We had Tiger Moms, then Helicopter Moms, and now Free Range Moms. I am pretty sure eventually we will be categorizing moms the same way we do hurricanes or Google updates and with just as much variety. But for now, Free Range Moms are in the spotlight.
A Free Range Mom is a mother that backs off and lets her kid experience life. In 2009 Lenore Skenazy allowed her (then nine year old) son to ride the New York subway by himself.
Not surprisingly there was immediate backlash from the media as well as other parents. I mean, I have been to New York and I am not sure I want to ride the subway by myself â€“ and I am decades older.
Skenazy says that nothing terrible happened. She claims that parents are too worried about kids because of all of the violence and scary stuff we see on the news. She assumes that basically people are pretty decent and the odds of something happening are pretty slim.
In some ways I agree. I think we do shelter our children too much, retard the development of independence, and make them afraid to take chances.
The rules go on and on -don’t run, don’t climb trees, don’t ride a bike without a helmet… I remember the euphoria of riding my bike down a hill, the wind blowing my hair straight back and my hands off the handle bars and high in the air.
At the same time we have an instinct to protect our young in this quickly changing world. Sometimes the balance between letting go and protecting can be a line so fine it can hardly be seen. Lenore Skenazy has a point â€“ and itâ€™s a good one, at least until itâ€™s your kid that gets hurt.
You can read her blog and more about her philosophy at Free Range Kids.