VERITY LUSH: I'm concerned about giving my children more freedom

When I was young, my friends and I were out and about on our own. I could cross a road, tootle to the park, ride my bike and generally be trusted.

Saturday, 1st April 2017, 6:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:57 pm
Playing in the street in the 1970s

But it’s not all about trust, is it?

Or, at least, not the trust we have in our kids.

It’s the strangers around us and the question of whether or not times have really changed?

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Were there fewer paedophiles decades ago?

I doubt it – the age of Jimmy Savile et al has taught us that.

Or is it that we hear more now, and we hear quicker, due to the technology at our fingertips?

Whatever it is, many of us are infinitely more nervous about allowing our children independence than our own parents were 30-plus years ago.

The concept of allowing my eight-year-old to stroll down to the park alone wouldn’t enter my head.

But when I was eight, off I went, as did all my friends.

We played in streets and, yes, there were fewer cars, but there are just as many pavements now as then and I wouldn’t leave my kids unsupervised to play on one.

I can’t work out if the fault is mine, or society’s, or a mixture.

Or if the fault is in those we cannot name and do not know, the mystery strangers whom we do not trust.

Or, even, if there is any fault here at all.

My children are very outdoorsy. I take them out on their scooters and bikes and to various park areas several times a week.

And, interestingly, when we’re in Cornwall in the summer staying on a farm, we’re happy to let them go off with the little girl who lives there to play in the fields.

Crackers really, because that’s not even our home environment, but it somehow feels safer.

If my kids were holed up in dark bedrooms hooked to a screen all day, then I’d be more worried.

But the time is definitely coming to give more and more freedom to my eldest child – and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t concern me.


The female judge in a rape case has been vilified for suggesting women ‘put themselves in danger’ if they drink heavily.

I don’t imagine for one second that this judge was suggesting women are ‘asking for it’ when they are drunk, but was simply advising what is generally upheld as common sense.

And it works both ways – just as young men put themselves at risk if they are out and drinking heavily, so do women.

Rape and physical attack are horrific occurrences and nobody ‘asks for’ either, but these appalling attacks do happen.

So at least if you’re conscious you stand a better chance of defending yourself, escaping or remembering enough to enable police to find the attacker.


I received a letter from my daughter’s school recently about the forthcoming Year 6 ‘measuring of height and weight’.

The results of these tests are sent to parents and are also collected by the NHS.

Whilst I understand the need for certain statistics and particular measures of health, my daughter comes from a home where scales are not on show.

This is purely because I don’t want my little girls to grow up being focused on weight or size.

They are both healthy and strong, highly active and have zero idea of what they weigh.

Why should they?

I rarely weigh myself and relegated the scales to a cupboard after losing several stone following the birth of my youngest.

And there they shall stay.