And A Lovely Free-Range Anniversary Present

This note! And all the others!

Dear Free-Range Kids: I don’t exactly remember when or how I stumbled across this site – but I recall that when I did I had been feeling absolutely miserable with being a parent.  Sad but true.  I was inundated with everyone telling me that to be a good parent I had to play with my kids all the time, follow them everywhere, watch them always and I noticed how I didn’t even exist anymore and to top it off, everyone was telling me that THAT was parenthood!  I hated it and was growing fast resentful of my situation — a horrible prospect for anyone supposed to cherish their children’s childhood.

I remember the first day reading this site, though.  I looked at my kids, gave them a watch, told them be back in 30 minutes.  When they came back — I won’t ever forget the absolute glow on their faces… and I sent them out for 30 more.

Now, they walk to and from school every day (rain, and sleet, and snow, and..), they go outside for 2-3 hours at a time and play around the neighborhood, they take the cart back to the cart corrals on occasion at the store, they are capable of being left to their own devices in a department store… and I was finally able to find myself again and share that person with my children.  Needless to say, we were all much happier as a family… finally, rather than the boa constrictor approach to parenthood, we could breathe, relax, love, and learn.

Thanks to you, Lenore, and all the other parents on here who helped me to see the real world, seek rationality, and provide independence and THOUGHT for my children.  I hope we’re all here to help all those people who come along that were in my shoes.

13 Responses

  1. Awwwww yay! ❤ Happy Anniversary, Lenore!

  2. So, Lenore, if you ever feel that you and your blog and li’l Izzy* are not making a difference, just read this note again. Happy anniversary!

    Andy

    * Izzy Skenazy — what a great name!

  3. Absolutely, this philosophy gives us the freedom to let our children be children and adults be adults… empowering to all.

  4. I feel the same way! Between this blog and the Love and Logic parenting model, I have the tools to raise my kids the way I know in my heart will be successful. I am so grateful to be able to work toward raising happy, independent, responsible children without sacrificing my entire being.

    Oh I still make sacrifices as a mother, and some days that is overwhelming, but those are the big, important kind of sacrifices that make a huge difference, not the small, inconsequential sacrifices that stifle them AND me.

    Not only do these tools help me feel like a more successful parent, they also help me to cherish my kids and enjoy this time I have with them. I know that in about five seconds they will be all grown up.

    I wish I had these tools ten years ago. I think I would have enjoyed their baby and toddler years more than I did. But at least I have them now!

    Thank you!

  5. I’d like to add that this site (and other like-minded parents elsewhere) are responsible for me even considering motherhood.

    I was overwhelmed with how much of my life and myself I’d need to be giving up to be a mother. I wanted to have children to love and guide, not watch their every move in case they stumbled, fear every stranger who might ever talk to them. I didn’t remember my own mother (who was overprotective by a lot of standards) doing that stuff. I’d decided not to have children because it seemed like such a soul-sucking experience.

    But it’s a relief to know that motherhood doesn’t need to be that way, and, in fact, shouldn’t be that way. We’re planning on trying for a baby next year, and I feel much better about the whole thing now. Thanks, guys.🙂

  6. I just found this site today and I’m in LOVE!

    I’ve always thought children have been coddled too much which is why it’s taking them longer and longer to become adults (where “30 is the new 20”). I work at a community college and I see it daily, parents who insist on calling in for their children or standing in front of them when they need to take care of business.

    About 3 years ago I won custody of my two boys, now 11 and 8. My ex has done damned near everything to prevent my mothering of them (including calling Child Protective Services three times – for things as stupid as pants being too tight – and having my younger son call the police when I left them alone for literally 5 minutes at home). Well, not to go into *too* much detail, I’ve been so worried about looking over my shoulder for what my ex will do next, that I became a paranoid mother (VERY paranoid).

    I tried to draw on my own experiences and raise my boys accordingly. For example, I gave each of my boys “the Talk” when they were 7 or 8 because when I was that old my first boyfriend asked me to have sex and I had no clue what he was talking about. I don’t want my sons to be fathers in high school because they were ill-informed. But that’s only one example.

