What do you think of free range parenting? - 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: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 35 Old 06-27-2011, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
dejagerw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 681
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I'm just curious as to what people think of "free range" parenting?

 

 

dejagerw is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 35 Old 06-27-2011, 07:03 PM
 
lkvosu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 111
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think parents should (and usually do) tailor their parenting style to each individual child. Some kids need more guidance than others. I bet plenty of children could flourish with a free range parenting style, while others might crave more structure.

 

Also, adhering to - or being dogmatic about - any one parenting philosophy is bound to leave gaps.  No one theory or style has all the answers.


SAHM to Cameron James (b. 10/21/10) and wife to my adorable husband. treehugger.gif
lkvosu is offline  
#3 of 35 Old 06-28-2011, 04:38 AM
 
TheGirls's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Central NY
Posts: 1,622
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

As with most things, it really depends on the individual situation.  The kid's personality, the mom's personality, the kid's age, the location of busy streets nearby,  the child's ability to safely cross such streets, the number of other children in the neighborhood who are out and about, the number of neighbors you know, how many of them are out and about on a regular basis, and so on, all would factor in to my decision. 

 

In my current neighborhood, I would be willing to allow a child to be free range quite a bit.  But kids walk to school starting at 6 here and there are adults and other kids out everywhere.  Plus there are good sidewalks and the streets aren't terribly busy.  Until a child was quite a bit older I probably wouldn't allow them to cross the major streets (2 blocks north, 6 blocks east, and 1 block south) though.  I think I'd need the child to have demonstrated the ability and judgement to handle those crossings with me present first. 


ribbonrainbow.gif: mamas to one DD (5/08) and two DS's (11/9/10 @ 35wks)
blogging.jpgnocirc.gifdelayedvax.gifgd.gif1pump.giftoddler.giffamilybed2.gifcd.gif
TheGirls is offline  
#4 of 35 Old 06-28-2011, 07:42 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)

I think if you haven't actually read the book/blog, you should! :) Most of the people I know that are 100% for or against 'free range parenting' have no idea what the concept actually is, and they get all distraught one way or the other.

 

I'm not in favour of ever blindly following any parenting style, but taking what works from each thing I learn if it fits into our family.


~SynEpona~
synepona is offline  
#5 of 35 Old 06-28-2011, 07:59 AM
 
AllyRae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 6,192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by dejagerw View Post

I'm just curious as to what people think of "free range" parenting?

 

 


I think that some people misinterpret the idea of free range parenting and decide that they can be  neglectful and label it 'free range" instead to make it sound better.  They get the whole "free range" thing and miss the "parenting" part of it.

 

I think it can be done well, and safely.  But I also think, like any parenting style, there are people that take it to the dangerous extremes.  

 


~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
AllyRae is offline  
#6 of 35 Old 06-28-2011, 10:54 AM
 
CBEmomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: MN/IA
Posts: 211
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

With ds1 we are "free range". It is age appropriate however, I don't just let him roam the town or anything, he's only 4. There is also still structure, rules and discipline (gentle) in our home, so it's not like I don't parent him. Which is what I hear a lot when people hear of free range.


~Attatchment and Natural Parent from instincts not from books to my 2 boys~ Childbirth Educator & Placental Encapsulation Professional
homeschool.gif familybed2.gif homebirth.jpgribbonpb.gif
CBEmomma is offline  
#7 of 35 Old 06-28-2011, 12:20 PM
 
LynnS6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,446
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I'm moderately free range. Our kids go outside and play for an hour or two and I don't check up on them. Our daughter has been riding her bike around the block since she was 5 (she's 7 and just now are the other kids allowed to do that). I'd let my 10 year old ride further, but there's nowhere that he wants to go. When he hits 11 or 12, I'm going to let him ride the bus across town (one light rail ride + transfer to bus) to see his best friend. He's a remarkably cautious kid, so I probably will have to go with him the first time.

