Kids, Go Ahead and Talk to Strangers: Lenore Skenazy in The Washington Post

The free-range movement is growing


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The Washington Post's "On Parenting" blogger Amy Joyce interviewed Reason's Lenore Skenazy about the success of the Free-Range Kids movement:

How has this all changed since you first sent your 9-year-old on the subway? There's a lot more discussion about childhood freedom. Where it went and how we can get it back. I think the thing that I brought to public attention is this government angle. The idea that helicopter parenting was becoming law of the land, rather than just a choice. And that's changed. There's constant attention to this now in public and it's a more fevered pitch. I just think that everybody gets now what I'm saying. For two years in a row after I started this site, I was voted as the most controversial mommy blogger by Babble. I'm not that controversial anymore. I read a lot of articles and everyone sounds like me.

Are there parameters for free-rangers? I think parents are the best judge of that. Certainly there are entire continents who send their children at age 7 to school alone. The idea is we do know what's best for our kids. My parameter is that unless a child is in obvious immediate and grave danger, we're allowed to teach our kids the same lessons our parents taught us: Cross the street safely. You can talk to strangers, but don't go off with strangers.

Full Q and A here.

The article notes that Danielle and Alexander Meitiv—who practice free-range parenting—recently triumphed over an outrageous neglect charge levelled against them by Child Protective Services.

While the libertarian approach to parenting is quickly winning hearts and minds, it's going to take a lot longer to change the laws that empower police to arrest families for raising kids contrary to the paranoid dictates of the state.

Read Skenazy's Reason archive here.