If you think the term "freerange parenting" has a parallel to chickens, you're not too far away off from the heart of the movement. Newspaper columnist Lenore Skenazy inadvertenly started the movement when she wrote a piece for the New York Sun on how she and her husband allowed their 9-year-old son to ride the New York City subway system by himself, something he had always wanted to do. Test your freeranging parent smarts now.
Parents are acutely aware of the dangers that face their children, but most people don't realize that crime rates in the US were on the rise during the 1970s and '80s and peaked in 1993. Since then crime has declined by 50 percent.
Freerange parent and author of "Why I Let My 9-year-old Ride the Subway Alone, " Lenore Skenazy gave her son the following items for his first trip alone on the subway:
Subway map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill, and a cell phone
Subway map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill, and several quarters
Subway map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill, and pepper spray
Skenazy says of freerange parenting on her blog, FreeRangeKids:
We are not daredevils. We believe in life jackets and bike helmets and air bags. But we also believe in independence.
Children, like chickens, deserve a life outside the cage. The overprotected life is stunting and stifling, not to mention boring for all concerned.
A research team at the University of Michigan conducted an assessment in 1981 and again in 1997 of how children spent their day. Among the findings:
Children in 1997 played less and had less overall free time than they did 16 years earlier.
Children in 1997 played more and had less overall free time than they did 16 years earlier.
Bullying happens when a child is given too much time to play.
What's more important in freerange parenting?
Self-expression and cultivation of confidence
When Lenore Skenazy published her article on letting her son ride the subway alone she was called:
America's Most Courageous Mother
America's Most Dangerous Mother
America's Worst Mother
In a University of South Wales study, Australian primary school children and their parents were studied to see how environmental and psychological elements factored into parents' decision to allow their children more independence. What was more important?
Urban design, the degree to which the environment was setup for children
Community ties, the degree to which there was a strong community present
The Centers for Disease Control report that the percent of children who bike, walk or otherwise get themselves to school is:
The idea of slowing down and raising your child in a less scheduled and harried manner is a hallmark of the freerange and slow parenting movement. When an elite Scottish private school banned homework for kids younger than 13 there was outcry by parents; however by year end the homework-less kids' scores in math and science actually improved by what percent?