How Can We Give Our Kids Freedom When It’s Supposedly “Dangerous?”

Hi Readers! I was reading zedffftzhd
this lovely link
one of you sent in,  nodding along with the whole gestalt, and then suddenly found myself quoted. Nice feeling! Here’s the beginning of the piece, which appears in, the San Francisco Chronicle’s web site:

How Do We Teach Kids Independence in a Fear-Driven World? by Amy Graff

My 7-year-old daughter, Paris, spent a week with her grandparents this summer in the tiny coastal town of Gearhart, Ore.

If you ask Paris what her favorite thing was about the trip, she won’t tell you the about the root beer floats she and her grandfather enjoyed nightly, nor about the festive parade that passed through town on the Fourth of July. She won’t tell you about getting her first-ever pair of Crocs (something I refused to buy her), nor about learning to ride a bike without training wheels.

Rather she’ll tell you about going to the store with her 7-year-old friend Annabelle. She’ll tell you that she and her friend walked six blocks all by themselves to the corner grocery store where they spent their pocket change on candy.

When my daughter returned from her vacation and told me this, her eyes grew big and excited and she started jumping up and down and flapping her hands. This was the sort of sheer joy a parent almost only witnesses on Christmas morning. And it wasn’t the candy that made her so happy. It was the fact that she had done something without an adult standing on the sidelines watching.

…. I practically cried when my daughter told me this–not because I disapproved of her walking to the store with a girl named Annabelle who I’ve never even met. I nearly cried because I realized my daughter is deprived of freedom. She’s growing up in a fear-driven world where an adult has to watch every move she makes. She’s rarely allowed to step outside an adult’s eyesight unless she’s locked up inside her own house. If I had been there in Gearhart with my daughter, I probably wouldn’t have allowed her to walk those six blocks….

Read it (and weep) here! And maybe come up with some good ideas for all of us on how to loosen the reins AND deal with busybodies, all while keeping our kids pretty darn safe. Thanks! — Lenore

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35 Responses to How Can We Give Our Kids Freedom When It’s Supposedly “Dangerous?”

  1. Anthony Hernandez August 4, 2010 at 1:54 am #

    Seems like I’m always at the computer when new posts appear. Anyway, here is my answer:

    1) Make sure the kid knows what s/he is doing with regard to traffic safety, etc.

    2) Make sure the kid knows to look for suspicious behaviors, not at whether s/he knows someone or not.

    3) Train the kid to respond to the comments that so many people seem to make as if s/he can’t hear them. You know, the half-whispers clearly intended to give the kid the idea that s/he is doing something wrong without the busybody in question actually having to have the cojones for a direct encounter.

    4) KNOW THE LAW and DO NOT let any cop, social worker, busybody, ec. bully you. You would be amazed how quickly people crumple when you provide solid, well-researched facts.

    5) I read about this in Lenore’s book: Give the kid a letter to carry with them at all times to show anyone who asks. The letter my son carries reads as follows:

    “To whom it may concern,

    Thank you very much for caring enough to check on Logan. He is showing you this letter because he has our permission to be outside and because he is perfectly OK. He has been carefully taught how to be safe outdoors and has demonstrated that he knows where he is, how to cross streets safely, what to do if
    something goes wrong, 9-1-1, etc. He is also carrying a cell phone with a GPS locator so we always know where he is, with all the contacts he needs on speed dial. IF HE NEEDS HELP, HE WILL ASK FOR IT and it is wonderful to know that there are good people like you for him to turn to for assistance when needed.

    His being outdoors is not in violation of any law. Also, per the latest government data (NHTSA and USDOJ), a child outdoors is about 40 times less likely to be killed than a child in a car. This may seem hard to believe but those are the facts.

    If you have any additional questions or concerns, or if Logan is misbehaving in any way, please call Anthony at (415)xxx-xxxx.

    Otherwise, thank you again for making sure he is OK and please let him go about his business without any further delay.


