Jump to content

Free Range Kids
Would you let your 9yo do this?


248 replies to this topic

#1 loropetalum

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:02 PM

Another rehash on the helicopter parents theme.

I caught an interview with Lenore Skenazy who caused outrage when she wrote about leaving her 9yo at a department store in NYC. She gave him some cash, a train ticket and a train map and left him, trusting him to get home safely. He'd be peskering her to give him some independence for weeks (and he did get home safely.)

She makes some interesting points about crime rates actually declining over the years, but various factors such as the media's obsession with reporting crime stories feeding into our anxiety as parents.

Personally, I'm not sure whether I could leave my 9yo child at the shops and not feel the urge to trail him home. (BTW My only child is 15mo at the moment.)

So, how free range are your kids? Would you do what Lenore did?




#2 3_for_me

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:07 PM

I'm not sure i'd do it at 9, maybe a few years older and with a friend or two, and probably only if they were familiar with the route home

My kids(nearly 4 year old included) play in the park down the end of the street with a group of neighbourhood kids(aged 4-8), I can't see them there and they are often gone for hours, every now and then one of the parents goes and checks on them.

#3 censura carnero

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:08 PM

I really struggle with this concept but I was brought up with a worry wart as a mother.  I let my kids free range over our house and the back yard but being free range all over the neighbourhood or city is another matter.  I'm undecided but I kind of feel it's very much relying on the kindness of strangers if your kids get into trouble and expecting others to pull them up if they do the wrong thing.  I think kids should be scaffolded to take on different responsibilities, gradually building them up step by step to take care of themselves.

As i said it's a concept I completely struggle with but I'm not necessarlily absolutely opposed to.

#4 censura carnero

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:12 PM

QUOTE
My kids(nearly 4 year old included) play in the park down the end of the street with a group of neighbourhood kids(aged 4-8), I can't see them there and they are often gone for hours, every now and then one of the parents goes and checks on them.


ohmy.gif   WoW!  I have a four year old and absolutely no way would I let him do that.  I guess you're really hoping that older kids are paying enough attention should your little one get into trouble that they would be able to race home to tell you.  I find that fairly irresponsible actually.

#5 PinkSocks

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:14 PM

I would do it but I would follow behind without her knowing I was there! (DD is only 16months aswell)

Although I know at 9 I would have been able to find my way home!

#6 eleishas

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:15 PM

Given the poor state of trains in Melb. I wouldn't catch one myself let alone have my child do it.


#7 Princesinders

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:22 PM

QUOTE
Would you do what Lenore did?


No way. I am a "worry wart" too. And I make no apologies for it.

#8 Guest_tickle_*

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:22 PM

QUOTE (Loulabelle Doll @ 29/09/2010, 10:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ohmy.gif   WoW!  I have a four year old and absolutely no way would I let him do that.  I guess you're really hoping that older kids are paying enough attention should your little one get into trouble that they would be able to race home to tell you.  I find that fairly irresponsible actually.

I'm not a parent yet however there is so much discussion around about people being overprotective of their children. Every situation is different. I'm sure 3forme has assessed the risks and decided it's relatively safe for her children. She doesn't seem like a neglectful and irresponsible parent to me from some of her other posts.

#9 MightyMummy

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:23 PM

QUOTE (Loulabelle Doll @ 29/09/2010, 10:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ohmy.gif   WoW!  I have a four year old and absolutely no way would I let him do that.  I guess you're really hoping that older kids are paying enough attention should your little one get into trouble that they would be able to race home to tell you.  I find that fairly irresponsible actually.


Ditto. Not fairly, COMPLETELY irresponsible to leave an almost 4 year old in the care of a non-adult at any time (presumably the older siblings were supposed to be the safeguard, puhlease).

I think free range parenting is bollocks. Its just irresponsibility and has NOTHING to do with crime rates. Kids are just as likely to step out in front of a car, get lost or simply very very upset as they are to be crime victims. Of course Lenore doesn't give a sh*t about that.

I was parented by the ultimate helicopter parents and I'm grateful to them. I hope I do as good a job. And no I didn't resent them at the time either. And I didn't grow up to be some kind of scaredy cat incompetent who couldn't take care of herself alone in unavoidable risks either. I guess it just depends how good you are at explaining your reasons for supervision to the kids and how intelligent they are at understanding those reasons.

BTW Mr 6 could definitely get himself home from most places he's ever likely to be at this age (school, shops, grandma's) and Mr 4 probably could too, and yes I teach them how to do this while I am with them and I am confident if they had to they could. I am not as insecure as Lenore, I don't need to "test" them by putting them at risk for no reason.

Edited by MightyMummy, 29 September 2010 - 10:25 PM.


