top 200 commentsshow all 317

[–]Zenopus 160 points161 points  (6 children)

When I was a wee lad, I remember being so happy when I had the home to myself. Especially for a whole day. I'd rig the playstation up to the big tv in the livingroom, order pizza (very rare in my family) and just play all day long.

My parents trusted me, and our neighbours to step up should something happen.

[–]space_beard 38 points39 points  (2 children)

Sounds like me when I was 10-12 and I had the internet which is WAY more dangerous than a playstation

[–]Zenopus 15 points16 points  (1 child)

Hit that phase aswell. I'd rather not talk about it...

[–]space_beard 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Me neither pal, me neither...

[–]grapholalia 15 points16 points  (1 child)

My parents stopped paying for aftercare when I was 9 or so and those days when I got home from school around 2:30 and was by myself until 6-6:30 were some of the best times of my life. Reading books, dancing in our big empty family room, playing Zelda, hanging with friends who always liked to come over my house because our fridge was stocked with soda and our pantry with junk food--it was all wonderful. I remember hearing the garage door opening and being sad that my time to myself was over.

[–]Zenopus 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Pretty much the same here. Aftercare was not as fun when I had all the games at homes and didn't need to sign up in the queue to play 30mins :D

[–]CountDraculegolas 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'd just find my dads porn and wank like a monkey for the entire duration of their absence.

[–]ikonoclasm 776 points777 points  (97 children)

Mom: Hey, I'm running your sister to gymnastics. I'll be gone 20 minutes, okay?

Me: [completely oblivious, playing Super Mario Bros.]

Mom: Yeah, okay, you'll be fine.

[–]fzyflwrchld 305 points306 points  (66 children)

I grew up in the Philippines with my aunt and uncle. When I came to the states to be with my mom, I was about 7. She worked the evening shifts at the hospital as an MA and couldn't afford a babysitter so I spent most nights alone. The TV was my babysitter and I learned fluent English by watching it all day everyday. This went on for awhile until a neighbor called child services and my mom got in trouble for leaving me alone for 8+ hours. She had to get a babysitter after that.

Edit: To be clear so ppl don't hate so much on my neighbor...my mom is Chinese and very traditional which pretty much means parenting and discipline entails corporal punishment. I think (though I'm not 100% sure because I was young) the neighbor had called social services because they heard me screaming and crying a lot and when the social worker or whatever came to check up and asked questions is when they found out that no one looked after me when she was at work. After that though my mom added threats that she was going to get social services to take me away to be adopted to her disciplinary regime...I mean it worked, I was much more scared of being alone and homeless and possessionless than I was of getting hit (though my mom could hit really hard, especially for such a tiny woman, I still thought it was better than the belts my uncle used to use). I once called my mom out on her bluff, but only cuz we were just playing so I knew the threat wasn't made maliciously, I said "fine, I'll call them for you" and picked up the phone and pretended to dial but I just dialed 0 for the operator. When my mom looked at me like she thought I was joking I handed her the phone and told her to say hello...her eyes got so big when she heard an actual, professional sounding person on the other end and she hung up right away. She was really mad and I learned you can't do pranks like that on her.

[–]elephasmaximus 75 points76 points  (3 children)

I had the same situation, with another Asian country. I was 8 when we came to the US, and my parents worked 12+ hours a day.

I'd walk the 1+ mile to our apartment, eat something/ get my homework done/ watch TV for a while, and then do prep for dinner so when my parents came home, so it only took 20 minutes to make dinner instead of an hour.

When my parents saved up enough for us to get a house, my neighborhood friends and I were constantly out playing in the streets. During summer, we'd be out till 10 PM playing basketball at our neighborhood court or something else.

Its only been 10 year or so since I was a kid, but in my neighborhood now, I rarely see kids out, even though I know there are tons of families with kids there.

[–]CaptainSprinklefuck 9 points10 points  (2 children)

I was never out because I got signed up for all kinds of shit by my parents, and that seems to be more common now.

[–]faitswulff 5 points6 points  (1 child)

All kinds of shit costs all kinds of money. It being more common depends on income level.

[–]sangytheWinner 111 points112 points  (57 children)

The neighbor didn't have anything productive to do? Or is it okay to stalk the shit out of the neighbor... Tracking hours and everything?

[–]shanerm 128 points129 points  (0 children)

Should have offered to babysit for free, with all those hours she had to bother other people.

[–]ErictheRedding 125 points126 points  (6 children)

Yeah so neglected children are a thing. Just because this guy was fine alone as a kid doesn’t mean all or most kids are.

[–]PurpleHooloovoo 38 points39 points  (5 children)

He's also lucky there wasn't an emergency or anything - kids can handle a lot more than some people give them credit for, but they're still kids.

It's also probably different if there are multiple kids: leaving a 5, 7, and 9 year old alone for 8+ hours every day does seem like it could lead to a lot of problems. One relatively mature 7 year old is probably okay. A couple of rambunctious 8-9 year olds should be supervised for that amount of time, every day....

[–]gaxsezu 33 points34 points  (0 children)

kids also need food, which costs money, which some families can only get by having their parents work a lot

these kind of neighbors don't actually give a shit about the kids

[–]ClockworkAeroplane 3 points4 points  (3 children)

When I was 7, while my brother and I were home alone, there was a small electrical fire (not our fault). I called 911, gave the address, and hung up. I then found the cord feeding the fire an unplugged it. The fire went out. I calmed my little brother down and the fire department came. They checked everything out, said I’d handled it properly, and left some big fans to blow out the smoke. My parents got home to find the door open and some industrial fans running.

When my mom was 3, her mom collapsed in the kitchen, having a miscarriage. She was unconscious. My mom called the operator and asked for an ambulance. My grandma survived and had my aunt the next year.

You do not give children enough credit.

[–]PurpleHooloovoo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I recognize that kids can be very capable. Kids are also unpredictable, still learning, and might not know what to do. There are also stories about kids digging through pantries for food while Mom's body starts decomposing on the couch. Example 1, example 2, example 3.

Those examples are from the last year. Google it and you'll see hundreds of such cases.

Kids can be great, but shouldering them with too much responsibility can be stressful to them and isn't a guarantee - they can be great in times of crisis, but not always.

[–]Stonedlandscaper 28 points29 points  (0 children)

Some people are only appeased if constantly striving to make others as miserable as themselves. I say appeased cuz lord knows they wont ever be happy.

[–]fas_nefas 18 points19 points  (0 children)

A 7 year old kid being left alone 8+ hours a day is neglect, bud. It's like the 180 of the title of this post.

[–]lmpaler86 7 points8 points  (3 children)

The only thing even wrong with this was if you choked on food or something. No one would’ve been there and you’d probably be dead.

Other than that it sounds like my childhood as well. I was always gone from home or just home alone growing up.

[–][deleted]  (2 children)


    [–]Demented3 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    Shit, you're right! I could die at anytime.

    Shovels junk food into mouth

    [–]lmpaler86 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Well, here’s a tip to potentially save your life if you start choking on food and are alone. Hopefully you never have to use it.


    [–]Adam_df 92 points93 points  (16 children)

    My kids got a handheld Mariokart game this year, which I promptly made my own. That dialogue has happened a lot recently, except it's my kids telling me they're going to the playground and will be back later.

    Weirdly, the oldest is completely terrified of being in the house without an adult. I don't know if that's just how she is or something she got from school (like "stranger danger" week or something). She sure as hell didn't get it from me.