    4) STAND FIRM in the face of all opposition.

  2. Eric August 4, 2010 at 2:22 am #

    I wouldn’t even give a letter to my kid.

    1. I would have taught him everything he needs to know to deal with any situation that he may come across.
    2. I would trust him, because I trust myself.
    3. Teach him to memorize my number (home or mobile), and to call me if anyone should “harass” him
    4. I don’t know about anyone else, but I sure wouldn’t want a wad of folded paper stuffed in my pocket. lol

    That is a nice article though. A mother realizing how her fears have negatively affected her child, that walking to the store without adult supervision was like Christmas day to her. Frankly I find it sad that some children are “locked up” much like a criminal in prison. That the first experience of freedom, is pure and utter joy. Like something they have never experienced or have not experienced in a very, very long time.

    There were some comments that didn’t stick well with me. One in regards to discrediting Lenore’s advocacy. One in particular posted by Pascale (4th post). Now there’s one thing having your own opinion. But to defame someone who speaks of something that you don’t agree with is just plain wrong. If you look at how kids were back 20-30 years ago, and look at the kids now, you can clearly see that we had it much better back then. Not technologically, not materialistically, but emotionally and mentally. And I’m sure many of us (if not all) are still around to talk about it. Maybe Pascale’s life was much like her own kids, because her parents taught her the same fears she’s teaching her kids. And that she is justifying it within herself for her way of bringing up her kid.

    Can’t speak for all Free-Range advocates, but I don’t tell others how to raise their children, but I do inform the cons of helicopter parenting (should it be brought up), and let them know of the alternative. What they decide after that is up to them. It’s their children that will be affected, not me or mine.

  3. Anthony Hernandez August 4, 2010 at 2:31 am #


    The letter fits on a laminatee card that goes in his wallet. It is to be used in those cases where my son explaining that all is well fails–in other words, when simple human concern starts to make the transition into active intrusion on his life and he feels he needs the backup. Cops very rarely use their various defensive tools… but I guarantee you that they all feel better for having them. Same idea.

    As for the defamation, I’ve had more than one person post my web site on here and make disparaging personal remarks. It’s amusing, really, how some people never quite left the schoolyard.

  4. Larry Harrison August 4, 2010 at 2:48 am #

    The way I approach parenting is the way I’ve approached other things, employment especially, with success: I can’t do it well worrying a lot about messing it up and/or worrying about people hovering over my shoulder critiquing how I’m doing it.

    Once I know how to do something, turn me loose, let me do it–and leave me alone. Period.

    So, I do what I think is right, not worrying or concerning myself with busy-bodies. If someone thinks they have to say something, if their tone is respectful–fine, but if it’s a “lecture,” then I lecture back with words that basically say “ain’t your kid, ain’t your business,” because it isn’t their business.

    I do have a hard time not interfering in reverse, though. We have nieces-nephews who aren’t given much freedom by their parents (my wife’s sister) or especially their grandmother (my wife’s mother and her sister’s mother, same person)–but we often-times watch them, and when we do, we turn them loose. They do just fine, so proud of themselves like others have said, they just love it.

    We do try to refrain from lecturing the parents & grand-parents, but at the same time to tell them–they do fine, you should give them a chance. Lacking that, the nieces-nephews are very thankful for the “lifting of the chains” they experience with us. The parents-grand-parents actually haven’t complained, and have been impressed–but they still do things the same way, at least though they don’t prevent the kids from having adventure with us.


  5. Eric August 4, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    @Anthony: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a note, laminated or not. I personally think it’s just a way of trying to justify your own parenting skills in a fear driven society. If someone has a problem with my kid being on his own, and is questioning my parenting, they can talk to me in person and I’ll gladly explain to them myself. Sometimes, some people need to hear it than see it. 😉 That’s all I was saying.

