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Old 07-16-2009, 08:42 AM   #1
 
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Default Free-Range Kids

Has anyone read this book or blog? I borrowed the book from the library and just finished it.

The premise is that it's uncommon for parents to allow their children to walk to school, run around the neighborhood and play with kids, or do other activities without close explicit supervision. Parents perceive that these activities are very dangerous, when crime rates are the lowest they've been in years and the chances of stranger abduction are miniscule.

My kids are too young yet to be free range, and I don't know if I would give them as much freedom as the author. But I really enjoyed reading it, and I think it gave me (a bona fide worry-wart) some perspective.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:08 AM   #2
 
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I live in a neighborhood where the elementary school is actually IN the neighborhood and every morning I see/hear the children walking to school. I love it. It feels so nice to have all those little kids around and it makes the whole place feel really safe and secure. We intend to stay there (our neighborhood) until at least our kids are middle school age so that they can experience that type of place. (We don't have children yet, so that's a good 10 years off! ) I think it's great for kids to have that freedom and independence but still feel and BE protected in certain ways.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:09 AM   #3
 
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Sounds interesting and like something that I should check out. I have a tendency to be a worrier (ok, I'm just neurotic) and I do fear that I'm affecting my daughter in a negative way because of that. With a second one on the way, I keep saying that I'll be different this time around, but I don't know that I will.

I do feel that times are different from even 20 years ago when I was growing up & allowed to ride my bike & roam about through our neighborhood. I think there still need to be boundaries and kids shouldn't be allowed to just run about willy-nilly without accountability. Parents still need to be involved & aware of where their children are & what they are doing.

I've pulled the blog up and am going to take a look at it...thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:16 AM   #4
 
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DP
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:30 AM   #5
 
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I was raised in a very rural town of about 1200 people. Everyone knew everyone, and all the kids of the 1960's like me free ranged, it's all I ever knew about raising kids.

In 1983 I moved to the city with my kids. I let them free range - just as I had done. When my kids were ages 14, 13, 10, 6 and my youngest was 3, I bought them bus passes so they could go to the mall or to grandma's house on the other side of town. They loved it!

They roamed my neighborhood - had "forts" in the vacant fields - stayed out until the street lights came on (which was the indicator that it was time to come home), played at the school, walked to school etc, etc...

They have all grown up to be very responsible home-owning adults. My oldest has served in the Military for 12 years and has a wife and two kids. My next and oldest daughter is married with three kids and is an executive at a major credit card company and makes 6 figures a year. My two middle sons are gainfully employed and are married with babies, and my youngest daughter is in her senior year in college with a 3.8 GPA and on several scholarships so her tuition, books and some living expenses are paid for her. She works during the summer to provide for herself.

Free-range kids worked for me - and it worked for my kids. That's all I have to say.
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:12 AM   #6
 
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I free-ranged as a child. It was the 60's and that's what everyone did. I was molested by a neighbor when I was 4 or 5, and a man tried to get me into his car when I was about 8, but I knew not to go. I never told anyone about these incidences at the time.

ETA: Needless to say, I do not let my kids free-range. They have the freedom to go to a friend's house in the neighborhood if I know where they are going, but the other parents and I call each other and keep an eye on them as they go from house to house. I give more freedoms as they get older, but I still always want to know where they are. If they go out as teens, I have to know their destination. "Hanging out" is not a destination.

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Old 07-16-2009, 12:55 PM   #7
 
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I think the concept of free range children in this day and age is completely idiotic!
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Old 07-16-2009, 01:52 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
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I think the concept of free range children in this day and age is completely idiotic!
This day and age compared to when? Could you expand on that? The violent crime rate now is almost 50% lower than in 1992, when I was a kid. I agree that there might be more danger from cars and traffic.

I think it should be possible to find a balance between keeping them cloistered and secluded and letting them be in harm's way.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:27 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
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Quote:
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I think the concept of free range children in this day and age is completely idiotic!
This day and age compared to when? Could you expand on that? The violent crime rate now is almost 50% lower than in 1992, when I was a kid. I agree that there might be more danger from cars and traffic.

I think it should be possible to find a balance between keeping them cloistered and secluded and letting them be in harm's way.

