When I was little, I was never inside before it was dark. Even then, my parents would have to call and call and call, and sometimes even come out and get me. I climbed trees, invaded a chicken coop with “an endless well,” and climbed into a hayloft with some unreliable flooring. I got cut, stung, scraped, stuck, scabbed, and bruised. And you know what? I’m a better adult for it.
Kids don’t play anymore! And there are far too many disadvantages to that. Childhood obesity, lack of imagination, lack of experience, inability to work independently, inability to work with a team, problem-solving, lack of challenges, and so much more. Playing is learning.
Through free play, “they are acquiring the basic competencies we ultimately need to become adults,” said Gray, author of two studies published recently in the American Journal of Play.
While I think there are many factors contributing to this lack of play time, this article is blaming “hyper-vigilant parenting.” I’m not in disagreement to this, but I also know that parents have their reasons. The article explains: “So what’s keeping kids indoors? Fear of abduction is a big one, followed by worries about kids getting hit by cars and bullies, surveys have found.”
Okay, I get the abduction one. There’s a world full of crazies and perverts out there. But kids getting hit by cars and bullies? Raise smart, tough kids and that one’s null. Jenny and I both agree that anymore, kids are being raised to be wimps. And it sucks! If we just harbor our little snowflakes (thanks, Fark.com) until they’re adults, there’s no way they’re going to be able to function in the real world!
“Today’s young, at least in the middle class and upper class, are psychologically fragile,” Marano said in an interview published in the journal.
I can’t wait to live in a country run by psychologically fragile kids. Please note sarcasm. Goodness. I won’t be buying my kids any type of video gaming system until they’re 16. No cell phones until they’re 16. They will play outside, and they will not rely on me to solve every little stupid problem they encounter. I will raise my kids in a certain way specifically to avoid this bull crap. They’ll be tough. I can think of no better way to end this post than the way Jenifer Goodwin ended her article:
“Parents have to remember that childhood is this special time. You only get it once, and you don’t want to miss it,” LaFreniere said. “Mixing it up with other kids in an unrestrained manner isn’t just fun. It isn’t a luxury. It’s part of nature’s plan.”