Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Free Range Kids

Are you concerned about all the abductions of kids and would never let your kid out of your sight to ensure that it never happens to you?

Are you one of those parents who are glad that the trend in playgrounds is to make them safer and safer, doing away with things like merry go rounds and slides?

Or, are you the type of parent who would stick your kid alone on the New York subway and not begin to worry after you are apart for three minutes?

Diane and I just read Lenore Skenazy's new book, "Free Range Kid's." Skenazy gained the spotlight when she wrote a column about sending her then nine year old son home alone on the subway. Dubbed "America's Worst Mom," by the media, she found herself in the center of a whirlwind of attention for the atrocious act. This led her to further research, think about and write about what she has called "Free Range Kids."

The book is about how, perhaps, our fears are often exaggerated. While, admittedly, sometimes children are abducted (and sometimes the Bay Bridge does fall on cars), it is way more likely that it will never happen to us. Statistically speaking, she points out, a person would have to leave their child unattended for about 750,000 years in order for them to be abducted because you left them alone.

The book is an interesting reminder that we can not control everything and the world is not always as dangerous as we make it out to be. Sure, it is still bad and bad things do happen and we should be smart and safe. But smart and safe and stifling are not always the same. So go ahead, let your kid talk to a stranger. They probably won't get eaten.

Interested? Appalled? Be sure to check out her site for much more info.

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