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To think kids miss out these days?

(222 Posts)
jelly449 Thu 16-Aug-18 10:48:10

Last week I went out with my dad for a meal. My aunt came too and I hasn't seen her for 6/7 years as she moved abroad.

Dad and aunty spent most of the night talking about what they got up too as kids. We're talking 1960's.

They honestly had the best childhood even though times were hard. They had no money - my grandad walked out on my grandma and she worked literally all the hours she could.

My grandma basically used to 'chuck them out after breakfast' - dads words - and him and my aunty wouldn't come home until tea time.

They spent the summer holidays playing in farmers fields, building dens, biking to here there and everywhere, waiting for the trains to pass etc. They even used to build their own dens and camp out on them in the middle of the woods. I'm guessing they were between the ages of 8 and 14/15. Dad started working at 14.

My aunty also mentioned the one holiday they all had at a caravan park. But it had no toilet and it was quite a walk to the outside ones. They thought it was great. Going to the toilet was a massive adventure for them. In all honesty....my dcs would moan at staying in a caravan with no toilet.

They had some stories to tell and they were all amazing.

My dcs won't have any of these stories to tell. Literally none. My dcs aren't even allowed to leave the front garden.

Dd is currently up in her room watching you tube. Ds is watching a film. They've only met up with their friends a handful of times this summer as everyone is abroad.

Just sat here thinking how times really have changed

P.s regarding the 'chuck them out after breakfast' comment - my grandma was ace, she was very set in her ways though. I remember staying at hers over night once and she made me stay in the garden all day and play. I remember thinking 'wtf am I supposed to do our here, I'm coming in when home and away is on at lunch time' so even I'm guilty of it lol

ParkheadParadise Thu 16-Aug-18 10:57:38

We were always told to come home when the street lights came on 😀. My mum had 6 of us. We always spent summer holidays outside even in the rain. My siblings used to get mad because I was the youngest and mum always made them take me with them.
I loved summer holidays as a kid.

juneau Thu 16-Aug-18 10:59:36

Well, things always sound better in the retelling, don't they and I think it's easy to have rose-tinted memories of childhood once you get to a certain age. It's true that DC had a lot more freedom then, especially DC who grew up in the country. My siblings and I would go off on our bikes or build dens, etc, but it was in the garden - if we so much as set foot in the farmer's field opposite the old busybody whose bungalow over looked the field would ring our DM and complain!

Parenting standards were also different back then and things that would now be considered worthy of a call to SS were perfectly acceptable. I was watching a programme about Jeanette Winterson the other day and she was saying how her DM would throw her out of the house to sit on the front step in all weathers or shut her in the cole hole, yet in the 1960s no one batted an eyelid and that was considered acceptable - thank goodness those days are past!

And no, I don't suppose traipsing miles for a pee was any fun in the 1960s, any more than it would be now. My aunt is always banging on about how wonderful life was back when she was a DC, but quite honestly I don't think it sounds that great. Being poor and having holes in your shoes might sound romantic from a distance of 50 years, but I bet it bloody wasn't.

Stompythedinosaur Thu 16-Aug-18 11:02:40

My dc still do some of the things you describe - they don't get "chucked out" but they do choose to play out most of the day of we aren't doing something else. I do check on them though! This summer is the first one dd2 has really got the hang of her bike, and they love cycling around the village (though I suppose I wouldn't want them further afield or not to know where they are). We camp regularly and they find a late night toilet trip (in pjs and wellies) more exciting than I do!

I suppose I wonder if some of the differences are to do with living in an urban area (where it is just too dangerous) or a rural one.

Noqont Thu 16-Aug-18 11:03:47

My child hood was like that in the 70s. I think it was better. We didn't have much money, but it was fun. Kids don't have that freedom anymore. I think we learnt lots of skills then which served us better in adulthood, which children today can't have because they don't have the same freedom.

thecatsthecats Thu 16-Aug-18 11:04:23

I had that kind of youth in the 90s. I always figured it was a town vs country thing.

