Free-Range and the Freaked-Out Mom

Hey Readers — This is very cool. Last weekend I gave a Free-Range talk in Tucson. (Want one in your community? Check out Speaking Engagements, above). Anyway, there I met a woman who’d written to this blog very early on, and whose story I actually included in my book (pp. 51-52). Her name is Amy and she let her grade school boys bike three blocks away to a friend’s house and the friend’s mom accompanied them home, “just in case.”

Well here’s what happened a day or two after the Free-Range talk, with Amy and another skittish mom:

Dear Lenore, I recently got my anxious neighbor, Allison, to read some of your book.  She decided to take one of the ‘Free Range Baby Steps’ and let her 5 year old daughter cross the street without holding her hand.

Allison said that normally her daughter goofs off when crossing the street, pretending to faint while pulling on her mother’s arm or swinging it hard back and forth.  So Allison was very hesitant to let her cross the street without holding her hand because she thought of her daughter as so goofy and distractable.  But she found that when her daughter was given the responsibility to look both ways and make sure it was safe to cross, suddenly that goofiness disappeared and she took the job seriously.  She looked carefully for cars and crossed the street quickly and calmly!

First off, let’s hear it for Allison — being open-minded enough to read a book not totally in synch with her parenting style, and even try one of the tips out! And then let’s hear it for that ol’ one-two punch: Giving kids a little freedom and a little responsibility. Thus does the world begin to change! — Lenore