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A huge premise of
Free-Range Kids , at least what I take as a premise, is the idea that we shouldn’t shelter our children from the world, we should world-proof our children (page xii).
This really falls in line with my core belief about raising children–we are raising them to be able to leave us and be independent. A smaller version of this idea I have blogged about is:
As Skenazy says, “Helping kids? Good. Doing everything for kids? Bad” (page xiii). She encourages parents to be “…preparing their kids for the world, instead of sheltering them from it” (page xvii).
The hard question to answer is when and how to do these things. Skenazy allowed her 9 year old son to ride the subway alone in New York City–an action that had people from all over shouting their opinions on whether or not it was okay. I think most people would agree that yes, at some point this person needs to be able to ride a subway alone. What people do not agree on is what age is appropriate. And you know what? I don’t think putting a blanket statement age on it is a fair thing in most circumstances. For more on the topic of shielding kids and when to let go, see Fine Balance of Protecting Children.
Through the course in discussions on this book, we will talk about many different scenarios you can face as a parent. I think our real question, most of the time, will be when is this appropriate, not is it appropriate. Some will be an is; most will be a when. And the answer, I think, will vary greatly from person to person. We all live in very different areas of the world, and we all also have very different life experiences that influence what risks we are willing to take. It definitely leads to interesting discussion 🙂