Do you remember playing outside as a kid? We had a huge backyard with this old playhouse that was honestly not in very good shape. There was a creek running behind the house which was a fun place for us kids as you can imagine. We would spend hours exploring that creek. If we weren’t getting dirty in the creek, you could find us roller skating or racing each other in the driveway. I remember going down to a friends house and being gone for hours watching our favorite shows or playing video games. We had a pretty safe neighborhood.
I came across an article a couple days ago at Parenting about a Tennessee mom who was arrested for letting her children play outside unsupervised. She spent the night in jail and now faces class D felony charges for child abuse and neglect for letting her children play outside. She walked them to a park that was a block and a half away and then went back home. After they didn’t come home later that evening she got worried and had a friend go search for them and called 911. They turned up at a friends home nearby and were picked up by the Department of Children Services.
This really hits home for me right now because my daughter, who is 5, has just discovered the fun of playing outside this spring. We have been very watchful of her anytime she is outside. One of us has to be outside watching her and we don’t let her go inside anyone’s home. Even her going 2 houses down concerns me. I prefer to see her at all times. We’re still figuring out the boundaries and rules.
This playing outside stuff is so new to me and I’m curious about what you think. So here’s the questions that I have for you:
At what age did you allow your child to play outside by themselves?
What were the rules that you set?
Do you think the charges against this mom are fair?