Readers — Let’s hear it for Lizzie Heiselt, the MotherRunner eeetsdzrtn
blogger who wrote about letting her son, 7, stay home while she ran an errand. She took heat for the usual “What if…?”s but stayed calm and fantastically poised on The Doctors, a show that sometimes sneers at helicopter parenting and sometimes sneers at Free-Rangers (when I was on, it was the latter).
Clearly, all the good doctors want is good ratings, so at the end of the Lizzie interview they resort to the national pastime of dreaming up fantabulous circumstances to scare her and the audience with. (E.g., “But aren’t you worried that there are creeps are around every corner, assiduously reading mommy blogs. who will now be focused on your son, your apartment building and your errand schedule, so the minute you leave to get the dry cleaning, they could run in and snatch your kid???” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what it boiled down to. I wonder if The Doctors’ bonuses are tied to coming up with reasons moms should be worried.)
…while I am shocked that my little experiment — testing my son’s maturity in the fairly safe and controlled environment of our own home — was so explosive, I am more surprised at how very little credit we seem to give our children and how little we think they can handle. We seem to think so little of our kids that we don’t even try to prepare them for dangerous situations in which they may find themselves. Instead we assume that the only safe place to be is right by our sides all the time. And the only responsible thing for us to do as parents is to keep them there.
Parenthood, however, is the process of helping someone dependent and somewhat clueless become a capable, confident, informed and independent being. Some of those processes take place subconsciously and without serious thought or effort on our part. Others we must carefully weigh and consider as we decide what our children are ready for and whether the benefits of more autonomy outweigh the possible costs.
Right on. And by the way, this seems like a persuasive argument to make to Free-Range skeptics:
If we are watching our children closely and carefully, we should be able to see when we have an opportunity to step back so that they can step forward.
I like that statement because it reinforces the truth — that Free-Rangers watch and know their kids just as much as any other parents, but use that knowledge to make their kids more prepared, hence safer. It’s a line of reasoning I’m going to use. – L.