It is amazing just how many kids are running around the neighborhood. Kids are like magnets, they are drawn to each other. I wish I could remember what it was like to be able to go up to someone and just start playing. To be quite honest, I am not sure I was ever able to do that, but my kids have no problem meeting others and running around like they are connected at the hip.
I normally don’t mind the kids out playing, but I am learning just how differently people parent their kids. I think I would fall into the “controlling” category. I want to know where my kids are and who they are playing with at all times. There are some kids in this neighborhood whose parents fall into a completely opposite group.
I try not to judge people’s parenting habits because we are walking a different road, and I’ll be the first to admit that I am full of faults in the parenting department.
Having said that, though, I have a hard time letting the kids run around the neighborhood with kids whose parents let them do anything. My kids are extremely impressionable, as I am sure many are. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I usually keep them on a short leash.
Lately, I have been coming up with every excuse I can possibly think of to keep the kids inside. I am not a fan of this because I am a firm believer in outside play, but inside the house coloring seems safer that the outside possibilities, especially with some of the things I have seen the neighbor kids doing.
For example, yesterday evening I went to the alley to take out the trash. As I rounded the corner, a local five-year-old popped up out of the dumpster. He didn’t see me at first and he help up a dirty baby diaper and yelled to a four-year-old buddy, “Hey!! This one’s got poop in it!!” They had the alley covered with dirty wipes and diapers. After asking the youngster to get out of the can, the boys informed me that they had been throwing the diapers at each other. Ewww… The sad thing was I knew that if my kids had been outside at that time, they would have been involved in the diaper war.
Am I wrong to not want my kids a part of this? Am I wrong to tell my kids to stay inside when I know the neighbor kids are out? Are these just kids being kids and it’s normal for them to trash the alleys and dig in dumpsters?
I tend to lean more towards craft projects and free play. At least this way I know that at the end of the day my kids are not covered in an anonymous baby’s poop. But please, correct me if I am wrong…