Parenting Tools

Sound Off: "Free Range Kids"

We've struck a chord! Or rather, Lenore Skenazy has. She wrote a piece for The New York Sun on how she let her 9 year old son make his way home from mid-town Manhattan -- alone. Her immediate feedback ranged from wild support to readers threatening to alert Child Protective Services. We asked what you thought - would you let your 9 year make their way from Seattle Center to Ballard? Would your answer change when gender was tossed in? Yes for your son? No for your daughter? Our original post here.

Here's what GPS commenter THD had to say:

I struggle with this a lot. At 7 and yes in 1940, and in NYC, my father walked alone 5 blocks to and from a hotel to get his father’s hat.

At 11 and yes in 1982, in Chicago suburbs, I took the bus to downtown Chicago for ballet class and then for french fries (by myself) at the Walgreens counter before taking the bus back home. I believe that this exercise in independence was the start of a life long understanding that simply, I could do it. I have never really worried about anyone having to do something for me - I know in my heart that with hard work and a deep breath - I can figure my way out of the stickiest of situations.

I can’t say that I would do exactly what this mom did - today in 2008 - but I find real merit in providing concrete opportunities for kids to have their super thick apron strings cut a bit and HAVE to do something completely on their own and perhaps fail or succeed and it’s only their experience to learn from. There is always the chance that something “could happen” but how does one gain independence and true appreciation for what they can and cannot do if we shadow and provide for our kids 24/7?

I know my mom must have been scared to let me take that bus, but she let me go - and because of that - I have a strong independent spirit that I thank her for each moment of my life.

Toss your two cents in here.

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