    [–]farox 60 points61 points  (0 children)

    Maybe scared of the responsibility in case something happens to the younger ones?

    [–]CarolineTurpentine 32 points33 points  (5 children)

    Hopefully she grows out of it, I have a friend who will stay with her parents when her husband is out of town, even now that she has a toddler and is pregnant again

    [–]Adam_df 33 points34 points  (4 children)

    Come to think of it, my wife gets edgy when I go out of town for business. It strikes me as ridiculous, because it's not like I'm gonna be able to throw down some sweet ninja moves if someone breaks in.

    [–]SpotNL 38 points39 points  (0 children)

    Nah, it's so you can slow down the intruder while she runs away to safety.

    [–]jesst 23 points24 points  (1 child)

    Wife who gets edgy here. It isn't so much I think my husband is going to pull some Bruce Lee shit out of his ass if something happens as it is that if something horrible were to happen at least we would be together.

    [–]Casehead 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Yep exactly

    [–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Get a dog! I live in an inner city area and just knowing the dog will, at least, warn you - should a stranger come near the house.

    [–]nightfall6688846994 24 points25 points  (4 children)

    I think I can relate to that. When I was 10 I was riding my bike around the block, something I did every summer. One time I was turning to go in my alley and there was a truck that turned in behind me. He opened his window and said “hey bud” and started to get out of his truck. I started peddling and screaming for my mom which is when the guy shut the door and reversed down the alley and went the other way. I was too scared to go anywhere on my own until I was 15. I’m 24 now and I still get uncomfortable in public alone but that experience still sticks with me in my head. I still wonder what would have happened if I didn’t decided to start screaming for my mom.

    [–]sameBoatz 9 points10 points  (3 children)

    honestly, probably nothing. He'd have asked for directions or where you got your bike and went along on his merry way.

    [–]nightfall6688846994 6 points7 points  (1 child)

    He could’ve said something out the window he opened. It freaked me out when he opened the door and started to get out

    [–]Meades_Loves_Memes 22 points23 points  (0 children)

    10 year old you did the right thing, it could have been completely innocent, but kids should trust their gut. If it didn't feel right, running away was the best option.

    [–]swordsaintzero 5 points6 points  (0 children)

    Or he get's kidnapped and raped. I realize the media over sensationalizes it, but anecdata, I know several people who were attacked by pedophiles. One is my former boss, who was kept in a guys house for a few weeks, he was fishing, 12 years old and the guy asked for help with his lawnmower. He's still completely fucked up because of it. His dad was a cop and found him and saved him.

    [–]justin_memer 3 points4 points  (1 child)

    How do you even go about changing that behaviour without doing something that may affect then later on? It's probably why I couldn't be a parent.

    [–]Adam_df 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Being a parent is easy. Kids aren't made of porcelain and you're not going to break them unless you're downright evil.

    [–]rokudou 6 points7 points  (0 children)

    Too much Goosebumps, obviously (or whatever equivalent kids these days have).

    [–]IMIndyJones 35 points36 points  (1 child)

    Kid 1: Always holed up in his room with his xbox, or video chatting with friends. Wouldn't even notice I'm gone unless he wanted $5 for DLC.

    Kid 2: Suggests that I might want to go to the store, or leave to pick up a sibling. She's autistic and barely speaks but she wants the house to herself.

    Kid 3: "You're leaving? Awesome. How long do I have?"

    [–]confusedvagina 10 points11 points  (0 children)

    Sounds like Kid 3 has discovered masterbation

    [–]Adam_df 529 points530 points  (58 children)

    Absolutely one of the best things about where I live is that it's frozen in time with respect to that stuff. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that if they're old enough to ride a bike they're old enough to go anywhere in the neighborhood themselves.

    [–]venturoo 25 points26 points  (0 children)

    When I was a kid the rule was be home before dark, or let me know where your are.

    [–]UpAndComingNobody 94 points95 points  (27 children)

    Amen to that!!

    [–]Adam_df 154 points155 points  (26 children)

    It probably helps that there are a lot of parents out and about, so there are usually eyes on the street, so to speak. If one of my kids wipes out somewhere and actually gets hurt, someone will probably help out. And if not, call it a lesson learned. For the kid, not me.

    I have a friend that lives just a few miles away in the hoity toity mcmansion burbs with kids about my kids' age, and it all mystifies him that our neighborhood rolls like that. If he let his kids roam, there's a good chance the cops would get called by his hoverparent neighbors.

    [–]_SnesGuy 62 points63 points  (9 children)

    If one of my kids wipes out somewhere and actually gets hurt, someone will probably help out. And if not, call it a lesson learned.

    You just made me remember something. Wow nostalgia. When I was around 12 ('01-'02) I was riding my bike around a canal following a road (canal sits 5-6ft higher than the road). I wiped out hard and was laying on the side of the road bleeding when a car pulls up.

    A teenage girl and her mom stopped, laughed their asses off while I was in a daze then drove off. I remember being pissed because they didn't even ask if I was ok. Took me an hour to limp to my friends dragging my bike to get fixed up.

    [–]walesmd 13 points14 points  (1 child)

    Related story...

    I'm about 10-11 years old, my dog escaped the backyard so myself and various neighborhood children are out on bikes looking for her. This was back in the times when children were kicked out the door in the morning and didn't come home until the street lights come on.

    As we're biking down the road, I see someone else HAULING ASS on a bike. They start to take a corner, turning on to another street, and don't see a patch of dirt in the corner. They completely eat shit, slid at least 10ft across the road; road rash is their main course, served hot and painful. There's blood everywhere.

    I laughed out loud at the biker, turned to my friends, "Holy shit! Did you see that?!"

    The biker stands up... It's my dad. Carrying a slice of pizza (my dog's favorite food, the easiest way to catch her), out helping us look for my dog.

    I learned a lesson that day: don't be a dick.

    [–]wingchild 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    I like that your dog got out often enough to result in a protocol for bringing her home.

    [–][deleted] 25 points26 points  (0 children)

    Wow, what a pair of cunts.

    [–]Claudzilla 13 points14 points  (1 child)

    Are you from the Netherlands? This seems like typically Dutch thing for them to do

    [–]_SnesGuy 7 points8 points  (0 children)

    Nope, small town in southern california.

    [–]PrayForMojo_ 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    I deeply want this to be avenged some day. If this ever shows up on /r/justiceserved I would be sooooo happy.

    [–]_SnesGuy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    That would be great but the incident is so hazy all these years later I would never know who it was. They would have to somehow mention it in front of me by complete coincidence.

    [–]ClockworkAeroplane 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    That is fucked up.

    [–]obsidianop 30 points31 points  (5 children)

    Part of the issue is exactly McMansion burbs. Those places have lots of cars and nowhere to go - not a great combination for a roving child.

    Kids used to walk to school because there was a traditional street grid and a neighborhood school.

    [–]egus 2 points3 points  (3 children)

    I live in an older neighborhood on a grid, two kids in grade school. Most people don't even let their kids take the bus. I'd say it's like 10% take the bus, maybe 2% walk or ride their bikes, everyone else gets driven to school everyday. And the farthest kids away who attend the school are well within a mile.

    [–]space_keeper 6 points7 points  (1 child)

    I started walking to and from school when I was 6 or 7 or something, in a tiny country village. The walk home from school was such an amazing thing. Your head would be filled with fantasies about how you'd fill the two hours or so before dinner time.

    [–]egus 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Same here, and walked every day every year until I got a car.

