5.04.2011

Free-Range Kids

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.

4 comments:

  1. Have you heard of the Tinkering School? NPR and TED Talks have both had Gever Tulley talk about his thought process behind letting kids do things that may be labeled "dangerous" in order to learn and experience life more fully. I can't embed a link, here but if you search for Tinkering Camp you will find it right away.

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  2. Thanks Min! I hadn't heard of this. I'm always driving with the kids and rarely have a chance to listen to NPR anymore. :/ I will definitely check it out!

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  3. lol! ok now doubt write off firing ranges...
    Free-range Kids?!? Gonna have to checl it out.

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  4. Girlfriend, WHY oh WHY don't we live closer? You might just be the only other mom I know that, like me, reads only non-fiction. I get all sorts of flack form my friends because I won't read fiction, join their bookclub or whatever.....and the good natured ribbing about me being a smarty-pants or a nerd (on that one, they could be right). I just knew I liked you, and here is one more reason!! :)

    And, I'm commenting here for ALL your blog posts I just read to catch up....WHAT are you feeding your kids. I almost fell off my chair at the picture of Indie....when did she get so BIG? And, honestly, you have some seriously cute kids. Can you save Jude for Chloe? Please? :)

    I'm also totally envying you for getting away in such relaxing and luxurious fashion! WAY TO GO!!!!! :)

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