Skip to main content

Book Review: Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy

Free Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts With Worry

by Lenore Skenazy, "America's Worst Mom"

"All around us, parents are clutching their children close, and it's easy to understand why. That is what pop culture is telling us to do...[this book is] here to help tease out the real dangers from the hype, to show you (and me) the things that are worth guarding against, as opposed to all the parental warnings based on fear mongering, bad information, and modern-day myths. The book also aims to figure out how we got to be so scared in the first place". (Intro)
Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy is a book that every parent-new or old-should read. Not only does it explain why we don't need those silly toilet safety locks or baby knee pads, but it gives confidence to the parent to allow their child's reigns to be loosened up a bit, giving them the confidence they so desperately want and need to develop into responsible and smart kids.
I have been an avid reader of Mrs. Skenazy's blog, Free Range Kids, for some time now, and leave comments regularly on her though-provoking posts. Her passion? Allowing kids of today the freedom that children had only decades ago. Even I can remember being allowed to play anywhere in the neighborhood until it got dark, and I'm only 24! Today's parents are more worried than ever that something awful could happen to their children if they are out of sight for even a few minutes. Outside by themselves? Forget it! Riding your bike to the nearest park? Are you CRAZY?! Going to get ice-cream with a few friends? In your dreams, child!
Skenazy's book gives statistical information about everything from eating cookie dough to walking to the bus stop. It's a fascinating read and very quick. Just under 200 pages and full of wit and irony, it's like talking to a chatty friend who has great one-liners (with a smirk on her face the whole time). There is also a big section on "Strangers with Candy", which is the ultimate parent fear--a child getting kidnapped. Although this is always a tragedy when it happens, it does not happen as much as we think. Fear sells, and statistically, a child is more likely (40 times!) to die in a car crash than be kidnapped or killed.
I am glad I have a copy of this book as I have been spreading Mrs. Skenazy's website to all my friends and hope they will read her book, as well.
If you'd like a teaser for the book, read about how "America's Worst Mom" let her nine-year-old son navigate the New York City subway system by himself, then go pick up the book. Don't worry, if you can't afford it, I made sure the Lincoln Libraries ordered some copies! Now go get it...or better yet, let your child go pick it up!

Although this is a controversial topic in some mothering circles, what do you allow your children, however small, to do by themselves or with limited supervision?

*Sidenote* A friend of mine recently wrote to the Lincoln City Police Chief about any laws leaving your children unattended and the only law in Nebraska is about leaving your children under six years old locked in a car for any amount of time. Read the Chief's response to her question here.


Popular posts from this blog

How To: DIY Sand/Water Table

How To: Build A Sand/Water Table for Under $30!
Sorry this took me so long to blog, but I had to have a tool list and full instructions before I could do so.
A little history on my love for the sand/water table. I love the idea behind tools for tiny hands, i.e. the Montessori Method, and like to have Lukka 'figure things out for himself', even when he is playing. I try to have the most simple and basic toys available for 3 reasons: a) simple toys generally have less parts, which means less of a hassle for me
b) simple toys inspire way more creativity and imagination than do 'exact replica' toys
c) they are much more aesthetically pleasing to look at, therefore, not making every nook and cranny of our house an eyesore!
I know the last reason is just for me, but it's true. Plastic things don't generally last 1/2 as long as wooden or fabric toys, and they are unattractive. For this reason, I started to look for a wooden sand/water table as opposed to a plastic one …

The Rule of Threes

Costco aftermath
This is what my kitchen looks like for at least an hour after a Costco trip. I haul in everything after an exhausting journey through the busiest store (seemingly) in this country and I just can't do a dang thing more. For an hour. While I get a breather. And eat some obligatory reward chocolate. Eventually I'll get to those piles and everything will be put in it's proper place, but usually it stays like this for that necessary hour. 
                                                                          *** I don't think I'm alone in sensing that our culture has gone hog-wild with unrealistic expectations in just about every department, and I want to tell my friends, and anyone else who will listen, that we can only do so much in a day.  My husband once told me a friend of his pondered the busy-ness of our modern lives and said something to the effect of, "God gives us just enough time in the day to do only the things we need to do." …

Snapshot Story of Malibu, Lake Louise Inlet, British Columbia

top photo: The Blainiacs; self-titled, our group from bible study

There are too many words to share everything about Malibu, so I'm going to share a few pictures, and some words in this post. Malibu is a Young Life camp that is it's own little village in the middle of nowhere, British Columbia, or at least it feels that way--very isolated. It's right at the top of Lake Louise Inlet (right before Lake Louise) but really, there is nothing out there. It is what a leader called "The Thin Place"; the place right in the middle of heaven and earth. It's beautiful, welcoming, joyful, and raw, pristine.

This lodge is where "Club" happens. This is where the large group of the 220+ women who were present for Women's Weekend  would get together twice daily for skits, singing, and hearing speakers before breaking out into small group time. The Women's Weekend follows the Young Life way in how they structure the retreat. Everything we did resembled what t…