The Great Outdoor Debate: Would You Let Your Child Play Alone?

First, the new iOS is screwing with a lot of my apps including my quirky photo editing app that I adore to abuse. Alas, I must post an unadorned photo as my main picture:


I am sure this blog post has circled around your newsfeed this morning and afternoon, if you’ve been on Facebook, and if you are a parent or know parents.

The gist of the article is blog mom sent 2 kids out to play, mom could see kids from window. Older kid came inside, leaving younger kid (who was 6 I believe) alone outside. House/ window is 150 yards from play area, mom can see him and a tiny bit later, neighbor escorts woman’s son to the front door. Neighbor is upset about “returning” child. Mom is confused why child was returned. Neighbor calls cops and CPS. Mom is a interviewed many times and so are kids, which the kids are interviewed about abuse, neglect, drugs and sexual abuse.

So what prompted the visit was the neighbor, and the visits happened after the son was brought back.

So I don’t know your thoughts, but I wanted to discuss mine about this subject. Letting kids play outside.

Alright, so I went to the mom in question’s blog and her home is right across from a park bench. She lives in a “family friendly community.” And it seems like, she is for sure there for her kids.

This knowledge helps shape how I feel about this instance which is, the mom had every right to allow her child to play outside by her house. She was watching him, so much so, she saw her son being brought back by the neighbor.

Yes, it take seconds for a child to be kidnapped. Yes, believe me, I know. Mom was however watching, in a safe neighborhood, and I don’t think this is a case of neglect. She could have ran outside to get him if she saw anything wrong. She could have sent the elder child back out to get the younger once she realized the girl was inside. I’m not sure mom was given that chance.

So I don’t think neglect was going on, or that CPS needed to be involved, not in this case.

Now of course, would I do this? Let a 6 year old play insight of my house?

I can only tell you what I know. My neighbors let children of varying ages run rampant outside of our townhouses. I mean, sometimes this summer I wanted to demand supervision. I wanted that only because my then, 3 month old woke up every time neighbor girl screamed “let it go” at the top of her tiny lungs as she zoomed past my door countless times in a violently pink electric scooter. (By the way, the only words she knew were “let it go” screamed to the melody of the chorus)

The supervision was to keep me from being tempted to scream back. The correct words.

No one seemed at all phased that 8- 13 year olds were playing around our many townhouses this summer. I don’t even know the family. They can’t say they “trust us.” But it happens. Now neighbor girl on scooter can scoot away from the would be predator. She is also older than 6, maybe 8.

I think of my same complex, 5 1/2 years from now, neighbor girl scooting off to date boys and “letting go” of her childhood and crooning towards teen, and I think of CDubs playing outside. At age 6.

No. Not happening.

But I have good reasons, I am sure just like how that mom from the blog post has reason to let her kids play outside as she watches from a safe distance.

I live near a police station/ jail house.

I live by a busy street and a highway is behind my home.

Before the highway is a huge field that is harvested by scary machines with blades. There is no fence separating field and apartment complex.

No one watches where they are going in the parking lot, which is 1 foot from my front door.

Sex offenders are like rain here, there is a sprinkling of them everywhere.

So no, I wouldn’t let CDubs play outside. He smiles at everyone. Even the strange people in Walmart, that I wish he wouldn’t smile at. If blog mom lived here, she wouldn’tet her kids play outside either.

But isn’t that the point? As parents, don’t we make choices based on what we know? Don’t we decide on experiences and general knowledge what’s okay and not okay?

I was taken off my parents’ property repeatedly by a teenage boy when I was ages 5-8. I played maybe 35 yards from the kitchen window. Not every creeper has the van and the dirty sweaty pedo mustache.

There is one big difference. My mom never watched.

My husband though, grew up in a family neighborhood type place and played in the street and all sorts of stuff. Never had an issue, totally safe.

Now because of my personal knowledge, and experiences I know I will be outside playing with CDubs. Dishes and housework be damned. If I could live with a hoarder and woman could regularly beat the shit out of me and CPS didn’t even know my name, I can leave my house cluttered and dishes in my sink.

My husband, having been briefed on my childhood, understands my feelings. That’s the choice we are making. As parents, that’s what we do. It’s interesting that now our choices must appeal to the masses or else we’ll be brought up on charges (or possible charges).

What would you do? What did you do? If you had children or when your children were young, how old were they when you let them play outside alone? Or did your children always play with you outside? Did you watch from a window?

What do you think? Was the neighbor justified in her actions?

(I’m for bed, my stomach is still a bit wonky!)



  1. martha0stout

    I agree with you. It’s different for everyone, but that mom had things under control. Sometimes others decide that they know best and even though there isn’t a need, they go overboard for whatever reason. Maybe they have a personal trigger, maybe they like to cause trouble. Maybe they have some other reason that I don’t know about, I don’t know.

    You have your reasons for how you raise CDubs, but you also believe that mom blogger knew what she was doing. Either way, I hope that their little family does all right.

    (I hope you get feeling better soon, too.)


  2. pacomontoya

    Definitely depends on the situation and neighborhood/town you’re in. I live in small city that is a part of a huge metro area so I don’t think I’d let my 6 year old outside by themselves. For one, the way some of these people drive in our neighborhood is enough for me to not want that to happen. But as you say there are bad people sprinkled out there. But I don’t mind going out and watching my kid play. I would hate to deprive my kid of playing outside.

    Times have changed. I grew up in a big city and was always outside playing. Now I was usually out in my front yard or playing football with my friends on our street. But I remember leaving our door open with just the screen door shut. Now it’s rare we see screen doors cause no one leaves their doors open much less unlocked.

    I think having CPS involved was WAY overboard with this situation. Sometimes I feel that people are so quick to jump to conclusions and overreact. Unless you’ve seen constant neglect or abuse, you shouldn’t be contacting CPS.


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