Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Free Range Parenting

This is an article I saw on webmd. It's very interesting.

Good chance, you've heard something about it. It's about the mother who let her 9yr old son ride the NYC subway by himself. Apparently that's called free range parenting.

I read the article, and found it pretty interesting to say the least. I lean more towards the free range parenting. No, I'm not going to let my child go get on a large city subway by herself. I'm not quite that extreme. But, I'm not one to force my child to be overly dependent on me. Here's a quote that I love from the article above.

“The message you get if your parents do everything from driving you to school to waiting at the bus stop to doing your science fair project is ‘I love you so much, but I don’t think you can do this,’” Skenazy says. “That’s why they call it self-confidence, not parent-assisted confidence.”

I have first hand experience with that. You see, Simon's parents believed in the parent-assisted confidence and he has NO self confidence now. I mean, the worse of anybody I know, its pretty bad. But, when he was young and somebody asked him his name, his mom jumped in, not allowing him to answer. That was just the beginning. She did his homework a lot for him. His dad didn't allow him to play outside until he was 9yrs old. Even then it was only in the yard w/ close supervision. He slept with his parents till he was like 10yrs old. I know there are other examples, but I can't think of them. So now as an adult, they haven't changed much. Oh, their little baby boy shouldn't have to do anything, shouldn't have to stress things, shouldn't have to work hard. He ALWAYS thinks that other people are smarter, faster, and just plain better than him with everything. He never thinks he's good at something. But he does require constant affirmation, similar to what you may see with a 10yr old. So in my eyes this is where that OVER protecting parenting gets you.

Now my sister in law has two children, 5 and 7, sleeps in the bed w/ her and her hubby. Talk about a crowded bed. She doesn't let them out of her sight. She is a stay at home mom, homeschools, and has a social "mom's group." That way the children are always brought to her house. In one way it's great that she is involved and active in her children's lives. In other way I have learned that the reason for the involvment is so that her kids are always with her. She has lots of fears, which are starting to wear off on her children. I'm looking forward to seeing how these kids grow up. Will they be confident and independent adults, or will they have low self confidence and be dependent on mom and dad.

I don't really have any story's about the free range parenting. Most families I know really well are over protecting like my sister in law's family. I guess I'm more from the free range parenting. I feel like I had a life. I went to girl scout meetings without mommy. I went to overnight camps starting at age 8, for a week during the summer. I learned a lot from experiencing some independence. How I turned out...well I don't know how I compare to Simon. I mean, I'm not perfect. But, I don't think everybody else is better than I am. If nothing else I had a funner and more rewarding childhood than he did.

So, how will we raise our child/ren? Well, I do want her to go to camps, if she wants to. I do want her to spend nights with her grandma's if they are up for it and again, if she wants. I don't want her to be the homesick child. I want her to have independence, but at the same time I want to ensure her safety. I don't want a family bed, children sleep in their bed, in their room. I want them to be involved with something, that I'm not. For example, girl scouts or some other kind of club/organization. Maybe somewhere in the middle of sending a 9yr old to a subway on their own, and putting my child in virtual bubble would be nice.

Where do you stand w/ parenting? Even if you aren't a parent yet; where do you stand with this?


Christina said...

My mom was an overbearing parent that didn't let me do anything but my dad was all about letting me have my freedom so I was sort of equally balanced.

I think we should allow our kids to do things on their own, like answer adults and do things around the house on their own. It's when it comes to allowing them ride the subway alone at age 9 that we need to be cautious just because of the types of people that are out there.

I think we'll be sort of in the middle on things. Let our little girl have some freedom but just not so it's dangerous.

Julie said...

I think you have to gradually give your kids more and more independance. Obviously you have to do everything for them when they are babies. But eventually they are able to do more and more for themselves and I think we should let them.

ssbean said...

We are raising children to be adults. To be responsible adults and to handle problems similar to like the problems we as adults have been faced with. Not raising children to stay children, even when they are adults.
And my MIL has told me several times, that now you are "considered" a teenager until you are 30. WTF

Morgan said...

I'm with you on this one 100%! I don't care if it's nothing but friendly old ladies one the subway, I wouldn't put my child on it alone!

p.s.- WHERE ARE YOU?!? LOL! No post in 3 weeks?!