    [–]ClockworkAeroplane 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    You know that people without kids also can be generally relied upon not to let kids die, right?

    [–]djak 33 points34 points  (0 children)

    I miss the days of "come home when the street lights come on".

    [–]KosherNazi 17 points18 points  (11 children)

    Wait, really? My 4 year old is pretty fast on his bike but i can't imagine letting him go off on his own.

    [–]Sophrosynic 36 points37 points  (9 children)

    By the time I was six I was pretty much free roaming the neighborhood.

    [–]ajslater 13 points14 points  (5 children)

    Same. Born 1975.

    [–]JakeRadden 13 points14 points  (3 children)

    Same. Born 1991. Several times I recall catching rides home with neighbors near dinnertime. One neighbor took my brother to the ER when he fell off his bike and broke his arm

    [–]Denny_Craine 5 points6 points  (1 child)

    Born 1991 in the rural midwest. During the summers my mom kicked my brothers and I out of the house and said don't come back till dinner.

    [–]JakeRadden 7 points8 points  (0 children)

    Unless you stayed at a friend's house too late, then their parents would invite you to eat with them and you'd call home to ask permission.

    Good times.

    [–]readitmeow 10 points11 points  (0 children)

    Same here, Born 1989. This putting kids on a leash and not letting them walk anywhere still sounds all surreal

    [–]ClockworkAeroplane 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Same general age and same experience.

    [–]promonk 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    Training wheels came off and I owned about ten square blocks. "Don't cross the highway" was pretty much the sum of my marching orders.

    [–]juice585 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    I'd bike down to the "corner store" (really about a mile away) all the time by age 8 or 9. Free roaming and kids playing outside in the street or playing hoops in the driveway.

    I had two rules: if I went into someone's house I had to call my parents to let them know, and to be home when the streetlights came on.

    [–]lilcreep 6 points7 points  (0 children)

    My 4 year old is rarely home anymore. There are 2 kids on the block that he plays with. One is 7 one is 11. They don’t leave our culdesac without asking, but I often have no idea whose house they are at.

    [–]penguinopusredux 5 points6 points  (0 children)

    That's wonderful. We'd play in the woods for hours but the only rule was home by teatime.

    [–]wanderingoaklyn 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    I don't consider myself overprotective, but my daughter is 4 and rides her bike perfectly... I would not be comfortable with her going out without me.

    But by 6 or so? Sure! Granted, we're in a small town.

    [–]joseph4th 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    That was certainly my childhood.

    [–]xerdopwerko 45 points46 points  (5 children)

    I just got reported at work because I was accompanying a group of 12th graders (age 17-18) on a bus from a field trip back to school. The bus driver opened the door outside of the school instead of entering the premises and the students got off, about five metres from the main gate. I "risked my students' lives" by letting them walk five metres to the gate. Got yelled at real bad and everything for my reckless behaviour.

    I wish I was fucking kidding.

    Never in my 14 years teaching had I seen shit like this.

    [–]Bluegi 13 points14 points  (2 children)

    Is there like a war zone going on in those 5 meters? Like seriously.

    [–]xerdopwerko 12 points13 points  (0 children)

    It is Mexico. My city has had a few incidents lately. None on a large avenue near a posh area outside an expensive private school, or at the very least, none within a five metre range of it.

    But also, these are students who have their own cars, parked one or two blocks away, and whose area to smoke outside school premises is further away from the place where the bus left them. They hang out at the Starbucks across the avenue, which is also more than five metres away.

    I know Mexico has had its issues, but it's five fucking metres.

    The day before this happened there was a fatal shooting at an ice cream shop a hundred metres from my house, in a less posh neighbourhood. It's not like my students are taking the bus from there. Today, like every Sunday, my street is closed for cars and only allows pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and there was a couple five/six year old girls on their child-size bikes, fearlessly endangering their lives outside the safety of their bubble, pedalling to their inevitable doom.

    The hysteria nowadays is fucking insane.

    [–]Laediin 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Snipers most likely.

    [–]feckinghound 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    Ooft. We'd be sacked at my summer job. We take 15 years olds out on field trips around institutions to help them make more informed course choices at school and promote further education. They're walked from student halls to the buses 500 yards away and walked around campuses with traffic because buses can't access the pick up and drop offs. They're also corralled round Edinburgh during The Fringe.

    At 16 these guys can get married and have kids 😂

    [–]Bot_Metric 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    500.0 yards = 457.2 metres 1 yard = 0.92m

    I'm a bot. Downvote to 0 to delete this comment.

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    [–]kaytiz 455 points456 points  (59 children)

    Am I the only one who wants to be able to treat their kid independently , but is afraid to because of some one else judging and calling the cops or something stupid like that? I’m more afraid of another persons reaction than I am of what could happen if the kid was left alone.

    [–]DdCno1 159 points160 points  (44 children)

    Sounds stereotypical, but move to Europe. We too have "helicopter parents" and nosy neighbors, but it's the exception, not the norm and police do not take them seriously. It's incredibly common to see small groups of children play on their own outside, walk through town, to school or friends, etc.

    [–]5yr_club_member 127 points128 points  (6 children)

    Europe is a pretty diverse continent, and I'm willing to bet that parenting attitudes in a posh London neighborhood are quite different from a small town in Slovakia, or the inner city in Greece.

    [–]bumbletowne 54 points55 points  (0 children)

    I'd be surprised if there were enough children in a posh London neighbourhood to sustain small packs of similar aged children.

    [–]sharrows 21 points22 points  (1 child)

    My cousins grew up in a posh part of London. I grew up deep in the suburbs of America. I remember being startled when I heard they were trusted to take the Underground nearly anywhere at an age as young as 12. At a time when my razor scooter only knew 3 streets.

    [–]houndi 7 points8 points  (0 children)

    All of the above would still be noticeably more relaxed than what this thread is describing.

    [–]naryn 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    You see groups of kids taking the underground and so on fairly frequently in London. America is far more well known for its over the top parenting than any country in Europe I've been to

    [–]simplequark 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    There are definitely differences not only between nations but also between cities and countryside. E.g., growing up in a small German town will be very different from growing up in Berlin.

    Still, even here in Berlin I regularly see elementary school children going home from school without adult supervision. Also, there are no hard and fast rules about leaving children alone. Basically, parents have to act responsibly, but what exactly that means depends very much on the individual situation, and should authorities ever get involved, they would take that into account.

    [–]sparky222b 41 points42 points  (31 children)

    I’m from Vienna, my friends and I went all over the city as young kids. We’d take the subway across town by ourselves and such. Although I think EU major cities are a lot safer than American ones. I never felt unsafe walking around Vienna at 03:00, but some parts of San Francisco during the day are pretty scary.

    [–]lord_humble[S] 93 points94 points  (21 children)

    Although I think EU major cities are a lot safer than American ones.

    Not really that, it's a perception problem in the US, a terror that is unfounded in parents. Especially because crime is lower than it has been in more than a half-century. The fear, this mass hysteria, is fed by many things including a 24-hour news cycle of horrors. Murder rates are lower than they were in 1950 (!) but if you ask people (Americans) their perception is different. Well, not just different, it's wrong.

    [–]supadik 17 points18 points  (19 children)

    but if you ask people (Americans) their perception is different. Well, not just different, it's wrong.

    I think we're all avoiding the elephant in the room for why that is.

    [–]NightOfTheLivingHam 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    the media is brainwashing everyone.

