Published in 2009, Lenore Skenazy’s book Free Range Kids is still highly relevant and recommended.
Kids not only spend less time outdoors than they did a generation ago, they also have more fears. The culprits: television, society, and mostly parents.
Parenting is always evolving, but with on-demand news, tweets, and Facebook over-sharers, we parents are bombarded with scary things that could happen to our kids and shamed if we let them have freedom. Free Range Kids explains where our unwarranted fears come from and debunks a lot of them.
The book covers 14 commandments, including the ironic one of “ignoring expert advice” (although, maybe Lenore is not a true “expert”, whatever that is anyway). The book is written with a mix of humor and snark making it fun to read despite the serious topics discussed. Most importantly, the unfounded fears are put up against hard facts.
It is safer now to be a child than it was in the 1980s and 1990s.
However, we are ruining childhood and creating monstrously inept adults. Kids who enter the real world with low confidence and a dependency on their parents.
While the book covers more topics beyond the outdoors, much of the information revolves around free play which occurs outside. Fear of playgrounds, let alone natural areas, means kids are forced into organized sports or indoor play. They lose independence, fresh air, and creativity.
Free Range Kids is a great read for anyone directly involved with raising a child. Skenazy provides great information and a blunt reminder that kids really need to be given more freedom.
Freedom largely away from adult supervision.
Check out the Let Grow website for even more information about Free Range Kids.