(Closed) what happened to well behaved kids?

posted 7 years ago in Parenting
Post # 2
2810 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I honestly don’t think kids are any worse now than they’ve ever been. lol I knew lots of brats when I was growing up.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with how you parent. I think you’re very responsible from the sounds of it. I certainly expect the same from my daughter as you do yours. A lot of my friends have well behaved kids too.

Yes, there are a lot of parents who just don’t give a shit, and that is pretty disappointing, but I’ve always known that to be something that existed. From what I see though, my friends and co-workers all have really well behaved, normal kids.

Post # 3
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I think you need to separate disobedience from freedom… they are two different things. I would certainly say that the disobedience is a problem, but the freedom is not. Good on you for teaching your children obedience.

As far as freedom goes, it depends on where you live. My grandmother grew up in the middle of nowhere, and she would apparently disappear off all day with the other kids. That said, I visited where she grew up recently and was a bit horrified, because the area is covered in sand dunes, and is very tidal. I would be worried about the children drowning!

My mother and aunt were allowed to take the bus wherever they pleased, as long as they were together… they were probably only about 7 and 9. My father walked several miles to school from the age of 7, and he walked alone. This was pretty normal in the 50s and 60s in England. Constant worry and supervision is really a very modern phenomenon. Even when I was growing up in the 80s then we were allowed to walk to the park by ourselves to play.

As I say… I think the amount of freedom kids should have really depends on where you live, but I’m not necessarily critical of parents who allow their children to ride their bikes in a group, without adult supervision.

Post # 4
1722 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 1998

Kids roaming the streets is nothing new; it’s really only in the last two generations that parents have been keener on knowing where the kids are at all times, or having any adult to watch them at all times (i.e., roughly until the sex offender registry actually began around the early ’90s). Suddenly, people in these last two generations have been much more aware of everything bad going on — even as violent crime tapers off, teen pregnancy rates fall and so on.

Obviously, the leeway needs to disappear a bit when these kids consistently misbehave and do whatever they want at someone else’s house. Though it is awkward, and it will be painful for your daughter to start splitting off from some of these friendships, there is truth that you start to become like those you spend your time with. A simple, “The last time you came over, you painted on my desk when I asked you not to twice,” should suffice — for both child and any parent who chooses to intervene in their ignorance. I don’t know if I would put up with parenting someone else’s kid when they clearly don’t want to.

My parenting style will be much more in line with yours (especially at only age 5), but I also recognize that for children just a few years older, some unsupervised playtime may not be such a bad thing (note: some).


Post # 6
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

One thing you have to realise as a parent is that you can only be in charge of your own child’s behavior. You’re doing what you think is appropriate for your child, and other parents are choosing what they think is right, even if it seems like they aren’t making choices about it.

We live in a similar neighborhood, on a private circle. All of the kids run around at all hours largely unsupervised, with little intervention from any of the parents. Our daughter is 10; the other kids range from 5 to her age. My window faces the open grass area and play equipment in our circle so I’m often the (only) parent looking out the window to make sure no one’s killing anyone else.

My daughter is also the only one who needs to ask permission to go off and play/to go in someone else’s home, etc even though she is the oldest. I’m not critical of the choices other parents make for their kids because it’s not my business to be. The only time I have any right to comment on behavior is in my home, and luckily my daughter’s friends have been very good about learning that it’s my rules in my house and they’re always welcome to play inside if they follow the rules (which are pretty basic anyway) and otherwise they can all play outside. I also realise that I have no real way of knowing (short of knowing my daughter as well as I do) that she is as well-behaved in someone else’s house as she is in mine – kids do act up in silly ways when they’re with friends. I’m sure some of those kids have parents who think their kids behave in other people’s home – we just don’t always have ways of knowing who our kids are out of our sight.

I don’t think you’re overly paranoid necessarily, as your daughter is young and at that age I liked to have a closer eye on what was going on, but I think it’s often pointless to make judgements about other parents letting their kids roam around. If their kids run wild, they do – you can choose for your child not to, and that’s totally okay.