    [–]Dr_Insomnia 11 points12 points  (1 child)

    Well SF does have one of the highest homeless populations in the states. Not saying all homeless people are inherently out to get anyone, but it does contribute to a "sketchy" vibe.

    [–]TheLeaderIsGood 8 points9 points  (0 children)

    High prevalence of mental illness among the homeless, particularly street homeless as opposed to couch surfers.

    [–]bumbletowne 16 points17 points  (2 children)

    San Francisco is the 25th most dangerous city in the world (total violent crime not homicide). This includes cities in Somalia and South Africa.

    San Francisco is not a safe place.

    source: currently living in san francisco, used to work crime lab.

    [–]TheEruditeIdiot 6 points7 points  (1 child)

    According to crime statistics maybe... How do you think rape reporting compares in San Francisco vs. Mogadishu or Johannesburg? The less violent the society the more frequent crimes are reported proportionately. They're even defined differently. Does marital rape even exist as a crime in Somalia?

    [–]jameson71 6 points7 points  (3 children)

    some parts of San Francisco during the day are pretty scary

    Wha...what parts? The tenderloin is tamer than times square was in the 80's.

    [–]nugpounder 28 points29 points  (0 children)

    the parts where a homeless guy will jump out into the street in front of you to take a dump in broad daylight

    [–]Thl70 11 points12 points  (0 children)

    Some Bart and Muni stations. Crazy people are scary because they are unpredictable. My teenage girl go cross town on her own all the time and is very good with public transport, but crazies are what I am afraid of.

    [–]Denny_Craine 6 points7 points  (0 children)

    Dude most places on earth are safer than New York in the 80s. That was a rough time

    [–]Zenopus 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    I remember a case from the US where a Danish woman was charged with child neglect for letting her baby sleep outside a cafe in her stroller.

    I seem to remember the case was thrown out, given the ''cultural misunderstanding''. Since it's completely normal in Denmark, but apparently not in the US :).

    [–]feckinghound 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Not like that here in the UK. I don't see kids out by themselves until they're almost starting high school.

    [–]youhaveballs 40 points41 points  (1 child)

    Hell, I’m pretty sure that’s how most of us feel. Sadly, the more realistic fear is the overreaction by some do-gooder than any imaginary danger you’re placing your kid in. Conversely, there are children all over the U.S. who are suffering from real neglect and/or abuse with no attention given to their plight.

    [–]RegularPottedPlant 8 points9 points  (1 child)

    Went through it with my kid. He's almost all grown up and is doing fine for himself. Super independent and confident in his ability to generally handle himself in any situation. But when he was young, always afraid of any authority thinking I didn't hover enough. Always. Luckily, we were fine.

    [–]kaytiz 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    That’s good to hear.

    I just remember having so much freedom growing up, from a pretty young age, and I would love it if my daughter could have the same. But honestly I hear people talk sometimes and of course see what’s posted on the internet and it makes me paranoid that if I let her wander off to the park, I’m going to has CAS at my door !!! Sad.

    [–]junkit33 17 points18 points  (4 children)

    You’re spending too much time on the Internet where the occasional horror story comes out and scares you. Unfortunately that’s what social media does to people.

    The reality is that it’s exceptionally rare for someone to call the cops on a kid roaming free. You’ll be fine.

    [–][deleted]  (2 children)


      [–]kaytiz 2 points3 points  (1 child)

      You’ve described a lot of the issues that run through my head. I’ve been through my fair share of awkward and inappropriate .... encounters.... growing up and I never talked to anyone about them. I don’t want my daughter to feel scared to tell me about them.

      I am also completely aware of those issues you pointed out about those close to you are more likely to cause harm (you said it better in your post). No clue how I’m going to address that issue with her when she’s older.

      [–]kaytiz 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      Hope you are right!

      [–]googi14 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      Gotta get enough people doing it. Go for it. Be a pioneer.

      [–]kenbr7613 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      Check out Let Grow (the group mentioned in the article) for advice on this.

      [–]lord_humble[S] 117 points118 points  (14 children)

      Submission Statement

      With the passage of this law in Utah, people are finally starting to realize how overprotected children are. And what the consequences are, both for parents and for children. Children were far more free (and what I would call "treated normally") in years past, and the world is actually much safer now than then. This article addresses those issues, but also goes in to the psychological effects of over-parenting:

      A 2007 study surveyed the scientific literature on how much parenting influences the development of anxiety in kids. The parenting behavior that had the strongest impact of any kind was “granting autonomy”—defined as “parental encouragement of children’s opinions and choices, acknowledgment of children’s independent perspectives on issues, and solicitation of children’s input on decisions and solutions of problems.” More autonomy was associated with less childhood anxiety.

      Though it's not going to be easy. Also from the article:

      Giving children more independence outside of the house can be more of a challenge—especially if you live in a neighborhood of worrywarts and you’re the only parent letting your kid bike to the park alone. That’s why Lenore Skenazy, a former journalist and mother of two now-grown sons, is trying to convince entire communities to give their kids independence with her nonprofit Let Grow. “It takes away the stigma of being a daredevil parent,” she says.

      [–]Lung_doc 34 points35 points  (0 children)

      Nice article. As a pulmonologist at a referral center, I take care of many young adults with chronic lung conditions, many of whom required a high intensity of medical care as children and teens.

      As a result, some are rather over sheltered, depending on their parents to remember to do their treatments and not engaging with the medical team (even as 20 and 30 year olds). This also contributes to various secondary issues for some (anxiety, depression) as well as delayed achievement of adult milestones (jobs /living independently/ marriage, even when medically this is possible).

      But prior to this article I never really connected these parenting behaviors with society in general - but I think it's similar just less extreme. We are too hesitant to let kids develop independence.

      [–]Sisifo_eeuu 8 points9 points  (1 child)

      I walked to school from kindergarten until eighth grade, when we moved to a house that was considered too far from the school for walking. If I were a parent today, I would want my children to have the same experience, but I would be hesitant.

      The thing that made it safe for kids to walk to school in my day was that all the other kids did it, too. There was no way someone could have gotten away with kidnapping one of us because there would have been too many witnesses. Also, a lot of mothers still stayed home in those days and many had a sign in their window - a red sign with a white hand, which meant that they were home and would help a child in need.

      These days, the sidewalks are empty and there are no parents home, advertising a willingness to help a child in trouble. This, along with CPS's misplaced priorities, would probably keep me from allowing a child to walk to school.

      [–]Stumblin_McBumblin 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      You know what else is a little unnerving? Although it's very rare, the number of people that would snatch up a kid didn't go down. So, if you let your kid roam, there's an increase in the chance they could be targeted. I'd still like to raise my kids to be independent though. I was raised that way.

      It makes sense that people are more protective now. The world is safer, the media plays on our fears, but family sizes went way down over the last few decades. The "stakes" are higher with only 1-3 kids. My grandparents were both from families of 8+ kids, my parents from 5/6 kid homes, my parents had 3 kids, and I plan on having only 2. Losing a kid now is fucking devastating. I'm not saying it wasn't in the past, but with only 2, it's... different.

      [–]Fyre_Knight 106 points107 points  (18 children)

      This still blows my mind. I was 5 the first time my parents left me home alone (with my 7 year old brother) for about 20 minutes. I'm sure it was based on how they assessed that my older brother could be responsible but the fact that the author was nerve wracked to leave a 9 year old home alone amazes me. By 9 parents left me home alone for multiple hours at a time without thinking twice.

      [–]zanhoff 43 points44 points  (8 children)

      Yeah, by 9 years old my parents let me travel by myself between Hong Kong and the United States (in the 90’s) to visit my cousins.

