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To be sad my kids don't have a the childhood i had

(39 Posts)
Bambambini Fri 03-Feb-17 08:34:41

My kids have a great childhood in some respects But it's different from me and my husbands. i know things change through the generations - my childhood was different to my parents etc. But i remember such a free and adventurous (benign neglect) childhood. We were always out unsupervised. There were kids on tap to go play with, we roamed far and wide for hours (though would worry about my kids doing same).

Now we live on a small street with only kids in 3 of the houses. None of them talk or play together. I have to force them out or take them to parks or arrange friends over etc . They have after school activities but it's not too he same.

It's better in some ways now, of course - but i feel they are missing out on all the fun we had - is it just me?

Penrithtearooms Fri 03-Feb-17 08:40:08

Same here. But I may remember it as having more freedom than I really had. Up to age 10 we lived in the countryside then when we moved into town, I wasn't really aloud out so much. Do you think society today is more aware of dangers?

Mollyboom Fri 03-Feb-17 08:40:16

I was talking about this with my husband as well recently. I'm quite sad that where we live there are no other children so my Ds can't go out and play like we did when we were kids. I grew up on a small council estate in the countryside and whilst we had none of the organised activities that my Ds has now (sports etc didn't really feature until secondary school) we had a bloody marvellous time. I remember being out on bikes for hours and just roaming around being semi feral. My parents must have had hours of time to themselves.

Bambambini Fri 03-Feb-17 08:44:35

Molly - just how it seemed for us though were a grubby little town but with woods, rivers etc on our doorstep. We were in a huge council estate area too. My street as a child had had 18 houses with about 40 kids. Now our street has half the houses and no kids play together. Winter doesn't help of course.

pandarific Fri 03-Feb-17 08:46:37

Same, but I intend to arrange it so that its as close as possible to the good parts of my childhood. Can you move? A lot of what you're describing is the joy of growing up in a place with lots of residential kids around.

Bambambini Fri 03-Feb-17 08:47:15

And we lived in town where the kids couldn't play out front. Now we are in a leafy suburb on a quiet no through street with a grassy field at the end - it should be kid heaven.

Bambambini Fri 03-Feb-17 08:54:41


We did rent for a over a year in a new big estate plopped in the middle of the countryside. I think i wish we had stayed -more kids, playpark and basketball court in a the middle for the kids, bike track round the edge, little shop etc. It was very family friendly and more like my childhood (had to bloody drive everywhere though).

Starduke Fri 03-Feb-17 08:57:01

I felt a lot like this when I first had DC, because I grew up in a house with a big garden, friends in the same road, mum who only worked school hours etc. etc.

My DC are growing up in a flat, no garden, no DC playing out in the street and I'm out the flat 8am - 7pm...

However, some things are better here - all DC go to the local park to play so my DC are much more sociable than I was. The local school is excellent and DS1 loves it (much more than I did at that age)

There are tonnes of things to do living in a city centre - lots of different parks, museums, activities, markets etc.

When they get older they'll be more independant with public transport and not relying on us to ferry them around.

So, it's swings and roundabouts really. It is difficult to accept though, especially if you loved your own childhood!

tigermoll Fri 03-Feb-17 09:03:55

I can understand how you feel, but there are pros and cons to the setup you describe. Think how you would feel if one of your DC was being bullied by kids who lived near them, and felt that they couldn't play locally/walk to school etc. At least if there is a problem with a kid in a club, you can change clubs/speak to the organiser.

I understand the romanticism of roaming around with a big gang of 'semi-feral' (in the most positive way) kids -- I was the same as a child and had some great times. I also had some terrifying experiences with kids who weren't all that friendly, and for a while was quite scared of a boy on my street. Luckily we moved (nothing to do with the boy, just coincidence).

KateDaniels2 Fri 03-Feb-17 09:06:22

Funny because ny dad had the childgood you describe. 2 of his friends died in accidents when they had this freedom. Its never bothered me that i didnt have the same childhood he had.

