19 Sep Let’s Talk Playing Out
Right parents – let’s discuss.
There was nothing I used to love more than balmy summers days in the school holidays when I was a little girl.
Playing out on my bike (Which was in fact a galloping white horse in my head, natch), whizzing to the local playground and spending hours with my brother.
The playground was attached to the local primary school but open to anyone in the holidays.
It had a bike shed that was massive and smelled of cigars and wee for some bizarre reason that i’m not sure I want to find out.
Nevertheless, that became our den and one of my best days ever was finding a huge strip of some kind of bendy metal – probably toxic lead – that became my pet cat. I dragged that everywhere for a full summer.
We only went home for drinks and food and went to bed every night exhausted from a full day in the fresh air.
My children will never ever have this.
I will never, ever let them play out.
During this summer holiday, Niamh had friends calling for her to play out in the street but I can’t let her.
The world seems a scarier place compared to the one that I was in when I was her age.
The thought of her not being in my sight terrifies me.
Other children play out and I’m not judging. In some ways I wish I could loosen up a bit and let her enjoy the adventures that I did but my head is filled with tragedies like April Jones and Holly & Jessica.
I’m pretty sure that paedophiles existed at the time that I was hanging around in the stinky bike shed with my toxic metal cat but it just seemed that due to not having the internet, no one was AWARE of them the same.
Perhaps the internet has just facilitated these people and allowed them to form rings and societies that would have been more difficult to orchestrate back in the day.
I’m aware of the irony of me writing about my children and sharing pictures of them on the web but I feel like if I keep them physically close then I’m doing the best I can to protect them.
I’m really keen to hear other’s opinions on this.
When I ask how my parents were OK with us being out, they just tell me that times were different.
Things felt safer.
What is it that changed?
I think it’s sad that Niamh will never have such adventures with her friends or own a lead cat that stinks of piss but at least I know where she is.
The downside of this is that children today seem to be unable to handle boredom.
They freak out if the IPad runs out of battery and will spend hours watching someone unwrapping Kinder Eggs for hours at a time, zombie-eyed.
Is letting them have some independence the lesser of two evils?
Can we ever really protect them 100%?