It’s nice to push for this whole Free Range movement, but the fact is, sometimes I’m about as free and fun as a frozen chicken nugget.
That’s because we all have certain things that push our buttons — especially the buttons marked, “IRRATIONAL” and “FEAR.” We are so sure these things are going to hurt our kids, we can’t even think straight. And that’s a fear we pass on.
“Look mom! Shrek is stupid!” said my 10-year-old as we were walking down a city street the other day.
He pointed to a billboard featuring the green monster on a skateboard. “See? It’s dangerous! He could crack his head open!”And I cringed.
Who on earth had taken this fun-loving boy and filled him with skateboard terror? Good ol’ Mrs. “Give Our Children the Carefree Childhood We Had!” Me.
“Um, maybe skateboards aren’t that b-b-bad,” I stammered. “Maybe it’s time for you to try one.”His eyes bugged out. Since when had his mother ever suggested skateboarding was anything other than text- messaging Death: “Meet U @ playground Saturday?” Truly this was a teachable moment€¦for me.
Part of Free Range Parenting means nudging yourself to do something that you have been afraid to try. Or, really, afraid to let your kids try.
Not something crazy — like skateboarding without a helmet. But maybe, letting your kid try skateboarding with a helmet. Or letting your 4th grader cross a street by herself. Or letting your 12-year-old bike to the Dunkin Donuts. These are things they can do if we just let them. So let’s.
In the next week, my Free Range goal is to get my son (and maybe even his brother) onto a skateboard without any of us having a breakdown.
Want to set a Free Range goal, too? Let’s hear all about it — the goal, the execution, the results.
I wish you luck!
You better wish me the same.