As a boy I’d take off into the woods with a promise to my parents that I’d be home in time for dinner, and I’d return covered in mud, dirt, and usually there would be a new gash or two in my hide.
Occasionally I see kids out playing alone, but not often. I guess I’m not the only one:
Do your kids have that much grit today? I doubt it. Parents now try to protect kids from all danger. In New York City, some won’t let teenagers go to school by themselves.
Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free-Range Kids,” thinks that’s absurd.
“Free-range kids are kids we believe in,” she told me. “They can do things on their own.”
Once she allowed her own 9-year-old to ride the subway alone. After she wrote about that, she was labeled “World’s Worst Mom.” Really. Google “world’s worst mom.” Skenazy’s name comes up.
“Free-Range Kids” promotes events like “Take Our Children to the Park and Leave Them There Day.” Skenazy says leaving kids in the park without adult supervision teaches them grit. Kids get used to bugs, rocks and a lack of constant supervision. They become leaders by discovering how to organize their own lives without parents bossing them around.
And they are not likely to be kidnapped. The horror of what happened to the three women in Cleveland makes all of us more frightened of sexual assaults and other threats. Skenazy says that today’s parents are so frightened that only 6 percent allow young kids to play outside unsupervised. But the risk of harm is small, and we put our kids at greater risk, says Skenazy, if we don’t allow them the freedom to learn from their own mistakes — to acquire grit.
Go read the whole article, but I certainly think kids should know how to entertain themselves, and explore their world, and frankly parents could use a break too.
h/T Mrs. Weer’d (Who I’m glad is on the same page as me!)