Post # 7
7308 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

I am an admitted protective parent. In our old neighborhood I teamed up with another like-minded Mom, and we allowed our boys to play together. I knew that she would be an active supervisor, and she trusted me to do the same. The boys could play in the fenced in backyard or in the house, and all was well. We did not let our boys play with the other neighborhood kids. I did not think it was appropriate to let a 4 year old wander 3-4 blocks away from home. I did not think it was appropriate for a 6 year old to call other children racially and sexually derrogatory terms. I did not think it was appropriate for an 8 year old to be smashing empty glass bottles in the alley. Call me an old bitty, but those were not behaviors I wanted my child to be exposed to. Was it hard to tell DS that he was not allowed to play with the other kids? Yes. Was it the right choice? Absolutely. Being a parent means sometimes making and sticking to an unpopular decision. I’m here to be DS’s Mom, not his friend.

Post # 9
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

View original reply
Mrslovebug:  It took me awhile to stop thinking that some people were parenting badly when in fact it was just different than my way. Obviously when we’re talking about neglect, etc, that’s a different matter, but you’re right that it’s different priorities.

To be honest, I don’t like most children other than mine, and I spend a lot of my time around my child’s friends reminding myself that it’s probably not that they are bad kids but that I just have a low tolerance for some irritating kid behaviors. I think kids should be able to be care-free a lot… I just don’t always want to be the one supervising them while they’re acting that way 😉 I try to have some patience when they’re in a group or at a party because kids get so excited that they can sometimes forget their manners and act in a way that I think is seriously irritating/rude/whatever. If it’s a repeated behavior every time they’re at my house, the invitations to play stop.

I don’t think you’re overprotective in terms of the bike helmet issue for sure (such a simple act, in my opinion) or even the bike rides around the block, because your daughter is still little. The playing outside… I always figure that if they’re in a group outside, which ours usually is, that there is some safety in numbers. I also always keep my windows open so I can hear what they’re doing and we’ve talked a lot with our child about safe behavior with other adults and older kids – no going in anyone’s house without our explicit permission (and even then, only specific homes), no getting in anyone’s vehicle, no going into the wooded area except with the whole group of kids. I think at age 6, being strict is being responsible, and as your child gets older, you can start giving certain freedoms that you’re comfortable with and she’s ready for. Only you will know what those are and when the right time is, so I wouldn’t be concerned about being over-protective at this point.

Post # 10
2120 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

To be honest, my parents never made me wear a helmet on my bike when I was a kid, and I don’t think it says anything negative about them. I’m 30 and just got my first helmet mainly because I’m riding a bike in much heavier traffic than the rural town I grew up in.

I think a lot of times parents think crime and predators have gotten worse when that’s not really the case – it’s just due to the 24 hour news cycle we have elevating these occurences into top of the hour stories. Regarding the sex offenders, you also have to remember that they are under strict rules as well regarding contact, especially if they were convicted of anything with a minor, and while they are an issue you should be aware of, I don’t believe most registered offenders will risk being put in jail (real life isn’t Law and Order: SVU, thankfully!)

I think at age 5, yeah, the kid needs to be supervised a little closer, but kids do need freedom and as they get older they need to learn how to do things without their parents helicoptering around. Of course, I don’t have children yet, so I’m not really sure if my opinion matters.

Post # 11
1710 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I work at a school and I have noticed that kids don’t say “please” or “thank you” anymore! I always have them say it at school to hopefully have them learn it there. Some of them are extremely disrespectful too. When I was in school I would never dream of talking back to a teacher, but it happens all the time at the school I work at. It’s ridiculous.

Post # 12
89 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I agree that obedience and freedom are two different things. I’m only going to touch on the freedom aspect. Like PP have said, parents have gotten a lot more protective over kids in the past couple of decades due to 24 hour news.

Just so you are aware, just because someone is registered as a sex offender doesn’t mean that they actually are one. There are plenty of people who are registered for things like being 19 and sleeping consentially with their 15 year old significant other, getting into a fist fight at 20 with a 17 year old, unintentionally downloading porn of a minor, and of course those crazy cases of young children kissing on the playground and ending up on the list. The list in my opinion is too broad and really should be saved for multiple offenders of serious sex crimes.

Also, I don’t see a problem with the children you mentioned having unsupervised play. By giving kids age appropriate freedoms, they will grow and mature into functional teens and adults. Our parents used to have so many more freedoms that the ones you listed, and they grew up in environments with more uncertainties. 

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