I agree...seclusion isn't the answer. I keep my kids very busy in the summer and after school, with sports and arts. I like them having safe fun. Yeah, it's more expensive and more work for me to get them to those places, but I don't think free-range was ever safe.
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:27 PM   #10
 
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My kids are semi-free range. There are 3 other families across the street whose homes they are allowed to play in freely. They cross the street alone and we don't always know which house they are in as the kids bounce between all 4 of our homes alot. They take a walkie-talkie with them so we can check in. Being a child that was molested myself I have always dialogued with my kids on what's right and wrong in that respect. I also talk to the other parents on a regular basis. SO and I were both free-range kids and have great memories of it. We want to give our kids that feeling while being realistic on what's safe and what's not.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:29 PM   #11
 
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I agree with semi free-range. That's a good way of putting it. Now, my kids are only age 1 and 2, so they're not out playing on their own yet, but I'm thinking ahead to when they're school-age.

We live in a residential neighborhood with limited and slow traffic and well-kept sidewalks. I've checked the sexual offender registry for our county, and I know there aren't any registered sex offenders in the neighborhood. I could see myself allowing them to go by themselves to friends' houses in the neighborhood, walk about 4 blocks to our elementary school, or ride bikes on their own, limited to certain nearby streets. I would need to make sure they could do those activities safely under supervision before I would allow them to do it on their own. Also, my kids will be only a year apart in school, so I hope they'll be inseparable and can watch out for each other, and they're boys, which makes me feel that they're less vulnerable, right or wrong.

I was also a semi free-range kid, and I have a lot of great memories from that time. Playing in the woods behind our house (the land was owned by my grandpa), riding bikes with my cousin, climbing trees, etc. The book said that in a survey, only 30% (or somthing like that) of parents today allow their kids to play outside. I want my kids to be able to do those things.
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:45 PM   #12
 
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Kids get abducted and molested left and right , are you kidding me?

Maybe if you live in a rural community this concept could work,but i live in las vegas so for my kids it's not happening.
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:47 PM   #13
 
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nm
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:04 AM   #14
 
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i live in a "safer" community. nicely kept properties, good schools, neighborhood watch, and two law enforcement officers living here. and with all of this, we still have to be on the periphery of our kids' walks and adventures. they are 10 and 6. there is too much going on in all kinds of communities.

sex offender registries are great tools. but we know that not all offenders are registered. not all offenders have been caught yet. not all offenders are adults. children molest, bully, and victimize other children too. we also know that there are people with mental illnesses who need to be medicated and who are walking around like ticking time bombs.

remember the little girl who was abducted from her mobile home park and murdered? she was last seen on surveillance footage skipping down the street. she was alone and coming from a friend's house alone. i'm sure her family thought they lived in a safe area too. she was 8, i think.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:09 AM   #15
 
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Hell's no. I know enough about my hood (and my hubby if anything happened to the kiddos) to know better.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:09 AM   #16
 
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We used to play in big groups, outside all day on the wknds and into the evenings. This was in NYC in the late 70s and 80s...the time of Eton Patz and Adam Walsh, sadly. But nothing ever happened to any of us. Our parents knew where to find us and we never went far or wandered off alone. Our neighbors knew us and knew our parents and cared enough to casually keep an eye out for us. Gosh, how I miss those days. It seems a lot less innocent today and I'd be very reluctant to let my kids out of my sight nowadays for very long. But the book seems interesting. Maybe the author is on to something.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:29 AM   #17
 
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Quote:
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I know enough about my ... [hubby if anything happened to the kiddos]....
agreed. when my husband and i watch the news, sometimes some of the things he says he'd do scares me if someone ever tried to hurt our kids or me. it's like his eyes get glazed and his primal protective instincts take over ...

but he's a good husband and father, and God help the eediot who'd try to harm our kids. they'd be the ones calling for police to save them from my husband!
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:16 PM   #18
 
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100 children are abducted and murdered by strangers every year.

Over 7000 people under age 20 die in fatal transportation accidents per year.

Let's put the risks in perspective.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:12 PM   #19
 
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i guess it's not worth the risk to some of us.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:23 PM   #20
 
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Quote:
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100 children are abducted and murdered by strangers every year.

Really, is that all? Do you mind if I ask where you got that statistic? I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone, but if seems like it would be more to me. Is that just US or what?
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