      [–]Hypersapien 14 points15 points  (6 children)

      Starting when I was 5 my dad would put me on a plane from Maryland to Massachusetts to be picked up by my grandmother. Only a hour and a half flight but still.

      [–]vagijn 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      As an YP or UM you are still accompanied respectively watched over by ground and air crew though.

      [–]Zoraxe 32 points33 points  (2 children)

      I had a coworker say the following: if they're old enough to make a peanut butter sandwich, they're old enough to stay home alone". I've always liked the pragmatism of that rule

      [–][deleted]  (1 child)


        [–]newpua_bie 13 points14 points  (0 children)

        Yeah. When I was 9 I walked to and from school alone (sometimes with classmates) and hung around at home watching TV or playing Nintendo for hours before my parents got off work.

        [–]Sisifo_eeuu 7 points8 points  (0 children)

        I was five, too, the first time my parents left me alone. It was just me and the dog. It was only for 30 minutes, but I remember being nervous and staying near the dog the whole time. I grew more confident after that, though. By the time I was ten, I was being left in charge of my younger siblings for hours at a time, as long as it was daylight. At night, we still had a babysitter until I was twelve. After that, it was decided that I was old enough and responsible enough to be left in charge at any time of the day or night. There were times I found it annoying, but I always knew that it was also a mark of trust and confidence in my judgment. Because my parents had confidence in me, I came to have confidence in myself.

        [–]Occams-shaving-cream 6 points7 points  (0 children)

        When I was in elementary school, 3rd grade was when you were allowed to ride a bike to school and home, that was the point when I could travel alone (though generally we had a group as friends would join along the way until we had a “biker gang” lol). This was in the late 80’s early 90’s.

        [–]iwearatophat 3 points4 points  (0 children)

        I remember very distinctly in 3rd grade, so about 8, that I would walk home four blocks from elementary school for lunch. No one was home as both my parents worked but I would turn on the stove and make my own lunch of ramen or canned soup or spagettios. Sit down, watch part of a cartoon while I ate, and then walk the four blocks back to school for recess.

        I don't know if my school knew I was going home to an empty house but they never asked and never seemed to care that I was leaving the school alone.

        I have a two year old now and I would be petrified to let him do that in a couple of years. Not because of what he would do but because I would be afraid someone else would see and call Child Protective Services on me.

        [–]feckinghound 3 points4 points  (0 children)

        I've left my son in the house to nip to the shop to get milk because he didn't want come. He was 4 and was watching a film, 10mins later he's still watching the film and had a smile on his face cos he felt great he had the house to himself. Regularly go out to take recycling and rubbish out where the bins are down the street which take 5 minutes and did that from when he was younger cos you can't take a kid everywhere and it's difficult when you live in a high story flat with loads of stairs to climb when your hands are already full. What options have you got?

        Still feel the anxiety when you leave though.

        [–]hoods_breath 29 points30 points  (4 children)

        I never really understood how we got to this point. In the summers on an average day I was unsupervised for about 75% of my waking time. My mom would have to shout out the front door to get me to come in for dinner and I'd hear her from 3 blocks away. I'd wake up and just head out to do whatever with my neighborhood romp.

        [–]motsanciens 13 points14 points  (1 child)

        We had a dinner bell. A literal old fashioned iron triangle and rod. My neighbors had a conch shell. Pretty effective.

        [–]borderlinebadger 4 points5 points  (0 children)

        Moral panic over child abduction etc.

        [–]feckinghound 2 points3 points  (0 children)

        My playground was miles of fields and a country estate. By 10 I was cycling on the main roads by myself into the nearest town to visit my granda which was around 30miles round trip and knew the way cos my dad used to take me and my brother out on the road from as young as 8. That's where I learnt road safety and gained loads of confidence on the road.

        Spent afternoons at the river trying to catching eels and fish, climbing huge trees, building fires and camping with my townie friends who'd never been. We'd phone our parents and say we're spending the night at friends' houses and it was fine. Cos it's the country, you say hello to everyone you passed and no one was concerned I was unsupervised, most knew my parents anyway.

        I never stopped riding my bike when I was younger. I don't even know how I had the energy for it! Would leave in the morning and come home when it started getting dark for tea. I'm sure it was a lot different for town kids cos the roads are a lot busier but I loved my independence.

        We cooked and cleaned at home as well and took care of lots of animals. I've always been self reliant and independent, moving out at 19 without any help.

        And our parents were seen as controlling by our grandparents who would be out in the street as soon as they could walk, getting supervised by older kids cos everyone had to work.

        [–]AbbathOcculta 27 points28 points  (0 children)

        My experience, at least in middle class Toronto, is that most people just don't mention that they have been doing this with their kids for years. It's fear of the other parents more than fear of the boogymen.

        [–]drl0607 69 points70 points  (4 children)


        [–]lord_humble[S] 92 points93 points  (2 children)

        The Overprotected American Child

        Why not let them walk to school alone? Parents and communities are figuring out ways to give their children more independence—and it just may help them to become less anxious, more self-reliant adults.

        A few weeks ago I left my 9-year-old daughter home alone for the first time. It did not go as planned.

        That’s because I had no plan. My daughter was sick. My husband was out of town. And I needed to head to the drugstore—a five-minute walk away—to get some medicine for her. So I made sure my daughter knew where to find our rarely used landline phone, quizzed her on my cellphone number and instructed her not to open the front door for anyone. Then I left. Twenty minutes later I was back home. Both of us were a bit rattled by the experience—her first time completely alone, with no supervising adult!—but we were fine.

        I had been postponing this moment of independence for my daughter for months, held back by worry over the potential catastrophes. But I know that this way of thinking is part of a larger social problem. Many have lamented the fact that children have less independence and autonomy today than they did a few generations ago. Fewer children are walking to school on their own, riding their bicycles around neighborhoods or going on errands for their parents. There have been several high-profile cases of parents actually being charged with neglect for allowing their children to walk or play unsupervised. We’re now seeing a backlash to all this pressure for parental oversight: Earlier this year, the state of Utah enacted a new “free-range” parenting law that redefined neglect to specifically exclude things like letting a child play in a park or walk to a nearby store alone.

        Overzealous parenting can do real harm. Psychologists and educators see it as one factor fueling a surge in the number of children and young adults being diagnosed with anxiety disorders. According to a study published this year in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the number of children ages 6 to 17 whose parents said they were currently diagnosed with anxiety grew from 3.5% in 2007 to 4.1% in 2012. And in a 2017 survey of more than 31,000 college students by the American College Health Association, 21.6% reported that they had been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems during the previous year. That is up from 10.4% in a 2008 survey.

        A big 2007 study, published in Clinical Psychology Review, surveyed the scientific literature on how much parenting influences the development of anxiety in kids. The parenting behavior that had the strongest impact of any kind was “granting autonomy”—defined as “parental encouragement of children’s opinions and choices, acknowledgment of children’s independent perspectives on issues, and solicitation of children’s input on decisions and solutions of problems.” More autonomy was associated with less childhood anxiety. (Genes play an even bigger role, however, in individual differences in anxiety.)

        For children who are already anxious, overprotecting them can make it worse. “It reinforces to the child that there is something they should be scared of and the world is a dangerous place and ‘I can’t do that for myself,’ ” says Rebecca Rialon Berry, a clinical psychologist at the NYU Langone Child Study Center.

