Going Free-Range

I’ve just started reading Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry). I’ve only finished the Introduction so far, and already I can tell that this is a book I’m going to enjoy reading. The author is very down to earth and practical, bases her opinions on fact, and has injected a lot of fun into what could become an overly serious topic. I’ll be sharing more from this book as I continue reading.

Lenore Skenazy (the author) wrote a newspaper article about allowing her then 9-year-old son to take the NYC Subway by himself. That was followed up by appearances on TV, radio, and reactions from parents around the country. Eventually she started her own blog (freerangekids.com) and wrote this book. I had heard the term “Free-Range Kids” used, but didn’t know where it started or why. After reading her story, it makes much more sense, and I’m excited to read more about her perspective on parenting.

The basic idea behind Free-Range Kids or Free-Range Parenting is that we (society as a whole) have created an environment where parents feel like it is their job to protect their children against every possible danger they could ever come in contact with. It’s hard not to believe that when you are constantly bombarded with images and stories of all the dangerous things that can happen without the proper perspective. By changing our perspective and taking time to consider the real chances of something dangerous happening, we can start to let go of some of the worry and allow our children to have the same room to explore and grow that many of today’s adults had as children.

I love this idea. I want my kids to grow up independent and mostly self-sufficient. I don’t think that will happen if I am constantly taking it into my own hands to protect them or do things for them because it might be too unsafe for them to do it themselves. Hopefully by reading this book I’ll be able to reconsider some of the ways I do things and gain some new perspective on how I can parent in a way that will better match my goals.


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