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Outdoor Play Ban For Children In Florida Housing Community

By Danielle Sullivan |

outside play kids, Free-range kids, helicopter parenting, lenore skenazy, mom relationships, parenting theories,

No skateboarding, tag or even running allowed in one Florida housing complex.

Would you live in a place where your children weren’t allowed to play outside?

One housing complex in Florida is saying no to children playing outside without an adult. The rules go even further by banning certain toys and behavior that they deem unacceptable.

It seems to me this is not only overboard but it borders on child discrimination.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the housing complex, Persimmon Place is proposing a new list of rules that includes one specifically regulating child play:

Rule No. 4 states: “Minor children will not be under the direct control of a responsible adult at all times. Children will not be permitted to run, play tag, or act boisterously on the association property. Skateboarding, ‘Big Wheels,’ or loud or obnoxious toys are prohibited.”

The rule also states that children aren’t allowed to play in driveways or the front or rear areas of other units.

Those who violate the rule will be hit with a $100 fine.

I actually don’t have a problem with requiring an adult to be with the very young children until a certain age. Of course, a ten-year-old should be able to play with his friends outside.

Older residents point out that there is no place for children to play on the complex and there is no playground.They cite safety reasons for the proposed ban. The News-Journal reports that the complex was primarily inhabited by retired seniors in the past and “older residents say parents are letting their kids wander the neighborhood with little oversight. They also feels that the 48-unit townhouse subdivision lacks open space so children play in driveways and the parking lot, which they feel is unsafe.”

Of course, Lenore Skenazy, author of Free Range Kids had something to say about this on her blog:

“The point is: Kids DESERVE to play outside. It doesn’t even seem like it should be LEGAL to ban this, anymore than banning eating or sleeping. But of course, it’s all about ‘safety,’ the word that sneaks into so many debates, legitimately or not, and often stuns all common sense. I hope the kids storm this meeting in their roller skates. It is time for a revolution.”

I agree kids do deserve to play outside. It’s a basic right. When I was growing up, all of the kids on the block played outside everyday, often without an adult. But there was always an adult close by who would either stick their head out a window or come out on the stoop and tell the kids to stop doing something safe or just plain mean. While a certain amount of supervision and parental judgement is needed, children should absolutely be allowed to be outside on their own at a certain age. I wouldn’t let my three-year-old stumble around the grounds alone but that’s just common sense.

I gotta agree with the stipulation of not allowing kids to play in driveways. That seems reasonable. Kids shouldn’t play in driveways.

Every cooperative has the right to make its own rules. My mother-in-law lives in a co-op and must follow the board regulations. They tell her what rooms she must keep carpeted and which entrance she can use on weekends for furniture delivery. There is a fine for stepping on the grass. It’s normal for regulations to be issued but these proposed rules in Florida are over the top.

It sounds like the proposal wants to cut out all noise that is a natural byproduct of kids playing. Certainly by banning Big Wheels, running and playing tag, there is something much larger going on than concern about the kids’ safety.

And how could a parent move into a place where their child was not allowed to run outside… which is probably the exact intention behind the rules.

Image: MorgueFile

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About Danielle Sullivan

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Danielle Sullivan

Danielle Sullivan writes for Babble Pets. She is also an award-winning parenting writer, who authors a monthly column for NY Parenting and ASPCA Parents blog. You can read more of her work at her blog,Some Puppy To Love. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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10 thoughts on “Outdoor Play Ban For Children In Florida Housing Community

  1. brsmommy says:

    First of all, note that this is a “proposed” ban. Secondly, note that this is a ban “proposed” by “older residents”. Basically, I see this as a bunch of grumpy seniors stomping their feet and pouting. Please. Kids need to get outside. A lot. They need to ride bikes, draw with chalk on the sidewalk, climb trees, and chase each other around while screaming like maniacs. While I understand that the older residents are probably thinking that they’ve already raised their children (who were no doubt perfect angels who never used their outside voices while outside…) and don’t want to hear any more, they need to realize that their proposed ban is outrageous and, frankly, really stupid. If they want peace and quiet, wear earplugs. And if they don’t like Big Wheels, then I highly suggest they not ride them. And what do they mean by “little adult oversight”? If we’re talking about toddlers, sure a parent needs to be watching. But older grade schoolers have been playing outside, unwatched by parents, for generations. The same people complaining more than likely let their own 10 year olds ride bikes and play outside themselves. Which would make them hypocrites.

  2. Korinthia Klein says:

    Depends on the driveway. My brothers and I loved playing in the driveway when we were kids and it was as safe as the yard.

    No running or tag? No acting boisterously? So, they are not allowed to be kids. This is so silly. The same people in favor of such rules are likely the same ones who complain that children are obese these days and somehow don’t see a connection. The irony to me is that the retirees probably had a lot more leeway to play outdoors when they were children. My grandparents weren’t supervised outside and they played in alleys. I think some people get past a certain age and forget the realities of childhood. I hope the rules are overturned.

  3. goddess says:

    That’s harsh. I can agree with not using the driveways and parking lots- that’s a safety factor for which no association wants to bear liability. And I can see requiring adult supervision under a certain age- school age, I’d think. But each child should be permitted to play in front of their won residence, or as a guest in front of others (friends’ units with friend that lives there).
    But agree about tag and boisterousness. WTF? Most kids are ebullient when playing!~ What a cheerful sound~

  4. Danielle Sullivan says:

    @Goddess Exactly! There’s no better sound than the happiness of children.

  5. Bec says:

    I wonder where the “older residents” played when they were young. It’s hard to imagine that the world they grew up in had playgrounds on every corner, and acres of green space away from the delicate ears of their elders… that’s certainly not the world my parents and grandparents grew up in, anyway.

  6. steelrigged says:

    My grandparent’s community is like this. The newsletter states that it is a community for older retiered people of a certain income bracket. But they didn’t make any changes when the economy went south. Now the resident’s are dying and the community too. No one want’s to pay what the association thinks the houses are still worth, and children and gradnchildren don’t want to take over the houses because the neighborhood is so family unfriendly.

  7. Gardener says:

    This is shear and utter nonsense. Old, young, or middle-aged children need to run, jump and be silly. Stop micromanaging the lives of others.
    What stupidity to even allow this to get this far.

  8. Angela says:

    With or without the proposed rules it seems like this isn’t the best housing option for families or children if the only places to play are the driveways and parking lot. Yes, children should be free to play but I don’t believe every housing development should be required to cater to families either. Some people love the sound of children playing while others value peace and quiet. There are housing options available for both and I feel that it should be the parents’ responsibility to select a home environment that is conducive to their family’s needs.

  9. goddess says:

    However, this is a NEW set of rules. I call it Bait-n-Switch.

  10. Kerala Taylor says:

    There’s a petition on Change.org to protest the HOA’s proposed ban: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-florida-hoa-let-kids-play-outside

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