What do you think of free range parenting? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: What do you think of free range parenting?
Negligence 6 8.22%
Lazy parenting 7 9.59%
Okay in some situations (elaborate please) 19 26.03%
Okay in most situations 9 12.33%
Great idea, I do it (or plan on doing it) 29 39.73%
Everyone should allow their children to free range 3 4.11%
Voters: 73. You may not vote on this poll

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-12-2011, 08:53 AM
 
synepona's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Near Niagara Falls (Canada)
Posts: 1,026
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleRain View PostThe world is DANGEROUS.


Statistically, it's actually safer than it was when we were kids ... it's perceived as more dangerous b/c we get more info, a constant barrage of bad/sensational news via TV/web etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post



 

But see, I think this kind of thinking actually puts kids more at risk because you're training them that they're only safe with their parents. They don't learn to trust their gut. They don't learn to take small risks and the consequences of making a small mistake. A kid who's fallen off a skateboard going down a hill and realized how much it hurts, or even broken their arm, is probably not going to be a child who at 15 or 16 thinks it's a really good idea to 'surf' on top of a moving car (yes, teens do this)  -- they get the concept of motion + lack of balance + speed = pain.

 

Now, if you live in a rough neighborhood, then clearly you can't let your children roam as freely as someone in a 'safer' neighborhood can. If there are gangs, drug deals, addicts panhandling or soliciting nearby, then no, it's not safe for your kids to be out alone or to be very far away. Part of free range parenting is knowing the environment. But I suspect that even your rough neighborhood doesn't have that much crime against children. In our neighborhood, because the kids are out, parents keep an ear open. My kids know the people they can go to in an emergency. Do yours?

 

Several stats to consider:

Stranger kidnappings = 115 a year.

Injuries by lightening strikes = 300 a year

 

In other words, there's more of a chance of someone you know being struck by lightening than being kidnapped by a stranger.

 

Other fun facts from: http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6143427/k.38C5/Child_Sexual_Abuse_Statistics.htm

84% of sexual assaults on children occur in a home

90-95% of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know (who often spend time grooming the child and the family)

The number of identified incidents of child sexual abuse decreased 47% from 1993 to 2005-2006 (Sedlack, et. al., 2010)

 

In terms of other accidents, children get hurt. You cannot prevent them from all harm. You can make sure they have helmets, wear shoes when riding bikes (you don't want to see a kid who's had their bare toes dragged across the asphalt after a bike accident), wrist protectors when roller skating. You can set boundaries and rules. One of the 'rules' in our neighborhood is that if you're riding your bike down the hill into the T intersection, there's got to be someone down at the bottom watching for cars. The kids are amazingly good at doing this. They have more brains that you might think.

 

 

At what age does your child learn skills to make decisions and watch out for themselves? Can you really protect your child from all harm? That's a huge burden to bear.

 

That's exactly what I would have typed out :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


 If there's one thing she taught me, it's that the world is a scary, dangerous place. ...She could not protect me from the world by herself -- how could anyone? -- and she never gave me the opportunity to learn to protect myself. ... It's not a fun way to live, and I want a better quality of life for my DS.

My parents were not the exact opposite of this, but we roamed pretty freely in our neighbourhood, we had rules about what info we had to provide to my mom about where we were, when we'd be back, who we were with, but we were encouraged to get out and play (after we did our chores!). I do not want my kids to look back at their childhood and feel like you do, that they did not have opportunities to learn vital skills! I also do not want them to look back & say 'my mom just ignored me and let me run wild' .... which is NOT what free-range-parenting is. When I was 19, I was talking to a friend who said she wished her mom was like mine -- available. I want to be like my mom was ... letting us go out in the world at appropriate ages, and yet always there when we needed/wanted her. It's a balance, and I'm not sure any parent can every get it 100% right, but swaying too far to either side (the paranoid or the neglectful) can be dangerous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post

I try to find settings where it's safe for the kids to explore in an age appropriate way without me hovering over them, but it's not a daily philosophy for us based on where we live. IE-Visiting relatives, there was a safe area for kids to bike in groups and individually. Adults would help them out if needed in terms of falls, but generally it was all kids. DD learned to ride without training wheels and wanted to take off with her new friends. I felt that was fine in that setting, and good for her, actually. I wouldn't let her bike up the urban street where we live sans adult though. Too many crazy drivers and taxis!

