Post by The Rifleman
What do people think about having curfews applied to children enmasse to
stop them going on the rampage every time school closes for a holiday.
Its only tuesday now, but our local pepers have been since thursday filled
with storys about gangs of unsupervised kids causing misery across the
If we accept as I do most decent kids dont " hang around" in gangs and its
only a wicked minority of kids who parents are simply to stupid to supervise
or organise their kids should a blanket curfew be applied to all kids to
clear the streets as soon as dusk arrives unless they are traveling or
participating in an organised event.
Who is for for against controllling what our kids do by curfew, and why ?
First, on the general principle that things should be allowed unless there's
a very good reason for forbidding them. I live on a quiet residential
street and one of the things I like about living here is that kids can
safely play out in the street like I used to when I was a kiddie.
Obviously if this was in Central London it would be impossible because of
the traffic but since it isn't Central London ....
Furthermore, kids have got to learn several things at some point or another.
One, around here, is that "you come in when you're told or there'll be hell
to pay from your mum and dad", another is that "you can play on these
streets but don't you dare try to take your pushbikes onto the main road"
(literally "setting boundaries") and yet another is that while that friendly
Mr Glynn from down the road doesn't mind you collecting your football from
his back garden he's going to be absolutely sodding furious if it smashes
his kitchen window or you trample his flowers and so will we, so have a
care, and if you decide it'll be fun to set fire to the woman next door's
cat you won't find it much fun when the police turn up.
I really worry about the implications of controlling children all the time.
The world's a big, threatening and sometimes very dangerous place. It
works because we all of us learn to negotiate these risks, learn about rules
and which ones you can risk breaking and which you can't and so on.
How you can do that from the back of your parents' car being ferried from
one organised activity to another at risk of legal sanction is beyond me.
You've got to learn to go out on your own at some point or another and if
you don't learn how to then Christ alone knows how you'll teach your kids
to do it.
Typical conversation in the Glynn household when I was 14 or 15:
"Where are you off to tonight?"
"I'm getting the bus up to Pete's and then we'll see if Janice and Carol
want to go to the pictures or maybe we'll just hang around outside the Town
Hall [well-known pick-up spot in Nottingham at the time] and see if anyone
wants to go to Mecca [dance hall rather than place in Saudi] or maybe we'll
just hang out at his place and play chess".
"Take care and bloody well take care you're back by 11:30 and that you
aren't too drunk when you get home. And you look after those two girls
Otherwise you'll answer to me"..
"Aww, Dad ...".
My father can't have enjoyed such conversations much more than did I but how
else do kids learn? Certainly not by David Blunkett passing laws about
"Make sure you're back by