5moreminutes Fri 03-Feb-17 09:11:36

Do you think you might be remembering your childhood in slightly rose tinted nostalgic way rather than 100% accurately?

Whether you are or not I agree that it is rubbish that in some areas kids don't play out and call for one another.

Although its largely a modern trend we actually have it the other way around - I grew up in a pretty village and had freedom but there were no kids to play with - village was mostly retirees and young childless couples or couples having their first baby in the picture postcard but miniscule row of terraced former farm workers cottages and moving elsewhere and selling to another young childless couple as they needed more space. The very few kids there were were related to one another and didn't like "Incomers" so were a vague background menace not playmates.

By luck the village we live in now is ridiculously full of children - disproportionate to the size of the village in fact - and the kids all have playmates/ friends within walking distance and if the door bell rings 9 times out of ten it is a child wanting to play with one of mine, which is mostly lovely. DC2 especially lives a life very much like the archetypal 70s older primary kid with dens in the wood and a tree house in a copse behind his friend's house (his friend's dad builds hunter's hides and gave them supplies and some help) as well as endless hours of kick about football etc.

As you know from your former estate it does exist these days just as not everyone had that in the 70s and 80s. There is a degree of luck though as you can move somewhere idyllic seeming and there can just be a lack of compatible kids!

MammyNeedsASpaDay Fri 03-Feb-17 09:11:49

I remember some of the things I used to get up to and we would often wander quite some distance away from home! My daughter is at the age i did that, and has never played out. She is 5, we live on a nice new housing estate but cars come flying in and out and I just don't think she's old enough yet.

What sticks in my mind is how critical people are when children get abducted/murdered. They could have been abducted from the end of their own street and people still go off on one about how rubbish the parents are which is unfair and untrue.

TheLivingAsheth Fri 03-Feb-17 09:17:53

I feel the same. We also lived in a large council estate with two or three nearby parks, and lots of scrubland with stream, "woods" etc. From the age of five I used to walk to my Nana's house three roads away, from the age of eight I was taking my sister out in her buggy. My mum wouldn't have known where we were, we could have been a mile away. I spent so much time on my bike and skates, with friends or by myself.

Now we live on a busy road, between two even busier roads. My oldest is nine and I know that if we lived in a quieter area I would be fine with him going to the local park, but he would have to cross a busy road (no crossing), a busier road (zebra crossing) and a really tricky road which cars speed down (no crossing). There are quite a few kids on our road but they all go to different schools and we don't know anyone because no one plays out front anymore, just in their back gardens. It does sadden me.

Bambambini Fri 03-Feb-17 09:20:30


True, wasn't so great if you fell oyt eith somoeone or cladhed with the group dynamic. There was also one or 2 kids who were on the edge and never really accepted as part of the group. If there was bullying, it could be pretty lonely.

I do miss some of the more "colourful" charachters. Parents out screeching at each other - now i'm in politeville with mostly retirees in our street.

KathArtic Fri 03-Feb-17 09:28:25

Yes I remember cycling off one summer with my friends, out of the village and across some fields. My mother didn't have clue where I was - in fact I didn't have a clue either. There weren't many cars, and everything was a calmer, quieter pace of life (in the ...erm... 70's).

Now, although my DCs will go 'around the block' they are back every two minutes for something to eat, or someone has hurt themselves, or someone is being mean.

TheFreaksShallInheritTheEarth Fri 03-Feb-17 09:29:54

Ah yes, the 60's /70's / 80's childhood. I grew up in the 70's and the freedom was amazing. Semi rural council estate, lots of children roaming free, having adventures. My friends and I walked to school sans adults aged 5. Out all day in summer holidays, home when your belly rumbled.

