Free-Range Kids

silverswordMarch 18, 2010

So, everyone probably heard about the mom who let her 9 year old ride the subway by himself... right?

And with two young girls kidnapped in my county, raped, and murdered by a sex-offender the whole "stranger-danger" thing has exploded here in California and is starting to spread nationwide.

What do you think about Free Range Kids? Is your child one? Do you think this mom is insane or do you think she's on the right path?

Are you more cautious with your bio-kids or your step-kids? I know I'm more likely to take chances, so to speak, with my BD than my SD because I am the be-all, end-all decision maker for my BD but for my SD I have to consider that I "answer" to her birthparents, and their rules are ultimately what I need to abide by.

On the link I provided, ironically, there is a man talking about young kids riding on the lift with him without their parents. I let my SD go ahead of me on the ski lifts and her biggest complaint? They didn't talk to her. LOL.

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it probably depends on kids' age. certainly no riding subways at 9 in the busy city.

I don't ski, but maybe it is different because you can see your child on a ski lift? So it is not like she is totally alone?

when and where we grew up children were riding public transportation in the city, maybe not at 9, but a bit older. But things change, place and time is different.

I once was in a busy market in the city and let DD's (young, don't remember age) hand go off for a second just to get my valet out. I looked around and she was gone. That was the most horrifying feeling in my life. Turned out she stepped behind a column to see something cool. Boy, I still remember the fear.

My DD had amount of freedom of course, but certainly was not a free-range kid in the sense of the article. I don't think i would want her to jump on a lift with a grown man. At 8? I don't think so. My niece is 8. My brother is skiing with her, but I doubt he lets her go around by herself.

I don't think every bearded man is child molester though. LOL

They actually look very groomed. the ones I happened to meet. DD had a child molester teacher at school, he is in jail now. You'd never know...And at school I work, we had a child pornographer, also currently in jail. he also looked very nicely groomed. Both were teachers for YEARS. Creepy.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 6:38AM
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I think the idea is good -- but you have to know your kid and your environment. Yes, there are risks. But the bad things that happen are newsworthy precisely because they are rare. They're the exception, not the rule.

Both of my kids are naturally cautious. So oddly, I find myself encouraging them to face the risks, evaluate them, then *take* them! To walk to school alone, ride their bikes all around the neighborhood (with their cell phones), to take an unknown street if it looks like it might go where they want to go. Even to go skydiving if that's what he really wants to do.

Encouraging a bit of 'Free Range' has given them both a greater degree of independence, confidence and happiness than most of their friends.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 10:03AM
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I do a bit of free range parenting, not to quite the extent that I've read about though. I think we're living in a culture where there's been a lot of fear mongering and overparenting. And it's showing with my generation, I think our parents were the first generation of hard core helicopter parents and it's only getting worse.

A lot of eat this, not that and two years later you're supposed to be eating that again. Stupid videos and books that are necessary for your babys development, 5 years later nope, they don't do anything. I remember when I took DD to her 6 month check up one of the nurses was trying to lecture me that I was supposed to wake her up for a midnight feeding, instead of letting her sleep until she woke up. Which was about 4 am and fed her then. The kid was normal weight. Nurse was a meddling, wacked, fruit loop. She was pretty much frothing at the lips when I kept telling her thanks for the advice, but that's just not going to work with our schedule. The dr heard her in the hallway and had to come in to get her to shut up.

And another "lactation consultant" at the hospital kept showing up in my room every 2 hours after I had DD to show me how to breast feed. And I told her to stop, I'd figure it out on my own. But this milk nazi wanted to be there for it. Lunatic.

Way too much meddling from society into parenting. I don't think life was supposed to be this rigid.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 12:54PM
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I used to tell my SC ... "not a phone call I want to make" ... when they would ride across the main road without looking ... or playing with garden tools ... just doing stupid kid stuff but dangerous none the less ...

I do not want to have to call your parents and tell them we are on the way to the hospital because you decided to swing an axe and take off half your leg.

