Kids on their own

. . . . . . . You’ll hear it often. “Kids don’t have as much freedom this decade as they had in prior decades.” Or, “In the Fifties you could trust everyone.”

. . . . . . . I don’t think things have gotten much more dangerous. In one year in Canada for a population of 30 million there was one — count ’em — one abduction. I think, rather, that parents have grown abnormally paranoid and are feeding off of each other’s paranoia in a cascading feeder-loop.

“There is something universal in the theme of a man trying to save his family in the midst of the most terrible circumstances. It is not limited to Sierra Leone. This story could apply to any number of places where ordinary people have been caught up in political events beyond their control.” — Edward Zwick

. . . . . . . Parents seem to think anything to do with kids is bound to be a disaster. But leaving them alone! Mon dieu! That’d be like putting a nuclear reactor in their hands and asking them to rub two sticks over the sensitive control board and see what happens!

. . . . . . . I recall reading about a Russian kid who was given some rubles and left alone in his house for around a week. It was up to him to get all his own food, cook his own meals (and not burn down his house), and otherwise keep himself gainfully occupied. And he did it — smooth as silk, no problemos.

. . . . . . . Or think of the John Connor character in the Terminator franchise. That may be the best example of all. John Connor needs to prep for being the hero of the human race. Independence is perhaps the vital criterion out of a whole grab-bag of them. So John gets his own motocross bike, finds a way to break into ATM machines, lives his life on his terms. What isn’t to like about that? He’s so independent he continually irks his foster parents, but they’re used to him doing what he wants. They can’t really stop him so they just settle down to bitching about him. When the T-1000 terminator comes a’knocking at the door, foster Dad asks resignedly, “That’s right, officer. What’s he done this time?” as if running afoul of the law is nothing new in John’s life.

. . . . . . . In Catxman’s own life, I pretty much raised myself. Both parents were there on the fringes, but as time went on they spent less and less time with me.

. . . . . . . Did I miss the surveillance and tough love? No. I did not. I was happy to be out of the umbrella of their tight surveillance. They had the kind of personalities which would easily turn into tight surveillance, had they been around.

. . . . . . . Finally, let me say: Give kids a chance to prove you wrong. If you distrust them, let them pleasantly surprise you. If you think they’re a bunch of no-good liars, maybe it’s because you push them into a corner. You, as the adult, have the power. They can only react to what you give them.

. . . . . . . Give them something good.

9 thoughts on “Kids on their own

  1. I think you are right that things haven’t gotten significantly more dangerous for children. We are becoming more aware of the dangers they face. And there are many dangers from sexual and physical abuse to kidnapping and even murder. As far as my child was concerned — better safe than sorry.

    1. Life is random. Just recently in Canada a teenager driver stole a car and killed two kids playing in the front of their house. The only way they could have been any safer would have been chained to the television watching reruns. And yet, kids must play to develop. They must run and shout. How are we to deny them this non-negotiable clause of life?

  2. There are no guarantees about anything as far as safety. But some things are no doubt riskier than others. One thing I learned a long time ago is there are no do overs in most things, and personally I’d rather avoid bad outcomes if reasonably possible rather than live with them. Different philosophies work better for others. 😊

  3. It’s ridiculous what you’re not allowed to do these days. I was brought up way in the middle of no where and me and my cousins used to roam the forest like we owned it – which we did. And parents could be away all day in town (miles away) and we didn’t even need telling to get our own food or stay out of danger..,. etc. Good points Catxman.

    1. And a good comment, Bruce! I like the real-world examples, and you lived in a rough country. In Canada, during winter, we kids were left alone to play on a hill which sloped down to a frozen-over creek, but you could theoretically break through into the freezing water beneath. But it was only a foot thick of water! How could you drown? At worst it’s a bout of unpleasantness, that.

  4. great post; those figures on abduction in Canada are amazing; I guess Canada is a fairly safe country; we’ve had a few egregious ones in Oz so there is a level of concern; paranoia? I hope not

    1. Canada is safe, but so is the United States overall. Most of these “abductions” are parents absconding with their biological children against the letter of the law … so, you see.

        1. The “Fear of the Stranger” just didn’t exist before. Theoretically, the opening was there for a snatch-and-grab but the powerful sanctions against such an action acted to deter wanton pedophiles from acting out fantasies. Thus, a buffer was installed between the real world and kids’ play worlds. Too bad I seem to be the optimist on this scale whereas others on the Cradle seem to oppose me. Ah well. C”est la vie.

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