I Wish The Government Would Stop Making All My Parenting Decisions For Me.
I was having a conversation with my cousin the other day and she was talking about how hard it is to coordinate the driving around of her children to their respective activities.
Her kids are 10, 8 and 3. Mid conversation she says ” And so we left Penelope (not her real name) home by herself to wait for one of her friend’s moms to come and pick her up while we drove the two boys to their thing.”
Wait a second. Just one fucking second.
You left your 8 year old home alone while you get other shit done?
Apparently where she lives, there is no law giving a specific age where you can leave a child unattended. It is a guideline that says “the age of maturity” which is up to the discretion of the parent.
Well Alle-fucking-luia, Alberta.
At least one province in this country has enough faith in the judgement of parents to decide something about their child’s welfare without intervening.
Here in Manitoba, a child has to be 12 to babysit a younger child, but cannot be legally left alone until they are 11. Doesn’t that seem just a little crazy? EDIT: After researching the laws more closely, a child in Manitoba can actually NOT be left alone until age 12
The majority of provinces and territories do not limit the age at which a child can be left alone in their statutory rules. However, in two provinces (Manitoba and New Brunswick), the welfare Acts state that a parent cannot leave a child under the age of 12 unattended without making provision for adequate supervision.
So, at 11, they actually still cannot be responsible for themselves, but a year later they can be responsible for themselves AND a younger child. Dumb dumb dumb.
I understand that people just want to make sure that the welfare of a child comes first. We want our kids to be safe. We want them to not be targets of predators and perverts. We don’t want them getting into trouble unsupervised.
But honestly, in my opinion the government is sticking its head into my business a little too much and not allowing me to teach my kids any independence, problem solving skills or responsibility.
Do you remember just one generation ago how we used to ride our bikes all over the neighbourhood? You had to let your parents know where you were going, who you were with, and be back by dark. You probably got a watch for your birthday so you knew what time to be home for dinner.
You got dirty, you got into fights and you solved your own problems because your mommy wasn’t there with one hand up your ass telling you what to do every second. You learned to figure out how to build a fort or get down from a tree on your own because mommy wasn’t there playing with your and your friends. Because she had other things to do like laundry and dinner and Days of Our Fucking Lives. Because sometimes a mom was allowed to sit on the couch and watch trashy tv uninterrupted.
Nowadays, there are laws telling me when I can trust my own kid to walk home from school and hang out watching tv for an hour before I get home from work. There are laws telling me that my kids has to be in a fucking carseat until Junior High. There are laws about wearing a helmet while riding a bike. There are laws about how I am allowed to discipline my child.
And yes. Yes, fanatical helicoptering parents out there. YES I WANT MY CHILD TO BE SAFE. And yes, I understand that these laws are put in place because a lot of parents seem to make poor decisions.
But I think that at some point, the government has to butt the fuck out of my house and allow me to make the best decisions for MY family.
I don’t want to have to worry that some stupid bitch is going to call CFS on me if I let my 10 year old go and play with his friends at the park without me. Because in my opinion that is extreme and unnecessary.
I want my kids to be outside. I want them to experience the joy of unstructured play. I want them to learn to do things without me planning it for them. I want them to learn how to negotiate terms of play and relationships without me directing them. I want their best friend to be another child of their own age. Not me. Not their Dad.
And yes, I still want them to come to me when there is a problem they can’t solve. I want them to know when I need to step in and when I don’t. And to me, that is between me and my child, not me and my MLA or MP.
What do you think, Bitches?