Would you let your kid play here?

vrDrew

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I saw a short video of an "adventure playground" in North Wales UK, as part of a forthcoming documentary.

I find the whole concept fascinating. On one hand I can imagine the howls of anguish and anger from people worrying about "the children." I can see personal injury lawyers and insurance companies shutting down any sort of US equivalent.

And yet....

There seems something unbelievably healthy and stimulating about letting kids learn and play in such an unstructured environment. (Note: they are not totally unsupervised, there are adult "play workers" who make sure things don't get out of hand.)

Read more about it here.
 
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aerok

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Oct 29, 2011
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I personally find we baby our kids too much and they grow physically and emotionally weak. I'm just cold like that. But I do understand the worry.
 
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Renzatic

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I think it's amazing that we've become so frightened of allowing our children to play and grow up the way we grew up ourselves.

I have an old, old friend who's become a sterling example of a helicopter parent. He has a daughter who he frets over constantly, and it's a rare thing for him to leave her unattended for more than 15 minutes. If she wants to do something, she has to ask permission, and more often than not, my friend goes to tag along right behind her to make sure she's safe while doing whatever it is she wants to do. The kid has no sense of risk, and rarely ever seems to do anything of her own volition.

While I do give him props for being attentive and always there for her, I sometimes think he takes it to overbearing extremes. And he's not the only parent like that. My entire generation seems to have trouble letting their children act on their own, or allowing them their space.

...which is strange, because I grew up with this friend, and I know quite well the things we did. Things he himself would never even consider allowing his daughter to do. It makes me wonder what's caused us to become so much more clingy and paranoid over our children than our parents were for us.

One answer would be, of course, the overabundance of information available to us in comparison. But that can't be the only reason...can it?
 
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aerok

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Kids are meant to get injured and break a few bones. Breaking bones when reading adulthood never completly heals and it's a pain in the a**.
 

iBlazed

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Helicopter parenting needs to end. It's dangerous for kids well being. I recently read an article about a new alarming trend when kids born after 1990 graduate college their parents actually accompany them to job interviews and call the potential employers and ask them why they didn't call their child back. They even request off time for them for family vacations.
 
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aerok

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Oct 29, 2011
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Knock on wood, I haven't broken a bone yet, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

I do have a lot of cool scars, though.
Same, I'm 27 years now but I never broke a bone or required surgery. *Knock on wood

Surprising given all the stupid stunts I pulled on my bike when I was young.

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Helicopter parenting needs to end. It's dangerous for kids well being. I recently read an article about a new alarming trend when kids born after 1990 graduate college their parents actually accompany them to job interviews and call the potential employers and ask them why they didn't call their child back. They even request off time for them for family vacations.
That's just sad... Reminds me of a field trip I had when I was younger in high school. We went from Montreal to NYC, one kid's parents followed our bus until the borders which is about 2 hours away.
 

Renzatic

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Buttering bread can be an enormously dangerous undertaking!
Hey, those little serrated edges can be dangerous under the right circumstances.

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Surprising given all the stupid stunts I pulled on my bike when I was young.
Yup. I remember wrecking my bike to the point that I bent the metal on the front wheel into a nice C shape before, but I never broke a bone.

...and now that I've said that, I'll probably fall down my stairs and break both my arms. Pride goeth before and all that.
 

ElectronGuru

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...which is strange, because I grew up with this friend, and I know quite well the things we did. Things he himself would never even consider allowing his daughter to do. It makes me wonder what's caused us to become so much more clingy and paranoid over our children than our parents were for us.

One answer would be, of course, the overabundance of information available to us in comparison. But that can't be the only reason...can it?
I was talking to Mrs G about this. Her take is akin to supply and demand. That the more kids we had, the less important any single kid was. One had an issue (as often happened), less of an impact. But as we've had fewer and fewer kids, the more each remaining kid means to us. The loss or even injury of one kid is a loss to a greater % of our world, so the loss feels greater. It feels greater, so it is greater. China's one kid rule has created a whole generation of brats.

Before turning into apartments and then condos, the lot next door to where I grew up had an old barn, complete with rotten wood, broken glass, and rats. It was a favorite among the neighborhood kids. I stepped on rusty nails so often, we had a special tub just for betadine soaks. But looking back, it would be difficult to let someone else go there.
 

iBlazed

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Before turning into apartments and then condos, the lot next door to where I grew up had an old barn, complete with rotten wood, broken glass, and rats. It was a favorite among the neighborhood kids. But looking back, it would be difficult to let someone else go there.
I wonder what the statistics are of children dying as a result of an accident while playing somewhere. And I wonder if they've decreased since this obsessive parenting thing started. Anytime you see news reports of a child tragically dying, it's never usually because they were playing in a dangerous place. I think more children die at the hands of their own caretakers than while playing outside.
 

Lunfai

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Nov 21, 2010
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I don't like the idea of burning and using a hack saw, but each to their own. I feel that I wouldn't want them to go there unless they asked first.
 

Peace

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Apr 1, 2005
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I saw a short video of an "adventure playground" in North Wales UK, as part of a forthcoming documentary.