 

I really like the philosophy, though. I think that many parents have become all too alarmist. I know someone who got upset because her 14 year old daughter walked home from a friend's house and had to cross a busy street! dizzy.gif. She wanted her daughter to call for a ride.

 

The free range kids website is good: http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

 

My favorite quote from there is:  "Confident kids who feel at home in the world are SAFER than coddled kids who have been taught they are dainty prey without mom or dad by their side."


Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#8 of 35 Old 06-28-2011, 12:33 PM
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 1,945
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I like the idea of free range in age appropriate / place appropriate situations.  We live in the middle of a big city consisting of mostly sidewalks and streets, so obviously I'm going to be a little more cautious with my DD, who first has to learn to navigate around safely.  I think a kid will adapt to the environment in which he/she is raised, so I don't think it is necessarily safer if a kid free-ranges in the wilderness or suburbs vs. the city.  It is just different, with a different set of skill sets required.

 

That being said, here's my mini vent of the day:  I have a neighbor who has two girls (7 and 9).  Sometimes said neighbor and I (as well as DD) walk home from the subway.  This neighbor drives me nuts with his alarmist attitudes!  For instance, DD (who is 4.5) started running ahead of us down the long sidewalk.  Neighbor shouts out for DD to come back, and then chastizes her and says:  "You need to stick with your mother, anyone could reach out and grab you."  I was livid.  Maybe too livid, but instilling fear is so contrary to how I want DD to equip herself for the world.  Power, not fear. 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#9 of 35 Old 06-28-2011, 07:49 PM
 
Maedze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,558
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I wouldn't be the least bit worried about my child being grabbed; but I would be worried about someone backing out of a driveway and not seeing a little kid running behind them. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

I like the idea of free range in age appropriate / place appropriate situations.  We live in the middle of a big city consisting of mostly sidewalks and streets, so obviously I'm going to be a little more cautious with my DD, who first has to learn to navigate around safely.  I think a kid will adapt to the environment in which he/she is raised, so I don't think it is necessarily safer if a kid free-ranges in the wilderness or suburbs vs. the city.  It is just different, with a different set of skill sets required.

 

That being said, here's my mini vent of the day:  I have a neighbor who has two girls (7 and 9).  Sometimes said neighbor and I (as well as DD) walk home from the subway.  This neighbor drives me nuts with his alarmist attitudes!  For instance, DD (who is 4.5) started running ahead of us down the long sidewalk.  Neighbor shouts out for DD to come back, and then chastizes her and says:  "You need to stick with your mother, anyone could reach out and grab you."  I was livid.  Maybe too livid, but instilling fear is so contrary to how I want DD to equip herself for the world.  Power, not fear. 



 


CPST
Maedze is offline  
#10 of 35 Old 06-28-2011, 08:20 PM
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 1,945
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post

I wouldn't be the least bit worried about my child being grabbed; but I would be worried about someone backing out of a driveway and not seeing a little kid running behind them. 
 



 


Being grabbed by potential kidnappers/molesters and people backing out of driveways, two different issues, and on the issue of people backing out of driveways, DD knows the the protocols.  Again, it's how you equip your child to deal with real dangers as opposed to overthought (can't think of a better word) dangers.  DD knows about cars and other traffic dangers, but I'm not going to create dangers based on hype.  Big difference in my opinion.

 

Edited to add a smiley:  smile.gif   Not trying to be adversarial, just want to make it clear that I hope to recognize real danger from perceived danger.  

 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#11 of 35 Old 06-29-2011, 12:55 AM
 
katelove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,894
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)

I had a look at the FAQ on the website because I wasn't entirely sure what Free-range parenting meant. Based on that description I am wholeheartedly in favour and already practice it with our 13m.o.

 

We were free-range parented when we were growing up and it was great.


Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is online now  
#12 of 35 Old 06-29-2011, 06:50 AM
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
From what I know of it, I like it, assuming it is done with care. I sense that some people hear 'free range parenting' and think it means letting your 1yo wander the streets of NYC alone or something. If careful consideration is given to the child's developmental level, needs, and abilities, I think it can be a wonderful thing. I'm not OK with just being too lazy to chase after a kid who still needs that supervision (for whatever reason) or broadly applying the same rules/lack of rules to ALL children of a certain age with no regard to individual circumstances.