My mum grew up exploring waste rivers from a dye plant, with local plants all mutated and overgrown, which doesn't sound half so romantic tbh.

Harken53rig Thu 16-Aug-18 11:04:59

Let your kids out of the front garden then?

Send them to the shop to get milk or out to the local town to get lunch for themselves.

Why are you complaining about it whilst creating the problem?

glintandglide Thu 16-Aug-18 11:08:05

Do you think that really sounds great though? Getting chucked out your house, unable to chose to come back, in all weathers, because there wasn’t a parent present? I mean we used to love going on bike rides and walks alone as children but you know what, we got perved on, flashes at, numerous uncomfortable situations with adults but at least I could run home to my mum.

What about when the weather was like today? What if they were the type of kids who would prefer to curl up at home with a book? No acknowledgement was made of their wants, their personality, they were just chucked out to fend for themselves. Yes there is an adventure there but it doesn’t suit all children does it?

I agree it’s easy to look back with rose tinted glasses. Life in the 60s wasn’t as good as it is now by all sorts of measures.

Ifailed Thu 16-Aug-18 11:08:16

Mine was like that, in the mid 60s to the 70s, grew up in the country. However, on the odd occasion I return I find children are not allowed to play out on their own and they are ferried around by car from one 'activity' to another. Fields we freely roamed are now out-of bounds, and of course kids aren't allowed on their bikes due to the traffic - mainly other kids being driven to an 'activity'.

idonthaveatattoo Thu 16-Aug-18 11:09:44

Ugh, I hate posts like this.

Sorry, OP. I hated being ‘chucked out’ as a kid. It’s fucking dangerous and it was often boring and lots of low level bullying and even sexual assault/ grooming took place.

I’m so glad my kids won’t have that sort of childhood tbh.

SisterNotCisTerf Thu 16-Aug-18 11:10:46

Well some children that had the childhood your dad had won’t have reached adulthood due to not being looked after by an adult. Some will have drowned, some will have been killed by a cow in a field, some will have been hit by a car, some will have been abducted and murdered. They’ll have had in until those things happened but that doesn’t mean their childhoods were perfect. Lots of children have fun doing things they shouldn’t be doing.

TheVanguardSix Thu 16-Aug-18 11:13:34

There’s a bit of romanticising going on here. I too had that childhood. But there’s a part of me that realises my mum couldn’t be asked. And that’s lame. People worry about their kids. They’re supposed to keep an eye on them. We were a bit feral, imo. Running around from morning until dusk while our SAHMs did what exactly?

I spent my summers exploring and biking and getting up to all sorts. But actually, I feel that my childhood was rather lonely and that I was left to it a lot. I ended up being sexually molested repeatedly by a male neighbor who stalked me, even in my own front garden. I was 9. At 12, my two school friends were brutally murdered. So my own experiences don’t have me yearning too much for the salad days of childhood in the 80s. I was neglected. Nothing romantic about it.

My kids don’t have a free range childhood. But we get out in the fresh air and explore with my eye on them.

idonthaveatattoo Thu 16-Aug-18 11:14:15

Yeah exactly sister

A kid in my primary school class was run over and killed aged seven. We all had to have an assembly on road safety. All well and good but why we were crossing busy roads aged six and seven?

Remember those public service videos? All put on the kids. Don’t play on railways, near deep water, on electricity pylons, busy roads, don’t talk to strangers.

How about people parent?

MadameElephant Thu 16-Aug-18 11:16:02

It’s just rose tinted though, isn’t it? My DM and older relatives all have stories of adults and older teens being cruel or (in several cases) sexually abusive, because there were not witnesses and no one to tell. And if you did tell when you got home you were the ones who got into trouble for ‘bringing it on’ somehow.

