The only way a child can truly understand limits is if they find them out for themself. If a child is taught too young that everything is limited, that they can’t raise their voice here, or no running there, or no art there, their experiences of life and maybe more importantly, the experiences that they think life has in store for them, is restricted.
I am not saying let your child run around without supervision. There are very tangible dangers in the world, and children must be protected, but how much protection is too much protection? For this week’s readings it talked about how children are the first to suffer when a city is not built the way it is supposed to be. But, they are also the last to be involved in any sort of planning. In order to create an area that allows children to use their imaginations freely, and to explore unhindered, we have to actually know what would be appealing to the children themselves.
Something that I have noticed, personally, is that with the rise of technology and social media and electronic games, parents are more willing to sit their child in front of an Ipad or tv instead of letting them go run around outside unsupervised. This could speak to many different things. The lack of trust of your neighbors, the lack of “eyes on the street”, the influence of technology, or the idea that maybe the internet or tv is safer for your child than the sidewalk right outside. Is it though? What about brain development? What about imagination? Is it worth it, do you know what you are sacrificing?
In order to create cities where the trust between adults and children is strong and where parents can feel safe in letting their children play outside recklessly, there needs to be much more communication between all members of the neighborhood, including the children.