In our neighbourhood, letting DS (at 4) walk ahead or ride ahead (on the sidewalk) to the corner, or the next no-parking sign, is IMO 'age appropriate'. We can see him, he knows he can't do it when we get out to the main street, but it's allowed on our street & the other side streets. He knows he'll lose the privelege if he doesn't wait at the signs, and he knows to stay one sidewalk square back from the road when he gets to a corner.

You can find *small* ways to foster independence in almost any neighbourhood if you look. (not just YOU, general you!). A lady I know will not let her child go around the far side of her car when it's parked in my driveway. What does she think will happen if a 5yo opens his own car door, on her car that's been in my driveway for 5 min? She can still see his head the whole time, and watch as the door opens & he gets in his own seat. I can see if the car was parked on the road that it would not be a good idea ... but in my private driveway, it just seems like an extreme level of caution.
 

 


~SynEpona~
synepona is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-12-2011, 09:14 AM
 
Vancouver Mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,618
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I am so sad that we have become a generation of "helicopter parents" and I seek opportunities to give my kids space to do their own thing. We have always lived in an urban area and my kids are traffic savvy. That isn't to say that my 4 yo may not run out into the street someday, but I watch him every single day navigate roads, crosswalks, intersections and lost balls and he has not once run into traffic. I've taught my kids to be polite to strangers and not fear every single person they meet (after all lots of strangers are just friends we haven't met yet), but I also teach them to trust their instinct with regard to people (known and unknown to them) and to never go with a person who tries to coax them away with stories of lost puppies or candy. My kids ride bikes on our sidewalk which is long with no driveways, but on a street with moderate traffic and three blocks from a very busy road. My neighbourhood is a little piece of 1972 (in the good ways) with lots of stay at home parents, neighbours who know each other and look out for each others kids and retired people who provide extra eyes to watch out for little ones. There are also parents who work from home. In my case it is the community that makes me feel safe and the thing that has been most profoundly removed from most people's lives.


Diane, SAHM to DD (June 05) and DS (April 07).
::::
Vancouver Mommy is offline  
Old 07-12-2011, 02:30 PM
 
EviesMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Earth.
Posts: 3,466
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by SynEpona View Post




Statistically, it's actually safer than it was when we were kids ... it's perceived as more dangerous b/c we get more info, a constant barrage of bad/sensational news via TV/web etc.

That's exactly what I would have typed out :)

My parents were not the exact opposite of this, but we roamed pretty freely in our neighbourhood, we had rules about what info we had to provide to my mom about where we were, when we'd be back, who we were with, but we were encouraged to get out and play (after we did our chores!). I do not want my kids to look back at their childhood and feel like you do, that they did not have opportunities to learn vital skills! I also do not want them to look back & say 'my mom just ignored me and let me run wild' .... which is NOT what free-range-parenting is. When I was 19, I was talking to a friend who said she wished her mom was like mine -- available. I want to be like my mom was ... letting us go out in the world at appropriate ages, and yet always there when we needed/wanted her. It's a balance, and I'm not sure any parent can every get it 100% right, but swaying too far to either side (the paranoid or the neglectful) can be dangerous.

In our neighbourhood, letting DS (at 4) walk ahead or ride ahead (on the sidewalk) to the corner, or the next no-parking sign, is IMO 'age appropriate'. We can see him, he knows he can't do it when we get out to the main street, but it's allowed on our street & the other side streets. He knows he'll lose the privelege if he doesn't wait at the signs, and he knows to stay one sidewalk square back from the road when he gets to a corner.

You can find *small* ways to foster independence in almost any neighbourhood if you look. (not just YOU, general you!). A lady I know will not let her child go around the far side of her car when it's parked in my driveway. What does she think will happen if a 5yo opens his own car door, on her car that's been in my driveway for 5 min? She can still see his head the whole time, and watch as the door opens & he gets in his own seat. I can see if the car was parked on the road that it would not be a good idea ... but in my private driveway, it just seems like an extreme level of caution.
 

