The BBC Ponders Our Point

Hi Readers — The BBC just wrote up a little piece about Free-Range Kids. Then they invited folks from across the world to comment. Here it is, so far — with folks mostly saying freedom and independence help build strong, happy kids. The station does quote one mom saying, “free-range should only be for chickens.”  I’m sure you’ll be shocked that she is an American.  Have a jolly good time! — Lenore

21 Responses

  1. wow. free-range SHOULD be for chickens, but can’t a reasonable adult see that confining a child is every bit as cruel as caging a chicken for many of the same reasons and even more reasons that are better?

  2. Our kids should have more freedom than our meal!🙂

  3. […] The BBC Ponders Our Point « FreeRangeKids […]

  4. Okay, maybe this is exaggerated, but it really feels like people are longing to be relieved of the heavy burden that freedom comes with: RESPONSIBILITY. I have recently been reading Jean Françoise Revel’s “The Totalitarism Temptation” (not sure that is the translated title, sorry), and thought it was just what FRK is all about.
    Dear lady, people should be taught from a young age to act responsibly, and it’s impossible to take responsibility for your own actions if you don’t own any actions at all!

  5. Linky no workie

  6. The chickens are the ones keeping them cooped up.

  7. @Lola…..huh? I think you’ve clearly misunderstood the idea behind free-range parenting. We are all about raising responsible children….we believe independence comes with responsibility. I would never send my kid out on her own if I didn’t think she was responsible enough to handle it. On the flip side of the coin are those parents who take on all the responsibilities for their children, thus never teaching their children to be responsible for themselves. We, on the other hand, teach our kids to be responsible and then say, go for it!

  8. @Lola….upon reading your post again, I think I may have been premature in my response. I think perhaps you were actually agreeing with the FRK idea?? If so, sorry for misinterpreting.

  9. Kim, I think your second impression is right. Lola, that’s a great point. Also, in a twisted way, helicoptering is a way to evade responsibility. You can avoid the responsibility of teaching your children to be independent, the responsibility of “being the adult” if something goes wrong, that kind of thing. As an extreme example, if you lock your kid in his room all day long, you really don’t have much to be responsible for — he’s safe, he can’t get into any trouble, etc. If you let him out to explore the world, you have to both take more active responsibility to teach him how to handle it, and you assume more passive responsibility because things DO go wrong sometimes. Helicoptering is somewhere in between, but more on the “I don’t want to be responsible” side.

  10. @Lola and Pentamom, I totally agree. I think that a lot of overly-controlling systems are all about being able to say “It’s not my fault, I did everything right”. Whether it’s politics, parenting, or big business, if you abdicate the responsibility, you don’t have to worry about the blame falling on you. I think that the parallel that Lola draws is a really important insight into this whole issue.

  11. I really do think that some of it is, or at least results in, the refusal to teach responsibility.

    My kid is 3 years old, and in preschool. Today is their valentine’s day party, and kids were supposed to bring in cards and treats. My thought: if my kid is supposed to bring in cards and treats for “his” party, my kid is going to be engaged in/responsible for producing those, no matter if he’s only 3.

    So, we got cards that have temp tattoos with them (the “treat”). We traced his name in light yellow marker on the cards and he “wrote” over the letters. He stuck the temp tattoos into the cards and sealed them.

    His name may now be completely unreadable on half the cards, and this whole adventure may have taken 3 hours for 20-odd cards. But he was proud of himself, because he did his own valentine cards. And I think that the lesson of “if you want to participate, it’s your responsibility to make sure you can” came through.

  12. Lola, that was great! Love that quote and the argument behind it.

  13. So sad to think that a bird with a brain the size of a peanut potentially has less neurotic supervision and more freedom than a human child.😦

  14. @Dee Hall – My daughter is 4 – her class is older 3’s and young 4’s basically. I had the same attitude as you. She knows how to write her name already so she signed all the cards. She also wrote almost all of her friends’ names – I would spell and she would write. There are a couple letters that she doesn’t know how to write and a couple of difficult names that I did. It may have been more difficult for the teacher to read to put in the boxes but she loved doing it all herself. She even made one for herself, me and the dog. (She took the one for herself to school today to put in her box so I do wonder what the teacher thought about that). Even before she could write, I’d make her pick out the card for each kid and give it to me to write the names so she was doing what she could do.

    I looked through the cards today. My daughter was the only one who wrote both names herself. A handful of kids wrote their own name while the parents wrote the other name – understandable since barely 4 year old handwriting is not very readable. Most were clearly just written by the parents, although I think every kid in the class knows how to write this or her own name at least. I think most was just for expedience sake but I don’t think that you are teaching your kids to take responsibility for their own stuff if you just do it for them at the last minute.

    I’ve noticed the same thing at birthday parties. We’ve been to a ton of them recently and I let my daughter pick out a present for her friend. I was talking to a couple of other moms at the last party and they were talking about picking out presents. I said that I just let my daughter pick the present she is giving and they looked at me like I was crazy. Why is that strange? My daughter knows these kids; I don’t. I don’t know what they like to play with and I’m not interested in impressing the mother of the birthday kid. I ask her first what her friend likes to play with and then let her pick from that section. If she picks something too expensive or too cheap, I tell her no, otherwise, it’s all her.

  15. I made all my older kids fill out their own Valentines. Normally I would have had my 3yo do hers, too (she can write her own name) but we waited until the last minute so I wrote her name on each one and affixed the little tattoo and she put the sticker to hold them closed then collected them all, counted out her treats she was taking and packed her bag. She was so proud of herself.

    I get so much flack online for expecting my kids to have personal responsibility in everything they do. I get it at home, too. My dad is constantly criticizing me because I expect the kids to do things for themselves and I don’t run around after them making sure they got it done and won’t fail and whatever else. My mother never did that with me but he was always working so he has no clue about it. Drives me nuts.

  16. a wise woman once said, “If you want to keep your children’s feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.”

    ’nuff said

  17. link didnt work

  18. This TED talk seems apropos:

    Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life’s most valuable lesson: “I can.” Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents.

  19. I go along with you, I believe! Should it possibly be attainable so that you can have yuor web blog translated into Russian? English is actually my second language.

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