    @Larry: I agree. Kind of reminds me and my brother growing up. We loved spending the majority of our summer at my cousins place. As funny as it seems, my parents were very laxed, much like my aunt and uncle. Having 3 other “brothers” (oldest was 4 years older than me, the youngest 1 year older) just made summer that much more fun. Plus there were more open areas; parks, pools, tennis courts, school yards in their area than in mine. All within walking distance or a bike ride. And we walked and biked everywhere. Places we that were too far we rode the subway. As long as we didn’t spoil our appetites for dinner, and made it home in time to eat, we were “free”. And that is something I want my kids to experience.

    We ran into strangers trying to befriend us, offer us treats, but by the time we were 9 – 12 years of age, we already knew to avoid them. And because we always had each others’ backs, as young as we were, none of them ever tried to assault or kidnap us. It’s that confidence in myself to deal with different situations that I’ve carried through my years. I’m thankful for that freedom to be a kid, because it’s made me who I am today. I like who I am. That’s what I want my kids to grow up like. Believing in themselves, and trusting that they can make the right decisions by themselves.

  6. Estraven August 4, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    Maybe it’s OT, but this post is so awesome (starting with its title) that it makes me feel like going all the way to Australia just to personally thank the writer!

  7. Anthony Hernandez August 4, 2010 at 3:41 am #

    @Eric, you’re right.

    I’ve had the cops called on me twice. Once because I was sitting quietly reading a book at a playground while my son was a couple hundred yards off playing and some nancy thought I was at the playground alone. (The horror: a man at a playground reading a PHYSICS BOOK, OH NO!!!) The other was when my son was a block away from home doing his wash at the Laundromat.

    So yes, I am more than a little lerry of the fear-ridden mouth-breathers these days.

  8. Eric August 4, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    @Estraven: Thanks for sharing that. Prime example of never under estimate kids. Give them the opportunity, they can surprise you. I’m also glad to hear that article didn’t go into”some of the adults withing eyeshot started leering at me, like I was up to no good with the kids”.

    @Anthony: That’s right, I remember your post about your kid getting harassed by the police while he was doing his laundry. Not all police, but I’ve known a few, that when you need them they’re nowhere to be found, or they take forever to get to your call. But they are always around at the most inopportune time. Don’t have anything against police (some of my friends are cops), but I do have something against a holier than thou attitude and enforcing it on others. Good for you to take the stand, cop or no cop.

  9. Donna August 4, 2010 at 4:41 am #

    I loved the comments. Really, kids can’t go out alone for fear that they’ll run into needles and used condoms? And they can’t go barefoot because antibiotics are unreliable and a cut foot might be dangerous? Just shows that this fear is so ingrained that even if you discount the main fear that some will come up with a million other ridiculous reasons for not letting their children out of their sight.

  10. GB August 4, 2010 at 5:00 am #

    I honestly don’t think it’s wise to allow two 7 year olds to walk blocks without supervision.

    It might make you feel better to have gone over the rules, given them cards, etc, but time and time again it’s shown that chidren “forget” the rules and disregard parental warnings if the right situation presents itself.

  11. BrianJ August 4, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    @Anthony – you wrote “As for the defamation, I’ve had more than one person post my web site on here and make disparaging personal remarks. It’s amusing, really, how some people never quite left the schoolyard.”

    I gotta call bs a bit here. On at least one occasion, the posting of your web site was in response to you saying that her kids should be taken away because she is an ordained minister.

    Other than that, I agree with you 🙂

    In other words, you threw the first stone, so you don’t get to complain when stones get thrown at you.

  12. Anthony Hernandez August 4, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    @Brian — Yes, however I did not say which church she belongs to, her cult-of-choice, or provide any personally identifiable information. I neither know nor care who she is or which particular cult she promotes. She’s religious, ergo she and all like her have no business rearing or being anywhere near children for any reason whatsoever. If I could render all religious families childless, I would do it without a moment’s hesitation without singling her out in any way.

    If this sounds bigoted, well, my belief system is not the one with thousands of years of blood on its hands.

