Best & Worst Free-Range Kids Moments of 2012

Hi Readers! Over at the Huffington Post today you can read about a bunch of 2012 Free-Range Kids FAILS, including the stories of  parents in two different states arrested for letting their kids play outside unsupervised. (Only one did jail time.) Thanks to Lisa Belkin for requesting the round up!

Meantime, a few weeks back I asked you for best and worst Free-Range moments of 2012. Here are a few — and some more are recounted in the HuffPo post. Let’s toast to a 2013 free of unnecessary fears and restrictions for our kids, and a whole lot of joy. – L.

BEST:  Debra, a new mom in Australia, was in the throes of post-partum depression and her son would not stop crying. “On one of his worst evenings,” she writes, “I lost it. He’d been screaming non-stop for about three hours.… I went into the other room to scream and cry desperately myself when I heard a knock on the door.” There stood a new-ish neighbor. “She said, ‘Hi, what’s his name? How about I take him for a little walk, okay?’” Debra handed over her son and 10 minutes later thought: Oh my God — WHAT HAVE I DONE?  “I hadn’t even asked her name!” Reminding herself that most people are NOT kidnappers, she hurried over to the house she guessed was the woman’s. Ushered in, “I found my baby snuggled well and finally sleeping.” A few days later, Debra dropped by with a thank you box of chocolates. Better still: She knows she can drop by again, with her baby.

BEST: “My 7-year-old stays at school for after-care till around 5. We signed him up for soccer at a park one block away at 4:30,” wrote a mom named Amy. She wanted him to be allowed to leave early, on his own, so she began gearing up for a battle with the authorities: “I calculated how long it would take for him to walk and found crime statistics for the neighborhood.” At last she met with the principal who said…great idea! Now the boy walks to soccer and loves his independence.

WORST: “Just received this email from the school district,” announced a mom named Marie, pasting in the letter: “’Dear Parents: We want to make you aware of an incident this morning that occurred in or near your children’s school attendance area.” What incident? A man in a van attempted to ask a high school student a question. That’s it. A guy asked a question – and inspired school-wide panic.

 WORST: “My two not-so-bad ‘worst’ experiences weren’t  so much personal problems as examples of bureaucratic stupidity that I had to put up with. Both involved my then-19-year-old son,” wrote Pentamom.

“The first one was the permission slip for the traditional last day of school ‘Senior Slip ‘n Slide.’ They set up a slip n’ slide in the stadium that adjoins the school, and the seniors get to play on it for a couple of hours. This is a college-prep magnet school with a very low rate of serious disciplinary problems.

“But still, for a kid who is old enough to be in Afghanistan, learning to be a firefighter, or driving a delivery truck, I had to sign a permission slip that contained the sentence, ‘I understand that my student WILL GET WET.’

“A couple of weeks later we dealt with the clearances for his summer job. In order for him to work cleaning and painting an EMPTY elementary school over the summer, he had to get three clearances — at the cost of ~$50 plus a two-week hiring delay until the clearances came through. All because ‘Better safe than sorry!’”

How about a new motto for next year for, readers? If you’ve got one, send it in! – L.  

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