Free Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry
FREE RANGE KIDS has become a national movement, sparked by the incredible response to Lenore Skenazys piece about allowing her 9-year-old ride the subway alone in NYC. Parent groups argued about it, bloggers, blogged, spouses became uncivil with each other, and the media jumped all over it. A lot of parents today, Skenazy says, see no difference between letting their kids...more
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I grew up in communist Poland. By the age of 7 I walked to school by myself (all the kids did), and by the age of 9 I not only walked by myself a mile to the bus stop, I took a public bus to school. And my parents were considered quite protective. My best friend by the age of 9 used to cook dinners for her 7-year-old brother, as they both awaited at home for their parents' return from work. She is now an amazingly capable, strong woman.
I think we, the parents of today, are often led to be over-protective by the media (the "if it bleeds, it leads", again), and by the producers of all the possible gadgets that will protect your kids from all the harm possible (think walking helmets for toddlers). But this over-protectiveness, just as Skenazy argues, can make our kids too dependent, anxious. She is not the only one who raises such points, either - many researchers do as well. Studies have shown that if parents help their children a lot with tasks at age four, for example, the kids will be more anxious at age nine. Over-protectiveness at the time of a natural disaster, makes children's PTSD worse. And there are many other examples, too. Just google scholar "parental overprotectiveness" and find for yourself. (less)
I don’t agree with all of the author’s parenting advice, and I wouldn’t have ma ...more
I can agree with her in a few other ways. I agree with her about the crazy law suits. We all should take responsibility for our own actions. I also agree with her that children need responsibilities and freedom, but I think the freedom should come age appropriately. Children can babysit othe ...more
The standout point when I first read this book was about risk assessment. Rather than just following the crowd in the name of protecting your c ...more
This book was a revelation for me, though. It posits that helicopter parenting, even that degree of helicopter parenting done by parents who think they're *not* helicopter parents, is unnecessary and unhe ...more
I gave the book two stars instead of one because there were enough interesting anecdotes to keep me reading, but really, I was climbing the walls the entire time I read this. Let me ...more
That said, this was a great book. Since I knew I wasn't going to agree with everything she said, I expected to disagree with a lot of the book. Instead, I realized how much I've held my own kids back and that a lot ...more
Our children are much too capable to be kept under constant supervision. We should teach them skills and then give them opportunities to interact with the world on their own.
This is the thesis behind Lenore Skenazy's chatty book, which grew out of a column she wrote about how she let her 9 year old son ride the subway alone, and was then castigated for being an "irresponsible parent" on national TV. She castigates over-protection and argues for raising competent kids with the skills and confidence to deal with the big "scary" real world instead of ...more
General thesis is that things are not as dangerous as you fear, that kids need to be allowed to have the same freedoms we had when young to ...more
I highly recommend it for anyone raising or planning to raise kids these days.
On the other hand, I found some aspects of the book annoying (the author's columni ...more
The book is well organized and has its good points against 'helicopter', overprotective parenting. I also like Lenore Skenazy's style and sense of humor. But not all the parents I've seen around are overprotective and constantly worrying to that extent. I've seen parents close to the types she describes, but isn't it their own business?
The part about the non-English speaking part of the world is e ...more
I didn't love her derisive tone, though. And there were a few really laughable assumptions (sad "you've gotta be kidding me" laughs, not ha-ha laughs) -- like when she's discussing our current "blame the par ...more
However, I did have a few problems with the book.
While I a ...more
Here, I have gone beyond criticizing the book to criticizing the author herself, which is not something I normally do. Books are just books. Unless it's something ridiculously offensive like Revealing Eden or anything Pat Robertson has ever written, said, or done, I don't criticize authors themselves. Books are fair game. Authors are not.
But this is different. Lenore S ...more
Let me start off by saying this is not your average parenting book. It's not really "un-parenting" either - it's about taking the nitty-gritty of parenting seriously but knowing when your job as a parent is to just let go and let your children do things on their own. It's about giving your kids skills and then letting them actually USE those sk ...more
Full disclosure: be ready for a little irony as this parenting book tells you to ignore parenting books. Otherwise, you can expect a hearty dose of practical sense and parental empowerment.
The overriding idea of this book is that YOU know yo ...more
I really enjoyed most of this book, and I agreed with almost everything in it. I loved reading a little advice without feeling guilty for all the things I'm doing wrong as a parent, and it was an absolute pleasure to read a well-written and intelligent book in this genre. The chapter o ...more
— TV exposure to violence has made us think violence is more common than it actually is. In America, in 1971 things changed: the All in the Family show broke taboos, and other shows followed suit.
— There is an inner reflex to blame victims for their fates so that we can feel safe and smug. We convince ourselves the victims did so ...more