My own well I didn't have to explain to anyone why they did stupid stuff ... I just handed out the consequence. :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 1:36PM
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DS7 is never alone or unsupervised. I'm saying this because I think it's unfortunate that he has such limited freedom. I had a lot more at his tender age. I've read a couple of great books on free range parenting and I love the concept. But the reality is that we live in a scary world. And I live in a big, particularly scary city. When DS sees a kid walking down the street unescorted HE says "Why is that kid alone? Look mom, do you know his mom, call her."

DH allowed a salesperson to come through our front door recently and it was not OK with DS. Lectured DH about stranger danger, who you know vs who you don't know and where was the dog at the time.

I wish I could "free range" DS, I really grew up that way and we lived in the same big city.
Maybe if I lived in Wyoming, where the author of the book, Free-Range Kids lives I could do it. I would love to.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 4:12PM
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"Both of my kids are naturally cautious. So oddly, I find myself encouraging them to face the risks"

i can see what you are saying. My nephew was always too cautious so my brother had to encourage him to take risks.

I wish my DD was naturally cautious. She has no fear and that's what scares me. She thinks of nothing to walk home from work in a complete darkness off the major road at 2AM in a city. she does not think it is dangerous to walk in certain areas for example, day or night. and she does not live in a safest area in the world.

I did have to control amount of free-ranging for DD because she was never afraid of much. Saying that she knew not to talk to strangers but she has/had very little fear of unknown.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 4:53PM
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It is crazy, nivea!

DD slept through the night from the day I brought her home. First couple of days she woke up once during the night and then she learned to sleep the whole night. I breastfed, and I had a lot, and DD was always a chubby healthy baby, it never occured to me to wake her up! How stupid!

I'd like to wake that nurse up at night and force her to eat. LOL

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 5:00PM
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My dh and I both grew up with the idea of free range parenting. I remember being in 4th grade and bike riding around our neighborhood. In 6th grade my friends and I were at the mall without parents, at the movies without parents, and allowed to ride bikes around the neighborhood all day. And there were no cell phones!

I wish I could be that free with our kids. I think it made me responsible. But I just feel like there are so many crazies out there. Not too far from my home there has been incidents where men in cars have been trying to get teenage and pre-teen girls to come up to their cars. They have been so bold to do this right in front of schools! It worries me. I have stranger-danger talked my kids to death. Warned them of even getting near a strangers car to answer questions. We read about and watched info on the Jaycee girl in California and how she was kidnapped. I don't want to scare them, but I do want them to be aware.

I allow my kids to walk to/from school. But they are in a large group and there are crossing guards placed along their route home, so I feel pretty safe. The three older kids have some friends that live a few blocks away and we have let them bike ride alone to their friends home and then call us as soon as they get there. We have let the three older ones go to the local park in groups, or even the school park after school in groups.

We do not allow them to just roam the neighborhood though and do not allow them to walk anywhere alone. I am struggling with the idea that my 2 sd's want to go away to a camp this summer for a week. It is at a college campus. One of them is in jr. high and one in high school and it makes me nervous that they would be 2 hours away and have so much non-supervision (is that even a word?). DH wants them to go because he feels it will make them more responsible and it is still a structured environment. They have morning activities they are expected to be at, lunch with everyone, afternoon activities, dinner with everyone, and then evening activities. There are camp counselors who keep an eye on them and attendance is taken all day long. I know I need to let go a bit, but I am a worrier!

I feel like I am equally protective of all the kids, bio and step.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 11:48PM
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FD said "I'd like to wake that nurse up at night and force her to eat. LOL"
That made made me LOL! Thanks, FD.

SS has been allowed to go to the store by himself since he was 8. The store is 1 block away.
When he was 8/9, he could only go the the store on OUR side of the somewhat busy street.
At 10/11 he can go to the store that is on the other side of the street.

