Who grew up in the 80's and 90's? Weren't those the days?
If you didn't let me fill you in on the hard truths of the generation that grew up as latchkey kids.
We were the first real generation that for the most part had two working parents. We were required to go home after school to an empty house, make our own snacks and tune into our favorite afterschool specials. (those were the tv shows that came on at 4 pm). We played outside, and lived by a couple simple rules....
YOU MUST come in when the street lights come on. We didn't really know what would happen to us if we didn't, but I know I wasn't willing to wait around and find out.
When people stopped to ask you for directions, you where to YELL from as far away from the car window as possible. Most likely these people were coming to abduct you and actually knew where the Beckers was.
Green cable boxes where were you hung out, because that was cool.
AND the MOST important one of all,,,,, YOU NEVER take candy, ice cream or toys from the creepy guy in the WHITE VAN, EVEN IF he is the ice cream MAN!
We survived some pretty stupid "acts of bravery". We definitely would have made the local moms group posts about "the horrible kids at the park" had there been social media and internet back in the day. Admit it, you know that you would have. I was a nerdy, goody goody and I WOULD HAVE!
I remember one time a group of us went to the local park down the road and tried to knock each other off the swings by throwing the baby swing across and into the person on the big kid swing...... pretty sure that was my buddies first concussion.
We had so much fun, and we were just KIDS! We got super dirty, we could run for hours, and we looked out for each other. We had each others backs.
Where did this go? Why are we policing and hovering over our kids 24/7. What happened to kids being allowed to be stupid kids learning from their mistakes. What happened to staying away from the creepy guy giving out free ice cream?
I am watching the world change and burden our children with more and more of our adult problems EVERY SINGLE DAY! We have changed the age of consent to medical procedures to 12 years old! Why are we putting this burden to make GROWN UP decisions on a child?
Think back to when you were 12, could you grasp that what you were doing could potentially hurt you? I know I couldn't, and neither could the kids I hung around. I know we didn't because we did things like build giant BMX bike ramps that had the potential to KILL us and would send us flying uncontrollably through the air. We had NO concept of short term gain, long term consequence! It was just FUN in the moment! Kinda like handing a child an ice cream cone in exchange for medical consent. They see a free ice cream, not the potential long term effect.
You can't say you are protecting your children and at the same time asking them to make adult choices. Our kids are being forced to grow up way to fast, and we need to do better. We need to take the burdens AWAY from them, not add more to their plates.
Raising kids in this time has opened my eyes to how little respect we really have for them. Society just wants them to grow up, and be responsible. Wants them to be perfect, don't act out, don't be a teenage rebel, do as we say! We label them, burden them and criticise them every chance we get.
I miss the days where we could head into the forest and make giant mud puddles without people calling the cops on us. I miss the days where we could be asshole teenagers without our pictures being smeared all over social media by parents of toddlers who have no idea what they are in for. I miss the days were children were allowed to be CHILDREN, and heavy body autonomy decisions weren't pressed upon them.
Raising kids is the hardest thing you will ever do, but PLEASE let them be kids!