#10 Fabulous

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:23 PM

If they lived in NYC and the 9yo was familiar with the subway and everything then I think it may be okay to do such a thing. When I visited NYC I felt really safe, even when walking alone at 10pm at night. That's when I used to visit the grocery shop. I have never felt like that elsewhere.

#11 Sweet like a lemon

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:25 PM

Where are these lowering crime rates? Certainly not on Melbourns trains.

#12 censura carnero

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:26 PM

QUOTE
I'm not a parent yet however there is so much discussion around about people being overprotective of their children


As you said you're not a parent yet.  Leaving three year olds completely unsupervised outside of your property is incredible.

Although I would be interested to hear what the surrounds are like.

#13 3_for_me

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:28 PM

QUOTE
WoW! I have a four year old and absolutely no way would I let him do that. I guess you're really hoping that older kids are paying enough attention should your little one get into trouble that they would be able to race home to tell you. I find that fairly irresponsible actually.


We live in a very quite street(long court) and the park is at the end of the street, it's a group of about 8 children and the park is two doors down from one of their parents who generallyy keeps half an eye on them.  As a PP said, i've assessed the rsiks involved and I'm happy with the situation.  And as far as injuries, DS1(6) did come off his bike recently down there and the first thing they did was race up and get someone to help while the other kids were with him, they are a great group of kids original.gif

#14 Guest_Buy Me A Pony!_*

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:29 PM

I'm a proud freeranger!

At 9yo I was all over the suburb I grew in, including the adjacent bushland and I was the same age as Samantha Knight. I think it's important that children now how to catch public transport and read timetables from around 10yo. Even if it's only to get themselves to school - it takes so much pressure off us to avoid the drop off and pick up. Also to know how to seek out assistance if they need it.

Safety houses have vanished which seems a shame but we've taught methods for seeking out assistance from adults or other children. It's important that children be allowed to trust their instincts within a safe environment. So of course we don't put them in situations of high risk, and always advise that if something feels dodgy to stay right away.

#15 Mrs_Mystery_Guest

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:29 PM

No I would never ever let my kids do that!  ohmy.gif I won't be letting my sons out on their own with a bit of cash till at least 13, but then again I'm strict.

#16 Banana Pancakes

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:31 PM

I have a 9 year old and I would never let him catch public transport on his own in the city. No way! I trust him (within reason) but I do not trust most of the general population.

I dont want to take the risk that my child might be one of the unlucky ones.

#17 censura carnero

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:34 PM



QUOTE
We live in a very quite street(long court) and the park is at the end of the street, it's a group of about 8 children and the park is two doors down from one of their parents who generallyy keeps half an eye on them. As a PP said, i've assessed the rsiks involved and I'm happy with the situation. And as far as injuries, DS1(6) did come off his bike recently down there and the first thing they did was race up and get someone to help while the other kids were with him, they are a great group of kids


Yep I live in one of those streets too.  I would never ask another person to keep a half eye on a child.  And a three year old is completely and utterly outrageous.  A kid falling off a bike is obvious and easy for another kid to notice.  There are lots of other incidences where things happen to kids that aren't that noticeable.  You are seriously running the gauntlet with knowing what your kids get up to and how safe they are.  Do you have an illness or a sick child?  Not taking the p*ss just wondering if there are reasons why you would be so irresponsible with your kids.

#18 3_for_me

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:39 PM

That's fine, you can be as judgemental as you like but I have no concerns about their safety while they are there, infact they get up to more mischief in our backyard than they do down there where there is safe, age appropriate play equipment and a few trees to play hide and seek behind.  He is what you would call mature for his age I guess, I wouldn't have had my oldest there at that age but he is a different person to his brother.

I'm sure that people on here who know me in real life would agree that my kids are well looked after and sensible boys.

QUOTE
Do you have an illness or a sick child?


Of course I don't, I just recognise that I have active boys who are best occupied by not being kept in the loungeroom or the backyard alone all day wacko.gif

Edited by 3_for_me, 29 September 2010 - 10:40 PM.


#19 ~*Ness~*

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:40 PM

No way. My oldest is only 4 but there's no way I'll be letting her go anywhere unsupervised at 9. It's not just about the Childs ability to handle a situation, it's about all the idiots and threats some people pose to a child. It may be a rare thing in reality but I'm not willing to risk their safety.

#20 cira

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:42 PM

QUOTE (ceres @ 29/09/2010, 10:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If they lived in NYC and the 9yo was familiar with the subway and everything then I think it may be okay to do such a thing. When I visited NYC I felt really safe, even when walking alone at 10pm at night. That's when I used to visit the grocery shop. I have never felt like that elsewhere.