We've only had a problem once. He was 10 and I sent him with enough money for a Slurpee. He came back with a Slurpee and two chocolate bars.
Me - "Chocolate bars? How'd you get those?"
SS (nonchalantly) - "A lady bought them for me."
Me (with my jaw on the floor) - "WHAT?! Are you kidding me?! Did you know her?"
SS - "No."
Me - "A__, what do we call someone you don't know?"
SS - "Uh, a stranger?"
Me - "Uh huh. And what sort of food is a chocolate bar?"
SS - "Uh, junk food? Candy?"
Me - "Yes. Which means you took candy from a stranger!! The one thing that every kid is told ten thousand times!!"
SS - "No, 'cause I picked them out and she just paid. I didn't really take them from her."
Me - "OK, I see that from your perspective that makes the candy itself safe, but you still don't let other people buy you candy. There are creepy people out there who try to get kids to interact with them by giving them treats or doing favours for them. So don't EVER take candy from strangers, even if you pick it our yourself."

He was extremely unimpressed that I took the chocolate bars away and he lost store privileges for a few weeks.
While this seems to be just a lady who bought something for the kid in line ahead of her, SS may not have the judgment to tell a benign situation from a dangerous one and we needed to drive the point home.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 12:36AM
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ceph, wow, makes me wonder what is up with the lady buying stuff for a child? what's her agenda. I am glad he is an honest boy and didn't just hide candies form you.

I hear you mom2emall, but at a high school age it should be OK to go to a camp. they'll go to college one day right? I know you worry...Heck I still worry about stuff ...

DD didn't like camps, so I didn't have that issue, but at a high school age she went everywhere alone or with friends. everywhere i mean where you can get by feet or a bike. She only ever went to 3-day camp. She never liked the idea.

I and my brother used to go to a month long camps away from home starting age 10. parents would visit on the weekend. We loved it!!!

Funny what kids think of their parents. DD thinks I was overly protective parent when she was young, but I never see myself this way.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 8:33AM
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Ceph your story scared me!! I also wonder why someone would buy candy for a child they do not know!

FD I know in my heart that the camp will be good for my girls. They need some freedom and they will be pretty busy there. I am not worried about my high school age sd, but I am worried about my jr high age sd. She lacks common sense sometimes and honestly my biggest fear is her being taken advantage of by an older boy while at camp. She is very naieve, though we have tried to talk to her about everything. But I really feel like she is a follower and will do things to keep her friends happy, even though we try to instill it in her to think for herself. I know that eventually she will grow up and go to college so we have to loosen the reigns at some point.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 3:32PM
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Our guess is that he was eyeing them at the till and she said she'd pay for them.
Or maybe he brought them up to the till and didn't have enough money (since I only sent him enough to buy a Slurpee with a bit of change leftover) and she paid.

FD, no, he's not very honest. He tries to sneak and hide things ALL THE DAMN TIME. Fortunately, in this case, it didn't occur to him to hide the chocolate bars.
*sigh* As much as I like kids (including SS), they are really quite dreadful.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 6:00PM
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" I have stranger-danger talked my kids to death. "

You know that kids are hundreds of times more likely to be molested or kidnapped by someone they know, right? Family friends? Coaches? Scout Leaders? Religious Leaders?

My younger (autistic) son has no social compass and is a very friendly, affectionate child. He talks to strangers all the time! And 98% of the time, those strangers respond kindly and helpfully back to him, making his life exceedingly pleasant, for the most part. The other 2% look at him funny and get away quickly so they don't 'catch cooties'... (Their problem - can't be fixed.)

Anyway, the only rules he KNOWS he has to follow 100% are:

1) You never ever go any place without letting Mom or Dad know where you are and who you're with -- no matter how good a friend it is.

2) If anyone touches you or tries to touch you in your private areas, or in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell them to STOP, leave, and tell Mom or Dad.

3) If someone tries to give you alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, say "no thanks", look at the time, then say you need to leave.

4) If you're lost, look for a Mom with young kids and ask her for help. (You know how many perverts wear uniforms? And how few child molesters are women?)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 7:21PM
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If you're lost, look for a Mom with young kids and ask her for help. (You know how many perverts wear uniforms? And how few child molesters are women?)

oh boy I guess i always gave DD a completely opposite advice: look for a police officer or a person in uniform. she started traveling internationally very early on and I always told her not to talk to anyone in airport unless they wear uniform: airport worker, police, pilot, stewardess. I never thought of danger of people i uniform

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 11:24PM
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FD, I bought DS a great DVD called the Safe Side by Julie Clark and John Walsh a couple of years ago and it's pretty good. It too emphasizes finding a mom with kids if you need help. It's funny and upbeat, DS loved it.

