Free-Range Kids, by Lenore Skenazy (audio)

freerangecover13In 2007, I visited my cousin and aunt at my aunt’s house. She was watching one of her grandsons, who was 2.5 years old at the time. While I was there, I played with him, picking him up by the hands and swinging him in a circle while he laughed. I used to do this to all three of my boys – and still do for the youngest, though at almost-nine-years-old, he’s getting a bit big for it – and to my younger siblings when I was a pre-teen. They all loved it. When I was a kid, I used to wish I had older siblings so that someone would swing me around too, and loved it in the rare moments my parents did. It’s one of those games that most children love to pieces.

But my aunt – she had a panic attack after one circle and asked me not to do that to the kid. After all, if I swung that 2.5-year-old around that way, he might dislocate his shoulder.

My aunt? I love her dearly, but she desperately needs this book.

I am one of those parents who falls in the middle when it comes to my children. There are some things that I’m scared of, and I probably hold my children back more than I need to, but I also don’t hold them back nearly so much as many other parents today. I’m not afraid of my youngest (who, as I said above, is eight) walking the 0.75 miles home from school by himself on the days that his 10-year-old brother has to stay late for tutoring, for example. I trust my children to, for instance, go off to different parts of the crowded grocery store to pick up items and then find their way back to my cart, and they LOVE doing this. At the same time, I was too scared to get my boys bikes until they were 11, 9, and 7 years old, which is silly when I think about it, because my siblings and I were riding our bikes everywhere in the neighborhood by the time we were pre-teens, and I grew up in a really terrible, crime-filled neighborhood in the late 80s/early 90s. My parents were pretty over-protective, but they still let my sister and me go door to door to sell Girl Scout Cookies, alone, when we were 11 and 9 years old. I can’t imagine sending my children out that way, despite the fact that they live in a much safer place than I did growing up, and I know a good chunk of my neighbors (and don’t fear them). There are definitely places where I need to CALM DOWN. Listening to this book helped me to recognize those places, and hopefully will help me to give my children more freedom going forward.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2013, Adult, Prose and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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