Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Debate About Managing Kids

      When my daughter was here a few weeks ago we got on one of her favorite tops...micro managing kids. Of course, she doesn't have any kids.

     Most of her conversation is that her parents did not micro manage her and she didn't get into any trouble.This is true. She could wander around within for or five houses even as a preschooler. Mom and Dad only knew were she was in a general way. She was predictable so we knew where she would be. As  she got older she went further away and for longer times. It's one of the things she is thankful about that she was not on a tight rope and learned through her experiences.

    It got me thinking about how I was raised and one of the accidents I got into. My  bother and I  were the definition of free range kids. We lived on a farm and my mother had two smaller children and was not always able to supervise us. She was happy that we could be occupied in play so that she had more time for the two younger kids.

     One day we had an accident right in the house. Mom had a set of drawers in the bedroom that were five high. My brother and I decided that we wanted something out of the top drawer. We were too small and short to reach the top drawer. Since we were free rangers we could always figure out some solution. We said, " Let's pull out the bottom drawer and if we stand on it we can reach the top drawer." Simple plan?  We both stepped on the drawer. The whole chest of drawers tipped  over  pinning us against the bed. What made it worse, was there were two old lamps on top of the set of drawers. These lamps  had glass chimneys so there was quite a clatter. There was a four year old and a five year old under the set of drawers yelling their heads off. Mom had another toddler and an infant to look after. So she was frightened as to how she would find her little screaming boys. She got us out from under the drawers and then the clean up started. We probably got something else later on that made us holler again. It also made us think twice about some of the silly plans we made.

     So part of my point is that even if kids are tightly supervised they can easily get into trouble. It only takes a second for kids to act. 

     My brother and I may have got into the odd accident , but we certainly learned independence , judgement and caution  by being free range kids.

    So I really hate to see kids micro managed and I see that these kids have little opportunity to learn from experience. 

    Before I retired from teaching you could see children coming who had little life experience and they were having difficulty dealing with other kids and their own independence and responsibility

    I really wish I had a picture of being pinned under the set of drawers!.