Epstein at Reason produced this video, which shows how quickly a family filled with fear can flip:
The whole exercise — really very simple — is based on the fact that, left unchecked, fear just grows. But if you do let your kids do something on their own that they’re ready for, you will be overjoyed when you see how competent and confident they really are!
Try it! Or try it with a friend — you can send your kids out together while you two have a cup of coffee. It is that easy and transformative.
And here’s my Free-Range Kids Housecalls page,Â if you think you’d like a little push. – L.
My husband used to ride the PATH train from Jersey City into Manhattan and take the subway to his school in Greenwich Village from the time he was eight or nine. Sometimes he was alone and sometimes he had his younger brother with him.
That was back when NYC was a lot more dangerous than it is now, but nothing bad ever happened to them.
For some reason, New York City has a reputation for being a hellishly unsafe place among people who don’t live there. A woman from Canada whom I encountered on Mackinac Island in Michigan a few months ago spoke confidently of planning a shopping trip to Chicago, where it’s not all that safe as far as crime goes, but she blanched at the idea of venturing to NYC.
I also recall a news story about a man from somewhere in the Southwest who was stopped at the airport when a gun was discovered in his luggage. He explained to the TSA folks that he needed the gun because he was making his first trip to NYC with his family and everyone knew it was an extremely dangerous place.
I never lived in a NYC-size place, but up until I was about nine we lived in a suburb 1.5 miles from Detroit. I could walk or bike 6-7 blocks alone to buy comics or bubble gum or whatever at 7-8 years old.
Nice video Lenore.
Doesn’t it feel strange to be training grown adults to do something this ordinary?
It’s like a giant segment of society is living in a waking nightmare, and you are taking them by the hand and saying, “Take a deep breath and relax. You’re okay. The monsters aren’t really there at all. They’re only in your mind.”
I wonder if part of this is that parents think that their kids are so amazing that of course everyone ELSE must want them, too.
Meanwhile, it’s crazy to me that 12 YEAR OLDS weren’t allowed to walk to the store. So sad.
Love love love this! Love you, too, Lenore! You’ve made something wonderful happen!
False Evidence Appearing Real
I always love how the parents do such a quick about face after just a couple of activities that prove their kids are capable.
Aww, it’s like a mini-episode of WWM!
“itâ€™s crazy to me that 12 YEAR OLDS werenâ€™t allowed to walk to the store.”
YES! That’s 6th/7th grade. Over here almost all of them get themselves to/from school, certainly in 7th grade (=first year secondary school) it’s social suicide if you get dropped off by mommy or daddy.
This was a great watch. I hope that I give my children the freedom that I had as a child. I remember visiting my parents when my brother was 15 and my mother wouldn’t let him go across town on his own to visit his friend. I told her, “Mom, you need to give him more freedom. I had so much more freedom when I was his age.” She laughed and said, “No kidding. I used to let you walk around town by yourself when you were five.” Suddenly, her expression changed and all the color drained from her face as she muttered, “Good God. What the hell was I thinking?”
“But if you do let your kids do something on their own that theyâ€™re ready for, you will be overjoyed when you see how competent and confident they really are!”.
Boy is that right on the money. I bike to work and take my 4yr old with me on his own bike, since daycare is on the way. One time following him home I ended up crashing (taking photos of him hauling home his animal pillow on his rack…* real good example dad*…I was fine) he stopped at the next cross walk on his own and came back for me without asking for him and asked if I was ok.
Another time we was in the culdesac across from the house biking with my younger daughter (she is 2), and she crashed a little hard with a split lip. She cried a lot and got back on her bike, but I was able to ask my so. To go home (not far and around a corner) and tell mommy what happened and for a cleanup rag. He did it and even stopped for the cross street and looked for cars before going on. Talk about winning all the parenting that day.
Before we got a Sheetz gas station right down the street from our house, i could walk to the Food lion literally 1 minute from our house (if i wanted to, which i never wanted to do. LOL), but now that we have a Sheetz on the corner of our street, we have a lot more traffic on our street, so walking to Food Lion isn’t really a good idea. There’s an intersection leading to the Food Lion (It technically is an intersection. There ARE 4 turning lanes, so that would make it an intersection), so before we got the Sheetz on our road, walking across from our road to the Wendy’s (there is also a Wendy’s in the area with the Food Lion) was already hard. Now, with the gas station, walking across that road is almost impossible. LOL