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Gooseberry
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@roserich, my children are well acquainted with our neighbors, visit with them on a daily basis, and know their names. My children play UNSUPERVISED in our yard with locked gates. We play and run wild many times during the week, while I'm WITH THEM at a park, on walks, and at the grandparent's 60 acre farm. Please. This isn't called hover-parenting or over-protection, it's called street smarts. And there is a reason why child development experts say SIX is too young to play unsupervised in public.
PS - Before anyone accuses me of not being experienced with children: I have a 6yo and two other children. Our neighborhood sounds just as safe as yours, but they are only allowed in the backyard alone, never out front, and we have padlocks on the gates and tell our children not to talk to strangers - even from our own backyard!
Hold on, let me get this straight... Your six-year-old was playing outside by himself, then walked off from where he was playing with a STRANGER? Yes, at least they ended up at his own house. But has it not occurred to you that he was willing to walk off with a stranger? And your son was able to travel 150 yards with a stranger...without you seeing it? A stranger re-located your son 150 yards and you didn't even see because you couldn't keep an eye on him through a window? Lady, I'd be counting my lucky stars that THIS was the lady who decided to approach, speak to, and re-locate your child because she brought him home. IF your child is truly old enough and educated enough to play by himself a football field and a half away from home, then he should have KICKED and SCREAMED and told that stranger he didn't know her and she'd better bugger off--THEN he should have RAN home to you and told you a stranger approached him. It's obvious, you haven't prepared him for these situations. And yes, CPS unfortunately has to follow up on ALL reports and complaints. We can't let any truly abused or neglected children fall through the cracks. After all we do, they still go unnoticed. Finally, I'm calling BS on the whole "poor us, we have to stay inside for the rest of our lives or until we can move!" Pick up your laptop, grab a book, pack a box of crackers into your bag, and walk to the park with your child. No one is forcing you to stay in your house (and do you not have a backyard???) they're asking you to watch a child who obviously is too little to fight back and not properly instructed on how to deal with strangers yet. SO what? Go to the park with him next time. You can still ignore him, but at least you'll notice (I HOPE) a STRANGER approach him before your son fails to NOT WALK OFF with them (who's to say this neighbor couldn't have walked him toward your house, then shoved him in the van at the last minute?) and takes him down the street. Sorry, I get that you were embarrassed, but you dropped the ball. This country might be relatively safe, and sure MAYBE nothing would ever happen to him. But my gosh...why take the chances? Watch your kid. I'd be thankful to have such a concerned, watchful neighbor. You don't know how lucky you are.
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Sep 17, 2014