    Because of my paranoia, I’m only just now letting my boys outside “alone” for a time and starting to allow them to stay alone at home for a half hour at a time. This after my older son has been begging to have more responsibility (to cook, deliver papers, etc). Well, I’ve been so worried about molding in to what my ex, my parents, and my friends think is best that I’m not letting him live as a child and grow up!

    Wow, long story there. Point being… THANK YOU. We can’t let our children become well-adjusted adults if we never let them have freedoms and responsibilities along the way. We cannot expect they will know how to handle college or the workplace if we don’t let them handle the playground and making eggs.

    This has been a very welcomed breath of fresh air. (I’ve signed up for the email updates and I plan on buying your book!)

  7. Yea! And just think, your kids with have those “10 miles to school uphill both ways in the snow” stories to tell their kids when they complain. What will the coddled kids tell their kids? (Well MY ipod only had 16 gig, and my parents didn’t even let me pick it out).

  8. Completely agree! For whatever reason I’ve never been inclined to be incredibly protective of my kids, and this has earned me some raised eyebrows, both at the playground and from my own family. Being able to come here and see that not only am I not criminally negligent but in fact in good company is a sanity saver.

    I honestly don’t understand how the helicopter parents do it – I’d go completely insane if I spent that much time and energy worrying about my kids.

  9. Sigh….this is so nice🙂 I have boys so i feel your pain. I used to look at people in total bewilderment and say “no he won’t fall…sheesh…” This site made me think back. We got basically locked out of the house all day on the weekends, my mom worked nights, and the whole neighborhood was locked outside. We used to hit old people up for lunch or cookies here and there. The neighbors had 13 kids, there was no danger or drama. we walked almost a mile to the bus stop, no sidewalks, one of the streets was pretty busy, no one hit us with their cars. no crossing guard. oh and if we missed the bus and had trudge back home and get my mother out of bed we were dead. yes, she went to SLEEP after work, didn’t drive us to the bus or wait for the bus to come… she went to bed. and the neighbor with 13 kids didn’t have a car so THEY had to wake up MY mom if they missed the bus🙂 hahaha.
    And once when my 6 year old was being a PAIN about only eating scrambled eggs my mom said “well he just better learn to cook them himself” so he did. and he could relax cause he could make himself eggs, and then pancakes, then waffles. he loved it but people really get on your case if they know your 6 year old can make waffles…cause you know he could burn the house down. :0

  10. Hi – I discovered you only about a month or two ago. I was on a mommy blog rampage, reading everything I could find, in search of something specific that I could not identify – I just knew I would know it when I found it. I started to get frustrated – yes, there are many amazing mom blogs out there that talk about their marriages, their work/life balance, their child’s special need, their adorable happy face sandwiches…they were ABOUT being a mom, and I was looking for something that was about being a person who is also a parent. Then I found you.

    One of the other commenters mentions Love & Logic. I read that when my daughter was 6 months old and have stayed true to the philosophy ever since – let your kids take small risks when they’re small, and they can take on more responsibility for their life as they grow. The first time my daughter went all the way up the jungle gym and down the slide by herself, I was giddy with pride . The woman walking her equally aged child by the hand to the slide gave me a look I find difficult to describe, except to say it hurt my feelings and it was very judgmental. Since then, I’ve had many awkward parenting conversations that fizzle into dead silence. I get that I’m supposed to feel like a bad parent, and it’s a bit of a lonely feeling but I KNOW that my child deserves a life where she does not have to depend on us for her every move, decision, and need. We may have brought her into this world, but hers is not our life to live – we just have to protect her as best as possible while letting her explore and take reasonable risks. This is what creates resiliency, strength of determination, and ambition. Thank you for your funny, inspiring, and yes, sometimes anger-inducing blog. I stand with you.

  11. I agree that you have made a difference. Your blog and the voices of reason in the comments have helped me to stay strong everytime the in-laws call to scream about how I don’t care what happens to my kids because they are allowed to ride their bikes a mile to the library. They’re 9 and 12 for goodness sake! I might have caved without this site so thanks.

  12. Hear, hear!

    We are all work in progress, thank you Lenore for helping us get there! Love your book, blog and all things Free Range!

    Look, they even named a book after you and your son:
    “Izzy and Lenore”

    http://www.amazon.com/Izzy-Lenore-Dogs-Unexpected-Journey/dp/0812977742/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270300039&sr=8-1

  13. Filed under boa constrictor?

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