Should Young Kids Be Allowed To Play Alone If They Are Close To Home?

   By SheSpeaksTeam  Sep 23, 2014

Many of us probably share similar memories of our childhood spent playing outside, climbing trees, riding bikes, and walking to school without the constant supervision of our parents. But the truth is, times have changed and the expectations of many is that young children must always be accompanied by an adult when playing outside of their home. One Texas mom learned this the hard way when she was visited by police and CPS after she allowed her 6 year old son to play alone in a green space across the street from her home.

Austin mom of three Kari Anne Roy was flabbergasted when her 6 year old son was brought home one day by a neighbor because she was concerned that the young boy was playing alone in a field near the home. Roy wrote in her blog that the field is about 150 yards from the house (about 30 more yards than a football field) and visible from the front porch, though she also mentions she was going through a stack of mail when the neighbor knocked on the door. Her son had been playing there earlier with her 8 year old daughter, but the daughter had returned home and her son decided to stay and play alone.

The neighbor who found her son not only returned him to his home but also called the police and Child Protective Services to report Roy’s actions. Roy was soon questioned by a police officer who showed up minutes after the neighbor returned her son. Roy writes of the visit from the police officer, “I asked if she was *really* there to question me about letting my children play outside WITHIN VIEW OF MY OWN HOUSE. We seemed to agree that this was a little ridiculous. She offered a half-hearted warning that ‘you never know what can happen in just a few blocks’ and I choked back my retort of ‘you never know what can happen when you get out of bed in the morning’.”

Days later Roy was visited by a CPS officer who interviewed her and all of the children separately asking questions about everything from possible alcohol and drugs in the home to pornography. Roy writes about her experience with CPS saying, “I understand CPS investigators have an incredibly difficult job. But the conflict I feel is immense. My children were playing outside, within sight of the house, and now my 6yo and 8yo and 12yo have seen their mother spoken to -- multiple times -- as if she, herself, was a child being reprimanded. They have all been questioned, by a stranger, about whether they've ever been shown movies of other people's private parts. And no matter what I say, I can tell that they think they've done something wrong.”

According to Roy, CPS has since closed the case labeling it a “non-event” since her kids were really just playing outside. But the whole ordeal begs the question whether or not parents should allow their young children the freedom of playing alone in areas other than their yard or if we should keep a closer eye on them.

What do you think of this mom allowing her six year old to play in a field 150 yards from her home?

Do you think the neighbor was right to return her son home and report Roy to officials?

Make a Comment

Flarelady by Flarelady | ORANGE PARK, FL
Nov 27, 2014

As a child I was always outside unsupervised and I know what can happen when your not being supervised as a child. I would not let my children outside by themselves even if I could see them from inside.

lorri1956 by lorri1956 | santee, CA
Sep 26, 2014

Absolutely NO!!! When are people going to realize it is never alright to leave your kids alone. All it takes is a minute and they will be gone. This is a different time we are living in. Just take the time to go out and actually play with your kid for awhile.

beauty4free2u by beauty4free2u | Bradenton, FL
Sep 26, 2014

Funny, when I read the title I right away thought this must be about the mom in my community. She has a total of 6 kids- all still in the toddler age range. She letīs them all out and they ride their tiny bikes on the streets- although this is a gated community - there still will drive cars. I feel every time completely unsafe for the kids but I still donīt feel like I can say something. I am torn. On one site I do think it is wrong- on the other I feel like I am not the one who should interfere...I just hope that there will not be an accident or so...

momofour6 by momofour6 | brandenburg, KY
Sep 26, 2014

I personally would not allow my children to be across the street at that age by themselves like that, but I do let my children 8 and 9 play outside in our yard by themselves. I feel it depends on the maturity of the child also. I don't feel this woman should get so much criticism for her choice. Kids have to learn responsibility, and be aloud to grow up. Each parent does it differently.

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Sep 25, 2014

I think if you are keeping a watchful eye it's ok. Six years old is about the age when they can play out in the yard or run over to a neighbor's house without so much supervision.

missmisy19 by missmisy19 | NAPLES, ME
Sep 25, 2014

I did when i was a kid but now there are som many more preditors. I guess i would but keep checking on them. I live in the woods so that would be fine.

MamaCrow by MamaCrow | FRIENDSVILLE, TN
Sep 24, 2014

For the past 2.5 years we have resided in the UK. In my time there I was never once questioned about my parenting techniques or told what I "should" do with my children. The day I stepped off the plane and on American soil I had an elderly woman say to me "Oh my GOSH be careful!". She didn't like the way I was playing with my daughter (who was having a blast if I might add on my shoulders). I had full control of the situation and wasn't going to drop my daughter. She likes to sit on our shoulders and she was particularly annoyed after flying for seven hours so I was doing what any mom would do and was entertaining her. How dare this lady insinuate that I was being reckless with MY child? I feel so bad for the mother in this article and hope her and her family have been able to put this experience in the past.

MamaCrow by MamaCrow | FRIENDSVILLE, TN
Sep 24, 2014

Honestly I don't understand why everyone feels the need to butt in on other's parenting skills. This mother has what sounds like three healthy and happy children. To me that means she is successfully parenting. Yes I think we should be cautious with our children, especially at such a young age. There are so many nasty predators and bad people in this world. I remember playing outside by myself on several occasions as a child. Sometimes I would go down the road and out of sight of my parents house. I hate that we live in a world now where we have to be so scared that someone could come along and snatch our children and that would be it. What upsets me the most about this article is the fact that the neighbor didn't just bring the kid home or check in with the mom to make sure she was aware of where her children were. Instead, the neighbor brought home the child and then proceeded to call the authorities.