I was raised the opposite of free-range, whatever that is... I was 15 before I was allowed to ride my bike alone, take a walk, etc. and my mom was the type to call my teacher and make them change my grade if I got an A instead of an A+ and make my phone calls for me (re: doctors, bills, etc.) even after I left home. So I am actively trying to avoid raising my kid in such a stressful, fearful home while also trying to not go TOO far in the other direction. The hardest part is overcoming a lifetime of being told (and STILL hearing from my parents!) that XYZ is sooooo dangerous (ironically, with little regard for actual dangers like toddlers on riding lawn mowers....eyesroll.gif) and trying not to let my own anxieties & phobias affect DS.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
#13 of 35 Old 06-29-2011, 07:10 AM
 
purslaine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 6,771
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by katelove View Post

I had a look at the FAQ on the website because I wasn't entirely sure what Free-range parenting meant. Based on that description I am wholeheartedly in favour and already practice it with our 13m.o.

 

We were free-range parented when we were growing up and it was great.



How do you practice free range with a 13 month old?

purslaine is offline  
#14 of 35 Old 06-29-2011, 09:18 AM
 
Maedze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,558
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


I agree that being grabbed by a Pedophile Boogeyman is a highly unlikely scenario (perceived danger, although not perceived by me. LOL)

 

I disagree that a four year old can successfully navigate her developing impulse control so as not to foolishly dart out without looking at just the wrong time.  Kids are kids.   That's why we don't recommend putting four year olds in boosters as a general rule...their impulse control is still way too fickle.  

 

My son, who is about to turn SEVEN, has known for years about traffic safety, walking in a parking lot, etc.  The other day he surprised and horrified me by running directly into oncoming traffic when he was playing tag with a neighbor kid.  He just got so involved in the game he 'forgot' the rule about the parking lot irked.gif     I was screaming, running, and barely managed to pull him out of the path of a car ....and he never even realized what he'd done.    And he's a NT kid who is fairly serious, reserved and rule-oriented.  

 

So, yeah, I would tend to disagree that not allowing a four year old to run ahead up a sidewalk is a response to 'perceived danger'.   In this case, I would qualify it as quite real, although I agree your friend is a bit batty. LOL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post




Being grabbed by potential kidnappers/molesters and people backing out of driveways, two different issues, and on the issue of people backing out of driveways, DD knows the the protocols.  Again, it's how you equip your child to deal with real dangers as opposed to overthought (can't think of a better word) dangers.  DD knows about cars and other traffic dangers, but I'm not going to create dangers based on hype.  Big difference in my opinion.

 

Edited to add a smiley:  smile.gif   Not trying to be adversarial, just want to make it clear that I hope to recognize real danger from perceived danger.  

 



 


CPST
Maedze is offline  
#15 of 35 Old 06-29-2011, 12:29 PM
 
hildare's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: in-the-sticks-off-a-dirt-road, GA
Posts: 2,680
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post





How do you practice free range with a 13 month old?



we tried when our dd was 13 mos.  i think when they're babies/toddlers, at least for us, that means not intervening as they explore the world, even if that means a minor tumble or two, or picking up dirty things (and intercepting only if said dirty thing is en route to the mouth).  for me at that age, it means watching and hanging back.  and letting the kid make a bunch of noise or a mess, etc.  and then teaching cleaning up.  just not stopping the exploration or action unless there's an actual danger. 

 

yes, we intend to free-range, even more so in a complex way as our child/children get older.  gaging appropriateness by maturity/choices of the child.  but we moved to the boonies so we could let our kids grow up outdoors, in the woods, unsupervised, etc.  as both dh and i were.  i learned so much about nature, the world, and myself by being alone in the woods, and learned a few things, too, from my decision-making and actions when presented with dangerous situations on occasion (though i sincerely hope that my child/ren make better choices than i did- i was a pretty daring kid in a pretty bad way). 


Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

hildare is offline  
#16 of 35 Old 06-29-2011, 01:05 PM
 
HollyBearsMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: nomans land
Posts: 6,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

As long as it is comfortable for both the parent and the children I think free-range parenting is a great philosophy.  However like most philosophies (A/P, CC, etc) you will find parents who take it to one extreme or the other. And you will find that one persons "free range" is another persons complete and utter freakout. So these days I try not to "label" how I raise my son. 

 

My child is "free range" in the sense that he has been given multiple opportunities to build the skills and confidences he needs to venture out on his own. A perfect example was the grocery store. Our grocery store is HUGE and there are multiple exits.  It is loud, noisy and busy. However for a couple of years now, as his request, I have let him hang out in the book aisle by himself while I shop. Parents (especially moms with kids still in carts freak out) but it's not like I just one day left him in the book aisle and came back an hour later. We worked up to it so not only did HE feel safe/confident/comfortable but so that I also felt the same way.  Baby steps so speak.

 

We have done the same with playing outside alone, riding his scooter to the park, going to the neighbors, etc. All of which he does regularly and has for quite sometime.

 

We have recently been discussing him staying home alone. A number of his friends do and frankly I was home alone often at his age. I have no issue with the idea and would be happy to start trying but I also know that he is not ready. He talks a good game with is friends but when it's just him and me he tells me he doesn't want to...yet. So while I could easily leave him home to go for long walk, run to the store, etc I won't because the goal is for him to be comfortable. It is really not that hard to bring him along.

 


Pardon me while I puke.gif

HollyBearsMom is offline  
#17 of 35 Old 06-29-2011, 06:49 PM
 
Marissamom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,535
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I said in some situations, but really I just mean the limits are going to be different depending on where you live, if you know your neighbors, the age and temperament of the child, etc. 


Marissa, Partner to J geek.gif, SAHM to A (05/09)fly-by-nursing1.gif and I (03/11)stork-boy.gif. we cd.gif
selectivevax.gifdelayedvax.gifnocirc.giffemalesling.GIFecbaby2.gif part-time and familybed1.gif through infancy. planning ahomebirth.jpg
Marissamom is offline  
#18 of 35 Old 06-30-2011, 12:55 AM
 
katelove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,894
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post





How do you practice free range with a 13 month old?


Basically what Hildare said. I let her go out into the backyard by herself and potter around. I don't shadow her at the playground (unless there are other kids there). I let her touch, taste, pick up pretty much anything unless it is very hot, poisonous, belongs to someone else.

 

From what I read on the website you can do free range at any age because it is about age-appropriate exploration but maybe I misinterpreted and I should more accurately say that we do a *precursor* to free range parenting.

 


Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is online now  
#19 of 35 Old 06-30-2011, 07:09 AM
 
ollyoxenfree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,895
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

 

I voted "great idea", but leaned heavily toward "okay in most situations". I guess I can envision times where it would be problematic. Some children have poor impulse control. Some have anxiety issues and may interpret too much freedom as an absence of support and caring. They may need a lot more guidance and even limitations than others. I am in favour of giving children lots of opportunities to explore and challenge themselves and develop their independence. 

ollyoxenfree is offline  
#20 of 35 Old 06-30-2011, 10:25 AM
 
purslaine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 6,771
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by katelove View Post




Basically what Hildare said. I let her go out into the backyard by herself and potter around. I don't shadow her at the playground (unless there are other kids there). I let her touch, taste, pick up pretty much anything unless it is very hot, poisonous, belongs to someone else.

 

From what I read on the website you can do free range at any age because it is about age-appropriate exploration but maybe I misinterpreted and I should more accurately say that we do a *precursor* to free range parenting.

 



Nah.  I have not read the website, so did not understand what you meant by free-rangeing a 13 month old.

 

To a degree I think freerange is just good parenting.  I think we  have a term for it because of all the misplaced fear of strangers and the boogeymen that took place in the last 20 years.  

