Would you leave four kids to play in a park? How long would you leave for?
by Jeanne Sager
It's happened again. A month after a mom was arrested for daring to let her daughter play in a park near the McDonald's where she works, another mother has been slapped with a pair of metal bracelets for leaving her kids in a park to play. Only Ashley Richardson's story is especially heartbreaking.
According to cops, the mother of four kids ages 6 through 8 was at the food bank picking up something for her family to eat while her kids played. While she was gone, her 8-year-old tried using a toddler swing and got tangled up, which prompted a call to the fire department. When Mom returned, cops arrested her.
Clearly another case of what happens in America when parenting while poor and black.
Something tells us Richardson wouldn't have been arrested if she'd been a Mercedes-driving mom who'd done the same thing.
But then ... the cops still probably would have been called.
This, ladies and germs, is why helicopter parenting is now so entrenched in our society.
We are terrified of letting our kids out of our sight, even to do little kid things, lest we end up in the pokey.
In Richardson's case, she was allegedly away from her kids for two and a half hours and told cops she didn't think her trip to the food bank would take as long as it did.
Think back to when you were a kid.
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Did you ever spend two and a half hours out of your mother's sight? I know I did, often. I grew up on a back road, right next to a river, and yet the neighbor kid and I would disappear for half the day. Our parents drilled us on not going into the water, so there was no fear we'd drowned. They drilled us on not going near the van with the guy offering lollipops or expecting us to help find his lost puppy, so there was no fear we'd be stolen.
We were allowed to roam, at large, and our parents expected we'd make it home ... eventually.
And no one said a word. Certainly no one called the police on us.
The village of parents willing to step in for their neighbors has long since disappeared. Parents are more likely to call 911 than they are to stop, ask a kid what's up, and lend a hand.
We need only to look at the news to see evidence of this. Mom arrested for letting kid play in park. Mom arrested for leaving (sleeping) kid in (not hot, locked) car. Mom arrested for cursing at kids.
People don't step in to help. They don't stop to consider circumstances. And they certainly don't give other moms a break.
Especially not poor moms who are so down on their luck that they're feeding kids from the food bank ... and probably don't have extra cash for babysitters lying around.
Put yourself in this mom's shoes. Would you leave four kids to play in a park? How long would you leave for?
Image via © iStock.com/Marilyn Nieves