Teaching Kids Fear (And Calling it “Empowerment!”)

Folks — Got this note today and had to share, so it’s not just ME going, “I am so sick of people amping up fear so as to tamp it down with some product or program!” While I haven’t seen or heard of this program, the way the writer describes it, it sounds excessive. – L. 
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Dear Free-Range Kids: Are you familiar with the program radKIDS? It is a safety course for children that is extremely popular with the local moms where I live. I have not sent my children, but I have had the opportunity to eavesdrop on the class as it occurs at the same time as my son’s gymnastics lesson.
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Some of it, I can ALMOST see… how to talk to a bully on the bus, who to tell if someone is bothering a child. (Although why parents aren’t just having these conversations at home instead of paying someone to do it, I have no idea.) However, some of the “stranger danger” safety measures seem completely beyond insane. Many of the children in this class are 8-12 years old (I’ve asked the instructor) and yet they’re told to hold hands in crowded places NO MATTER WHAT.
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Granted, I subscribe to Free-Range Parenting or I wouldn’t even know about you, but it’s not even physically possible for me to hold my kids’ hands all the time (I’ve got 4 under 9 years old) unless I get some kind of additional prosthetic limbs. And more importantly, I wouldn’t want to. As our one nod to “safety,” we’ve recently invested in some really high-powered Motorola walkie talkies and let our kids roam freely whenever they want. Our six year old has Type I diabetes, hence we like him to be able to call home if there’s an emergency  (and he and his siblings are 2 miles away in the woods, as they usually are). And to be honest, we mostly got them because we could never find the kids at all when it was time for soccer practice or dinner!
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Anyway, they have spent the last FOUR weeks talking about stranger abductions at radKIDS. I was appalled. It is never-ending fear-mongering. Although I’m thrilled to give kids a sense of confidence and empowerment, I fear these children are leaving class thinking every human who “hasn’t been invited over for dinner” is a true danger to them. (That is the instructor’s definition of a stranger.)
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Just wondering if you’ve crossed paths with the program at all and if you have any Free-Rangers who have sent their children. My friends think I’m nuts and negligent for thinking this course is over the top and that I just let my kids “wander around without any supervision” all the time.  Such is the life of a Free-Range Parent, I guess. I doubt these parents hear from their kids’ teachers how “delightfully independent and capable” their children are like we do, so I’ll put up with the snarky comments and keep on keepin’ on. - Carrie
I want YOU to worry more…about creepy guys like ME.

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