        A lack of autonomy and independence can also stymie the development of self-confidence and may cause children to remain dependent on parents and others to make decisions for them when they become adults, says Jack Levine, a developmental pediatrician in New York. And because children naturally want more independence as they grow, thwarting that desire can cause them to become angry and act out, notes Brad Sachs, a family psychologist in Columbia, Md.

        [–]lord_humble[S] 56 points57 points  (0 children)


        Like a lot of Generation Xers, I have my own memories of a carefree childhood riding bicycles and playing tag with other neighborhood children, my parents nowhere in sight. They seemed to trust their instincts. But today, how do you go with your gut when you’re bombarded by hyperventilating social media posts, shrill parenting advice books and a neurotic cultural tide? And what about disapproving neighbors—and spouses? My own husband wasn’t thrilled when I told him that I’d left our daughter home alone. “She could have hit her head. Or choked,” he said. (To be fair to him, both things have actually happened to her—and this is when we’ve been around.)

        A handful of states have laws that specify minimum ages when it is legal, typically, for children to be left home alone. In Maryland, for example, it is 8; in Illinois, children under 14 can’t be left alone for a vague “unreasonable” amount of time. Other states give more general guidelines. But for many big independence milestones—such as taking public transportation alone or caring for younger siblings—there are few hard age recommendations.

        “Children mature and develop skills at different rates,” says Phyllis F. Agran, a pediatric gastroenterologist in Irvine, Calif., and the co-author of several of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ injury prevention policies. She notes that children with special needs, such as those with ADHD or developmental delays, may take longer to develop the impulse control and skills necessary to do some things independently.

        Many financially struggling families may have no choice but to leave their children home alone while they work. And in high-crime neighborhoods, it may not be safe to send even older children out to play.

        One independence milestone that has been studied extensively is crossing the street. Research has found that young children walking to school often don’t look for traffic or stop at the curb before stepping into the street. Some studies have found that parents are likely to overestimate their children’s ability to safely cross the street. A paper published in 2000 in the British Journal of Educational Psychology found that, in general, 10- and 11-year-old children were much better than 7- and 8-year-olds at identifying safe places to cross and at detecting traffic and road dangers. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to wait until age 10 to allow children to walk to school, or anywhere else, without an adult.

        Alan E. Kazdin, a professor emeritus of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University, recommends that parents repeatedly encourage independence in small, lower-stakes situations, like having children start homework on their own, do the dishes or choose a gift for a friend. While dishes and other chores may just seem like duties, they are also moves toward independence: Children need these skills, and the sense of mastery they engender, to become self-sufficient adults. These are “practice trials,” Dr. Kazdin says. He suggests that when children make these efforts, parents offer enthusiastic and specific praise, along with a pat on the back or a high-five. Issuing a good-natured challenge—“I bet you can’t make your sandwich all by yourself”—can also make it more likely that a child will follow through. What doesn’t work is nagging, issuing reprimands or punishing a child for not being more independent, he says.

        Dr. Sachs encourages parents to involve their children in making decisions about their own path toward independence. When you ask children what they think about, say, staying home by themselves and then ask them to weigh risks and benefits, “it facilitates their self awareness,” says Dr. Sachs. “They automatically start to make better decisions because they are thinking rather than just acting.” This will serve them well when they face decisions about things with more serious consequences, like sex and alcohol.

        It’s also never too early to start encouraging independence, says NYU Langone’s Dr. Berry. Children as young as 2 or 3 can start helping with chores, such as carrying a plate to the table and putting clothes in the hamper. Most 8-year-olds should be able to make scrambled eggs “with some gentle eyes on them,” while most 10-year-olds can handle a chef’s knife, she says. Parents first need to teach safe techniques, repeatedly, then assist with and monitor the activity before gradually “fading out.”

        Giving children more independence outside of the house can be more of a challenge—especially if you live in a neighborhood of worrywarts and you’re the only parent letting your kid bike to the park alone. That’s why Lenore Skenazy, a former journalist and mother of two now-grown sons, is trying to convince entire communities to give their kids independence with her nonprofit Let Grow. “It takes away the stigma of being a daredevil parent,” she says.

        Ten years ago, Ms. Skenazy started a blog entitled “Free Range Kids” after she faced a backlash over a newspaper column she wrote about letting her 9-year-old son ride the subway home alone in New York City. Ms. Skenazy says that having an entire community commit to children’s independence can solve another potential problem, too: A dearth of other unaccompanied kids to play with. Otherwise, “everyone is in lacrosse or in the after-school chess club or some other structured activity,” she says.

        Michael J. Hynes, superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford Schools on Long Island in New York, launched a Let Grow project last fall because he was seeing “kids more and more bubble wrapped as the years go on,” he says. “I’ve noticed they are averse to risk-taking.”

        The children in five of the district’s seven elementary schools now have one day when their only homework is to do something new. (Some classes also write about the experience.) Project suggestions, to do alone or with a friend, include walking the dog, exploring the woods and “playing night tag.” Let Grow also helps schools to launch Play Clubs in which children can play freely in the playground or gym before or after school. The organization suggests that schools enlist one adult to act as a “lifeguard” but otherwise let youngsters alone to figure out what and how to play—and to solve their own problems.

        After nearly a year of the effort, Mr. Hynes says that he’s seen positive results in the district. “I can’t say test scores went up, but I believe the kids are better behaved and more self-confident. Students are taking risks in the classroom. Normally shy kids are now raising their hands.”

        When Jodi Della Femina Kim felt that her daughter, then age 10, was ready to get a cellphone and walk to school without an adult, she and her husband made the decision jointly with several other families in their Brooklyn neighborhood. For several weeks, Ms. Della Femina Kim walked a few steps behind her daughter. There were also rules: The phone had to be in the girl’s pocket (no texting while walking) and she couldn’t wear headphones (too distracting). Next, Ms. Della Femina Kim walked her daughter to a corner where they would meet the child’s friend. The kids would walk the rest of the way to school together. After several months, the children were allowed to walk the entire way—about four blocks—without an adult.

        Her daughter, Annabel Kim, now 15, says that she was “very excited to get to walk to school myself. I felt like it meant you were finally growing up.” She continues to build her own independence by babysitting her 9-year-old sister and making dinner.

        Anne Marie Albano, director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders in New York, reminds parents that the ultimate goal is to have their children be self-sufficient by the time they leave home for college or the workplace. She and her colleagues have come up with a list of milestones that adolescents should achieve before high-school graduation, including being able to advocate for themselves with teachers and other authority figures, seeing a doctor without a parent and waking themselves up in the morning on their own. “We have parents who call their college student at Harvard or Michigan and wake them up every morning,” she says. You do not want to be that parent.

        Even when children are thrilled to gain some independence, parents often have to learn to cope with their own anxiety. Heidi Thompson, lives with her husband and two children in Calais, Vt., a town where children often run around unsupervised. Still, Ms. Thompson, a psychotherapist, was nervous when her daughter wanted to participate in a ritual for neighborhood kids the summer before seventh grade: camping overnight without adults on an island in the nearby lake. Ms. Thompson reluctantly gave her OK. “I was up all night,” she said. In the morning, however, her daughter, “came home so excited. We want them to feel that the world overall is a safe place,” says Ms. Thompson.

        Of course, when children try something on their own, it doesn’t always go smoothly. They may take the wrong bus or choose not to study for a test—and then bomb it.

        Such outcomes point to the one autonomy milestone that parents find particularly difficult, says Joseph F. Hagan Jr., clinical professor in pediatrics at the University of Vermont and the co-editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures guidelines for health professionals. “Part of independence is to make your own decisions,” he says—including “the right to make a wrong decision.”