Parents weren’t interested if you were bullied at school, didn’t take an active interest in learning, and were lax about safety, in equal measure to the ‘fun’. Lot’s of kids getting electrocuted/drowned/hit by trains when I was little. There was a reason...

araiwa Thu 16-Aug-18 11:17:02

Im really sad that i never got the chance to start working full time at 14. I had to wait til i was 21. All those wasted years

MadameElephant Thu 16-Aug-18 11:20:02

TheVanguard I am so sorry those things happened to you flowers

Itsatravesty Thu 16-Aug-18 11:22:06

Plenty kids still have that sort of childhood. Mine have a very similar childhood to mine in the 70's and are off out to play the minute they're in from school. Depends where you live I suppose.

idonthaveatattoo Thu 16-Aug-18 11:22:47

I would judge anyone who kicked their kids out all day, no matter where they lived.

seventhgonickname Thu 16-Aug-18 11:24:49

I had that kind of childhood but not out playing in all weathers.Thete was an unused bit of waste ground with a dumped car and all sorts of rubbish,covered in weeds and brambles that all the kids in the area played in at some time or other especially if looking after younger siblings.
I lived inSheffield so part urban but easily access to the countryside.
Yes we played out a lot,walked to friends houses(I was a teen before we had a phone) but I also spent hours reading everything I could find.
There was very little money but most people were the same and as kids we didn't appreciate the difficulty y mum had bringing us up.
Different times.

Ifailed Thu 16-Aug-18 11:26:25

Lot’s of kids getting electrocuted/drowned/hit by trains when I was little.
Gosh, add them to the ones who got crushed by cows or abducted and murdered, it's a wonder how anyone survived.
Fact is, from1955 to 1995, “motor vehicle traffic accident involving collision with pedestrian" was the biggest cause of death for children, and this mostly occurred in urban areas. There were few cars on the road in the 60s where I lived & you could hear them coming from a mile away.

bertiesgal Thu 16-Aug-18 11:26:45

DD (8) and DS (5) have spent most of the summer playing with the other kids in our estate. Even when it’s drizzly they’d rather be hiding in bushes than stuck indoors.

I’ve barely seen them (okay the play park is outside our bedroom window so I may spy a bit and they drop in constantly for toilet breaks and snacks).

Reminds me of my childhood. I didn’t realise we were that unusual!

Noqont Thu 16-Aug-18 11:28:33

I wasn't kicked out all day. I had the freedom to go out all day. Big difference. I think my mum would agree that the children who were chucked out all day were from neglectful families which wouldn't be tolerated today. I knew one family like this, my mum was shocked and used to feed her children during the day. Most of my friends had the freedom to roam though, they weren't forced to.

BuntyII Thu 16-Aug-18 11:28:36

This thread has brought back some memories that have changed my view on my childhood a bit! In my mind it's like the OP, all playing around the bales of hay and swimming in the river on hot summer days.

But in reality I was left to play with anyone and everyone, was often mildly bullied, especially about my weight. I remember a friend bringing me home and putting on her parents porn videos - we can't have been older than 10 and probably quite a bit younger confused where the fuck was her mum? The local pervert shouting abuse and flashing his dick at us...I could go on shock

bertiesgal Thu 16-Aug-18 11:29:43

To be clear we live in a nice area where everyone knows each other and we all have kids if a similar age. They also have clear restrictions on how far they can roam. Some of the stories on here would convince you never to let them out of your sight shock.

MadameElephant Thu 16-Aug-18 11:33:25

Ifailed you are being completely hyperbolic, and I think disingenuous. I’m only in my 40s (so not 1960s) grew up in the countryside and I can vividly remember the times when children I went to school with were hit by cars, the kids getting hit playing on the railway line, the ones who insisted on breaking into the electricity enclosure constantly. Stories in local news in addition to those that happened in our community.

There were plenty of cars! No decent speed limit on fast residential roads, lax attitudes to drink driving (no public transport locally). I promise you there were far, far more accidents.

These days a single case would be an outrage. It’s an affront to deny other people’s experience just because yours was different...

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