Free-Range Parenting

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterby, May 7, 2009.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I like the way she thinks, too. But because I have difficult child's, I admit to spending more time as a helicopter parent than I'd like.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm thrilled someone finally spoke out, and is doing something to change it. I've felt this way for a long time.

    I've had parents judge me as mean, lazy, uncaring because my kids had to walk a mile to school in hs. Two miles a day, no matter the weather. Making me feel guilty about it didn't work. I walked 2 miles to school everyday in hs.......and almost 4 miles for junior high (one direction). I survived, so did my kids.

    Kids today are so often coddled by parents afraid of doing something wrong in the eyes of CPS or the public, that they're becoming too lazy to think for themselves and too dependent on their parents. Then when they become adults, parents can't seem to get them to "grow up" and function out in the real world.

    I was protective of my kids to a certain point. But they were also taught independence appropriate at certain ages, the same thing my grandmother did for me. It's gotten me quite a bit of criticizm over the years.

    But funny thing.......even my kids see the difference between them and so many of their peers.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I agree with the "depends on the child" too. difficult child 1, up until 2 months ago, could not be left alone in the house. Now she can. difficult child 2 may be almost 11, but there is no way in Hades he is ready to walk to school, go anywhere by himself...
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Yes, it does. I agree totally. easy child and Nichole were able to stay home alone by at least age 12........Travis didn't until he was almost 17yrs , safety issues.
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I agree. At heart, this is my approach too. Give 'em as much independence as they can handle, as soon as they can handle it.

    And that definitely varies from child to child.

    It's funny...I was thinking about this very thing the other day. Little easy child would definitely be ready to be left home by himself at 12. Frankly, he's independent-minded enough that he'd do just fine right now, but at 7 I just wouldn't leave him with that level of responsibility (not to mention, it's against the law).

    difficult child, however...I wouldn't leave him unattended for 10 minutes.

    Even Step D. Yes, she can be left to her own devices, but if I'm looking for a babysitter for Little easy child or the twins when they arrive, she's not on my list. Just not resourceful enough.

    I think it's unfair to our children to saddle them with so much dependence that they can't function on their own, and then expect them to do so once they hit 18.
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think it would be fantastic if all parents could find a nice healthy balance of being there and not being there. And, of course, it does depend on the kid.

    Both my girls could be left alone by age 12, even 11 for a short period of time.

    When I was 10 rode my bike with a bunch of friends to the beach every Sunday - it was a 13 mile bike ride. And then in the afternoon we rode our bikes back again, scorched and tired from being in the sun all day. When we got home, our moms made us shake off and change outdoors and jump in our pools before 'dragging in all that sand'. As long as we were home for dinner, our parents didn't give a whit where we were or what we were doing all day!

    And we were approached by wierdos and likely sex offenders, but we knew to walk quickly away or not speak to them. We also knew to go or stay in a public place. We had common sense.

    I think that helicopter parents rob their kids of the opportunity to learn common sense, street smarts, if you will. I look around and see these fledglings going off to college without a clue. And it's scary. More scary than a 9 year old riding the subway and learning how to navigate his way back home.

    The only way to teach your kid responsibility for him/herself is to give it to them. Yes, it depends on the child. And yes, those of us with a difficult child ask ourselves the question all the time: When will he/she learn? When will he/she be more self reliant and more independent? But on a general base, I think that many parents could learn a lot from parents like the one in the article. First and foremost: Stop judging other moms/dads so darned much!!!
  8. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I also think it depends on the child, but there is now a culture of protecting the kids that interferes with the parent's decisions. An example is lunch. With my older kids, they forgot their lunch maybe 1 or 2 times in grade school. I did not rescue them, natural consequences. The school did not rescue them. Their friends would give them spare amounts of food, which allowed the friends a chance to show compassion. My kids ate a lean meal and they learned to remember their lunch.

    Now, the kids have to charge a lunch if they don't bring one, it gives them a reward for forgetting their lunch, my younger crew have been known to intentionally forget on pizza day.

    Another example of society going wacky, in my opinion, is a law in my state(fairly sure it is a law) that a kid has to be 12 or older to be left alone in a car. I want to be able to send my kid to the car for a time out if necessary, at the very least, I want to be able to run into Wawa without 5 kids in tow.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree- then, I visualize the sd finding out and reporting the mom to cps and then having to attend 5 programs, taking time from work, convincing the kid that he's got a horrible mom, going to court umpteen times, the kid being sent to a place where things really are bad, and so on and so on.......I think the parents' change resulted from the leaders in our society losing their common sense and blaming the parents when their new approaches started leading to kids falling apart.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Maybe things are different depending where one lives. And I know things have changed since I was a kid. I was like Jo...I rode my bike several miles a day to the pool when I was just a kid, stayed there all day, and then came home at night. I was probably 10? Maybe? By 12 I was taking the bus into downtown Richmond to have lunch with my Dad then going shopping and coming home on the bus in the late afternoon. All alone.

    Where I live now kids, including mine, are sent out to play in the mornings on bikes and 4wheelers (we didnt have the 4wheelers) and they just come home at dark. Mine fished, climbed trees, roamed the woods, went to friends houses...whatever. It was "go play and leave me alone time". Now once Cory hit his teens, he didnt get to do this as much as he did when he was little. Jamie was always allowed free run but with Cory we had to keep a much tighter hand on him.
  11. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Love it.

  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Agreed. I was a 100% helicopter mom except when my kids were in controlled environments (home, rec center) and even that backfired as Eeyore stole money from both places.

    Now that Kanga is safely away and the others have matured, I have given them a lot more freedom -- they can all go to the park that is behind our house (alone) or even to a few select houses in our neighborhood (at least 2 of them).

    Piglet and her friend have asked to be allowed to go to the hot dog stand on the edge of our neighborhood and the gas station across the street from our neighborhood. I'm going to let them. No way could the boys handle it yet, but Piglet is ready.
  13. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I so agree with this statement, Jo! It drives me crazy!!!

  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am totally behind this mom. I get SO MUCH criticism because I have limited my kids to only ONE activity out of school at a time. If they pick a sport, then no scouts. If scouts, then no sport. Just ONE thing.

    I want, and always wanted, them to have time to develop their imaginations - and if every moment is schedulted and organized this will never happen. I see it all the time in J's friends. They have NO CLUE how to act if on their own.

    Jess can cook, clean, do most any/everything. thank you is rapidly learning. I had to supervise Wiz more, but he proved to me he NEEDED the supervision. It totally is an every kid individually kind of thing.

    This mom is so right - esp about people always judging other parents. I worked with a guy who is a SAHD. His wife is a professor and his head has always been to far up in the clouds to cope with a real job other than a cook in a restaurant (Not a bad thing, but he is a genius - literally a genius and could do so much more but refused.). He has lectured me so many times on how unhealthy my kids are because I buy our veggies in the regular store not the organic one, and how I didn't totally breastfeed any of my kids, how activities that I let them choose are the wrong ones, etc...

    It is to the point I totally avoid him and his wife - and I really really enjoyed the parenting/homeschool group we both belonged to. I just won't go because I hate the judging because I let thank you go to school.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How do you not totally breastfeed? Offer one breast only? Really Im serious! I only bottle fed and Keyana was bottle fed but Hailie was breastfed until...gag me...18 months! Guess which kids were Hailie refused any type of bottle at all with anything in it...even juice. And cup training was a chore.

    Keyana was off the bottle at 8 months. I dont get it.