The sticky question


If you haven't voted yet in my "would you let your children play with sticks" poll - do it!  Or read this and then do it!  Or don't.  I probably will never know.

When our boys were younger, we said nix to the sticks that are plentiful in our backyard.  The age gaps between the boys, and the impulsivity of a couple of them, made it too dangerous a hobby for them.

Last summer, I recall allowing them to play with sticks and that continued earlier this year.  I have allowed them to run around our hill fighting their battles with themAnna included, because I was quite aware that they were being careful not to hurt one another.  It is not my first choice in what I would like to see them doing, but they are outside, running, having a blast.  I agree with one noter that illudes to what I consider a problem in our culture - being OVER safe.  Scrapes and bumps and bruises are not just an inevitable part of childhood, but they are part of LEARNING.  (Not the scrapes themselves, but the actions kids take that lend to falling down and getting hurt).  I don't endorse throwing all caution to the wind, either, I tend to view what my children are doing with consideration to what extent of injury they are likely to receive if I do not intervene.  Tree climbing is great.  Tree climbing in a rainstorm with gale force winds and lightning, not so much.

Recently, we have had problems with a neighbourhood child who does NOT play safely and will menacingly swing sticks at the faces of our children for fun.  Or stab one of our children in the neck with a stick.  Or spray one in the face with perfume.  Or hold a knife to MY child's neck.  (a butter knife, but STILL!).  Or take the screw out of our son's scooter so the wheel falls off.  Our children previously had free roam of our communal backyard area to play for hours with me only needing to keep an ear out and a "what are they up to glance" and now they are stuck indoors unless David or I can STAY outside with them.

This neighbourhood child comes to our door several times EVERY SINGLE DAY to ask our children to come out and play.  And, sadly, my children do not even want to go outside to play with her and they are TOO NICE TO SAY SO, so they blame me and say I wont' let them :)

I do not believe this child is a "bad child", in spite of the many frustrations.  She can also be very sweet and nice and a pleasure to talk to.  When she isn't injuring my children or coercing them to do something they know they are not allowed to do..

When I had to stop Thomas from playing with her (with sticks... hiding in an "off limits" area so as not to get caught) and I had to send him INSIDE on this gorgeous day, it got me thinking about stick play (.....and buying a house) so I proposed the poll question I did to see what others think about kids and sticks.