free range kids

I am definitely not ready for kids yet (aren’t I still a kid myself??)… but when we DO decide to have some little mini Brookes and Nicks, I think this book is something I’d like to read: Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry by Lenore Skenazy.

I came across this book thanks to my friend Rachel and it looks like an interesting peek into the world of “helicopter parenting” and the safety of kids today. It begs the argument that perhaps the world isn’t any less safe for kids now than it was when we were kids, despite the fear that is ingrained into us all through the media. Maybe letting our kids take some chances, explore things on their own and make some mistakes is actually a positive thing.

I wasn’t a particularly dare-devilish kind of kid (on the contrary, I was actually scared of doing anything “wrong” so I pretty much never got into trouble or took risks), but I think my parents gave me the freedom to figure things out on my own. I guess I just decided on my own not to be a risk-taker… so, in turn, I’m sure my future children will be constant trouble-makers ;-)

I know it will be hard not to want to watch my kids’ every move when I’m a mom (I’m a major control freak, remember?), but ultimately I’ll have to just keep reminding myself that giving them the freedom to make some mistakes will only foster better street smarts and decision-making skills later in life. I know too many people whose parents hovered over their every move when they were kids and I see how difficult it is for them to now make even the simplest decisions on their own. I’ll admit: I’m sure I’m not going to be entirely laid back as a parent or take this free-range method to the extreme, but it will be a nice reminder to lighten up a bit when I want to follow my kids everywhere they go.

Are you/will you try to be a “free range” parent? Or do you think there are disadvantages to this style of parenting in today’s world?

Check out Lenore Skenazy’s blog if you’re interested in learning more about “Free Range” parenting.

comments

  1. When my husband was in his early teens (as in 11 years old), he was making his own medical appointments and taking the train all by himself through Poland to get there. I’m not quite sure I want to let things go THAT far, but because of his childhood I’m going to guess helicopter parenting won’t even cross our radar.

  2. I think it’s totally the right idea in theory … and SO HARD in practice! I want so desperately to wrap her in cotton wool and bubble wrap and cushion her from any possible blows life might send her way.

    (Though my parents had me helping with housework from a very young age, and THAT I definitely can get behind. Which has nothing — nothing, I tell you — to do with the fact that I absolutely hate housework and will foist it off on anyone in my line of vision!)

  3. Tara, I know it will be almost impossible in practice… especially for a control freak like me! But I guess I’ll need to keep the big picture in mind… can someone remind me that I said all of this when I have kids and want to follow their every single move?? ;-)

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