****Fresh air is good for children, and so is playing with other children. You cannot let them do it ALONE, though. Sure, you and I were out wandering the streets at age seven with our buddies. Riding our bikes without helmets. Throwing sticks. Even wading through creeks. We were just all wild in the 1970's. I mean, until dinnertime. We had to be home before dinnertime. That made it respectable.
*Today? If your child is 17 years 364 days old, you'd still better watch him and not leave him alone at the park. I mean... what if something happened? What if he broke an arm or a gang of space aliens came to kidnap him? What if there were a riot and he couldn't find his way home?
*My younger children wouldn't do well being left alone, and do you know what? That's why I don't leave them alone. But most children have developed the ability to be alone in public with friends at a younger age. I find it flabbergasting that the news guys almost seem like they want to tar and feather this mom for letting her son GO TO THE PARK AND PLAY WITH FRIENDS.
*Next story: Why is there an obesity epidemic and why are children watching TV all the time? Kidding. Though I'm sure it's in the news feed somewhere. I'm thinking of all the "stupid" things one can do with a child, this is by far not the worst. It's true that this is not how I parent. But if your child is in a group and has reasonable common sense, I don't think we should be blaming you if something (God forbid!) happens to your child while he's out. The "free range" mom is right: we should consider some what-ifs, but let's not all dwell on the worst-case scenarios all the time and deprive our children of the joy of being independent. Honestly, I think we should save Mommy criticism for the really, really bad stuff. Not this.