Play Dates – When did being a kid become so formal?

28 Jun

When did kids playing together become so formal? It might just be a Beverly Hills thing, but playing with other kids is arranged by the parents around here.

Play dates – the parents designate a specific place and time for the child’s play to commence. kids don’t just ride bikes and skateboards on the sidewalks or cul de sacs.
When I was a kid we just went out the front door, found the other kids on the street and played.

I remember a kid on my street named RJ. He had the coolest dirt bike and he taught me how to ride a skateboard. I ended up breaking my arm crashing that bike into a tree. My Mom was in the house when it happened and I remember lying there on the pavement thinking, I am in soooo much trouble AND how awesome it was that I almost made it over the little ramp with no hands. While I laid there waiting for an adult to come I had to keep myself calm. I couldn’t crumble or panic, I had to keep it together until help arrived. If my Mom had been there supervising it never would have happened. I wouldn’t have been allowed to get on the bike in the first place. Or ride the skateboards, roller skates, and scooters freely. Because the other kids and I were allowed to simply play, I learned lessons that I have carried through my life.

I learned conflict resolution – When there are no adults to mediate kids manage to work things out on their own.
I learned how to stay calm in a painful situation. When your lying in the street with a very broken arm in front of all the kids in the neighborhood, you figure out the deep breathing method pretty quickly.
I learned about sex. The older girls told me about the birds and the bees and in return I told the even younger girls.
I learned how to play while using my imagination. My Mom didn’t set up activities for us, we made the activity happen.

Why has being a kid changed so much? Maybe it’s not as safe as it was in the 80’s and 90’s? Or maybe all of us parents have read too many books and taken too many classes on how to be a parent. It’s not that I want my kids breaking bones, it’s that I think the lessons they learn on their own are the most valuable.

xoxo

Did you grow up with play dates or did you just play?

One Response to “Play Dates – When did being a kid become so formal?”

  1. Jolie June 28, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    Ah Les, how nice it is to finally be back on the same page. Between those weapons you call shoes (seriously, check, i’ll bet those are on the no-fly list) and the anti-Peets campaign, I was wincing as I opened this link. Lets get together and not watch our kids while they break arms and learn what we dare not teach them sometime soon.

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