Same as what Sweeby says, stranger danger is just the start, being wary of people you "kind of know" is even more important. DS7 "kind of knows" my adult friends but does he really know them? He definitely is not dialed in to who is really close and who is an acquantaince, and he is very trusting. He started crying a waterfall when we took him to school and told him he just couldn't be friends with all of the adults even if they work there.

I would love to push him out of the front door with his bicycle, $.50(OK maybe a buck) and tell him be home before the street lights come on. That's how I was raised. But no way these days. I know people who don't even allow their teens to move around freely at will. It seems extreme but they are clear.

The closest thing to free ranging DS7 gets to do is if there is a group of neighborhood kids, who I know, are riding bikes, scooters, skateboards as a group from one mom's house to the next. Like we are going to play Wii at Joey's house, then we are all going to Eddie's to swim and so on. When this happens the moms have done some loose coordinating. And not just any mom either, I don't want to hear any strange names when I ask him where he's been. But they feel free because they are not being driven around the corner and there is no mom escorting them just the crew. It's has only happened a couple of times but maybe more now that all those kids are older.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 11:02AM
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I let DS ride ski lifts ahead of me with strangers. How much can happen on a ski lift? Those may become famous last words but I let him do that. We all get to the run faster.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 11:07AM
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@ Sweeby: I always tell DD to look for a mom with kids too. And to stay where she is. And make sure she has everyone's cell phone numbers memorized, and that she can say the full name of the person she is with, as in: I lost my Aunt. Her name is Mary Bishop. Her cell phone number is...

Stranger-danger is overrated. Something like 70% of all kidnappings/rapes/molestations happen from people who the kid knows.

I also teach my DD to scream "this is not my mom" instead of "help".

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 1:36PM
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I suppose my kids are a little free range although I never thought of it like that. They walk to and from the bus stop alone and go to the park with a set time to come and check in. I recently started letting my oldest ride his bike to the store. Not far, but a big deal for him. I am considering working up to letting the boys ride their bike to their friends house. It is the street right behind us but the only way to get there is to go out to a major intersection so I am still wary. And all of the kids are home alone for about an hour twice a week when I have class and DH is not home from work yet. They are doing really well handling that responsibility.

My mom calls be all of the time to update me on kidnappings or attempted kidnappings and to tell me that "just because you kids had more freedom doesnt mean this world is safe enough for your kids to do the same" I have drilled in the kids heads street safety and home safety (internet answering the door etc). I have always taught my kids to say fire and this is not my mom/dad. I told them that fire gets peoples attention scream it at the top of their lungs. I worry all the time about how dangerous things are but if I keep them bottled up they will never get to experiance anything.

But, lets not forget about internet dangers... you know those strangers in our home. I am on top of my kids about internet safety all of the time.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 7:52AM
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I guess this comes down to lifestyles then. Some parents think it's fine for their 9 year old to ride the subway, some would not let them ride the ski lift directly in front of them with a stranger.

Should a parent be punished by the state if their lifestyle risk resulted in the child getting hurt? Say, the subway boy was kidnapped. Would this be the parent's fault more so than a child walking to a school bus stop?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 12:13PM
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depends on the age I guess. very young children should not be walking alone to the bus stop either.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 3:48PM
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I don't know about age... some children 2x my daughter's age are unable to ride airplanes by themselves because they are too immature. My dd can sit for extremely long periods of time, quiet and respectful and on her own. I know 15 year olds who can't accomplish that.