  13. AndreaS August 4, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    I do think there is fear. But, more than that, what I THINK might be going on is turbo-conscientious parenting that is actually self-obsession (and selfishness) in disguise (and that is perhaps more politically correct). It gives people permission to obsess about THEIR kids, and to distrust those strange not-as-good-as-us people out there in the world.

    It’s like: “hey…I am just doing my best parenting job” and the subtle insinuation is that if you weren’t a lazy parent you’d be just as hovering. As many people on this site have said, helicoptering has many clear deleterious effects. So, this obsessive behavior from the adults isn’t REALLY about the kids…it’s about them being an award-winning parent.

  14. BrianJ August 4, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    @Anthony – I’m not arguing the merits of your beliefs (which are fine as long as you don’t impose, or attempt to impose, them on anyone else). I’m stating that when one person says “your’re children should be taken away” to another person, that first person really shouldn’t be surprised when the second person says pretty nasty things back to them.

    In other words, I’m arguing for civil discourse in this little community. Publicly declaring that other members of the community are not fit to be parents is almost the very definition of un-civil discourse, regardless of reason. But especially if you know very little about that specific individual and his or her specific beliefs or practice.

    @Lenore – I apologize for hijacking this thread. Would you please start one about the the guidelines of discourse on this board. I think that we are generally pretty good here, but I would like to see the community weigh in on what they think is OK and what is out of bounds.

  15. Janet August 4, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    I am a reasonably happy free-range parent, who allows her 7yo and 5yo to walk together to school. But they have no roads to cross.

    I am pretty certain that your average American driver is about the same as your average Australian driver – fairly self-focused, intent on getting from A to B in the least possible time, and impatient if obstacles are placed in his/her way. (At least, when I lived in the US up until 3 years ago, this is what I remember. Either that, or they are so self-absorbed that they just plain fail to notice there is anyone else – pedestrian or vehicular – on the road.)

    So my concern about letting my 7yo walk six blocks would be traffic. Even pedestrian lights don’t guarantee some idiot won’t try and beat the pedestrians if he’s trying to turn the corner (I think I have PTSD from many narrow misses with NYC taxis!). Pedestrian crossings don’t seem to mean anything to the modern driver other than “Oooh, look at those pretty lines on the road.”

    I think I just destroyed any FR credentials I might have had amongst my peers! I’m that lady who doesn’t like her children to cross the road without an adult.

  16. Donna August 4, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    @ Anthony – What’s the note supposed to accomplish? Since kids have been known to forge notes, sneak out of the house, run away from home and lie, if I were, say, a police officer concerned for the well being of a particular child, the fact that he had a note purporting to be from his parent would not calm my concerns in the least. I would still take him home or call and inquire into the situation further. We seem to forget that strangers, like police, don’t know our children. They don’t just spontaneously know if they are honest or pathological liars (although the laundry should have given it away in that situation).

    I also question the prudence of a get out of jail free card in my kid’s possession at all times. I recognize that my child’s decisions may not always be perfect regardless of how well she is raised. I was an extremely responsible child but did make a bad decision a time or two. If she happens to sneak out of the house or go someplace she isn’t supposed to go, I don’t actually want the cop who finds her to read your note and say “okay” and let her be on her way. I’d kinda like her brought home. Not because I think some pedophile will snatch her, but because I want to know if my kid is not where she’s supposed to be.

    I have no problem with police inquiring into unusual situations. That is their job and could actually protect a child in a bad situation. I just think that we’ve gone too far in defining what is out of the ordinary so that what should be totally commonplace behavior, like walking a few blocks to school, is now considered out of the ordinary.

  17. Anthony Hernandez August 4, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    @Donna – I just don’t see too many 8 year olds with the knowhow or patience to forge and lay out a perfectly typed letter on a laminated business card-sized sheet of paper. Even if they did, I rather doubt they would include their parent’s name, phone number, and invitation to call them with additional concerns or if he is misbehaving.

