dad perspective

This Dad Wonders Where The Neighborhood ‘Villages’ Of The '90s Went

“We just rotated who was gonna hang out at whose house over the weekend.”

One TikTok dad, Owen Squires, wonders where the neighborhood villages of the ‘90s went.
@owen_squires / TikTok

When I was growing up, my best friends lived across or down the street from me. I’d run over to their houses pretty much every day, asking if they could come outside and play. We’d run around or ride bikes around the neighborhood, head to the local pool, or loiter at the drugstore. We were just ‘90s neighborhood kids doing ‘90s neighborhood kid things. But, is this how things are in today’s world?

One TikTok dad, Owen Squires, wonders where the neighborhood villages of the ‘90s went, sharing in a viral TikTok that he’s worried his young daughters won’t have the same kind of experiences we did as kids.

“Tell me that I'm not the only one experiencing this and I'm not just like a bad parent,” he begins.

“My daughters have very few friends, like they don't have any other kids to play with. After school or on the weekends they just follow me around the house, like, ‘Dad what should we do now? Daddy, what are we gonna do? What should we do now, daddy?’”

While he does the best he can to play with his girls, he knows they need kids their own ages to pal around with.

“But dude, I grew up in the ‘90s right? I made a best friend. I still talk to this guy to this day. I met him when I was four years old. He lived at the bottom of my street. I had another friend that I played with that lived right across the street. I don't see any kids out in our neighborhood ever,” he said.

“I had eight cousins that I grew up with. We hung out constantly. Or all of my little friends from school. We just like rotated who was gonna hang out at whose house over the weekend. One of my parents would drop me and my brother off. They would give their parent a little bit of money to help out with food, and we would order a big pizza and get blockbuster movies. We'd play hide and seek.”

He also recognizes that kids don’t really “do” sleepovers anymore. “They're not safe, right? Like I wouldn't feel safe having my kids sleep at someone's house unless it was... Like I have one sibling and he and his wife are child-free and they live out of state. I don't know that I trust anybody enough,” he continued, admitting that he doesn’t know any of his neighbors.

“What? Am I supposed to knock on somebody's door here? I f**king made you a pie. Can my kids play with your kids? I don't know. I don't really know any of the other parents from their school. Like, do I call them and be like, ‘Hey, can your kid come hang out at my house?’ Like it just sounds creepy ... the way society is now, you want me to come drop my kid off at your house? What do you do? Some kind of weirdo? Maybe it's a dad thing? I don't know. Like does anybody else relate to this? Like what are we supposed to do? The village is gone motherf**cker!”

After seeking opinions in his video, the TikTok community delivered, commenting with their own opinions on his take.

“my kids are the same way. no friends. you can't trust ppl today. sad but true :( can't let your kids go out and play alone, no sleepovers, no babysitter,” one user wrote.

“an organized playdate with the 1 or 2 friends from class is SO HARD,” another wrote.

Another echoed, “Yes it is so different now ... those formative neighborhood relationships are gone.”

Others couldn’t relate to Squires’ experience, noting that their neighborhood kids are out and about.

“my son is never home, he is out in the neighborhood in the woods and on their bikes. I have to put an air tag on him because he won't even look at street lights,” one mom wrote.

“Not in my town. Lots of kids everywhere. Tons of parks. Friends from sports,” another wrote.

There is no denying that something has changed when it comes to that old-school, Sandlot-type neighborhood vibe, but it’s not completely hopeless.

In my neighborhood, we have a Free Play Friday where a mom in the neighborhood opens her front yard up to all the kids of all ages. From 4-6pm, all the kids and parents can meet up, play, and chit-chat. It’s been a really great way to meet other parents in the neighborhood and have my daughter make new, local friends.