 

I sometimes think people go too far and use freeranging as an excuse - it is not ok to let a 2 year old play outside in an unfenced yard by themselves, it is not ok to let a 13 year old sail around the world by herself (remember that one, anyone?).  

 

I am not sure whether those who do nutty things in the name of free-ranging are really just people who are susceptible to overdoing it in the name of philosophy or are negligent/lazy parents  and now have a handy word to pin their negligence on?

 

Either way, I think those are extreme examples and outliers, and most free range stuff makes some sense.

 

 

 

 

 

purslaine is offline  
#21 of 35 Old 06-30-2011, 10:48 PM
 
Cyllya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 538
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I always considered free-range parenting to work like this:

 

1. Considering your child's circumstances, maturity, personality, physical capabilities, education, etc, is it actually any more dangerous for him to do this activity than it is for an adult to do it?

2. Is it something absurd for adults to do? (e.g. eat rat poison, jump off a cliff)

3. Does your kid doing this cause trouble for anyone else? (Including, is it illegal for you to let him do it?)

...If you can answer NO to all of those, you might as well let your kid do it, right? What's the amount of time since birth got to do with it? (Does not mean you should force him if he doesn't want to.)

 

Any exceptions? Those questions feel more applicable to kids out of the toddler range though.

Cyllya is offline  
#22 of 35 Old 06-30-2011, 11:31 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 91
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I agree with Cyllya. But to answer OP:

I'm a big fan of Magda Gerber and Free Range parenting seems like an appropriate next step. I agree that choosing one single approach will leave gaps though, and every family puts a different spin on an approach...

But I don't know who my DS will be at 3yrs... He might want my closer, nearer, more often. I'd like to think he will have a siginificant say in our parenting approach. If he's not the free-range type, I'm not going to push that on him.


covert crunchy wife to guitar.gif & mama to DSbabyf.gif02/11. Dreaming of travelling the earth.gif as soon as we catch up on some sleeping.gif

Deepfeet is offline  
#23 of 35 Old 07-01-2011, 04:32 PM
 
katelove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,894
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

I always considered free-range parenting to work like this:

 

1. Considering your child's circumstances, maturity, personality, physical capabilities, education, etc, is it actually any more dangerous for him to do this activity than it is for an adult to do it?

2. Is it something absurd for adults to do? (e.g. eat rat poison, jump off a cliff)

3. Does your kid doing this cause trouble for anyone else? (Including, is it illegal for you to let him do it?)

...If you can answer NO to all of those, you might as well let your kid do it, right? What's the amount of time since birth got to do with it? (Does not mean you should force him if he doesn't want to.)

 

Any exceptions? Those questions feel more applicable to kids out of the toddler range though.



I really like this. And it could be applied to toddlers as well I think because you've mentioned their maturity and physical capabilities. Those are the main reasons toddlers can't do things older kids/adults can.

 

Can't think of any exceptions either.


Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is online now  
#24 of 35 Old 07-11-2011, 07:18 PM
 
SilverFish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Montreal
Posts: 865
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

i think it's kind of silly to talk about "those" parents who take free range parenting too far or as an excuse to be lazy as though it's some kind of common thing and therefore necessary to qualify your stance on free-range. i mean, come on... neglectful parents aren't calling themselves free-rangers, and the very unusual cases of kids being allowed to do outrageous things... these aren't common occurrences! 

 

it's way WAY more common, and way WAY more damaging (IMO, anyway) for parents to be the opposite; to see the danger in every situation, whether it be physical danger, or the boogeyman. i see it on these boards all the time, as well as with my real life parenting friends. whether it's because we have such a glut of information at our fingertips, or the way the news is portrayed, or simply that we are lucky enough to live in a society where daily survival is not an issue, so we have plenty of time to think about all the other unusual ways we might meet our demise! 

