Another week, another story of a mom questioned over the way she raises her children. This week’s story comes to us from Texas. Kari Anne Roy recently started allowing her six-year-old son, Isaac, to play outside without her supervision. This isn’t Roy’s first rodeo (she has two older children) but Isaac had proven himself responsible enough to follow her rules: don’t go past “the top of the hill where the stop sign is.”
It wasn’t long before a well-intentioned neighbor brought Isaac home. As Roy tells CBS News, “There was this kind of disconnect there that I was smiling and saying, ‘yes he was outside playing’ and she was like, ‘well, he was outside by himself’ and I said, ‘yes, he was outside by himself playing, as six-year-olds do.'”
But the meddling in Roy’s motherhood didn’t end there. Before long, a police officer knocked on the door, questioned her, and left. A few days after that, Child Protective Services came knocking and questioned all three of her children, asking questions that left Roy justifiably outraged:
“Like, ‘have you taken drugs or alcohol?’ ‘Have you seen movies of naked people.’ ‘Has anybody touched you?’ They had to investigate … If CPS gets a call, you want them to check on the welfare of the children. However, I think when they are getting these kinds of frivolous calls, it’s wasting resources.”
These kinds of cases are popping up left and right. You may remember the mom who was jailed for letting her 9-year-old play at the park while she worked. Why are we letting fear destroy our kids’ childhoods? When I was six, I walked to and from kindergarten alone every single day and I was certainly running around playing in my neighborhood by myself. By the time I was eight I was walking a mile along a busy road to a convenience store to buy penny candies. Every kid in my neighborhood did. It’s how it was. But now? Now we’ve let fear take over parenting. Are kidnappings happening more? No. We’re just more aware of when they do, and scared of them happening to our children. Roy agrees with me, saying that while supervision is important, kids need space too.
“I think when it comes to children, you have to give them the experience of life,” Roy said. “It’s doing them a disservice if we keep them trapped in the house until they are 16 and then they are off to high school.”
If you disagree with Roy, that’s fine. Keep your kids in your sight 24/7, but don’t call the police on moms who make different choices. There’s a huge difference between letting a child play outside alone and neglect. “If you’re a parent and you’re not comfortable with your kid being outside without your eyes on them, totally cool,” Roy said. “I’m not going to tell you you can’t do that. Just please don’t tell me what I can do with my child, and I think everyone can get along.”
My daughter is five years old and she’s allowed to play in our yard by herself. Maybe by next year, if she’s proven herself responsible, she can play on our street alone. But now, in addition to fighting the kidnapping fears society beats into our brains I have to worry about a neighbor calling child services?
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