 

 

Oh, I know, and I do find ways to foster independence in the city as well, we just happen to be on vacation and had the biking with friends scenario. It was very different for me, because generally at home I do know more closely where she is. She does go ahead or behind me, stops at corners, etc. when walking. She could ride on the sidewalk ahead with training wheels, but two wheels and speed makes it a big no no (ridiculous numbers of tourists walking sidewalks at home, making sidewalk biking dangerous for both rider and walker). So if she's on the bike path with a buddy or two, I know where they are, roughly. If she wants to visit a friend, unless it's one of the two in our building, she can't go without me through a crowded NYC neighborhood to get there at age 7. There are several things she can do without leaving the building though, including friends in the building. She's on her own at the playground most of the time, although I'm at the playground should I be needed. 

 

I chose "okay in some situations" just because I can't see sending her on the subway alone at age 9 though, as Lenore Skenazy did. I can, however, see her going out with 3-4 friends in between ballet practice sessions to get a snack at that age. I had a decent amount of freedom as a child/teen, and I feel that my kids do as well.


Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
EviesMom is offline  
Old 07-12-2011, 02:56 PM
 
SeattleRain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 965
Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by SynEpona View Post

Statistically, it's actually safer than it was when we were kids ... it's perceived as more dangerous b/c we get more info, a constant barrage of bad/sensational news via TV/web etc.

 

I don't know why that's relevant. I never said the world is a MORE dangerous place, I just think it's still dangerous. I don't buy into the theory that the world was safe in 1950, when neighborhoods looked like "Mad Men" and now our gritty, media driven world made things dangerous. I think people just didn't talk about sexual abuse the way they do now. As well as probably the other dangers that existed then that still exist now.

 

I think that a lot of you are super-over exaggerating what my point is. I'm not saying you need to be a helicopter parent in order not to be a free-range parent. There are a lot of things about helicopter parenting that have nothing to do with physical safety that I think are really unfortunate, but have nothing to do with this argument. Helicopter parenting has to do with coddling your child physically AND emotionally and not allowing them to experience failure or emotional discomfort. I don't think there is anything wrong with allowing my child to have emotional discomfort or experience failure. I do have a problem with letting him to do things where the consequences could be FATALITY unsupervised. It's my job to protect my child's life, and if that means that he doesn't always get to feel free and liberated, then so be it. There are plenty of ways to help your child get a sense of freedom and choice.

 

I think it's great to train a child to do things like run ahead to the next street sign, but you have to not live in a dellusion that because you've taught your child to look for cars that the risk doesn't still exist that they could get hit by a backing out car. A 4 year old is not an adult and does not have adult impulse control. Even adults sometimes have trouble with impulse control and paying attention to what's around them (plenty of car accidents are caused by this).

 

Lynne, you had a lot of interesting things to say. I don't think that I'm teaching my son (who is only a year BTW) that he's only safe with me, but more that there are boundaries when we're outside of our house that children need adults to navigate. While he's a small child, I don't think he should have to take on the burden of his own safety, I guess I think that I'm responsible for that still. I also don't know why you don't think there is violence against children in my neighborhood. There certainly could be. There are gangs, drugs, and a teen that I work with (I work with teens doing programming in this neighborhood) actually got beat up on a Friday night walking home from his synagogue by a gang of men. Men who KNEW that he wasn't carrying any money (in observance of Shabbat) but beat him up "just because." The only reason the kids stopped was because the kid actually had some martial arts training and another teen and his father came walking around the corner and rescued him. I don't necessarily think it's unreasonable for teens to walk around in the evenings, but I don't think it's fine to bury your head in the sand and say that this sort of thing never happens because you teach your kid to have "street smarts."
 

I don't necessarily wrong to instill in children a sense of fear and aprehension about the outside world. There ARE things to be afraid of out there sometimes.

 


Me + DH + Daniel (7/5/10)
SeattleRain is offline  
Old 07-22-2011, 10:28 AM
 
ShannonEll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I completely agree with tailoring your parenting style for each of your children - my two girls are so different, the oldest is so independent where as the youngest needs A LOT of direction!

ShannonEll is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off