How Can We Give Our Kids Freedom When It’s Supposedly “Dangerous?”

Hi Readers! I was reading this lovely link one of you sent in,  nodding along with the whole gestalt, and then suddenly found myself quoted. Nice feeling! Here’s the beginning of the piece, which appears in SFGate.com, the San Francisco Chronicle’s web site:

How Do We Teach Kids Independence in a Fear-Driven World? by Amy Graff

My 7-year-old daughter, Paris, spent a week with her grandparents this summer in the tiny coastal town of Gearhart, Ore.

If you ask Paris what her favorite thing was about the trip, she won’t tell you the about the root beer floats she and her grandfather enjoyed nightly, nor about the festive parade that passed through town on the Fourth of July. She won’t tell you about getting her first-ever pair of Crocs (something I refused to buy her), nor about learning to ride a bike without training wheels.

Rather she’ll tell you about going to the store with her 7-year-old friend Annabelle. She’ll tell you that she and her friend walked six blocks all by themselves to the corner grocery store where they spent their pocket change on candy.

When my daughter returned from her vacation and told me this, her eyes grew big and excited and she started jumping up and down and flapping her hands. This was the sort of sheer joy a parent almost only witnesses on Christmas morning. And it wasn’t the candy that made her so happy. It was the fact that she had done something without an adult standing on the sidelines watching.

…. I practically cried when my daughter told me this–not because I disapproved of her walking to the store with a girl named Annabelle who I’ve never even met. I nearly cried because I realized my daughter is deprived of freedom. She’s growing up in a fear-driven world where an adult has to watch every move she makes. She’s rarely allowed to step outside an adult’s eyesight unless she’s locked up inside her own house. If I had been there in Gearhart with my daughter, I probably wouldn’t have allowed her to walk those six blocks….

Read it (and weep) here! And maybe come up with some good ideas for all of us on how to loosen the reins AND deal with busybodies, all while keeping our kids pretty darn safe. Thanks! — Lenore

Recent Tweets of Interesting Stuff!

Hi Readers! I know not everyone’s on Twitter, but I’m always posting little tidbits there that maybe aren’t big enough to warrant a whole blog post. So in case you missed ’em, here are some recent Tweets. (And if you want to join Twitter, just click here.) My tag, or screen name, whatever it’s called, is, of course, freerangekids. — Lenore

* 7th graders discover cool thing on Mars. (So why are they “too young” to do anything else, like stay home alone?) http://yhoo.it/9hx5po

* Brilliant Wall St. Journal piece by Bryan Caplan on how we don’t have to work so hard at parenting: http://bit.ly/bjsTcE

* My take on “Friendship Coaches” for kids. Because, you know, they get friendship all wrong without professional help.http://bit.ly/avsWyx

* Kids now have to be 12, not 10, at local pool (w/ lifeguard) without parent. That would’ve kept me inside 2 more yrs. http://bit.ly/cvVNuM

* GREAT San Fran essay: Can I leave my kids in the car when I run back into the house? (And why is this even a worry?): http://bit.ly/bNw1HR

* What you should REALLY be afraid of: A chart! (No, don’t be afraid OF the chart. It’s a chart of dangers.) http://bit.ly/cvjffb

And plenty more! — L.