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May 02, 2009

What Constitutes Child Endangerment?

-12 I'm really at a loss. What constitutes child endangerment these days? It seems like with every generation children have less and less freedom. You'd think they'd have some sort of uprising. When my mother was a child (6-10 years old), she and her sister walked at least two miles to the movie theatre on weekends and spent the better part of the day there alone and then they walked home. All for a quarter she would tell you. Now apparently that would get you brought up on child endangerment charges. If the Women in Scarsdale who kicked her bickering children out of the car, to walk home, is anything to go by.

When I was a child, not only was I sent to the store to pick up groceries, but I was also often left home alone with my sister after school, in elementary school. If someone told me they were doing this today, I would seriously question they're judgment. But really we were perfectly fine. Why are we all so panicked about children on their own now. Is the world really that much more dangerous? If anything parents are more accessible with cell phones. I'm just wondering who makes the rules?

Remember the New York mom who dropped her 9 year old son off in the city and let him find his way home. He made it, and was fine. Would I do it when my daughter is 9? Unlikely. But, when did it become the norm to guard our children like they were helpless creatures made of glass. I can't say I'm not completely guilty of it myself. But is it really good for them or us as parents.

For me I think 5 and 6 year olds should not be allowed to roam the streets unsupervised. Once they're in the double digits they need to be able to stray a few blocks without the swat team being called in on the parents if not the kids. Of course my daughter is in pre-school, so I may have to amend this position in a few years. But I will try to balance between  being the ubiquitous helicopter mom and being brought up on charges of child endangerment.


This is an original post for LA Mom's Blog


Elise Crane Derby blogs at Elise's Ramblings when she isn't pondering the dilemmas of modern parenting


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