I half-agree. I think the kid would be safe. But NYC is big and busy and they might get disoriented and lost.
Or a crazy homeless person might frighten them. I'm an adult and both these things happened to me in NYC.

#21 hellokatty

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:43 PM

My 12 year old catches public transport to and from school and will sometimes stop in at Camberwell Junction to wander around and then get back on the tram. I have no problem with that during daylight hours.
He also uses the train on the way to and from school with no problem. Not sure why people are bagging the Melbourne trains, unless your children are on them at night of course.

No way in the world would I let a 4 year old go to the park in the care of 8 year olds, never.

#22 Guest_tickle_*

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:43 PM

QUOTE
That's fine, you can be as judgemental as you like but I have no concerns about their safety while they are there, infact they get up to more mischief in our backyard than they do down there where there is safe, age appropriate play equipment and a few trees to play hide and seek behind. He is what you would call mature for his age I guess, I wouldn't have had my oldest there at that age but he is a different person to his brother.


I would have thought being exposed to this type of relatively safe situation (as assessed by their mother) is how children learn how to problem solve, negotiate, and get on with one another

Edited by tickle, 29 September 2010 - 10:44 PM.


#23 lucky 2

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:45 PM

QUOTE
Do you have an illness or a sick child? Not taking the p*ss just wondering if there are reasons why you would be so irresponsible with your kids

laughing2.gif You're pushing the button aren't you. I wouldn't let my dd 6 do it but it really is just your judgement call as to whether pp is irresponsible or not, it sounds like you are completely sure it is definitely irresponsible, good for you but all situations are different. But don't hold back on my behalf...

As to OP, I'm wondering if it is different for boys and girls, is it different to leave a 9 yo boy in NYC vs leaving a 9 yo girl. As a mother of a girl I'd worry for her safety from sexual predators (even though I know statistically they are more at risk inside a home with a known male adult), would the mothers of boys be as worried about this aspect? Would she let her girl do the same thing? No offence intended, I'm just a bit thick about boys! I come from an all girl family and have one girl.

#24 ~*Ness~*

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:45 PM

QUOTE
Of course I don't, I just recognise that I have active boys who are best occupied by not being kept in the loungeroom or the backyard alone all day


My kids are never kept alone in the lounge room or backyard a day. I take them to the park most days, or a friends house, the shops etc. They do something every day and are very active, but they wont be doing it alone anytime in the next 10 or so years.

#25 3_for_me

Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:49 PM

QUOTE
but they wont be doing it alone anytime in the next 10 or so years


You wouldn't allow your 11 year old to play in the street with the neighbourhood kids?


QUOTE
I would have thought being exposed to this type of relatively safe situation (as assessed by their mother) is how children learn how to problem solve, negotiate, and get on with one another


This is my feelings too, they spend time in the park, they go to one of the kids places and jump on the trampoline and sometimes they come in here and play with toys for a while.  But there is a limit to how many kids I'll have in my house for an extended period laughing2.gif

QUOTE
I take them to the park most days, or a friends house, the shops etc


We do these things too, but they spend the whole time asking to go home so they can go down the street and play with their friends, I think fostering a good, healthy friendship revolving around healthy, active outdoor fun is a good thing



Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Exclusive Black Friday Sale!

Get over 40% off selected products, including prams, baby carriers, cloth nappies, sleeping bags and much more! 24 hours only, on May 6 - register now for your special code.

Kelly Clarkson shares first photos of son

Kelly Clarkson has shown off the first photos of her son, Remington Alexander Blackstock.

5 childbirth myths that need to be busted

Birth is an unpredictable, mysterious process that intrigues us all, and there is a lot of misinformation out there.

Mum of three fatally shot by toddler while driving

A US mother has been shot by her toddler while driving on a highway in Wisconsin.

All you need is one minute to work out

The seven-minute-work out is old news. Research shows the effectiveness of going hell-for-leather for just one minute.

Pregnant women needed to join diabetes study

Pregnant woman in country Australia will help Adelaide researchers figure out why cases of type 1 diabetes have doubled over the past two decades.

Just announced: the Mountain Buggy Unirider

It's the perfect solution to combat those toddler meltdowns when they no longer want to be in a pram but can't walk long distances.

Authorities euthanise dog that fatally bit a newborn baby

A pit bull mix that fatally bit a 3-day-old infant last week has been euthanised, authorities said.

The push for Medicare to fund lactation consultants

While meeting with a lactation consultant can make an enormous difference to a new mother, it's not a service that is available through the public health system.

Why it's perfectly natural to dislike other people's children

Members of a popular forum are fiercely debating whether it is acceptable to dislike a friend's child.

Woman gives birth on plane, names baby after airline

A pregnant woman who unexpectedly gave birth on a flight has named her new baby after the airline, Jetstar.

