Are you a Free-Range Parent?

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by Principessa, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Principessa

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    Are you a Free-Range Parent?

    Do you everÂ…

    ..let your kid ride a bike to the library? Walk alone to school? Take a bus, solo? Or are you thinking about it? If so, you are raising a Free Range Kid! At Free Range, we believe in safe kids. We believe in helmets, car seats and safety belts. We do NOT believe that every time school age children go outside, they need a security detail. Most of us grew up Free Range and lived to tell the tale. Our kids deserve no less. This site dedicated to sane parenting. Share your stories, tell your tips and maybe one day I will try to collect them in a book. Meantime, let's try to help our kids embrace life! (And maybe even clear the table.)

    Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
    ~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~

    As near as I can tell from reading parts of the afore mentioned blog and watching a repeat on Dr. Phil today; Free-Range Parents in the 1970's were just called parents. :rolleyes: :irked:

    I'll bore you with the stories of 'when I was a kid' later in this thread. :biggrin1: I am more curious to see how people, with young children are raising them.
     
  2. B_jeepguy2

    B_jeepguy2 New Member

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    My mom was telling me that these days they will not even let kids get off the school bus out in the country where I grew up anymore unless there is a parent to meet them because the school district is afraid somebody is gonna snatch a kid and they will get sued.
     
    #2 B_jeepguy2, Jan 5, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  3. MarquisMike

    MarquisMike New Member

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    I wish I had been raised as more of a free-range kid. I feel like I would have gained a bit more independence, and would have developed closer friendships with children my own age while free-ranging with them. That being said, I was almost always under the supervision of my parents or grandparents, and I still turned out pretty well if I do say so myself ;D
     
  4. Rommette

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    my family was really strict....I waited a extra 3 years to walk to school by myself than the other kids. One time I tried to walk ahead and almost got hit by a bus.....that then justified to my parents why they should continue to walk me to school.
     
  5. NotSoDumb_Blonde

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    Wow...uh, this is weird and a reason why I don't watch much television....Dr. Phil? Geesh. LOL, okay am a parent that thinks my children need to be protected, yet given the freedom to build self-confidence by their own actions? Sure. Do I worry about stalkers, child molesters and just plain accidents? Sure. But -- we can't wrap them in bubble wrap and put them on a shelf. Each action, whether it's a fall, or a success, builds a child's character, self-worth and confidence. And each fall is followed by a big mommy hug, so hey, who wants to miss that!?

    funny article, but interesting, way interesting thread. Can't wait to read more opinions on this idea of "free range" parenting....and hey, why can't we name this stuff, huh??? :)
     
  6. denton85

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    My parents never cared where i was as long as i got back in 1 piece and in time for dinner...

    They also never gave me a babysitter as far as i can remember ... and thats as far back as 4 years old. My parents would go out and would tell me to not open the door for anyone.

    Maybe it's because my parents are European but as i got older i realized that lots of other people around my age were raised with alot more restrictions ....

    When i'm a parent i plan on using the same techniques my parents used with me... however with times changing i feel the state would come knocking on my door cause i let my kid play across the street in the playground.

    Don't get me wrong, i almost got into ALOT of trouble.... and probably hurt... but in my opinion kids need that. I've got plenty of scars from growing up, physical and other wise. But i learned from those mistakes early on. I was a jackass kid, pretty wild like no other, i would even say i wouldn't want any of my future kids hanging out with my past child self. But I grew up pretty quick. I started working construction when i was 13 with my dad cause he needed my help. He decided to start up his own company. He only had 2 other workers, and said at the dinner table that it was tough, so i offered to help. At that age i felt i was ready to stop goofing off and help out the family. I feel that the sooner u can get the "kid" out of you the sooner and better off you are.

    Hope i didn't ramble too much lol
     
  7. Principessa

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  8. Pitbull

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    Daughter was never out of anyone's sight until - older than she should have been with such supervision. My wife had more paranoia than needed, I'm sure.

    My son is special needs and although 10 - will disappear without supervision.

    When I was young - I guess I was very free range.
    (And luckily I do not remember this incident)

    I was outside playing with a younger friend in the backyard.
    My mom was in the house with the friends mother - checking on us from the window from time to time.
    We wandered about 100 ft from the house and I stepped on a yellowjacket nest.
    We both go stung dozens of times before our parents we able to get us inside.
    It was my second birthday.
    The friend was 2 months younger than me.

    Free range or maybe Wild Kingdom.
     