    The note serves as an additional tool for him to use. If someone stops Logan on the street and is not satisfied with his, “I’m OK and my dad knows and approves of where I am and what I’m up to” then he can offer additional evidence–however questionable–that both gives the person someone to call and gives them a very gentle warning that there is a fine line between concern and interference. I don’t expect it to work miracles; I expect it to paint one piece of a big picture. That plus him holding out his cell phone with, “Go ahead, call my dad!”

    Reading my note (yet) again, I fail to see how it is in any way a “get out of jail free” card because Logan is just as capable of lying without it, and his case would in fact be stronger without it.

    I also don’t see any way for anyone to know whether a kid on the street in broad daylight is lying or not, barring something truly obvious. How can a cop or anyone know when or where a kid is supposed to be? By that logic, the kid would always be broght home because it is by definition unusual for a kid to be out alone.

    I have ZERO problem with police asking about kids’ welfare. I have no problem with a phone call from them with, “Hey, we found your kid doing X at Y.” I have ZERO problem with the lady in the Jetta who pulled over to ask me if the kid 20 feet in front of me was mine because “he looks so little and alone.” (I am white and he is adopted from Korea so no one woudl automatically assume that I am his dad unless he is clearly walking right next to me.)

    What I have a problem with is the mouth-breathing histrionics that seem to have substituted for common sense these days.

    s for my son, it comes down to trust. I do not expect my son to be perfect and I expect him to test the limits. This is why I have done my utmost to bend over backward to help him out when he confesses to something. I never punish him for accidents. When he does something he knows is wrong and is honest about it, I limit punishment to restitution and apology while praising his honesty. Lying is the one thing that calls down the thunder every single time; it is also rare.

    All of which is a very long-winded way of saying that I see where you’re coming from and don’t have any practical answer because there is no hard and fast way to tell.

  18. antiphonsgarden August 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    “Total security” is a dangerous myth affecting life.
    The tendency of the middle class to overemphases HER safety issues in projected nightmares, neglect how she affects by her “safe” life standards the rest of humanity and the planet.
    Statistically, the worse abuses happens INSIDE family structures but the film industry is out of cheap thrill easy profit, repeating endlessly the stereotype of the fragile family structure who experience her strength by killing the bad sociopath . This perpetuate daily paranoia is a tool to keep the fear level high neglecting the fact that an a nation full of weapons to “protect her clan” is far more dangerous than a culture based on our surviving optimum as specie : mutual care/compassion.

  19. Donna August 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    I see it as a get out of jail free card in that, I assume that the card is his to keep and not something that you give to him each time you allow him to go out on his own. So if he decides to do something he’s not supposed to, he has the card. It’s much easier to show a card to someone questioning Logan about his whereabouts than it is for an 8 year old to concoct a lie on the fly. And, yes, you will correct the situation, but if and only IF someone actually calls to confirm. If someone takes the card at face value – which you clearly want them to do or why have the card – then you will never be the wiser.

    I agree that an 8 year old probably doesn’t have the ability to come up with the idea of the card on his own, although I’ve known a few. Nor is an 8 year old generally into sneaking out of the house, running off and concocting those kinds of schemes with friends. But 8 quickly turns into 10 and 12. By 13, I’d expect 30 versions of that thing to be circulating the middle school. If Logan has a grifter bone in his body, he’ll make some money selling the thing to classmates to be copied. Yes, if the cops call you to inquire into Johnny’s whereabouts, you can tell them Johnny is not your child, but again ONLY IF they choose to not take the card at face value and call you and the whole point to the card if for them to take it at face value.

    Truthfully, I just see no advantage to it over simply having my child hand the person a cell phone and say “Call my mom. She’s number 1 on speed dial.” It actually just seems like a way to lecture other people that you obviously have contempt for, calling them mouth breathers and all.

