Remember my previous post on Halloween & how I feel that it is dangerous for young children to be knocking on strangers’ doors asking for treats? Read it HERE.
I also mentioned that our children have to be old enough to differentiate the bad guys from the good & have to be fast enough to run away from danger if need be.
I dunno about the rest of you, but I was brought up by paranoid parents who:
1) do not let me go out alone with my friends until I was 15
2) set a curfew for me to come home at 4pm when I can go out alone with my friends
3) constantly tell me not to be in the lift with a stranger alone
4) be aware of my surroundings at all times
5) always stay in brightly lit / crowded places
Then today on Freshly Pressed at WordPress, I see THIS blog post from Free Range Kids. It promotes some kind of “oh let them grow up & explore on their own, learn things by themselves without overprotective parents“.
In a nutshell: A mother (Kimberlee Morrison) lets her 8 year old son go to the park alone. Then when her son leaves the park to go to some place & ask for water. A stranger approached the boy & asked if he was hungry, then bought him some food. The stranger later called the police as he was concerned for the boy’s safety. The mother is now unhappy & wrote to Free Range Kids for some pep talk or guidance.
Firstly, what is the mother so unhappy about? Her son DID accept food from a stranger.
“A stranger asked him if he was hungry, the Boy, thinking the guy was being nice, said sure.”
See? The boy THINKING that the guy was being nice. If the son was a teenager, he would have refused. Her 8 year old son was lucky that the stranger IS nice & not some child molester who planned on drugging her son’s food.
Then the mother went on to say, “To which I countered that there is no law against letting my son go to the park, and that the only problem right now is that the supposedly nice person HAD involved the authorities, even though my son was fine. My son was not lost, he wasn’t injured, he wasn’t afraid, he was just thirsty. I was told that since others thought something was wrong, I should too.”
This really boggles my mind. The stranger probably wanted to test if the 8 year old boy was smart enough to refuse food from someone he didn’t recognize, but since the boy accepted his free food offer, the stranger probably decided to call the police because he felt that the boy was still gullible enough to trust strangers.
Look! I am an innocent cuddly teddy bear!
Come play with me!
The mother was actually unhappy that her son was safe & sound when the police called her??? Did she want her son to be lying dead in a ditch before receiving the call then only she feel that the call was justified????? She was like, “wtf call me when my son is really lost, injured, afraid or dead“.
She was agitated because a stranger was concerned about her son??? It seems to me that she was irritated by the stranger whose kind intentions was for her son’s safety. Hello, a nice person is concerned about your son & you blame him for calling the cops?
Of course, she went on about how the cops used fear tactics & threatened to put her in jail because she allowed her son to go out alone to the park & play & accept free food from strangers… blah blah blah. But that is her side of the story. I wonder how her tone was like when she spoke with the police. Was it rude? Condescending? Even if the police did use fear tactics or threats, but there has got to be a reason why they resorted to those methods, right? Did she provoke the officer first?
Then the author (Lenore Skenazy) of the blog replies to Kimberlee saying, “The idea of curbing your son’s happy, normal childhood and locking him inside for the next five years is tragic. It’s ironic, too, considering that cops are supposed to MAKE the town safe, not tell people, “We can’t! Just stay inside.”
I think a happy normal childhood is still available with parents spending QUALITY time with their kids, like cycling at the beach or playing catch TOGETHER. Instead of letting them out to play alone & exposing them to unforeseen stranger danger.
And YES, cops are supposed to make the town safe, but I do not think they are telling kids to stay home & don’t go out. They are just telling parents to accompany their kids when they do go out to the park or wherever. I mean, give the cops a break, man. How can there be a cop stationed at every corner of the city to make sure that the place is safe for everyone? There are hundreds of parks with so many acres of land. How many cops do you want to place at each acre? And 1 cop only has 1 pair of eyes, how many people do you want that 1 pair of eyes to watch over? 10 people? 20 people?
Help me find my lost puppy, tender little girl?
In my Halloween blog post (link provided earlier), I mentioned that the Singapore government kept reminding citizens that “Low Crime Doesn’t Mean No Crime“. Wise words.
“I know, that beyond this site, many folks would say, “The boy CAN go outside! She just has to supervise him.” But since when do adults spend from 3-6 p.m. outside, then come in for dinner, and then head outside again? And spend all day Saturdays outside? And Sundays? A summers? The idea that parents should be in the same place as their 8-year-old children all the time is a new one, born of unreasonable fear.“
Wow, this just takes the whole damn cake. I do agree with many folks who say that the boy can go outside, but with supervision.
But Lenore, on the other hand, seems to be complaining that she does not have time to spend with her kid from 3-6 pm outside & spend all Saturdays, Sundays & summers. Nobody is telling you to let the kid out EVERYDAY to go out. Surely you got to tell the kid to compromise & say that you’ll bring him out on Saturday mornings or something like that. If cannot go out, then stay home to do other activities like getting the kid to help you prepare dinner or clean the house or watch TV, spend time together with your kid, foster relationship. That is so much more useful & will lead towards an even happier, more normal childhood.
I don’t even think it is right for your child to go out & play every 3-6 pm, all Saturdays, Sundays & summers. No need to do homework, is it? No need to study? Feels like these Free Rangers just want their kids to go out & don’t bother their own parents, give the adults some peace & quiet.
I believe the idea of Free Range Kids is to teach the young ones to be independent & gain survival skills.
But in this 8 year old boy case, it is obvious that his parents did not teach him any proper knowledge & skills before they let him go out alone. Accepting free food from strangers? It must be either the boy has not been taught to protect himself & is damn gullible… or his parents are forgetting to feed him.
Whatever said, I still support the notion that we should be paranoid when it comes to our kids’ safety. They are our responsibility for life. And if you really want your 8 year old kid to go out on their own, then for god’s sake, teach them properly & make sure they understand the possible dangers first.
Letting your kids run out alone without any supervision was probably the reason that Adrian Lim was able to kidnap 2 young kids & murder them. I wrote about him in that same Halloween post (link provided earlier) & an article on his infamous history if you’re interested to read.
If kids can go unsupervised, then are you saying that teachers do not need to be chaperons when the school arranges some kind of field trip or summer camp or any excursions? Why not just bring your kids to the woods at summer camp & leave them there alone? Let them run around in the woods, play in the sand, step into the river, do whatever they want, accept free food from passerbys, etc. Let them go out alone & play! Born free, run wild! You parents have nothing to worry about anyway, right?
Since you believe that the young ones are so matured to take care of themselves, then why not let them watch R(A) movies? Why does the government set movie ratings for different age groups? Just release all the movies for little kids to watch lah! The parents won’t mind, right?
Why bother to set an age limit for kids to get piercings & tattoos?
No matter which angle I try to see this case, it just makes no sense to me. Buay beng (Don’t understand) at all.