  9. NotSoDumb_Blonde

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    Exactly! I was thinking the same thing. Geesh, the guy needs to get outside of his street a little more. LOL, I was thinking chickens and all kinds of farm animals. heeeheee

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. Dave NoCal

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    Trying to protect children while encouraging their independence has got to be one of the more difficult balancing acts there is.
    I live in an area that is pretty safe from humans due to isolation, a gated road, and several law enforcement neighbors. Still, we have critters. People here seem to let their children move about pretty freely on quads, fishing in the pond, riding dirt bikes, etc... I'm sure they tell them to watch out for rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and bears (yes, we have them all). A lot of the kids are accompanied by a friend and/or sibling and/or a large dog. One neighbor lets his daughters move around pretty freely in the neighborhood, accompanied by a gigantic bull mastiff. Its paws are bigger than my dogs are!
    When I was a kid living in the country, if school was out, my mother would pack me a lunch and tell me to be home by supper. Usually I rode my horse all day. At the time I just thought it was cool. It's only in retrospect I realise how difficult that must have been for her.
    Dave
     
  11. D_Methamphetamine Blowvein

    D_Methamphetamine Blowvein Account Disabled

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    Ummmm....no. Not a free range parent. I live in a rural area, but am still adamant that someone have eyes on him AT ALL TIMES. I don't want my family to be a statistic.
     
  12. Principessa

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    Sadly, the world is a much different place from when I was a child. :frown1: I get that it is hard to strike a balance between being a helicopter mom and free-range parenting. I hope I am able to meet the challenge when the time comes.



    FWIW: I grew up in NJ & love the ocean; I am a total beach baby. But if I ever move to a landlocked state it will be either Kentucky, Wisconsin, or maybe Minnesota. I met the nicest people there when I traveled for work. :smile: Plus, I found the rural areas quite beautiful. :cool:
     
  13. AlteredEgo

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    When I first heard Dr. Phil say Free-Range Parents I was doing something else in the room and not paying attention. My ears perked up because I imagined some sort of communal, prairie parent. :tongue: :biggrin1: Moms & dads just running around on the plain nekkid, playing hopscotch, and kickball or something. :lmao: [/QUOTE]

    You're not totally alone! That's EXACTLY what I expected to read about when I saw this thread.
     
  14. L_Lynn

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    Love that idea. More parents should be running around nekked, playing hopscotch and kickball!

    I have a 7 (almost 8) year old daughter and I try to be somewhere between helicopter and free range. It depends on the place and situation. Walking through an airport, we hold hands. Walking down the sidewalk, she can walk ahead (tho she usually chooses to hold my hand). When we lived walking distance to her school, I would walk her and pick her up. Going to the playground across the street from our house, where I can keep an eye on her from two rooms, she can go by herself. Hanging out in Barnes & Noble, she can wander the kids section alone. In a local restaurant we frequent, she can go to the restroom without me.

    So you tell me... free-range or helicopter?
     
  15. wallabie434

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    I was a total free range kid- started taking the public bus home from school alone in 4th grade, never really had a curfew, parents never tried to force me to do activities or participate in things that I didn't want to do. Not that they didn't care about me or were putting me in danger-- just that they figured that I should experience things for myself without anyone looking over my shoulder, and learn how to be independent.

    Two points about "free range kids"- one, I think this style of parenting really depends on the kid in question. I wasn't much of a rebel and didn't get into trouble, so giving me a long leash was a low risk proposition. For wilder kids, I can understand why they need more oversight- but sooner or later, they're gonna have to learn how to navigate the world by themselves, or they're gonna rebel in order to do it.

    Two, there's this fear that people have, I think, that the world is a really dangerous place, and that unsupervised kids are inevitably going to get taken advantage of, get kidnapped, or maim/injure/kill themselves. A lot of this is, in my opinion, totally overblown, mostly by the media- you hear in the news about every instance of unsupervised kids getting into shit, but those events happen in such small numbers and in such extraordinary circumstances that the costs of limiting a kid's exposure to the world far exceed the benefits of keeping him "safe", though sheltered. I grew up in a big city with a fair amount of violent crime, living near three notorious projects, and I never once felt threatened (and to this never never have). Really glad I had that experience as opposed to a more sheltered one.
     
  16. Viking_UK

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    I was definitely a free-range kid, but I had older sisters and cousins who all played together. We grew up in a rural location and everyone round about knew who we were and sort of kept an eye out for us, so we weren't totally unsupervised. The main dangers we faced were falling over cliffs and drowning, so once our parents were satisifed that we were sensible enough not to do something completely stupid, they just let us go.

    However, these days, I think people are more worried about their kids - especially having them snatched - and I can't blame parents for being protective. However, it's about striking a balance between keeping them safe and letting them learn for themselves what's safe and what's not.
     
