I recently read the book Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry. I checked it out through our awesome public library system. I felt it was worth recommending. First, though, I have to offer my book recommendation disclaimer - I read things loosely and have a 'take what I like and leave the rest' approach to all of the books I read. Being I read almost entirely non-fiction, I rarely agree with any author 100%. This was true for this book as well. Still, the author raised some great points that I felt were worth considering, like -
Times are actually as safe or safer for kids now than they were 30 years ago, when measured in terms of violent crimes.
The chances of a child being abducted are 1 in 1.5 million.
There hasn't actually been one documented case of one's neighbor poisoning kids' Halloween candy... or adding razor blades to their apples, either! (Not like I was particularly worried about that one, but how's that for an urban legend?!)
In this culture of sensationalism and 24/7 news, we rarely hear about how safe our kids are and instead hear about all of the dangers lurking around every corner. What are we doing to our kids if we raise them with this kind of anxiety about everything?
The author is funny - in that witty, snappy blogger kind of way. I think her book may be a blog turned book, in fact. Dan and I would read certain sections aloud to each other, laugh, then reminisce about all we were allowed to do when we were kids. We were laughing so hard and so often during our flight to St Lucia that the woman sitting next to us asked if we were honeymooners! I'll take that as a compliment.
No, we are not going to turn our kids loose to become free-range, but this book did help Dan and I evaluate the rules we currently have in place and decide where we can loosen up and where we can't bend. Chain saw juggling is still off limits. Ditto for the firing range.