Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
57° Rockville, MD
The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

Nathan celebrates after breaking the school record for the 3,200 meter race. Used with permission from Nathan Szubin.
Student breaks school record in track race
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • April 21, 2024

When junior Nathan Szubin stepped up to the line of the 3,200 meter race in the Johns Hopkins Invitational Meet on April 19, he had a different...

Arditi Zarouk (second from left) celebrates the 50-year anniversary of Perach with her team at the residence of Israeli President Herzog. Used with permission from Arditi Zarouk.
Former students and staff readjust to Israel in the wake of war
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • April 19, 2024

The Israeli embassy and military send over emissaries every year, and many of these families choose to send their kids to CESJDS. When they go...

A day of matzo meals
A day of matzo meals
Sophie Schwartz, Opinion Editor • April 18, 2024

Many people dread Pesach time, when their beloved chametz (leaven) is replaced with dry, brittle matzo. However, if presented well, matzo does...

Junior Evan Klepper gets ready for his WIS opponent to serve
Lions tennis fall short to WIS
Isaiah Segal-Geetter, Reporter • April 18, 2024

“Twenty four on 3, Mashiach on 6,” junior and tennis captain Evan Klepper said to the varsity boys tennis team before their match against...

Eighth grade visits Capitol Hill
Eighth grade visits Capitol Hill
Jonah Mitre, Reporter • April 17, 2024

To put their learning from government class into perspective, eighth grade students visited Capitol Hill on April 10 for a field trip. Throughout...

At the college fair on April 7, Pitzer College representatives boasted about their Students Justice for Palestine (SJP) club to a Jewish student.
Opinion: Colleges need to support Zionist students
Stella Muzin, Editor-in-Chief • April 16, 2024

On April 7, I attended the Washington Area Independent Schools College Fair, which was co-sponsored by CESJDS along with other schools from the...

Opinion: Children need more freedom and independence

Rachel Loeffler
Letting children play outside, independently, will lead to greater happiness.

When my grandpa was a kid, he used to go on adventures. He would meet up with his friends, they would pack their lunches and spend the day with one another, completely devoid of adult supervision. They’d explore forests, trek through deep mud and swim in remote creeks. His parents’ only rule was to be smart and return before dark. He looked back upon this time fondly, happily remembering the idealistic childhood independence and the adventures he used to go on. 

This independence and adventuring would be impossible in the modern age, with teens today being confined to their houses, only being allowed to go outside if they stay in their parents’ vicinity. The children of the past are long gone, replaced with a depressed population of children. If parents were to loosen their grip over children’s autonomy and give kids back the freedom they once had, children could be far happier.

Studies show a stark decline in children’s independence in recent years. Surveys conducted in Britain about permissions parents granted to their elementary school kids revealed that parental permission to walk home alone from school dropped from 86% in 1971 to 25% in 2010.  In a similar span of time, depression rates among children have climbed substantially. With this lack of independence, children have been receiving fewer opportunities to truly experience independence as children which has contributed to a less happy populace.

The modern “helicopter parent,” a strict and controlling parent, stems from a place of good intention. These parents desire for their children to be happy and safe while growing up in an environment fraught with danger. Yet the real outcome of this is very counterintuitive, leading to less happiness for the kids because they are isolated and prevented from thriving. By instead allowing independence with minor adult supervision, a parent could ensure the safety of their kids while allowing them to have fun. 

Studies from the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found higher rates of depression and anxiety in children whose parents were consistently overly controlling. Other studies from the Journal of Youth and Adolescence show a heavy correlation between parents who provide their children with increased levels of freedom and independence and the increased happiness of the children. Through these studies, we can see the importance of freedom for children. The children who were not provided with freedom were consistently more depressed than those who were. This freedom is extremely important for the happiness of children and teens, and they crave it.

Although it may seem like adolescents can have the same quality of life with the same amount of parental supervision that they have now, in reality, children have too large a desire for independent activity. In a study conducted by the University of Worchester, children were shown pictures of kids having fun. The pictures featured children having fun alone, with other children, or in the presence of an adult. The children would consistently only identify the actions as true “play” if no adult appeared in the picture. By doing so, they show a subconscious urge to play outside the presence of adults and independently. 

If this generation of parents provided their kids with more independence, they would be able to have more fulfilling play and hang-outs with other kids. Even more importantly they could be a far happier generation like the generations of the past.

My grandpa could adventure and explore, but many kids today are not able to do so. When looking at the facts of the situation, parents need to put aside their controlling desire and allow kids to be kids. If parents were to loosen up their grip on their children, then we would be able to have a happier, healthier and more fulfilled generation.

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