        [–]drl0607 16 points17 points  (0 children)


        [–]luiysia 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        Tip - Google the title of the article. If you get to an article through Internet search, they don't have a paywall.

        [–]Zimtstern3000 41 points42 points  (0 children)

        The childhood's heart is between age 9-12. It's there job to climb on trees and discover the world without being oberserved 24h. Glad to see the positive change in the discourse.

        [–][deleted]  (5 children)


          [–]warmhandswarmheart 34 points35 points  (0 children)

          That's crazy. I was babysitting for people living in the middle of nowhere at that age. So a "child" has 4 years to figure out how to be independent before they are a legal adult?

          [–]futurekorps 8 points9 points  (0 children)

          lol, by 13 i was going to heavy metal concerts by myself. born in 79, Argentina.

          [–]LasherDeviance 7 points8 points  (1 child)

          I grew up in Chicago. I had been taking CTA and being at home alone since I was ten. What changed?

          [–]lgodsey 12 points13 points  (0 children)

          Fifty years ago, I rode my bike miles through town to kindergarten. In the summer, I could go fourteen hours in a day without seeing anyone over seven years old. My parents both worked full time and it was kind of expected that my older siblings would care for me, but it's best that they didn't as they were awful. I learned to cook and clean and sign permission slips because there's no way to get face time with parents of five.

          Recently, some younger relatives saw a picture of me and some friends at our campsite with huge bass that we caught. When I told the story, they didn't care about the fish -- they wanted to know why there were no adults in the picture.

          "There weren't any adults. We went camping on our own."

          "How old were you?"

          "I dunno, twelve, maybe thirteen."

          "AND THEY LET YOU GO?"

          "I wasn't alone. There were other guys from school."

          "When did your parents pick you up?"

          "No, we rode our bikes with our backpacks. It wasn't more than 10 miles or so on relatively flat roads."

          "WHAT?! You rode your bikes?"

          "Well, yeah. We were too lazy to hike. So, anyone want to know about the bass?"

          "When did you go to bed? How did they cook your food? If there weren't bathrooms, where did you shower?"

          "First, we didn't sleep much -- we were wiped when we got home. Second, back then you could gather wood to make a fire and you'd cook on your mess kit. Finally, we dug a trench latrine and bathed in the lake."


          [–]geodebug 24 points25 points  (1 child)

          My parents left me and my slightly older brother to babysit my younger brothers as early as third or fourth grade. We all survived but boy did that house take a beating. A lot of near-misses as well in accidents and fights that got a little out of hand.

          I argue we could have used a bit more guidance. Was like lord of the flies at times.

          [–]jostler57 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          Growing up, my mom had to work until 6:30pm, or so, on weekdays, so it was just my older brother and me. We would go explore the forest around us, bike to the park, go to a friend's house, play video games, or just argue and fight.

          Worst thing was when we got garbage BB rifles for Christmas, one year. We got angry at each other and agreed to have a shoot out in the rock quarry. Luckily, those rifles were terrible, and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, but looking back, we could've shot an eye out!

          [–]BoogerManCommaThe 31 points32 points  (1 child)

          Me in first grade

          Mom/dad: School is like 10 blocks away and we work, you can walk.

          Me: older kids are picking on me.

          Mom/dad: fight or run.

          I'm still here.

          This is an interesting interview about how kids protected from everything experience more anxiety. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/06/02/611082566/why-children-arent-behaving-and-what-you-can-do-about-it

          [–]iamasuitama 4 points5 points  (0 children)

          Sometimes I wish my parents told me fight or run. They always told me "just act like you're not affected and it will stop" and I fell for it.

          [–]zomgitsduke 9 points10 points  (0 children)

          My most fond childhood memories were playing in the woods, where I literally told my mom "hey I'm going to the woods with John and Sean see ya later!"

          Most "protective" thing I had to do was either call home or radio in to my dad to let either parent know I got to a house that was a lengthy distance away. (We did some radio stuff when I was younger. It was really cool!)

          I'm hoping I can do something passive like be able to activate GPS on their phone if they don't come home in a lengthy amount of time. Have them text to check in, though. Heck, I do that with my 30 year old friends when they leave my house in the evening and they had a drink or two.

          [–]vegandawg 7 points8 points  (0 children)

          I was left home alone at 8-9 and so were all my friends. What happened? Well we started a forest fire once, wrestled like they did in WWF in the living room, found one parents porn vid stash, fell in an icy river, and a bunch of other dangerous shit. Learned from that that I’m not leaving my kid alone at that age.

          [–]emkay99 7 points8 points  (2 children)

          I'm in my 70s. I remember describing to my 12-year-old granddaughter a little while back how, when I was her age, I would take off on my bike early on a summer morning and not return until supper time. No adult supervision, no cell phones, no prearranged play dates. Just me and a group of my buddies, off exploring our corner of the world. And my folks never batted an eye -- not unless I tore my clothes to shreds or something.

          She kept giving me this look like she didn't really believe me, like I was making it all up.

          [–]Numb3rs4 3 points4 points  (0 children)

          I’m not even 30 and I say the same thing to the younger kids in the family.

          [–]gotja 2 points3 points  (0 children)

          I'm in my 40s, when I was staying with my dad I was about that age, I would grab my bike and head out by myself, ususally just give him a head's up I was leaving, rule was be back by dinner or call if I wanted to.stay at a friends house. My best friend and I would meet up sometimes. She often went out on her own too.

          [–]shatmae 13 points14 points  (0 children)

          I have an 8 month old so I'm starting to learn about people's parenting style and there really is a lot of helicopter parenting even at this age. I can put my son down in a safe place and he loves playing independently in fact he's usually happier that way. I mean he likes playing with me too but not ALL day. There's a lot of people who believe you constantly need to be interacting with your child.

          [–]syrielmorane 6 points7 points  (0 children)

          I loved being left home alone. No adult supervision? It was amazing. It’s not like we (sister) did anything dangerous or stupid but it was just nice not to have a parent or two hovering.

          [–]jomo666 7 points8 points  (0 children)

          The first time my parents left my sisters and I alone to go out to dinner, my youngest sister ran through the house, tried to spin around the end post of the railing separating our kitchen and living room, missed her grip, and snapped her arm in half in between two of the spindles. After that, we became overprotected American children.

          Still nowhere near to the extent this article portrays... we still roamed the neighborhood unattended, etc., and still mostly turned out fine.

          [–]liatach 5 points6 points  (0 children)

          I recently discovered the joy of 'kid tasks' the Japanese TV series showing a refreshingly different attitude to childrens abilities and development of resilience and self reliance. You don't even need a translation it is all so clear. https://youtu.be/e5k5XTZy0rA

          [–]mockablekaty 13 points14 points  (1 child)

          Good grief. I walked to kindergarten alone at age 5. Six blocks in a straight line in Washington DC. None of this walking behind the kid - my mother walked me there for a few weeks, then told me from then on out get there on my own. My kids had about a mile and a half to their elementary school, and didn't go without me until my son was in 5th and my daughter in 3rd.

          [–]Lung_doc 5 points6 points  (0 children)

          I let my kindergartner bike to school along a path with no street crossing except the school itself, with a crossing guard. The teacher thought we were crazy.

