Tammy Cooper, a stay-at-home mom who lives in La Porte, Texas, was arrested earlier this month after a neighbor reported her for allegedly letting her kids play outside on their motorized scooters unsupervised.
Cooper, who spent 18 hours in jail overnight, says she was watching her children, ages 6 and 9, from a lawn chair during the time of the incident. The family lives in a cul-de-sac, and Cooper told KPRC that the safe location was one of the reasons she had chosen to reside there.
When police showed up at Cooper's home to arrest the mother for child endangerment, her kids protested.
“My daughter had him [the police officer] around the leg saying, “Please, please don’t take my mom to jail. Please, she didn’t do anything wrong,’” Cooper told the station.
The charges against Cooper were dropped, but she is now suing the City of La Porte Police Department, the arresting officer and her neighbor for damages.
Cooper's arrest caused a bit of outrage, even making the news in Australia. On the Internet, some moms rallied to Cooper's defense, saying that she didn't deserve to be arrested for child endangerment.
"All children may not be old enough to handle such a situation, but some definitely are, and it should be a parent's right to decide if they are," Julie Ryan Evans wrote on CafeMom.
It is worth noting that some parents are proponents of a hands-off playtime.
HuffPost blogger Lenore Skenazy, who holds a class called "I Won't Supervise Your Kids," notes that it's good for children to figure out how to play on their own.
"For the last few decades, child development experts have been telling us that the crucial thing missing from kids' lives is exactly what used to fill them: Time with friends of different ages, playing outside, on their own," Skenazy wrote.
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Attention-Seeking Children Are Better Learners Later On
Toddlers who constantly demand ""look at me!" are most likely to become better collaborators and learners when they're older, a study published in the journal <em>Child Development</em> found. <a href="http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1112497156/attention-seeking-children-learn-better-later-on/" target="_hplink">Author Marie-Pierre Gosselin said that</a>, "Toddlers whose parents have consistently responded positively to their attention-seeking expect interactions to be fulfilling. As a result, they're eager to collaborate with their parents' attempts to socialize them."
It's Not Their Fault They're Selfish
Researchers studied the behavior and brain scan images of kids while they played with others, were given rewards and prompted to share with their playmates. <a href="http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/07/10602433-selfish-kids-blame-it-on-their-immature-brains" target="_hplink">The findings revealed that</a>, "even though young children understood how sharing benefited the other child, they were unable to resist the temptation to make the 'selfish' decision to keep much of the reward for themselves." But thankfully, as a child's brain matures, so will the child. "Brain scans revealed a region that matures along with children's greater ability to make less selfish decisions," the study found.
Snorers Might Later Become Hyperactive
Children who snore or have sleep apnoea are more likely to be hyperactive by the age of 7. <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17237576" target="_hplink">Researcher, Dr. Karen Bonuck said</a> a toddler's "sleep problems could be harming the developing brain."
They Hear Their Own Words Differently
<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/12/23/toddlers-hear-their-own-words-differently-says-study/" target="_hplink">According to Ewen MacDonald</a> of the Technical University of Denmark, adults monitor their voices so that the sound reflects what is intended. But, "2-year-olds do not monitor their auditory feedback like adults do, suggesting they are using a different strategy to control speech production," he said.
Missed Naps Could Lead To Mood Disorders
<a href="http://news.yahoo.com/missed-naps-could-put-toddlers-risk-mood-disorders-140406546.html" target="_hplink">Researchers found that depriving toddlers of a daily nap</a> led to "more anxiety, lower levels of joy and interest, and reduced problem-solving abilities." Kids in the focus group who missed naps were not able to "take full advantage of exciting and interesting experiences and to adapt to new frustrations."
They Succumb To Peer Pressure
Two-year-olds in a focus group "were more likely to copy an action when they saw it repeated by three other toddlers than if they saw an action repeated by just one other toddler," a study published in the journal Current Biology found.
Their Memories Are Better Than You Think
<a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2012/04/children_s_memories_toddlers_remember_better_than_you_think_.html" target="_hplink">In a recent Slate article</a>, Nicholas Day illustrated a timeline of what scientists have learned about toddlers' memories over the last few decades. Before the 80s, it was believed that babies and young toddlers lived in the present with no memory of the past. Twenty years ago, however, a study found that 3-year-olds could recount memories of Disney World 18 months after they visited. And recently, <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01699.x/abstract" target="_hplink">research noted</a> a "27-month-old child who'd seen a 'magic shrinking machine' remembered the experience some six years later."