Mom Arrested for Letting 7-Year-Old Play Across the Street From Their House

little girl outsideYou've probably heard the old saying that it takes a village to raise a happy, healthy kid, but what happens when the village has gone completely bonkers? That's what we're wondering after a mom was recently charged with child endangerment for letting her daughter play at their neighborhood park.

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It all started when Maine mom Nicole Jensen allowed her 7-year-old to walk to the park across the street from their house unsupervised. She gave the child instructions to check in every hour, but instead of a fun afternoon on the swings, the child ended up waiting for her mom at the local police precinct. Police say they picked up the girl after receiving a call from a concerned third party and Jensen was ultimately charged with child endangerment. It seems extreme, but Westbrook police chief Janine Roberts stands by the decision, telling reporters an hour is "a long time for a 7-year-old girl to be alone at any location, let alone a public park."

Officers said they tried to call Jensen and took the girl to the station only after attempts to get ahold of her mom were unsuccessful. Jensen says her daughter was left terrified by the entire ordeal and now wants to understand why she isn't allowed to play on her own.

As parents, we walk a fine line between shielding our kids from danger and fostering a healthy sense of independence. That line is blurred even further when neighbors and authorities disagree with the boundaries we've put into place. In this case, the response by police seems to have taken a turn for the extreme.

Sure, they have a duty to look out for the best interests of children, but where does common sense come into play? It's completely reasonable for a parent to allow their fully capable child to play at a park that is literally within eyesight of their house. I could see panicking if it was an unattended toddler wandering in the streets, but a second grader on the monkey bars in front of their own home is not in immediate danger.

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We seem to have confused looking out for kids with hovering over them every second and shielding them from even the most minuscule chance of harm. We no longer give each other the benefit of the doubt that we know what's best for our own families, and ultimately it's the kids who pay the price.

There are many, many parents who actually endanger their kids on a daily basis. Making a good mom fight charges because her kid played at the park is a waste of energy and time.

How far do you let your kids stray from your house?

 

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