Free Range

I love to read – fiction. I’m not a big fan of non-fiction, self-help, or even parenting books. I read the pregnancy, baby, parenting books I was given (I read anything if it ends up in my pile). I’m a really laid-back parent who deals with things as they come. I’m of the opinion that Alex has to learn by trying and will eventually fall and then get back up (not that I would let him jump off the roof). Imagine my surprise when Wade came home with a book for us to read – Free-Range Kids. Even crazier is that I loved the book. The author is the woman from the news that let her 9 year old boy ride the NY subway by himself. There was a huge outcry so she wrote a book. Her point being, if you feel your child is ready for some independence then you should decide when to give it to them. Society sometimes makes that hard.

The writer/mother takes common issues and provides statistics and then proceeds to poke fun at how society has reacted and/or changed over the years. For instance, the original Sesame Street episodes from the 70’s were released on DVD and had to contain the warning “For Adults Only”. What was acceptable then is not now. Gasp. Cookie Monster ate something other than a cookie – choking hazard! She talks about child abduction (by strangers) statistics and how they have actually decreased in the last few decades. It’s the news that focuses so much on the bad.

My favorite was the Halloween Candy discussion. Halloween in our town is held on the Sunday afternoon before Halloween. I remember what fun Halloween was because it didn’t matter that it was a school night. We still got to run around (in the dark) and ring doorbells for candy. The author discusses in detail the news stories and the actual crime statistics. There has never been a confirmed Halloween candy poisoning. The few reported were actually specific targeting of individual children (one was a child that got into his uncle’s drugs and the parents sprinkled his candy to protect the uncle). I figured it couldn’t hurt to verify the author’s findings so I did a google search and found this at Snopes. Wikipedia provides the same information.

This book is definitely not for everyone. I would hesitate to recommend it to anybody, but I loved it.

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  • MeghannAugust 26, 2010 - 9:08 pm

    I’ve always admired your parenting style. Sometimes, when I feel like I’m too stressed or hovering too much, I take a deep breath, think about your blog and let Dru try something out (not overly dangerous, of course).

    I am telling you, on a side note, that you HAVE to read the Hunger Games series. I really think you’d love it!