  20. baby-paramedic August 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    I personally like the idea of a letter.
    If nothing else if a child handed that to me it would give me a laugh and make my day 😉

    Further to this, should something horrible happen, it gives the paramedics someone to call.
    Now, we all know here that something horrible is NOT likely to happen. But, sometimes things do go astray and I would much rather be able to find a parent’s number than having to call police so we can identify who the sick child now sitting in the hospital belongs to.

  21. Sky August 4, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    “She’s religious, ergo she and all like her have no business rearing or being anywhere near children for any reason whatsoever. If I could render all religious families childless, I would do it without a moment’s hesitation without singling her out in any way. If this sounds bigoted, well, my belief system is not the one with thousands of years of blood on its hands”

    No, your belief system is the one that would kidnap millions upon millions of children and raise them in an oppressive society without freedom of religion if only it had the power to do so.

  22. Anthony Hernandez August 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    @Donna, credit me with a little intelligence, would you? I know my son and my situaton FAR better than you do. I also know that he will no longer be carrying said card once he reaches age 10 or so. And yes, I do have issues with helicopter parents… a trait I can only assume that you share since you are, after all, on this board.

    @Sky, my perfect society would not need an imaginary daddy in the sky, nor would belief in said imaginary daddy pose any kind of threat whatsoever. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and the world we live in is one where religion poses the single largest, clearest, and most exigent threat to the human species. The sooner we take action to marginalize religion and make religious people the pariahs they deserve to be, the better off we will all be. There can be no understanding, tolerance, allowance, etc. of religion whatsoever.

  23. BrianJ August 5, 2010 at 1:10 am #

    @Anthony – you’re welcome to come to my church any time so you can see how absolutely ridiculous your position is (or should I say ridiculous because it is absolute). First Unitarian of Oakland (corner of 14th and MLK). Summer services are at 10:30 AM.

  24. dahlia August 5, 2010 at 2:07 am #

    “The security guard marched into the restaurant and scolded us as if we were little children.”

    i think i would have asked that guard “well then what the hell are YOU for??”

  25. Jen C August 5, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    Some ideas on how to loosen the reins? Here’s what I’ve done in my own neighborhood:

    First off, BE PROACTIVE!! Most people, even in the suburbs, keep to themselves anymore. If I notice my children playing with kids I’ve never met, I find out where they live, and introduce myself to their parents. I’m not saying you have to be best friends and have backyard barbecues together on the weekends (although that would be great!), but at least they know who I am and I know who they are. I also make a point to speak to my neighbors, regardless of whether or not they have children. Even a simple, friendly “hello” at the mailbox lets them know that you acknowledge their existence and establishes a very basic level of familiarity with each other.

    Secondly, establish clear boundaries with your children. My girls know where they are and are not allowed to go alone. They have to tell me where they are going before they go out the door, and if that location changes, they have to come home and tell me where they are going to next. (Usually it’s just a head poking in and a little voice hollering “We’re going to so-and-so’s house!” followed by the slamming door. LOL)

    Third: When boundaries are broken (as children will do), punish the behavior immediately! I have had to track down my kids a few times, and then they are grounded to the house for the rest of the day, and all of the next. There’s nothing my kids hate more than looking out the window and seeing their friends playing, knowing that they cannot go outside and join them. Or worse, when their friends come to the door and they have to tell them that they are grounded. Also, I repeatedly tell them why they are grounded when they ask a thousand times why they can’t go outside. “You said that you would be at Jane’s house, but you went to Johnny’s without telling me. You know you are supposed to tell me where you are, and since you didn’t, you are grounded for today. Maybe tomorrow you’ll remember the rules.”

    And at the base of all this, of course, is keeping open communication with your kids about what to do if approached by a stranger, what to do if someone gets hurt, etc. These are all basic lessons our kids need to know just to survive in life. If they’ve got that down, then let them roam!

