Posted by: Kate | November 20, 2009

Friday Quote

It’s possible you picked up this book because you have a sneaking suspicion that you don’t have to be quite as worried about quite as much. After all, our moms sent us outside and said, “Come home when the street lights turn on.” Their moms sent them out on streetcars and buses. And their grandmas sent their sweet children out on slow, rusty steamers to the New World with only a couple of rubles and a hard salami.

Those were all responsible parents! Yet here in the nice, safe, scurvy-free twenty-first century, we worry about our kids riding their bikes to the library, or walking to school. We worry when we can’t reach them on their cells.

-“Free Range Kids” by Lenore Skenazy

When I first heard about this mom who sent her 9-year-old son out on the New York subway, I was a little shocked. So was the rest of North America, and she found herself quickly on the defensive. Her book is a fascinating and funny  and sometimes uncomfortable read about the dangers, perceived and real, we fear for our children. As a reporter she has backed up her work with facts, something I appreciate. As a parent you may not be able to embrace all of her ideas, but I do think it is a book worth reading, if only to help you make informed decisions rather than taking actions out of what may perhaps be misplaced fear. I know it made me think hard about some of our decisions. You can find out more about the book and the community growing around it, at the website free range kids.



  1. Very timely, as we’re letting Teen 1 take the car to St. Paul tonight–the longest he’s gone by himself, and a little tricky in spots. It was a tough decision, but he’s got to learn sometime, right? Right??

  2. i’ve never heard of this book/website – thanks for bringing it to my attention kate!

  3. I like the sound of it – I just requested it from VIRL, thanks Kate.

  4. I’m not a parent but I find this sort of fascinating. I think I’d like to read more…because my first thought is that regardless of differences in opinion on what’s safe for children, her logic of comparing today to 20 years ago or 100 years ago doesn’t seem quite right. Lots of things have changed over the course of time such that some things that were ‘safe’ 20 years ago may not be safe today…and vice versa. It just seems too simplistic. Which is why I’d be curious to read more to see how she backs it up. Thanks for the link/reference.

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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