Its very different now, yes. My DC play with friends with the prior arrangement of parents. And it'll be in the house or garden. I also feel that parents now have to provide their DC with entertainment; as well as arranging clubs and playdates there are ays at zoo, museum, cinema, eating out etc. Such things were pretty rare or annual treats when I was little. We sorted out our own entertainment.

user1477282676 Fri 03-Feb-17 09:30:02

We had this. We moved three times before my younger DD was 8 and now we finally live in a place where kids play out...we had to move to Australia to find it though!

Gwenhwyfar Fri 03-Feb-17 09:30:26

"there are pros and cons to the setup you describe. Think how you would feel if one of your DC was being bullied b kids who lived near them, and felt that they couldn't play locally/walk to school etc."

But you'd still have the option of staying in so more options than now.

user1477282676 Fri 03-Feb-17 09:30:50

I meant to add. It's harder these days OP. Housing is at a premium, money goes...well not very far.

Mollyboom Fri 03-Feb-17 09:31:45

I agree that some of the kids we played with were not so great and there was a touch of Lord of the Flies about it. I remember being a bit scared of some of the older boys but it made me the tough old boot that I am now. Also many of the kids I grew up with are my friends to this day.

Mollyboom Fri 03-Feb-17 09:34:28

Just to clarify there were also plenty of shit things about being a kid in the 1980's but playing out with your friends was not one of them.

Dixiechickonhols Fri 03-Feb-17 09:37:09

Dare I say it but new build estate may be the answer for you. In an estate of 3/4 beds most will have children. Wouldn't be my 1st choice but with an only child moving to a rural barn conversion just wouldn't be fair. There is a playpark/football field aimed at 8 plus next to us plus some scrubland the kids call the woods. She calls for children on estate, 7/8 plus seem to play out alone. I lived in a similar set up in 70s/80s. She would really miss being able to pop round to her mates and them here. We do lots of organised activities and meet ups too but it is different.

Bambambini Fri 03-Feb-17 09:37:10

Traffic is a huge issue these days if course. Think there was only about 2 cars in my row of 6 houses back in the 70's. I worry mire about traffic than them being snatched.

Ponderingprivately Fri 03-Feb-17 09:41:25

I know what you mean. When I was little in the 80s and early 90s, I lived on a street full of families; we just used to go out and play in the street every evening, there was always someone around. Had such a great time.
We live in an area supposedly full of families, but the kids just don't hang out together, neither do the families. It's safer of course, but I miss the sense of community for my children.

SingingInTheRainstorm Fri 03-Feb-17 09:49:57

It makes me sad because I was born during a time when you could have adventures, you were ok to go to the shops in the village at 7. You played outdoors till tea time or your curfew. You generally did stuff and your parents weren't worried if you were gone all day.
Now it's impossible for DC's to move out of visibility from the house, you can't play games in the street due to new drivers thinking they're Lewis Hamilton. The things we did as children you just wouldn't be comfortable your children taking any risks.
One example could be swimming in rivers, I wouldn't even let DC's be at a river bank unsupervised, when my siblings would jump off bridges into the river decades ago. Local nature places again you would feel happy with them climbing steep banks. We're far more aware of risk. That's without mentioning how we are aware of paedophiles and risks from unhinged children.
I would add that there remains a sort of community spirit but it's no where near the same as it was 30+ years ago. New neighbours come and we chat to them, but we don't act how we used too. There was always that safety net of everyone in the village and surrounding villages knew you. So if you got into trouble you could ask for help, not that we ever did.
The reliance on electronics for entertainment is pretty sad, but you just don't take any risks anymore. It's not what many of us want, I'm sure many of us look back at our childhoods where an Atari was considered state of the art, but you'd be outside, not glued to TV or a monitor.
If I recall correctly during say the summer holidays, it would be weird in a rural location to stay indoors with your Mum all the time. Even in bad weather. Oh it's raining, oh well, we'll live.
I wish my DC's could experience what my siblings & I did. If you supervise them by the river or somewhere like that they think you're crazy. Another thing you'd go to the park quite happily, but the traffic is just too dangerous, plus you never know who's about. I'm glad it's not just me.

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