Free Range Parenting: Advice for Parents

Want to loosen the reins a bit? Here, Free-Range Kids founder Lenore Skenazy offers four pieces of advice for parents.

June’s issue of Metro Parent focuses on the Free-Range Parenting Movement. Free-Range Kids founder Lenore Skenazy gives more insight into the parenting style – and a local Free-Range parent weighs in on her choice to raise her children this way. If you’re looking for more information on the Free-Range Parenting Movement, see below. Skenazy provides for pieces of information for parents who want to want to give their kids a bit more freedom.

1. The next time you’re at the bus stop, outside school or anywhere else parents and kids are gathered and waiting, offer to watch all the kids until the activity starts. First of all, Skenazy says, you don’t need one bodyguard per child, and second, it goes a long way toward creating community – one thing many wish we had more of.

2. Leave your cell phone home once in a while, even if your children won’t. That way, they can’t call when faced with every little decision. Skenazy remembers her 10-year-old phoning as if there was an emergency, only to ask for a second piece of banana bread. “It was both cute and horrifying,” she says. “It’s like an unsevered umbilical cord. They think they can’t do anything without parental permission.”

3. Give your kids room to roam. Skenazy organizes an annual “Take Our Children to the Park … And Let Them Walk Home by Themselves Day” in an effort to encourage parents to back away and kids to gather together and, well, play.

4. Think of something you did as a child that you’re proud of – and ask yourself if your mother was standing over you at the time. Then, think about whether you’ve let your own kids do anything similar by themselves. If not, ask them to think of something they’d like to do on their own, in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s biking to visit a friend or going up to the corner store with their own money to buy an ice cream. Think carefully about whether they’re ready for the challenge and, most importantly, whether you are.

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Get even more information on the Free-Range Parenting Movement in the June issue of Metro Parent.

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