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The horror of... Outside!

Iamwoman's picture

I have mulled over this numerous times, and now I’m putting it in writing:

WHAT is it with skids having such intense hatred (or fear?) of being... outside?

Is it just MY skids, or are there others?

Last weekend, skids (who regularly choose to shut themselves in their tiny bedroom all weekend long - another topic altogether that I will never comprehend, seeing as being made to stay in my bedroom as a child for even an hour felt like unbearable torture), were roughhousing in their bedroom.

The rule in our home is “inside is for quiet activities, and outside is for roughhousing and running around.” Our fenced yard is 2 acres with many shade trees, a pool, an area to shoot pellet guns and arrows, and plenty of room for pick-up sports games.

DH had enough of constantly reminding skids to stop roughhousing inside, and sent them outside last sunday. Well, you would think he made them crawl through a sewer or man a no-return mission to Mars!

The two of them moped around and made themselves absolutely miserable outside. It was a beautiful day with a cool breeze and sunshine, and no bugs, but by the way skids looked/acted, one would guess it to be 110 degrees, or perhaps a hailstorm in progress.

They couldn’t wait to get back inside and shut themselves back up in their box of a bedroom..?

What is the deal here?


nengooseus's picture

And skids are, too.  

We put in an in-ground pool this summer.  It's gorgeous!  Did they use it all day, like I would have?  Nope.

DD almost 13 is perfectly content to sit and read in her room all day.  Sometimes she plays video games (no Fortnite).  Skids (9 and almost 14) want to watch TV or play video games all the time.  They will leave their rooms to be entertained.  DD will leave, but not if the skids are present.

So no, it's not just your kids.

Siemprematahari's picture

I think its the generation today. Kids are so into their electronics, immensed in social media, and their uses of snap chat, instant messaging, etc.... that they in essence do not know how to use their imaginations and play outside. If its not encouraged they will remain in their rooms, isolated and roaming the internet world.

I loved being outside, enjoying the weather, playing games, running around, hanging out with friends under a tree, bike riding, playing double dutch ( do kids still do that by the way). It was torture to be told to stay inside because I felt I was a prisoner and missing out on something. These kids have no concept of what it is to enjoy the outdoors and its a d@mn shame. So no its not just your step kids, its these kids in general growing up in this generation. Let see what the future holds.

Iamwoman's picture

I thought it was electronic addiction too. However OSS13 has been banned from electronics for poor grades, and YSS9 lost his phone a year ago. They had nothing but a clock radio, books, and toys for entertainment, yet STILL want to stay in there!

Also.., if they can use imagination enough to come up with roughhouse games INSIDE, why on Earth can’t they do the same thing outside??

This boggles my mind, because removal of electronics seems to have no effect of the intense desire to hole themselves up.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I think it's partly generational? Kids arent allowed to freely roam their neighborhoods anymore, so being indoors has become the norm for a lot of kids. Add the fact that a lot of parents work long hours, there's not much time to spend on outdoor pursuits during the week. And of course, we have the pampered (or neglected) CODs who live hermetically sealed lives.

If parents make outdoor activities a family norm starting when their kids are babies, it will imprint but a lot of American parents arent active themselves so...

I know neither of my DH's daughters are into camping, hiking, or even laying on the lawn in the sunshine. Hell, I'd pay good money just to see either one of them run. DH and I used to joke that if our house caught fire, YSD would surely die because she moved like a sloth. They weren't raised to be active or outside. Their parents only took them camping a few times, to Yosemite once (YSD's BM liked to dress her in white and she wasnt allowed to get dirty), and never enrolled them in any sports.

Major Blunder's picture

GSD loves to be outside but she also will want to take her tablet with her sometimes, GSS is still mostly indoors but it's his age plus the boy is sooooo white we are afraid he would spontaneously combust if put in direct sunlight lol  The new house has a fenced in back yard so he will be able to go outside more, he's very quick for a toddler and since I can't run it's not safe for him to be out without proper attention.

Both SDs were inside kids tried the whole camping thing and it fizzled out when they both hit tween years.

Step-girlfriend's picture

Can I come to your backyard please? It sounds lovely. Blum 3

SS12 is like this too. You have to make him go outside, and then he usually mopes. Once, SD9 wanted to go outside (she usually likes going there, we have a trampoline and a little jungle gym) and asked SS to come. He said, No, why would you want to go outside? I said, because I'm pretty sure God didn't intend for everyone to stay cooped up inside playing video games...He shut right up, but seriously!

I loved, and still love being outdoors. I can't fathom people who don't.


Iamwoman's picture

Me too SGF!!

As far as raising them to be out-doorsy , we have taken all three of our kids (DD15, OSS13, YSS9) on so many  camping and hiking trips, I’ve lost count!

We used to make all three play outside up until about a year ago. DD15 always loooved to play outside and was usually the ring leader of games. When she hit puberty, her interests changed, and often she would be having her cycle on weekends that skids were here.

