Can Kids Still Play Outside?

Can Kids Still Play Outside? September 17, 2014

The issues brought up in this article in which a Texas woman was visited by CPS for allowing her child to play 150 yards from her house completely freak me out. I don’t know any details about this particular case other than what is in the article, but I often have fears about letting me kids walk down to a neighbors house without me. What if someone calls the police? We have another homeschooled 10 year old on our street, and, yet, I worry about the consequences of them playing outside together at noon on a weekday without me right there. I am a rule follower, but I hate to see my children robbed of opportunities to play, develop social skills, independence and leadership.

Just last month, when I went to visit the hospital where I plan to give birth to my 5th baby to get a tour and review my birth plan (which hasn’t changed in 10 years) and I was told they would have to call CPS if we declined erythromycin (the antibiotic eye goop that is given to babies just after birth to prevent blindness from certain STDs). I was so taken aback that I didn’t even know what to say! We have declined erythromycin for all of our previous babies, one of whom was born in a hospital, without any issues (see article at Evidence Based Birth for more info). The fact that Texas state law mandates this, superseding my rights as a parent to choose not to have a completely unnecessary antibiotic given to my baby within two hours of birth, upsets me tremendously. When I reach a stage in life in which I have more time to dedicate to these issues, I will certainly be raising a ruckus! What is to prevent laws enforcing HPV vaccines or mandating that all kids have to be in child care to a certain age?

Does anyone else have these fears? Obviously times have changed tremendously, but when we read older books, I am struck by both how much freedom and responsibility children had  100 years ago. How do you balance parental rights and wanting to raise responsible, healthy children with government interventions?

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