Free Range Kids How to Raise Safe Self-Reliant Children Without Going Nuts With Worry Book Report

Excerpt from Book Report :

Free-Range Kids

Skenazy introduces to the reader a (supposedly) profound "new" way of raising children in the United States, which is the Free-Range way. Her point-of-view stems from the new parenthood phenomenon of sheltering children to the point of exhaustion: no longer do children walk or bike to school, play in the park with friends, go to the grocery store alone or sleepover at a friend's house. Skenazy suggests that because crime rates in America are at their all-time low, despite what many parents believe, that it is time to give children back recess, walking, playing, and basically, being children. The main premise of the book is to give parents tools to start raising Free-Range children, and addresses any problems or issues parents may face if the decide to make this decision. Each chapter denotes a "Commandment," followed by sound reasoning to a problem or task (such as, letting your kid walk to school, what could really happen), ending with a short letter or anecdote by real parents trying to grabble with their paranoia, and some steps to take to get started.

I was interested in this book because the author and myself share many of the same ideas concerning how children should be raised. I do not feel that children should be denied the basic principle of childhood, which is to learn and explore. Of course I believe that parents have every right to be concerned for the children's well-being; but there is a point in time when literally locking them in the house and forbidding them to go out alone is bordering on obsessive compulsive paranoia. Not only is the bad for the child's development, but parents are inadvertently raising a person who will not know how to fend for himself in the real world. What will happen when it's time for that child to get a driver's license, to go off to college, to face a difficult situation and make a wise decision? As an adult, he will not have the tools or the confidence to do so. Skenazy's views on changing childhood are right on point with how I feel about it.

Sociologically Skenazy brings up some very good points about the childrearing habits of not only Americans, but other countries around the world. Basically, most non-English speaking countries feel that we (Americans) have gone a little crazy with all this safety mania. It has become a normal part of society to drive kids to school or the bus stop, to remove recess, to worry excessively that its bad parenting to leave a child home alone when the child is nine! Raising a family means hermetically sealing children off from the real world; the less the move, the better off they'll be. In fact, this "ideal" parenting is the exact opposite for countries like Denmark, where it is completely normal to leave babies in their strollers outside a restaurant while the parents grab a bite to eat. Danish mothers feel it's healthy for a baby to get fresh air and sunshine. Unfortunately, society is paralyzed with a fear that, to them, feels completely legitimate. News media is not making it any easier on parents with the nightly news specials that replay on a loop every time someone's child gets abducted or murdered. Skenazy makes sure to point out that crimes against children are very, very low, and the percentages are almost laughable that something like an abduction could happen. Nevertheless, the media blows every story out of proportion, including news about child safety, which forces parents out to the store to buy useless gadgets like table bumpers, baby kneepads, and baby wipe warmers. In reality, society is downplaying the true tragedies which can befall a child, such as car accidents, fires, child sex crimes by a relative (not a…

Sources Used in Document:


Skenazy, L. (2009). Free -Range kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry). SanFrancisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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