          [–]Alilbitdrunk 5 points6 points  (0 children)

          “To read the full story subscribe. “ Hell no

          [–]UpAndComingNobody 14 points15 points  (3 children)

          Hype hypehype non stop hype and worry anxiety and fear mongering . You literally have a bug planted on your child at all times (aka a phone) . Just let them be kids ffs !! I would have gone insane if my parents treated me in so overprotective ways. Id think “what must be wrong with me?” I cant take care of myself? Am i a baby? “

          [–]Barefootcris 5 points6 points  (2 children)

          In my kids' school several parents have a tracker they use for their kids. Last week they had a field trip and when they were 5 minutes late instead of assuming it was the central London rush hour traffic they all went straight to 'they're all dead inside a burning bus' or 'the bus drivers are pedophiles', never mind that there were 3 buses and about 15 adults with them. No, they all started tracking their kids whereabouts with that stupid tracker thing. I was sitting there waiting while the buses dealt with the traffic doing Duolingo and according to them I was obsessed with technology and deluded. You are dropping your kid at school, where they can't get out or if they go on a trip it's 1 adult every 4 kids, and you pick them up, and you're sending them every single day with a tracker. Yeah, I'm the crazy one! Parents are absolutely insane these days!

          [–]yellin 1 point2 points  (1 child)

          I use a “tracker” on my kids. They ride the bus too and from school, and it’s arrival time is pretty inconsistent. I have to pick them up at the stop (district rule is that a kindergartener won’t be let off unless a parent is waiting). I’d rather check their location and wait until they’re close than be sitting at the bus stop for 45 minutes because I didn’t know they were stuck on the highway.

          [–]Barefootcris 3 points4 points  (0 children)

          That's a completely different situation. These are people who walk their children to school and pick them up. They don't need a tracker. When we were waiting we were all inside the school waiting after a field trip. They didn't want to know the arrival time. They are just paranoid.

          We don't do school buses here.

          [–]JoeScylla 2 points3 points  (1 child)

          Kinda funny story. As i was 3.5 years old my mother was late to pick me up from kindergarden. So my 3.5 years old decided to go home alone (it was about 3km). I walked home without any problem (just took some time) and waited on the entrance. And after some time my mom comes from the kindergarden to check if i am at home. They made no big deal out of it. At that time i was allowed and encouraged to go alone to kindergarden and i did (still remember my mom sneaking behind me the first days).

          [–]wetwater 2 points3 points  (0 children)

          By the time I was 9 I was regularly walking to and from school a mile away. It was considered normal and expected. If you did have to take a bus to school, you got on at a street corner. Nowadays the bus stops at every goddamn house.

          [–]Nickolai808 2 points3 points  (0 children)

          I was alone ALL the time as a kid. That's what happens when a single mother works and can't afford childcare since it would cost more than she makes.

          I was fine, tv, homework, meet friends, read, eat.

          I remember during the summer being gone all day on our bikes riding around up to no good as kids in elementary school. No mobile phones so moms would call from house to house or go driving around looking for a rabid pack of kids on bikes or a bunch of bikes thrown down on the yard in front of a house. :)

          [–]NightOfTheLivingHam 4 points5 points  (1 child)

          nowadays, doing such a thing can get CPS called on you by do-gooder types. (aka control freaks)

          I'd be out playing with friends all day on any given weekend and come home, wash up, eat dinner, and do any cleaning and go to bed. when I was 10 or 11 years old my folks started leaving me home alone completely for work on my sick days. leaving me the doses to take (and because I had been sick so much in my life at that point, I knew exactly what to take and how much)

          I've heard CPS called on people who leave their 15 year olds home alone for fuck's sake.

          [–]Barefootcris 2 points3 points  (0 children)

          There's 15yo parents out there! That's just ridiculous

          [–]justscottaustin 23 points24 points  (2 children)

          Yeah. 3 kids. 8, 6 and 4. The 4 year old is in day care. The other 2 are in school. I regularly leave the 8 and 6 to run errands. Hell. They rarely want to go anymore. I will occasionally leave all 3 for short trips.

          Yes. The pussification of the American parent is an enormous problem.

          [–]viktorbir 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          It was over 40 years ago and in Catalonia, but when I was 4/5 years old I sometimes woke up home alone as my father was working, my sister at school and my mother shopping. I don't think anybody would consider it something weird.

          [–]cluberti 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          By the time I was 8 I was pretty much left alone all day, especially in the summers off of school. I'd say my parents generally wouldn't know exactly where myself or my brothers were from 8AM to 6PM most days, although they'd likely find us at the park or at someone's house, maybe the neighborhood pool. It's insane now that I have kids to see how much helicopter parenting there is. It cannot be good for most kids to be supervised all the time.

          [–]Klashus 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          They wouldn't let me walk to school until 3rd grade. I could see the school from my house. I had to deliver a dumpster to a school the other day because they didn't want the kids to see the dumpster. Add big metal cans to the list of offensive objects I guess.

          [–]exgiexpcv 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          I was doing my own laundry at the age of 5. Back when laundry machines could crush and take off your arms. Making my own school lunches, pretending to be excited at what I found, though it was always a PB 'n J.

          My parents would kick us out of the house early in the morning and tell us not to come home until night time. I often wondered whether they'd be all that troubled if I went missing, da seemed to resent the amount of food I could put away.

          [–]otakuman 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          In my days, the 9yos took care of the younger kids, and we liked it!

          No, actually, we hated it, but that's how things were back then.

          [–]Kiwikid14 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          My mother was considered overprotective as she insists on knowing which neighbourhood house we were at. I was looking after my younger siblings for an hour or so after school from the age of 12 as my mother worked until 4:30. It was a different time as there was always one neighbourhood mother at home to deal with any fights or injuries. Now I teach students who have anxiety attacks.

          [–]btcftw1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

          I loved being left home alone. No adult supervision? It was amazing. It’s not like we (sister) did anything dangerous or stupid but it was just nice not to have a parent or two hovering.

          [–]DogmaErgosphere 0 points1 point  (0 children)

          Another pearl clutcher from the WSJ!

          [–]CelphCtrl 0 points1 point  (0 children)

          I remember being in 2nd and 3rd grade and just biking around the neighborhood by myself. Trying to get air off the sidewalk and the hills from driveways. Is letting a 7-9 year old do that not appropriate?

          [–]MvmgUQBd 0 points1 point  (0 children)

          Personally I think taking a somewhat hands-off approach to parenting is a good thing, and something we're sadly lacking in this day and age. I was really impressed with how my exes mum brought up her younger siblings, basically allowing them the space to try things out, make mistakes, and learn from them on their own. Of course, she was always there to help them out the very second they asked for it, but would never butt in if she wasn't wanted.

          I was amazed by how responsible and self-assured they were by around 8 years old or maybe even a bit earlier. You could easily envision leaving them alone for a day, or maybe even a weekend (not that that's a great idea) and be sure that the older one would prepare dinner for the younger ones, they would all remember to brush their teeth before bed etc. It was like looking at the dream parenthood where you never have to deal with a temper tantrum or "childish" behaviour (don't like using that term in this context but oh well), never struggle to get them to bed or to do their homework etc. The older ones both had "dumb phone" cell phones with the mum and emergency services on speed dial, but no facebook or internet or even much calling credit to just zone out to.

          These days I feel like parenting in this way would be even easier since you could just use either Skype, or some security camera/microphone setup to keep in regular contact with your kids, even if you're currently at work or whatever.

          Oh well, with the way things have been going lately I imagine this will soon become a jailable offense with CPS automatically brought in to ruin your child's hope of a future.