    As far as busy bodies go, I’m afraid I can’t offer any advice. I have been fortunate enough to not have encountered any yet. But I’m sure that if I do, keeping a cool and rational head will go miles with them. And if not, I can always say “They’re my children. Worry about your own.” 🙂

  26. antiphonsgarden August 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Maybe a the best thing on the long run of “how to protect children” is not projecting into them narcissistic compensation scenarios of the “perfect child living a perfect life!”.
    I remember a time, where children did not represent the golden egg projection, they had not faraway friends and “improving” courses to be droved too, they had simply their nearby environment , nearby friends and something like their own secret garden, where they had space to explore life without parents and, oh…something like healthy boredom, allowing the own creativity to bloom without pre determinism. A bit of “playing in the mud” to reinforce the inner life, is not only an external aspect. Trusting children to make sense out of life, starts with parents with a REAL life themselves.

  27. sonya August 5, 2010 at 10:35 pm #

    I like Anthony’s note, even though some busybodies may take no notice of it. It can’t hurt. Reminds me of when I was an 11 year old, flying from Africa to UK on my own. My mother would give me a letter stating that I was permitted to drink wine with my dinner on the flight. And the air hostesses were then quite happy to follow these instructions (this was a British airline and wine with a meal is legal at that age in UK with guardian’s permission, or at least it was in those days).

  28. Suzanne Delzio August 5, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    Excellent article. All we can do is reduce risk. Overprotection and a stultifying indoor, screen-fed life has far more risks. Great blog. Will be linking from my site.

  29. Renee August 6, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    I’ve thought of another reason why I like this site. It is the only place I can brag about my free-range kids without fear of being turned in for child endangerment.

    11y son: “Mom, if I got an arrow, a hose and you were watching me, can I make a flaming arrow and shoot it?”

    Me: “Ummmm(as I’m quickly trying to think of real reasons not to do it – and failing) I guess that would be OK”.

    Son: grabs the roll of paper towels and twin brother and runs outside with a big grin.

    Above son had twin shoot the arrows, and it was pretty cool. Boxes (castles) burned to the ground in the fire pit and all body parts were injury free. They even cleaned up any mess when they were done! It might not be a valuable life skill, but maybe my letting them do it at all will be some lasting lesson.

  30. Orielwen August 6, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Here’s a survey of parents in the UK showing that many are afraid to help children in distress for fear they are accused of attempting to abduct them:

    On the plus side, 81% said that children playing outside helped community spirit.

  31. Sarah August 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    I’m a freerange parent with a son that isn’t quite ready for what I am ready for him to do. No major catastrophes have taken place but I’m itching for the day my son is capable of the freedom he has! Example: He likes to ride his bike around town, he’s 6 1/2, and I want to let him ride his bike to destinations around our tiny little town. We practiced a route the night before and I sent him on his way on his bike and I drove in my vehicle (couldn’t walk that day for some reason). He was supposed to meet me at our destination but saw some friends and decided to stop and play. This was a problem because I was waiting for him and couldn’t leave where I was to go find out. He was safe and sound but wasn’t were he was told to go…. So we’ll give it some more time.

  32. TRS August 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    What a wonderful experience for her. I once walked away from my 9 yo daughters at an amusement park to get a drink. When I came back the moms notified park security I abandoned my daughters. Luckily park security thought the ladies were ridiculous and let us go. A few of the moms were calling 911. It is not the leaving your kids alone that scares me – it is all the parents that want to cal CPS on you for every little thing.

  33. Ogoag August 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Honestly, I feel kind of jealous. I’m a late teenager and I’m not even allowed on the front lawn without parental supervision (for anyone who thinks that I might have brought this on myself: it’s always been this way, I didn’t get in trouble for anything). I’d probably get really excited if I got to walk to the grocery store too. XD

  34. antiphonsgarden August 10, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Over”protected” children are exposed to the danger of the own insecurity and non experiences of the world.

  35. sophie October 1, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    give kids there freedom because if you don’t they could end up bad if you say no they say yes if you say yes they might listen if you get the concept .I’m not saying don’t have discipline have discipline but freedom as well thank you please do take my advice