I find the whole concept fascinating. On one hand I can imagine the howls of anguish and anger from people worrying about "the children." I can see personal injury lawyers and insurance companies shutting down any sort of US equivalent.

And yet....

There seems something unbelievably healthy and stimulating about letting kids learn and play in such an unstructured environment. (Note: they are not totally unsupervised, there are adult "play workers" who make sure things don't get out of hand.)

Read more about it here.
Would I ? That looks like my back yard when I was a kid lol.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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Feb 11, 2010
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I find the whole concept fascinating. On one hand I can imagine the howls of anguish and anger from people worrying about "the children." I can see personal injury lawyers and insurance companies shutting down any sort of US equivalent.
I like the concept, but, I don't get why they made it look like a garbage dump.

Luckily, when I was a kid, I actually got to play by a real river, and in real forests.

As for helicopter parenting -- when I was a kid, most of the families I knew had 4-6 kids. It was called the "baby boom" you know. And, "free play" was what you did, because, well, if you suffered an accident, I guess you were expendable. Can't say exactly how I made it to adulthood, but, I did.

Nowadays, when people have 1-2 kids, every child is precious. I think it is natural, really.
 

malman89

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May 29, 2011
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Helicopter parenting needs to end. It's dangerous for kids well being. I recently read an article about a new alarming trend when kids born after 1990 graduate college their parents actually accompany them to job interviews and call the potential employers and ask them why they didn't call their child back. They even request off time for them for family vacations.
Good thing I was born in 1989 ;) I went through the process recently of getting a new job and didn't even tell my parents after it happened. They were told by someone after I updated my LinkedIn profile and called me, heh. Then I got around to filling them in.

Luckily none of my friends have kids, they're just getting to the engagement stuff, but I don't understand today's parents, either. Their kids' lives have to always be structured and supervised. One of the best memories of my childhood was my middle school summers. A few neighborhood kids would meet at a designated person's house and then we'd stay there or bike around on adventures. Might be a few blocks, might be a mile or two. Morning til darkness, mostly every day. We didn't do anything too crazy or reckless, but the freedom was amazing.
 

vrDrew

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I like the concept, but, I don't get why they made it look like a garbage dump.
From what I've read about the site, and other "adventure" play sites, is that the fact that materials left there are so obviously junk gives kids "permission" to experiment with them. To turn an abandoned drainage pipe into a swing one day, or a fort the next. Brand new products, be they GI Joes or sports equipment, are somewhat limiting. And junked materials are usually easier to get donated.

The adult "play workers" play an important role. They make sure that there aren't "hazards" (i.e., broken glass or rusty nails) - but there are things that the kids can experience "risk." The adults keep the fire-starting tools, and only allow cardboard and paper to be burned - not plastic or rubber.

But a big part of it is acting almost invisible. Purposely NOT telling the kids what sort of activity to do, but instead explore on their own.

Its not always heartwarming. Apparently one little girl liked to go there and just sit by herself. The other kids asked her to join in, but she didn't. She just liked being on her own. And sometimes kids will form little cliques - the boys sometimes create little forts with a "non girls allowed" policy.

But even that can be useful to a child's socialization skills. Learning to deal with rejection and negotiating with other people is part of growing up.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
I was talking to Mrs G about this. Her take is akin to supply and demand. That the more kids we had, the less important any single kid was. One had an issue (as often happened), less of an impact. But as we've had fewer and fewer kids, the more each remaining kid means to us. The loss or even injury of one kid is a loss to a greater % of our world, so the loss feels greater. It feels greater, so it is greater. China's one kid rule has created a whole generation of brats.

Before turning into apartments and then condos, the lot next door to where I grew up had an old barn, complete with rotten wood, broken glass, and rats. It was a favorite among the neighborhood kids. I stepped on rusty nails so often, we had a special tub just for betadine soaks. But looking back, it would be difficult to let someone else go there.
Take what Jnpy said. A goodly portion of the kids of my generation were either only children, or just had one other brother or sister. Most of us didn't come from huge families, so the whole expendable child thing doesn't quite make sense as it otherwise would.

Like my friend mentioned above and I, we were only children. My mom would give me these longwinded lectures about the things I should and shouldn't do before I left the house (breaking your neck was a big no-no), but she never helicoptered me. I remember being allowed to spend hours at a time out in the woods without any supervision when I was as young as 8.
 
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TechGod

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Feb 25, 2014
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Thank god my parents aren't so over protective. I've been to two countries on my own (America and Canada) I'll be going to London to meet a relative and again on my own.

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Played in far worse when I was a kid.
Still am a kid I guess and yeah so have I.
 

sviato

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Oct 27, 2010
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I personally find we baby our kids too much and they grow physically and emotionally weak. I'm just cold like that. But I do understand the worry.
Looking at modern teens, I'd agree with this.

"Playgrounds" like these are actually common in some of the eastern European countries :/


As for helicopter parenting... I remember when I was in grade 9, a friend of mine was going on with this girl and they went to the mall on a date because that's what we did back then. Anyways, they decided they wanted to go to the movies and the theater was across the road from the mall (regular 2 lane each way road, average traffic). The girl had to call her dad to get permission to cross the road. She claimed she wasn't allowed to do so without her parents' permission, my friend was astonished.