Dan Emery’s three kids are 21, 18, and 15. They live in a suburb outside of New York and grew up being allowed to go places on their own, make their own money from odd jobs, and deal with their own minor issues at school.
In a piece over at Let Grow Dan (owner of the NY Guitar School) interviews them about how these Free-Range experiences forged them. The answers should give us all some support for loosening the leash. For instance, one of his kids said she was glad she got to be out and about on her own, adding, “I feel like the parents of many kids told them to never walk alone, and accidentally taught them to be paranoid and suspicious. But we felt confident and we had so much fun walking around.â€
As for schoolwork, they were glad that even if they got a C, it was their C.
Dan admits some mistakes he made along the way, too. But all in all, if you’re hoping for a heartening glance in the Free-Range crystal ball, here you go.
“Well dad, it was really cool, when I got to wander around the neighborhood and visit friends. The teachers raved about my maturity and problem solving ability, when I solved problems with other kids. And the things I learned to do put me miles ahead of my other friends, who mostly spent the time in the basement, never getting let out alone to play and do crazy stuff.
“Of course I missed you, but my foster dad did say you’d get out of prison, eventually. I’m sure glad I got that scholarship, because for awhile it looked dire that you had to spend my college fund on lawyers and a criminal defense, to that child neglect charge.
“All in all, it turned out great for me. I’m sorry it cost you so much.”
I can’t recall a parent replying he wished his parents had helicoptered more. Yet when I ask why not the same Free-Ranging for your kids, most just shrug. Some peddle nonsense (as Lenore has well-documented) that the world has become a more dangerous place. I suspect from similar internet, “news” sources, but don’g really know.