Free Range Parenting: Dangerous or Freeing?

Photo Credit: AMC's Great Kids, Great Outdoors

Lenore Skenazy has started a new movement of parenting, free-range parenting. It is based on the notion “that we can give our children the same kind of freedom we had [as kids] without going nuts with worry,” Skenazy says. “When you let children out, all the good things happen – the self-confidence, happiness, and self-sufficiency that come from letting our kids do some things on their own,” she says.

The question that has come to light, especially after Skenazy’s appearance on the Dr. Drew Show, is just how safe or dangerous is this idea? We all know that things were different when we grew up. We played outside and roamed the woods until dark. So why aren’t we letting our children do the same? Skenazy likes to point out how important it is to base your philosophy on your neighborhood. But when I asked myself why I don’t let my kids have the freedom that I had, the obvious answer is this: Knowledge. Blame it on technology or whatever, the fact is that I KNOW what is happening around me. I know that someone who seems nice may be hiding a dark secret. I know that terrible things happen when you least expect them. You can’t predict disasters. So for me, it just makes sense to keep a watchful eye on my children until they’re old enough to fight off an attacker. My parents let me roam because they didn’t think anything bad could or would happen. Fortunately for them, they were right. Some might say lucky.

What’s your take? Would you let your child roam free? Just because I don’t let mine loose on the subways of NYC, that doesn’t make me a hovering helicopter mom. There’s always a nice middle ground.

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