We still made skids go outside, but once DD was removed from the equation, they both turned into mopey, brain dead, slugs. Both DH and I were a bit horrified that our boys are more “girly” than our girl (who is pretty and girly enough but can camp and hike with the best of them).


All of the suggestions here make total sense, but don’t apply to our skids:

1. We raised them to be outdoorsy

2. DH and I are outside almost always

3. They DO have enough imagination to come up with roughhousing games INSIDE, but when told to “take it outside” the games suddenly stop and they go into mopey slug mode.

I do understand that it’s generational for the most part, but logically, if you’re already doing rough and tumblebug things INSIDE, what the he’ll difference does it make if youre told to do those things OUTSIDE?

Maybe I’m a bit dense, but there doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation for this certain point.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

loo. Mine are shockingly doing great. They actually ask to go on runs with me... SD5 put on a pai rof running pants just yesterday and said "Can I run in these?" I told her yes, she appeared like 5 minutes later with running shoes on and a ponytail holder and asked if we could go on a run... BTW, It was about time to leave for them to go to Psycho's (sadly) AND it was storming outside.

I'm huge on fitness though, so I like to think I'm rubbing off on them...

Iamwoman's picture

I just love your skids PA! My heart breaks for them.

Most of our skids act crappy, but yours say the cutest things, and yet still have to put up with BM abuse. I’d like to strangle that woman.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Mine have bad days too! I promise! lol. LIke this weekend where I REALLY wanted to be scarce... They just have some cute moments that help make up for it!

My heart breaks too. That's why I'm hopefully working for a change for their sakes.

ndc's picture

SO's kids love to be outside.  Trips to the pool or the playground are their favorite, but they're happy to run around in the yard or ride their bikes through the neighborhood.  The 5 year old's favorite subject at school is recess, because it's usually outside.  I'm mourning the end of summer, because they'll want to be outside when it's cold and snowy, and I'd prefer to stay in!  They have tablets and TV, and they use them, but given a choice between going outside and being inside with their electronics, they choose the outdoors.  I hope that continues, but from what I see of older kids, the electronics may win out at some point.

ndc's picture

Nope!  I consider myself very fortunate.  SO's kids can drive me nuts at times, but for the most part they're good kids and they've accepted me and we love each other.  I'm enjoying it while I can, because they're going to eventually become teenagers.

thinkthrice's picture

not so much for his kids.  They would all race indoors and OSS was once quoted:  "AHHHHHHH IN-SIDE-NESS!"

I think it's the modern generation.  The next door 13 yr old only child with two parents (intact albeit somewhat contentious) stays indoors constantly.  He seldom comes out during summer vacation or any other time.  I'm guessing he's on the X box all day.  He'll make a skid-like appearance; flabby, pastey no-shirt-on, in-his-drawers for about 3 seconds on their back deck to let the dog out so it can poop on my lawn.

Iamwoman's picture

Lmao!!! Oh yes, I remember your “inside-ness” post TT!

That one really resonated with me too.

Houses are meant to keep us safe and shelter us from weather, and I think maybe this generation has lost site of that fact. It seems to me that they think houses ARE the world, and the world is just some hostile alien planet to be avoided at all cost. It truly strikes me to my very core as bizarre.

marblefawn's picture

When they're raised on phones, TVs and videogames, they don't naturally know what to do when they're taken away.

Even though you recently took away their electronics, they haven't had to develop imagination because they had the phones and videogames until now.

And because phones, videogames and TVs are inside "activities," they don't just take to being outside the way kids used to -- it's like it's a foreign place to them. And because those things are sendentary activities, they aren't naturally active, so swimming and playing seems like work.

I also blame parents for overbooking their kids in organized sports and other activities. Kids don't play "pickup games" anymore with other kids from the neighborhood. Many parents work, so the kids are on sports teams always with an adult telling them how to play, when to play, dividing them into teams, refereeing squabbles. So when the kids are alone, they don't know how to organize themselves to play a game of catch, and they don't know how to resolve disagreements among themselves.

I also think when kids have their own rooms, they interact less. That's often a good thing! But it also keeps them apart, isolated and focused on their own little boxes, and it keeps natural interaction from happening. No one is going to suggest taking a swim or pulling out Monopoly if there's no one else in the room.

I don't even have kids, but I hear so many parents complain their kids are helpless without electronics. We crippled kids' imaginations and interpersonal relationships by feeding them our ideas of what entertainment is and what time well spent is. These gadgets do make life easier and sometimes more fun, but they should be like booze -- there should be an age threshold so kids develop natural skills.

But I doubt that will happen. The gadget addiction has been studied, and the chemical changes in the brain are not dissimilar to what happens with drug or gambling addictions. I sometimes see families in restaurants and every person is looking at a black box in silence, like zombies. Parents are addicted too, so I have little hope it's going to change. And a lot of people are getting rich on our addiction. I think in the long run, it will be as destructive to society as opioid addiction. It makes me sad.




Iamwoman's picture

This makes total sense marblefawn.


