Hudson Valley Parent

HVP August 2015

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16 Hudson Valley Parent ■ August 2015 By DAWN GREEN B e careful!" "Watch out!" "You're going to get hurt like that!" "You're up too high; climb back down!" As parents we can sound like a broken record, repeating these and other cautionary phrases over and over again. While our intent for is- suing these warnings is to keep our children safe, many experts now say hovering over our children to protect them is detrimental to their development. A safer society When many of us were growing up, we were allowed to walk to the playground by ourselves. Perhaps we spent hours riding bikes and playing manhunt with our friends until the sun set, with nary an adult in sight. The thought of so much time spent outside and out of view from adults is terrifying to many parents now, who are afraid that their chil- dren may be abducted or hurt by a stranger. Such fear has even led to a criminal investigation of a Maryland couple who let their two children, aged 6 and 10, walk home alone from a neighborhood park, some- thing many of us did in our youth. The statistics don't bear out our fears. In the last 20 years, violent crimes in our country have de- creased 48 percent. According to the FBI, homicides are down 50 percent, and rape has declined 34.5 percent. Crimes specifi cally against chil- dren have also declined in recent years. Instances of physical assault directed at children aged 2 to 17 has declined 33 percent between 2003 and 2011, according to research conducted by the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire and published in the Journal of American Medical Association in 2014. Rape and attempted rape of children aged " "Like watching your little bird trying to y out of the nest, you need to trust that your teaching will take hold." — Hillary Krispell, Kingston mother of two Room to roam How to safely take your kids from 'cooped up' to 'free range'

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