Adults Don't Need Kids to Hang Out on Playgrounds

Jeanne Sager

playgroundSo, picture this. You're at the park with your kids. It's summer break. It's hot. And a random adult walks into the general area, plops down on one of the nice benches where you are enjoying the shadiness while you watch your kids frolic, and proceeds to eat her lunch.

Do you run, shrieking for your kids? Do you call a cop? Or do you say hi, maybe strike up a conversation? OR do you maybe just glance at the kids and return to page 257 of your Kindle?

If you fall in categories one and two, stop reading. You probably won't feel bad for two child-free people who made the mistake of eating donuts in a park without bringing some kids along as their entrance fee. They were ticketed, by the way.

The story goes that among the park's many regulations is one that adults must be accompanied by a child in order to be hanging out. The reasons aren't stipulated, but I'm going to go out on a limb and wager this is another one of those "OMG, there are pedophiles everywhere, don'tcha know" fear mongering tactics that have cropped up in recent years.

And I confess I don't get it. Perhaps it's because I live in a small town? Because I have common sense? The thing is, and read this carefully, I'm about to get logical, if I walk into a park without my kid, I'm the same exact person that I am when I walk into that park WITH her. I may be child-free at the moment, but that doesn't make me any different.

So, as a parent, if not having a kid with me doesn't make me any less "safe," it would follow that a child-free person suddenly having one isn't suddenly any safer, right? It's a false sense of security.

Stranger danger is stranger danger, folks. Whether that person has kids or not, I'm not more inclined to trust them around my kid. I do make snap judgments, it's true, but they're based more on general demeanor. A mom spanking her 6-year-old isn't going to get any closer to my kid than the crazy guy who's muttering to himself about the end of the world Harold Camping-style.

Do you feel nervous when you see adults alone in a park without kids? Do you think there should be rules that keep them out?


Image via taberandrew/Flickr

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