How can a government gauge "street-savvy" with any degree of accuracy? It would have to be left up to the parent. And yes, some kids at age 6 will be coming home to an empty house and some kids won't be allowed to ride a bus alone until they're 18. My dad used to walk 2 blocks away with money at age 6 to buy cigarettes for my grandma. I took frequent 6 hour bus rides as an 8 year old, with many many stops and no chaperone. No one ever gave me trouble. I felt 10' tall. Would I put my 7 year old on a bus alone? Probably not. She's not ready for that... but I was :)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 4:57PM
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re: uniforms

anybody remember Ted Bundy?

He was a serial killer who tortured & murdered dozens of young girls *that we know about*.

(When someone asked him about murdering, say, 30-some-odd girls, he replied something like, "add a zero", meaning he'd killed over 300, & no one knew who they were or where their bodies were.)

One of Ted Bundy's most successful disguises was a police uniform, & one of his youngest victims was the daughter of a police officer;
she would have been taught from early childhood to trust that uniform.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 6:12PM
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I was fuming about feeding all the stray dogs & cats that show up in my neighborhood, & all the *neighbors'* "free-range" dogs & cats, & my officemate said, "Oops, that reminds me, I better get outta here. I have to do the same thing."

"Oh", I said, "You feed your neighbors' dogs, too?"

"No" she replied.
"their kids."

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 6:15PM
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it is illegal to leave children alone until certain age. usually 12 in most states, of course some children could stay home as early as 6. it does not mean it is legal, if something happens or someone reports you, you will face consequences. this law is made for irresponsible parents in order to protect children.

DD started flying internationally since she was 10, starting about 12 she was upset she was not allowed to fly completely alone and had to be unaccompanied minor. By law she was not allowed to fly alone no matter how responsible and independent she was. I don't remember the age maybe 15-16 when she did not need UM status anymore and just flew on her own happily.

If my child was independent and intelligent enough and I am a responsible parent, it does not mean there shouldn't be any laws or regulations that protect children from irresponsible decisions.

It also depends on the area. I live i an very safe area but young children are not allowed to be on their own. We have police cars on each corners. where i work though kids wonder the streets all day long as young as 3 years old and it is very unsafe area. and nobody cares, and no police, never saw one car.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 6:30PM
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Oh", I said, "You feed your neighbors' dogs, too?"

"No" she replied.
"their kids."

too funny, their kids hahahah

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 6:53PM
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As we live in a small town our daughter was more free range than most, though she wasn't allowed to be out on her own at night, for instance. Just in case we ever had to have her collected from somewhere (school etc) by someone else without prior arrangement, we had a code sentence that the person would have to say before our daughter would go with that person. So even if they said something like, "Your parents have been in an accident and they asked me to come get you," without the code sentence it would be no go.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:31AM
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Colleen, we have a code word too. It's a good plan :)

From the Department of Human Services:

Basically, investigators ask three main questions to determine whether a parent or legal guardian is neglecting a child by not providing adequate supervision:

Question #1.
How mature is the child?

Investigators will measure the childs maturity level by asking:

* Is the child capable of taking care of and protecting himself or herself?
* Is the child mentally capable of recognizing and avoiding danger and making sound decisions?
* Is the child emotionally ready to be alone? Will she or her feel confident and secure or feel afraid, lonely, or bored?
* Does the child know what to do and who to call if a problem or emergency arises?
* Does the child have any special physical, emotional or behavioral problems that make it unwise to leave her or him alone?

Question #2.
Who is responsible for the child?

If parents have not left the child in the care of another, investigators will ask:

* Where are the parents?
* Can the parents get home quickly if needed?
* Can the parents be reached by phone?
* Do the children know where the parents are and how to reach them?

If parents have left someone else in charge, investigators will ask whether that person is mature enough to provide good supervision and to protect the child. They will want to know information about the caretaker that is similar to that requested in Question #1.

Parents should remember that a child who can take care of herself/himself may not be ready to take care of younger children. Legally it may be fine to leave a mature 11-year-old alone; but to leave that child in charge of a toddler, preschooler, or kindergartner may be considered child neglect. Younger children often need more care than an 11-year-old can give. And if an emergency comes up, the 11-year-old might not be able to keep everyone safe.

Question #3.
What is the situation?

