I was browsing YouTube this morning watching videos of Jesse James’ dateline interview (don’t even get me started…proves my point that good girls do not fix bad boys) and I found this abc interview of Dayna Martin. Martin has Free Range Kids (or Children). My first thought “I have never.” Here is the video.
Now in normal fashion I will not judge (or I will try not to judge), I will say “to each his own.”
So I did what I normally do, I googled it. I found information on a woman by the name of Lenore Skenazy. In the article I read by the Vancouver Sun (here) there was discussion regarding allowing children to go to the park alone, but send a cellphone and watch from across the street. The writer pointed out that Skenazy does not live in a suburban wonderland, she lives in New York City. The article states, “If we want our children to be independent and get off the couch, we must be prepared to give them some room to roam.”
I live in a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth. I live on a quiet street with kids (I will get into later this week what else lives in my neighborhood). I would love it if Shelby could walk down the street to our neighborhood park and play without me in running distance to her. She will normally swing while I walk the dog, but I always can see her (still makes me nervous sometimes…ask JAG). Again, I would love to give her the opportunities I had as a kid to run and play in the neighborhood, but I am a realist and in the real world that I live in a beautiful young girl named Amber Hagerman was abducted and killed in 1996 while riding her bike. This happened less then 20 minutes from my home.
I know that having your child go to a park partial unatteneded is not the primary focus of free range child rearing as you seen in the video some children also do not attend school. Shelby would love to have that option, but at the same time Shelby loves loves loves the social interaction she gets with her peers at school. Being that she is an only child not attending school would equal a pretty boring life for my daughter.
Again, I believe it is the parent’s decision as long as it is in line with state laws what they chose to have their children do or not do. All I know is I thought I was a pretty free spirited parent (on somethings…not the park thing), but was I ever put into my place.