Friday, October 23, 2009

Free-Range Kids

I'm only halfway through the book Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy, but I have to recommend it to other parents. It is so funny! The author exposes to a healthy level of ridicule some of the extreme risk-avoidance mentalities out there.

Such hyper-worriers really do merit a little mocking. There's my sister's neighbor, who informed my sister that "She would never let her children play alone outside!" in their expensive, quiet neighborhood (Doesn't she have any windows in that big house of hers?). And there's the experience of a friend of mine, who was once paying for gas and left her car with her two children (young enough to be strapped in car seats) right outside the open door of the gas station minimart where she could see them. A man came up to her and told her that he'd just called the police on her because she shouldn't have left them in the car. (So, it's safer to unleash them to bring them into the minimart for a 3-minute transaction? Even though she was near them and able to see them?) Another customer heard what had happened and started yelling at the first man for having done such a dumb thing. My friend had to leave because of an urgent appointment, but she called the police later to explain why she hadn't stayed at the minimart. The police reassured her that all was fine and said that the cashier had called them and told them not to come because there was no reason to. Bless the sensible cashier's heart!

There exist many real risks to children, and the book's author respects those. However, there are also many teensy-weensy de minimus risks that are being allowed to overshadow and prevent basically safe, worthwhile, and healthy activities. Free-Range Kids is a good antidote to all the scary stories and worries in which concerned parents sometimes overindulge.

No comments:

Post a Comment