What is appropriate under some circumstances may be considered child neglect under other circumstances. Investigators will ask:

* When and for how long are the children left alone?
* Have the parents arranged with nearby adults to be available in case a problem arises?
* Is there any family history of child abuse or neglect?

The welfare of the child is the primary concern of investigators. The department is not trying to punish the parents or the family, but wants to make sure the children are safe and cared for properly.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 9:55AM
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I grew up in the 70's and it was quite normal to walk a mile home from school ~all alone~. At age 9 or 10, I was hired to babysit the neighbors toddler while they went out for an evening. (of course, my parents were home three houses away & I could call if there was an emergency, but it was night time) I think today, many people would think it is appalling to do some of the things we did as kids, like riding in the back of a pickup truck. Of course, this was in the days before CPS was a household word.

Just my opinion, but I think kids today are much more sheltered & immature than 20+ years ago. Parents no longer have as much authority over how their children are raised. I had one child (my ex's son) tell me he was calling the cops on me because he didn't want to listen to me when his dad was at work (his dad was a deputy at the sheriff's department). I handed him the phone and told him to call them.. he did. Of course the dispatcher knew his dad and told him to listen to me and stop wasting their time. Now, if I had been 10 years old and told my parents (or teacher or babysitter, etc.) that I was calling the cops on them [because I didn't want to do what the adult said] Well, let's just say that back then, I would have been asking the cops to come save my butt, not calling to get the adult in trouble! But, kids today have been told they have rights and parents can't do this or can't do that.. so, some kids think they don't have to listen, parent's can't do anything... etc. and everyone wonders why some kids have problems. I had a difficult child and he was told those things... and I told him I love him but I will go to jail if I have to because he will know right from wrong. [of course he was the only child I had that split time between two households with different rules & the other parent telling him he didn't have to listen to me, as sometimes happens in custody cases, so that may have had something to do with it, but he also had a high strung personality where he wanted it HIS way all the time.]

I'm not sure why there is a name for it "free range", but in today's world of technology, there seems to be a bigger or maybe just better recognized problem with "predators". I hear at least 1 story each week (if not every few days) of a teacher, police officer or priest... molesting or having a sexual relationship (or inappropriate contact) etc. and now the children are "sexting" with cell phones the parents pay for. With the different world we live in, I don't know how "free range" I would want to be. When my kids were younger, the boys (aged 10-13) would walk the girls (aged 6-7) to dance class that was four or five blocks from their daycare, then I would pick them all up after work. My ex's mother was the dispatcher for the transit buses, so our kids rode public transportation all the time without an adult, but the bus drivers knew them and we felt safe doing that... it was also a small community. That would not have happened in a big city.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 5:46PM
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I grew up in the 80s/90s (born in 1980) and was riding my bike to the libray, Dairy Queen, local dime store (what we used to call it!) etc by the time I was 9-10ish. We lived in a quiet suburb where not much happened. My parents drilled the stranger stuff into my head, and my mom always said the same thing about find a mom with kids if you are lost! I tell DD the same thing now.

I certainly never felt unsafe.

I would say I was probably an overly cautious kid/teen, though. I was never one of those teenagers who drove fast or didn't wear a seatbelt, and I never really took chances. I know they say teens think they are invincible but I never felt like that and was pretty cautious.

But I think today, it IS a different world than even the one I grew up in. I have looked at that watchdog site and there are about 30-50 pedophiles/sex offenders living in our little community alone. (We live in a small suburban town in St Louis County.)

Just a few weeks ago, a man tried to lure two young boys into his car at the elementary school a few miles from our house---NOT the one SS goes to, fortunately, but one within the same district.

An acquaintance's little boy was lured into the bathroom at the local community pool two summers ago and this guy showed him his penis and tried to get the boy to show him his. The guy (who apparently was a man in his early twenties) was never caught.

So I worry about those kinds of things. Although they are rare, I DO think they are more prevalent today than they used to be. I also think kids are exposed to a lot more at an early age and this can influence their behavior. When I was growing up, we were A LOT more innocent. I was still playing make-believe games when I was 11-12ish. Now girls that age are wearing makeup and interested in fashion and boys. :(

I definitely don't do free-range parenting nor would I. If anything, I am more protective of DD and SS than I think my mother was with me. But, again, I think the times are changing.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 5:44PM
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My cousins took self defense in *elementary school*.