 

for what it's worth, i don't consider myself a "free-range" parent, because i think that the things that are considered part of that particular philosophy are just the natural way i would parent (don't really consider myself an AP parent either, though i am more that than anything else). we will see how it plays out as my dd gets older. she is a cautious kid anyway, so maybe i just got lucky... all the safety of a helicopter-mom, all the laziness of a free-range parent :)

SilverFish is offline  
#25 of 35 Old 07-11-2011, 09:21 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)

I'm going to disagree. I wasn't sure if I wanted to include my own answer because everyone seemed so gung-ho about free range parenting, but I figured I would because it seemed like people might want a real discussion, and not just a pat on the back for being free-range parents.

 

Personally, I voted that free-range parenting was negligent. Perhaps the people who practice free-range parenting live in smaller towns, or they live in nicer neighborhoods, or maybe nothing ever happend to them, but I think that if you don't have some grasp on your child's safety you're delusional. Everyone has a sense of "it will never happen to me" when it comes to danger. You can prepare a child for "protocol" when dealing with strangers or crossing the street or whatever you want, but that doesn't mean cr@p when they forget for an instant or come across a situation they haven't been prepared for. The truth of the matter is that children DO get abducted, and they DO get molested, and they definitely DO get hurt. To deny that these happen, or that they could happen to your child, is riduculous. I think it also breeds a sense of trust in the world that is irresponsible. The world is DANGEROUS. I live in a rough neighborhood in a big city (Seattle) and I see parents who let their kids roam around the streets, sometimes as young as 4 with an older sibling who might be 8. I think that is plain foolish. Their parents have obviously set boundries as to where they can go and where they can't and who they can speak to and who they shouldn't, but it gives these kids a sense that they're safe as long as they stay in those boundries. They're not. And your kids aren't either, just because you live in a nicer neighborhood or a smaller town. Accidents can happen in a minute (ask anyone who has been in a car crash or who has pulled their child out of the way before they got in the way of a backing up car), I'd hate to think that something happend to my kid that might not have happened if I had been there. Who would want to live with that guilt?


Me + DH + Daniel (7/5/10)
SeattleRain is offline  
#26 of 35 Old 07-11-2011, 11:41 PM
 
elisheva's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: BC
Posts: 1,432
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I agree, SeattleRain. I have to parent according to my instincts and free-range parenting as it has been described here and elsewhere just feels wrong to me after a certain point. Of course, my kids are still young... 


"So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton
 
 
 
   

elisheva is offline  
#27 of 35 Old 07-12-2011, 12:07 AM
 
LynnS6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,446
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleRain View Post
 Everyone has a sense of "it will never happen to me" when it comes to danger. You can prepare a child for "protocol" when dealing with strangers or crossing the street or whatever you want, but that doesn't mean cr@p when they forget for an instant or come across a situation they haven't been prepared for. The truth of the matter is that children DO get abducted, and they DO get molested, and they definitely DO get hurt. To deny that these happen, or that they could happen to your child, is riduculous. I think it also breeds a sense of trust in the world that is irresponsible. The world is DANGEROUS. I live in a rough neighborhood in a big city (Seattle) and I see parents who let their kids roam around the streets, sometimes as young as 4 with an older sibling who might be 8. I think that is plain foolish. Their parents have obviously set boundries as to where they can go and where they can't and who they can speak to and who they shouldn't, but it gives these kids a sense that they're safe as long as they stay in those boundries. They're not. And your kids aren't either, just because you live in a nicer neighborhood or a smaller town. Accidents can happen in a minute (ask anyone who has been in a car crash or who has pulled their child out of the way before they got in the way of a backing up car),

 

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.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleRain View Post
I'd hate to think that something happened to my kid that might not have happened if I had been there. Who would want to live with that guilt?

 

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.

 


Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#28 of 35 Old 07-12-2011, 04:47 AM
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleRain View Post

I'm going to disagree. I wasn't sure if I wanted to include my own answer because everyone seemed so gung-ho about free range parenting, but I figured I would because it seemed like people might want a real discussion, and not just a pat on the back for being free-range parents.