  17. sam1956

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    Those of us who were born in the 50's tended to be totally free range kids.Remember that we were baby-boomers and there were lots of kids around.It was also a generation that everyone had permission to hit your kids,from the school to the neighbors and then tell you so you could beat them again.We all did run free no supervision but hardly anyone was fat we all stayed outside within yelling distance in the summer till dark.And as long as our parents thought they knew where we were could stay out till 10 at least.I also don't remember anyone getting into too much trouble
     
  18. Daisy

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    Don't even get me started. This is a HUGE problem!!! In the suburbs people honestly teach their kids that the world is a terrible place and that child molesters are lurking at every corner waiting to kidnap you. You have to wear a helmet to walk down the street and mommy needs to volunteer at school so she doesn't have to leave your side. Its a BIG problem!! How can I teach my kids that they can be independent and that the sky isn't going to fall when all of the parents around me can't seem to accept that their school age children aren't toddlers? I could go on and on about this but basically yes, this is something that has to change or we're going to end up with yet another generation of weak, entitled kids who take their moms to job interviews and can't make an intelligent decision to save their lives.

    Also check out: Home - NWF Green Hour
     
  19. EagleCowboy

    EagleCowboy Well-Known Member

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    Growing up in the '70's and '80's, we were free range kids. Granted back then, it was a much safer world. Sort of. Didn't really have to worry about child snatchers, or the slave trade, or crazy wanna-be parents snatching you because they can't have their own kids.

    During the school months, we lived way out in the sticks. Our closest neighbor was 1/2 mile, the closest store was 2 miles. Kind of hard to get into trouble but we managed. Riding bikes and crashing, climbing trees and falling, sledding down steep hills into a non-traveled road, sledding behind a pickup, getting inside 55 gallon drums and rolling down steep hills, skinny dipping in the pond, riding in the bed of pickups. No safety equipment of any kind............scratches, broken bones, scars (chicks dig scars), those were the days.........................

    The summers we would spend in Houston. No supervision while the parents were at work. Armed with an allowance, and a 10 speed, it's amazing just what kind of trouble you can get into without your parents knowing just as long as we made it home before they got there. That and disconnecting the porno channel you learned to pirate so the parents didn't find out.

    Looking back, it was a good thing that we had that kind of freedom. We got to explore, experiment, touch, and interact with the world around us. We learned to deal with different things and figure things out for ourselves without our parents guiding us. If we crashed the bike badly, or broke an arm, we learned to deal with it ourselves, learned to pick ourselves up off the ground, deal with it, and try again.

    Now my brothers remember what hellions they were and keep a tight reign with their kids. UNTIL they come stay with me for a while. And they love it because I let them be KIDS. Swimming without the coast guard and life jackets, no EMS on standby, riding BMX bikes with no helmet, elbow or knee pads, take them racing in the cars, or off roading in the 4X4, letting them drive the tractor or bulldozer, taking the horses to the store by themselves, things we got to do when we were kids. Before you freak out, they're not totally unsupervised. The more dangerous things like the bulldozer, I'm there, but letting them learn on their own. They have a blast!! Their parents freak out!!

    I can see where parents want to protect their kids, but C'MON!! Protect them from real dangers like kidnappers, not themselves. LET THEM BE KIDS WITHOUT YOU holding their hands for every little thing!! Things like making them wear full dress safety gear JUST to ride their bikes to the store and back is overkill!! Kids bounce very well.

    When my nephews and nieces were living with me for a few years, I was hit with what I thought was an ODD school policy. My driveway is barely 8 car lengths long. You can see the house from the road. If I was not out there to pick up the kids, the bus driver would CALL me and not let the kids off the bus until I walked out of the house TO the bus!! When I was little, living way out in the sticks, our driveway was almost a 1/2 mile long. We got dropped off at the end, and walked home. Parents never met us at the end of the driveway, nor were they ever required to. I don't get it.
     
  20. D_Petherick_Poundlouder

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    I feel that is true. I was one of those wild kids...for a few years. The normal trouble years, around 7th to 10th grade. The puberty years, where I got in trouble for totally ridicilous crap when I look back. For a moment there I was a bad kid, and sort of put myself on a short leash. Didn't turn into the social bee (not butterfly) until that junior year in high school.

    Since then I haven't had much a problem. Well...not that much of a problem. When I look around and drive pass bus stops it looks like a midget assembly line conducted by an overseer. Somewhere deep in me screams this is wrong. I feel like they are building too big a wall and comfort zone for these kids to really grow into themselves.

    But thats just me. I won't raise my kids like that, no matter how violent they spin their stories on the news. The world isn't all that bad.

    Or maybe I've been listening to too much Pink Floyd.
     
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