Heartwarming photos show the joy of adoption after foster care

Children living in foster care can feel like their future is less than clear. But that uncertainty disappears the day they are adopted by their "forever family" 

'Oh my god, it's a baby!' Mum shocked to give birth

When the cramps started to kick in, Klara Dollan just assumed a painful period was starting.

Mum's Facebook plea: 'Help me find my daughter's father'

Kerryn has a unusual present planned for daughter Imi's 13th birthday celebrations - she hopes to be able to be able to give the soon-to-be the teenager her first ever photo of her dad.

Is it possible for your house to be too clean?

Our houses are cleaner than ever before. But how clean is too clean? Could a sterile home be putting your family's health at risk?

Millions of Monkeys: puzzles that grow with your toddler

Here's a puzzle that grows with them; the Puzzle Grow Pack by Millions of Monkeys.

Baby names from Britpop

If you grew up in the 90s you might want to look to the genre of Britpop music for baby name inspiration.

What to eat and drink when you have gastro

When you catch a bug that causes acute infectious gastroenteritis (gastro), your stomach and intestinal tract become inflamed, causing diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and pain. The last thing you probably feel like doing is eating.

'To this day, I owe her my life'

Would I have survived if I hadn't crossed that street?

Why baby Sonny needs you to vaccinate your children

Caitlin is a firm believer in the importance of immunisation to protect children from harmful and deadly diseases.

Five-year-old's photo captures beauty of motherhood

There is no make-up or special outfits and hairdos, but the five-year-old boy who took this picture captured the essence of motherhood as well as any professional photographer.

Babies know whether you are naughty or nice

Studies have shown that infants in the first months of life try to avoid dealing with social wrongdoers - for example, sharing less with them and helping them less - and they expect others to, too.

 
Advertisement
 

Top 5 Articles

Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

The babies who are one in 70 million

Bethani Webb was excited to find out she was pregnant, but the first time mum did not realise she was carrying four babies not one.

Exclusive Black Friday Sale!

Get over 40% off selected products, including prams, baby carriers, cloth nappies, sleeping bags and much more! 24 hours only, on May 6 - register now for your special code.

Cafe offers breastfeeding mums a free cup of tea

A Sydney cafe is offering breastfeeding mums free cups of tea in a bid to show support for the right of women to nurse their babies wherever they choose.

To snip or not to snip? When the decision is not clear cut

Jamie Oliver, who considered a vasectomy, is to be a father again. A fellow dad reflects on his own decision 11 years ago

Doctors stunned by rare twins born almost six weeks apart

To everyone's surprise, Kristen Miller "kept doing better each day", keeping her second baby safe.

Baby book ideas for modern parents

Before my son was born I was given a lovely baby book full of blank pages waiting to be filled with weights and heights and first words.

The adorable smile of a baby seeing his mum clearly for the first time

There is no doubt seeing their child smile for the first time is an unforgettable moment for parents everywhere.

Mum tells how toddler 'nearly hung himself' in cot mishap

When Alison Johnson put her 18-month-old Caleb down for a nap, she had no reason to believe her son was in any danger.

Babies are still switched at birth? Yes, it can happen

All my panic and tears aside, my biggest question looking back is about the kind of security measures used in the maternity ward.

Doctors slammed for taking selfie with newborn

Everyone who visits a mum in hospital in the days following childbirth wants to get a photo with the new baby.

ergoPouch Twosie Sleepsuit for winter breastfeeding

Finally, there's a way to keep warm while breastfeeding through winter.

Health check: How long does sex 'normally' last?

What to do with this information? My advice would be to try not to think about it during the throes of passion.

When breastfeeding sucks: fixing common problems

From niplash to tight boobs, biting to milk supply issues, Pinky McKay looks at common breastfeeding issues and how to solve them.

10 things I've learnt in my first six months with twins

Six months on we're all still alive, and the more we get to know each other the easier the days become.

Mum's loving kiss leaves baby fighting for life

Kirsty Carrington thought nothing of giving her newborn son a kiss, little did she know it would leave the baby fighting for life.

When doing chores is your new 'me time'

After children, 'me time' looks a little different.

Get going: 14 travel strollers for families on the move

A stroller can make or break travelling with a baby or toddler. Here are 15 great single travel stroller options.

10 ways toddlers are terrific

It always pays to remind yourself of how terrific toddlers can be - they're little like this for such a short time

 

ENTER NOW

Do your kids love bananas?

This is the comp for you! We have $800 worth of Myer gift cards and boxes of Australian Bananas to be won. Entry is simple: just post a pic of your little one enjoying a banana in the comments of the FB post to enter.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.