May 09, 2008

Free Range Kids

First off - let me say, I don't have any kids. So I'm not qualified to make any statements on this subject. It doesn't stop me from stirring the pot, however.

From Free Range Kids:
When I wrote a column for The New York Sun on “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Take The Subway Alone,” I figured I’d get a few e-mails pro and con.

Two days later I was on the Today Show, MSNBC, FoxNews and all manner of talk radio with a new title under my smiling face: “America’s Worst Mom?”

Yes, that’s what it took for me to learn just what a hot-button this is — this issue of whether good parents ever let their kids out of their sight. But even as the anchors were having a field day with the story, many of the cameramen and make up people were pulling me aside to say that THEY had been allowed to get around by themselves as kids– and boy were they glad. They relished the memories!

Had the world really become so much more dangerous in just one generation?Yes — in most people’s estimation. But no — not according to the evidence. Over at the think tank, where they examine the way the media use statistics, researchers have found that the number of kids getting abducted by strangers actually holds very steady over the years. In 2006, that number was 115, and 40% of them were killed.

Any kid killed is a horrible tragedy. It makes my stomach plunge to even think about it. But when the numbers are about 50 kids in a country of 300 million, it’s also a very random, rare event. It is far more rare, for instance, than dying from a fall off the bed or other furniture. So should we, for safety’s sake, all start sleeping on the floor?"

Free Range Kids is a blog for "anyone who thinks that kids need a little more freedom and would like to connect to people who feel the same way."

As I said - I'm totally unqualified to speak on this subject, but I live in a very safe rural area and am daily astounded to see parents waiting with children for the bus. They can't even wait for a school bus by themselves???

When these nanny-house children get to the age of military service, how in the hell are they ever going to be able to get to boot camp (let alone deployment) if mom can't come with to wipe their asses?

Over-coddling children is contrary to the American spirit, if you ask me.

Free range parents, I salute you!

Posted by Chai-Rista at May 9, 2008 11:44 AM | TrackBack

I let my 8 year old 11 year old go to the bus stop alone (they are not together, the oldest's bus is at 7:25 and the middle boy's is at 8:40), but I go with the twin 6 year olds (their bus is at 7:50).

The older two are capable of going by themselves and have a enough sense to come home if they miss the bus. The twins are in kindergarten and at this point have to be supervised. They should be ready by third grade.

So I give them some free range, but at age appropriate levels.

Posted by: Sarah G. at May 9, 2008 12:57 PM

Mixed feelings. While I think we are raising a generation with absolutely no sense of personal responsibility or judgment, I also suspect that there are far more dudes out there preparing to make woman suits out of the innocent than there were in the past. I guess I take a middle position. Let the kids roam free, but arm them.

Posted by: The Abbot at May 9, 2008 02:18 PM

That falling off the bed comment was aimed at me, wasn't it?

And now that the mattress is resting on the floor, I don't fall off anymore, so there!


Posted by: Pep at May 9, 2008 03:50 PM

I was allowed to either walk or ride my bike the mile to and from school by myself starting in the first grade. My mom picked the route and made sure there were a couple of houses along it where we knew the occupants and I could stop if I ran into some sort of issue.

And look how well I turned out! Nevermind.

Posted by: bobgirrl at May 9, 2008 06:14 PM