What is socially acceptable in the UK, but not in the US?
There are quite a few things but the one that stands out the most for me is giving children independence. In the US it's almost frowned upon, with the exception of some really good parents able to withstand the henpecking from social bullying.
In the UK my child was under the age of 11 when she came to know how to navigate public transport around our city. It’s normal for kids I've seen as young as 8 or 9 to take the public bus, or ride bikes to school without parents.
One of the junior (elementary) schools not far from me had a safe biking campaign. They were encouraging kids as young as 5 to learn how to bike safely. I was quite impressed by this.
I have read comments from the States where people are concerned letting their preteen use the toilet without them. They were hellbent on berating a mom whose little boy of 4 ran into the men's room and asked a man for help washing his hands. Are men automatically predators now?
My children lived less that a quarter of a mile from school in the US. I could see them from my door turn a corner, that's it, they were at school. I had people pull me aside and said they were concerned for their safety when walking. They were 8 and 10 at the time, walking in a safe residential neighborhood together.
The fear-based culture in the US is overwhelming, no one trusts anyone and everyone is divided. Irrational fears translate into automatic bad parenting; because there is a .005% risk of a child abduction, maybe less, you the parent are automatically irresponsible because you are not watching everything they do even when it's age-appropriate
Another one of my favourite socially acceptable things regarding this topic is Penny For The Guy; I love this, I really do. Kids who dress up a dummy and beg for change (“Penny for the guy” they say) so they can buy fireworks and sweets. I always give to them, because I love to see kids being kids and not dragged into some adult hysteria.
In the US CPS would be called on their parents, some outraged good samaritan would be in shock wanting to know who left them there, where are their parents, why are they begging… It would become something that made the news, and the holier-than-thou parents on social media would demand the children be taken away…. All over a non-issue, in good fun. I'm truly surprised Halloween isn't outlawed in the US by now.
We have adventure playgrounds, I love them. My kids can play in a muddy sand and water pit, climb in a donated old boat, build a tower with tyres, and crates. There are even old mattresses and planks of wood. These kids are loving life, these places encourage kids to take risks, team build, have confidence and use their imaginations, and staff (it's free by the way) are encouraged not to interfere.
Could you see American children climbing old tyres in a park? If they even have a park it's usually so safe it's boring, built about a centimetre off the ground.
I think it’s socially acceptable to allow kids to be kids without fear in the UK. I love this approach.
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Do you really think that UK and USA are that different? What examples come to your mind?
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