Saturday, June 19, 2010

Keeping Kids Safe

My son-in-law pointed me to an article by "America's Worst Mom."

She writes: We have to be less afraid of nature and more willing to embrace the idea that some rashes and bites are a fair price to pay in exchange for appreciating the wonder of a cool-looking rock or an unforgettable fern.

I have long said that it is SAFER for a kid to break his leg falling off the 8'-high slide (which no longer exists) than it is for him to stay locked up "safely" in his living room playing video games and watching television. Our society's desire to protect children actually does untold damage to a child's curiosity, intelligence, self-determination, and ability to grow up into a functional adult.

I'm plenty scared. The fearmongers all around me and the fearmongers in the media have affected me. And yet, in comparison to many moms around me, I'm the loosey-goosey "bad mom" that lets my kids do all sorts of wild and outlandish things. Helping cook (at the stove) when they're 1. Using the stove on their own when they're 5 or 6; chopping veggies with a sharp knife at the same age. Climbing ladders and high trees. Walking alone to a friend's house a half-mile away at age 7. At age 16, going to live for a few months with people that we met on the internet.

Check out Free Range Kids. What if enough of us spoke up (not officially, not on the FRK blog, but just to the folks around us)? What if the fearmongers lost some of their choke-hold on society?


  1. I've been a free-ranger for awhile and I love seeing my kids figure out how high they're willing to climb up a tree or the confidence they gain heading to the corner store with a friend to pick up a forgotten gallon of milk. I had someone here the other day that was flabbergasted that my almost 8yo could fry his own egg on the stove. However, it was good advocacy b/c she realized he was able to do it knowledgeably and safely.

  2. I'm a 90% free-ranger, which I'll try to explain. I try very hard not to be a fraidy-cat hover mother, and yet, there are some things in the "Free Range Kids" sorts of lists that I'm not comfy with.

    For example: "that some rashes and bites are a fair price to pay in exchange for appreciating the wonder of a cool-looking rock or an unforgettable fern."

    Yes, but if we're headed into the woods, I'll still spray the DEET. :) So sue me. Lyme disease doesn't sound fun.

    And while I fully expect my Dd will be shortly able to run to the store a few blocks across town, I still won't let her wander freely into neighbor's houses, or even their yards.

    On the other hand, I once witnessed a mother run screaming from the home I was visiting, hollering at her 9 year old because he was climbing a clothesline pole in the backyard. I thought perhaps it not a good time to mention that my daughter routinely climbs a 30 foot birch tree in our back yard. But maybe I SHOULD have said something, eh?

  3. My philosophy is, buy the safest car you can afford and nothing else matters by comparison!