Free-range Parenting

greenkidsI’ve mentioned this before, but Doctor Dash and I are constantly sliding books and articles to each other via night stand. He told us about an Atlantic article about how we’re overprotecting our children at dinner and he was so fired up about it, so nostalgic and verbose and downright frothy, that the kids and I were all ears. Of course, I couldn’t wait to read it and I wasn’t disappointed.

As summer approaches and we fling open our doors and send our youngsters out into the world, it’s nice to be reminded that it’s not only ok to pull back, it’s good for them. I have been trumpeting this philosophy of child rearing since the beginning days of this blog and it’s validating to read a well reasoned article supporting what I’ve always assumed were personal views shaped by my own gut feelings and a splash of laziness.

Letting kids figure out how to get around – even if it means getting lost and having moments of uncertainty – is empowering to them. Letting them brush up against strangers allows them tune into their own gut reactions and lets them feel and understand that balance of good versus bad in the world. (Hint: there is overwhelmingly more good, but you’d never know that by listening to the news). Falls, scrapes and collisions teach lessons about physics, physical boundaries and self care.

A little freedom is our way of saying to our kids: we trust you, we trust people, we trust our city. Even if we DO whisper a hasty Hail Mary prayer from time to time.

You will want to read this.

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