In a recent article for the Washington Post, Petula Dvorak writes on a treehouse battle in her neighborhood. This battle, she claims, is just part of an ever increasing war on childhood.

Dvorak says that a pretty little treehouse is dividing her neighborhood in Washington D.C.:

“The parents who built the Capitol Hill treehouse for their daughters, ages 3 and 5, checked with the city on permits before constructing their little castle in the sky. It sits in an elm tree on their property that has branches that extend into the alley. The treehouse, which looks more Pottery Barn Kids than Henry Huggins, is about 10 feet off the ground and juts into the alley by 20 inches.”

Neighbors say it violates the law and does not belong there.

(The controversial treehouse in question [Image: Capitol Hill Corner])

Cases like this, it seems, are becoming more and more common:

“There were two recent battles in Northern Virginia where folks were cited and treehouses on private property had to be torn down when neighbors didn’t like what they were seeing.

In Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old girl who engineered and built an amazing treehouse in her suburban front yard had to dismantle it because officials decided it was against town regulations, which make no mention of a treehouse and were studied extensively by Elisa Truchan’s family before construction began.”

Dvorak also cites cases of a neighborhood ice rink being shut down and lemonade stands closed with children fined for not having appropriate permits. She wants to know when exactly grown-ups decided to ruin childhood: “Way to go, grown-ups, for trying to kill important parts of becoming an adult: discovery, risk, independence.”

Should grown-ups get a little perspective and let things go for kids’ sakes? Or, should adults stay focused on teaching kids that laws are laws, and they better learn to follow them now?