One point still nags at me though:

If they can come up with roughhouse games inside, why can’t they do the same thing outside? It’s frustrating that inside is when/where they want to invent roughhouse games, but when told to “take it outside” the games suddenly stop, and they just sit and mope under a tree. Sitting and moping can easily be done inside.

marblefawn's picture

Ha, ha...yea, moping inside where everyone can suffer with them is so much more appealing!

I think rough housing is probably spontaneous, like when one kid brushes against another or there's a flap over the last Pop Tart or who gets the remote. It happens where it starts and if they're always inside, that's where it will happen. As soon as it's broken up, the spontaneity is lost.

My mom used to put us out and lock the doors. Now, she was an utter narcissist, so we'd be out there all damn day with no response when we banged on the door hours later, but for a little while it didn't kill us! You'd probably get arrested for doing that now, but if inside sucks, and it often did with my mother, outside is immensely more appealing!

Try pulling out your old records and blaring them all over the house! I always suggest Barry Manilow or Broadway show tunes. I wrote an article about a convenience store owner who had problems with kids loitering there all day and shoplifting. He started playing classical music inside and out and the kids moved on to the 7-11 down the street! He was shocked it worked!

Iamwoman's picture

Haha! That’s great! An aversion to culture... amazing. Smile

Ironically My skids enjoy my old records consisting of 70’s and 60’s music. I actually had to turn the music OFF to get them to leave the living room once.


Spontanaeity makes total sense. Ugh. I wish there were some sort of “skid drop off center.” Then all of our skids can spend the day miserable and whiny together and we can have fantastic weekends!

secret's picture

I had similar issues... I don't have cabke, but i think they watched everything netflix offers,......

We now have rabbits.... So they're outside a lot more.

Cooooookies's picture

Yep same here.  SS16 rarely goes outside.  We take away all screens on a school night at 8pm.  If it's nice weather, he will go outside in the back garden.  He pretends anything remotely long and skinny is a weapon and runs around like a loony.  But that is ONLY if screens aren't an option and it's more at night when it's cooler.  I swear he's allergic to the sun...unless there's a pool or sea to swim in.

Sadly my son is the same and he wasn't raised on screens.  However he also loves the PS4 and anything on his phone.  My exH pulls his hair getting him to go outside.  They live on an acre of land and at the end of their property there's a nature trail that runs along the river.  It would have been my dream as a child but my son could care less.

I think it's technology that's killed all kids sense of imagination and love for the outdoors.  Also parents become to reliant on screens as babysitters.  When I was a kid, my brother and I could watch Saturday morning cartoons.  Once those were finished, you go play outside for the rest of the day!  And that's what ALL the neighborhood kids had to do.  It was great fun....but we didn't have cartoons 24/7 or video games or tv's in our rooms.  Heck my parents didn't even have cable tv until I was near 15.  There was one tv and besides the small blocks of times cartoons were on, my parents chose what programs to watch.  I got bored most of the time and went out to play or listened to music in my room.

If I lived alone, I wouldn't even own a tv.  I'd have internet and a laptop which I'm only on briefly and use for online shopping.  The rest of the time I'm working or reading or sitting outside, etc.  Screens are destroying outdoor life.

elkclan's picture

My kid is like this - and my stepkids are also, but to a lesser extent. 

So, we don't allow screen time during the day - they can have some in the morning so they leave us alone. They can have some in the evening. They get plenty of screen time. 

We also allow screen time if outside is too awful - as we live in England, we don't make them go out in rainy miserable weather. But we then do some inside activities at the local gym - e.g. inside swimming, badminton. But we decide if weather is bad they can have indoor screen time, not kids. 

When they know they can't have screen time, they'd usually rather be outside doing something than inside doing reading, chores or crafts. 

GhostWhoCooksDinner's picture

OMG, I'm having flashbacks to when the skids were younger! We have a nice big backyard with climbing trees, and woods to explore. The skids had bikes, scooters, a pedal go-kart, a basketball hoop, badminton, volleyball, croquet, a climbing gym, anything a kid could ask for. We live on a quiet dead end street and they could easily ride all up and down it without worrying about cars. The skids picked out pretty much all the outdoor toys we owned.

Would they go outside? Of course not! Not unless forced. When we made them go outside, they 'd both literally stand there not knowing what to do with themselves. They would stand in the yard and just shuffle around until we let them back in. I swear, so many kids today don't know how to PLAY unless it's with electronics. It's so sad.

StayTrue's picture

Haha my SD will not even go in her room unless gma is around she goes there because she knows she will up there to play with her for hours on end. Kudos to your husband saying no roughhousing inside. Also our land sounds the same! There are so many options out there! We have like 3 dogs and 3 cats that this girl can even play with. Also 50/50 is hard for playdates since we do not live in a sub division. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Wtf? Your property sounds nearly idyllic minus the pellet shooting (for me.) I do have to throw my kids out in my backyard but mine is a bit boring. I don’t let them run riot in the neighborhood as they’re too young and people drive like aholes here