 

Personally, I voted that free-range parenting was negligent. Perhaps the people who practice free-range parenting live in smaller towns, or they live in nicer neighborhoods, or maybe nothing ever happend to them, but I think that if you don't have some grasp on your child's safety you're delusional. Everyone has a sense of "it will never happen to me" when it comes to danger. You can prepare a child for "protocol" when dealing with strangers or crossing the street or whatever you want, but that doesn't mean cr@p when they forget for an instant or come across a situation they haven't been prepared for. The truth of the matter is that children DO get abducted, and they DO get molested, and they definitely DO get hurt. To deny that these happen, or that they could happen to your child, is riduculous. I think it also breeds a sense of trust in the world that is irresponsible. The world is DANGEROUS. I live in a rough neighborhood in a big city (Seattle) and I see parents who let their kids roam around the streets, sometimes as young as 4 with an older sibling who might be 8. I think that is plain foolish. Their parents have obviously set boundries as to where they can go and where they can't and who they can speak to and who they shouldn't, but it gives these kids a sense that they're safe as long as they stay in those boundries. They're not. And your kids aren't either, just because you live in a nicer neighborhood or a smaller town. Accidents can happen in a minute (ask anyone who has been in a car crash or who has pulled their child out of the way before they got in the way of a backing up car), I'd hate to think that something happend to my kid that might not have happened if I had been there. Who would want to live with that guilt?


I don't know if I already mentioned this, but... my mom was like that. If there's one thing she taught me, it's that the world is a scary, dangerous place. She had great intentions & went above & beyond to protect me from any possible danger. As a result, I had/have a severe anxiety disorder. I couldn't stay at school -- I always had to call my mom to pick me up. I couldn't make my own phone calls (talking to strangers! I'd never done that!) I never went anywhere on my own until I was about 15. I had no clue how to navigate the real world. As a result, when I went to college I was physically and sexually assaulted by 2 different 'boyfriends' --- I am not blaming my mom for that but I am saying that if I had more experience in the world and more time to figure out for myself what was 'safe' or 'not safe' and more freedom to listen to my own instincts instead of hers... maybe the alarm bells would have gone off sooner and I wouldn't have ended up in such horrible situations. There's more, too -- and I can't even tell her these things because she would feel so responsible for them, like she didn't protect me enough. 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. So I am not saying something like that would happen to your kids -- maybe my situation was extreme, I don't know -- but I am just trying to share how that kind of viewpoint, taken too far, can really, really backfire. It affects me even now (beyond the PTSD etc.) -- I have a lot of trouble staying in my house alone, still can't make phone calls, still view the world as this awful, scary place where strangers and dangers are lurking around every corner, and have to overcome horrible thoughts just to get through each day. I'm always, always on alert and can imagine the dangerous possibilities of even the most safest situations. It's not a fun way to live, and I want a better quality of life for my DS.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
#29 of 35 Old 07-12-2011, 06:39 AM
 
EviesMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Earth.
Posts: 3,466
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

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!


Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
EviesMom is offline  
#30 of 35 Old 07-12-2011, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
dejagerw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 681
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I actually recently read the Free Range Parenting book and found it very interesting. A couple bits I really liked from the book were examples of what to say when people asked "How could you possibly let your child get around on his own? Wouldn't you feel terrible if something happened?" The retort is "How could you possibly let your kids get in the car with you? Wouldn't you feel awful if they were in a crash?" A child is 40x more likely to die as a passenger in a car crash than to be kidnapped and murdered by a stranger. Or "How could you possibly make your kids stay inside after school instead of letting them wander around on their own? Wouldn't you feel awful if they were burned to a crisp?" They are about 50 kids killed by kidnappers each year, but ten times that number are killed by fires at home. Or "How could you possibly get your kids a pool?" They are 20x more likely to drown than to be kidnapped and murdered.

 

I think are perceptions of what is statistically more dangerous are way off base. I think television and the news and media has really warped our views of what's safe and what's not. We don't think a fire at home will ever happen, but are convinced if we let our older children explore, they'll be kidnapped.

dejagerw is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


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