The instructors had them act out the self-defense moves on a grown-up "assailant", to get them comfortable with saying no to an adult.

Since children tend to automatically defer to an adult, especially one who seems like an authority figure, they don't react strongly enough or quickly enough when they're approached or grabbed, & abductors & pedophiles use that to make their escape with the child.

One exercise (which my cousin Marilyn demonstrated to me quite painfully) involves twisting around & stomping hard on your assailant's instep, yelling "NO!" repeatedly, & another was sticking your fingers in the assailant's eyes.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 6:09PM
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"I grew up in the 80s/90s (born in 1980) and was riding my bike to the libray, Dairy Queen, local dime store (what we used to call it!) etc by the time I was 9-10ish."

My DD did that with her cousin, they were 9-10, and were brought back home by police officers who told me that children of this age are not allowed to be out of adult's sight. DD only rode her bike around the block, no major roads, yet it was not allowed. I live in a very quiet area, very well-off, but police car stands on each corner and kids are not allowed by themselves.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 6:14PM
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That's amazing. How many street corners have police on them? And they just sit there?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 8:20PM
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when i drove home from work today I saw two on my street, one on my corner, one a block away, yesterday they were on different corners, same street. well not like they only watching little kids LOL and I do live in a walking distance from a police station.

frankly besides good stuff that they do such as protecting our peaceful existence, they do nasty stuff that is not really a topic of this forum. let's say they stop cars driven by a representatives of a certain ethnic group, not only it is obvious right away who is stopped if they drive by the city, but I knew somebody who worked for my city's police and they had directives to watch for certain people. how gross. but that's off topic.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 8:42PM
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Interesting. I guess they don't realize most of the stranger-abductions are middle aged white men.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:45AM
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I agree with just about everything already said. It is funny that I just happened to read this topic today since today my DH were walking in the park and this very topic came up.

We both were pretty free range kids. I do think it depends on your child and maybe even somewhat where you live. I do not know if I would ever allow a 9 year old to ride the Subway but then again the boy in the situation discussed was extremely intelligent and very mature, so who I am to judge.

Also I remember in one of my criminal justice classes we were discussing crime rates, etc of today and the past. People are always talking about how bad it is now but it really is not much worse than it ever was. One reason we hear about more and more cases are that for one we have easier access to hear what is going on all over the US (and the world for that matter). It wasn't long ago where you would only hear about local events but now we here more and more stories that happen in other cities so it seems like more crime is happening. Also we have a higher population now so that increases the number of incidents but not necessarily the percentage because actually crime has been going down. The media like to do a lot sensationalizing crime stories because it sells.

That is not to say one should just think times are innocent either. What I am getting at is that there are things that happen and I believe to teach kids about the dangers out there, about strangers, about coaches, leaders, priests etc, and to definitely about internet danger. But at the same time you can't be so worried that you are scared all the time and don't live life to its fullest.

I think it is crazy to have cops on every street and to send a 9 year old because they are not allowed to be by themself. I don't want someone to tell me how to raise my kid and I would never live in such an area. But that is just my opinion. I am sure there are many others who feel safer in that area. I personally would think it has to be a bad area if there have to be so many cops out all the time. But at least someone is watching out for the kids and I guess that is better than nobody caring at all, I just think that situation is going a little too far.

In the end I feel kids need some freedom and it is wonderful to at least see and hear about kids at least outside playing, riding bikes, etc. and not just being cooped up in the house. We used to go to the park, the corner store, down to the creek, over to the woods, and all over the neighborhood playing and using our imaginations. It was fun and I love that I got to do those things.

And to answer on of the OP question. I would definitely be more careful with my SS than my own child if I ever have one. Just like I am very careful with my nephews. I would have to explain myself to the BM and BF so I don't ever want to have to give bad news if I can help it. Especially if my judgement/decision to let them do something is a factor.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:45PM
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