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.