enough to fit), shut it, and left me there until it finally occurred to the adults that they hadn't seen me for awhile. The boys' response when asked where I was? Oh, we forgot; we put her in the dryer. These same boys teased me unmercifully at family gatherings where I was put at the same table with them, separately from the adults and my older sister. They teased me about all the ways they could kill me; electric shock was a favorite - and no one cared or no one knew; I don't know which, but if they didn't know, it felt like they didn't care enough to know. Yes, I may have laughed it off because that was what I was expected to do. Did I enjoy it? No. Did anyone ask me if I enjoyed it? No. These are just the worst examples, but not the only examples of how we were unsupervised. Was my life wild and different from everyone else's in my time? Unfortunately, no. Not at all! I've heard numerous horror stories from others, based on parents not supervising their kids "back in the day" or not paying a lot of attention to what was really going on behind the scenes, on the playgrounds, on the streets, and etc. Please don't get me wrong. I love my parents and they did their best with what they knew. It was the way it was at that time. But why on God's green earth would we want to bring that back? And make a movement about it? And leave children of 7 or 8 (or 9 or 10) alone in a park? It's not only the adult predators I would worry about. It's the other children, too. How about the 12 and 13 year olds who might happen to be at the same park? Are we putting too much responsibility - or temptation - on them? Even if nothing happens, if nothing else, I can't see how young children would feel important and secure by being left to pretend to be young adults, responsible for their own well-being. Just my seasoned opinions. :)

Mary Bennett said...

Margaret Mary, Your post made me want to cry!! I am soo sorry! I agree with you, who knows how an older child might react toward an unsupervised, unwatched child. All I can think of is the group of 10 to 12 year olds that kidnapped Jamie Bulger from his unobservant mother.

Mary Bennett said...

Dawn, That is the way my children played, outside in our yard, or when they were older, they could go for walks as long as they were in a group.

Your kids are lucky to have big groups of kids to play with. I never see big groups of kids together. And I've lived in two developments known for how many kids live in them. Basket ball hoops all around, and no one using them, or occassionally, one child throwing a ball.

Playing in a big group, just down the block a few houses from your own, I'm comfortable with. But galivanting all around? Not my kid either.

Mary Bennett said...

Katlupe, Agreed!!!!

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Thank you, Mary. I kind of thought it was just the way life was supposed to be. So I'm still working on dealing with it. Knowing people think it was sad helps. :)


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