Free range balance: walking the line between freedom and informed parenting

Amazon: Free Range Kids Lenore Skenazy's fabulous book Free Range Kids makes an important argument: kids are missing a childhood of freedom and self-reliance, and it's hurting them and us. She reminds us that most of us live in safe enough places to give our kids the independence to explore and learn and ride bikes and run to the corner store…much like many of us did as kids.

This philosophy feels right to me, both in terms of the stats and the gut. Overprotectiveness has never been my style. In fact, I tend toward underprotectiveness; I default to trusting a situation when a little more caution might be wise.

That said, perhaps because I now homeschool my 11 year-old son, I'm aware of how little I truly understand my daughter's experience of school. It's not a problem exactly; I believe it's good for her to have her own world, in some ways separate from me. But I also assume she'll come to me when she has problems or needs help. Turns out that assumption may be faulty.

Dana (a regular Parenthacker) wrote an excellent post detailing her struggle to walk the line between "free range" and responsibility. Does it really make sense to assume everything is okay when we don't hear otherwise? Her experience says no, but she's not willing to veer toward controlling parenting, either. What to do? How to do it?

There's no right answer. I'd love to hear your take, either here or in the comments of the original post at Working Moms Against Guilt. (Dana encouraged me to expand the conversation here.)

Win it! I've got two extra copies of Free Range Kids sitting on my shelf, and I will happily share! On 4/13 at about 5pm PST I'll randomly choose two commenters, each of whom will get their very own copy. If you'd like to enter the drawing, please leave your comment here at Parent Hacks so I can keep track.

As of 4/13/11, 5pm PST, the drawing is closed. I'm leaving comments open so we can keep talking — I love reading your thoughts on this topic.


  1. Jill says

    Ahhh, this one is hard. My daughter tends to prefer to keep her home and school lives separate as much as humanly possible. I got monosyllabic answers to questions about her day at school starting in kindergarten. My son starts kindergarten this fall; I’m curious to see whether he is the same.

    Now in 5th grade, her behavior tells me when she’s having trouble away from home. Any time she starts being particularly difficult, sure enough, a few days later she’ll talk to me about a situation at school or with a friend that’s bugging her. Pressing her before she’s ready is utterly counter-productive. I just have to wait for her to be ready to talk to me. Of course, she causes herself a world of trouble by misbehaving, but she’ll figure that out eventually, one hopes.

    As far as letting her be more free-range in the neighborhood, like when she’s out riding her bike, she came up with the smart idea of using walkie-talkies. She said she’d feel better if she could reach me if she had a fall or if she wants to go inside a friend’s house, and I like that I can reach her to check in with her and to let her know when to come home. Smart kid.

  2. Susan says

    I’m so interested in this topic, but I am just barely on the fringe of practical application. My son is two, and he’s fearless. Right now, free range parenting is, for me, letting him go down a big slide without being his personal “spotter.” I hope I can find a balance as he grows, but I know it will be hard. Just reading the daily paper scares me. There’s always a news story about something tragic happening to a child. I may have to tune out of current events to have a chance!

  3. Lisa S says

    I love Free Range! Or at least the concept. My son is 2 1/2 and I want to be comfortable with free range as he grows. And I want to be able to get others (including my husband) on board!

  4. says

    My first reaction to the free range book was negative because I misunderstood it. My husband and I have had many conversations about it without even reading the book, so I’d love to have a copy of our own!

    I live in Oregon near where Kyron Horman disappeared from school one day – never to be seen again. My first reaction was fear to my core and never wanting to let my children leave the home again. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of mom I want to be and what I want to offer my children in terms of self-confidence building opportunities and so far I feel like we’ve found a fair balance. Fear doesn’t win here. My kids play in the backyard without my hovering. I keep my hands in my pockets at playgrounds … but mine are little … I think it’s easier now so I’m looking forward to hearing what the rest of you think.

  5. Amy says

    It’s tough. I try to err on the side of giving the kids freedom, but then whenever they are 5 minutes late I start imagining the terrible things that could have happened to them.

    Stay in touch with teachers and extracurricular instructors. They will let you know if something is amiss.

    And if you ever want some great insight into what happens when you aren’t around, drive your kid and a few of his/her friends somewhere. It’s like you are invisible and they just chatter away…

  6. says

    I am really interested in this book. I must admit that I tend toward being controlling, but I don’t want to be that way. I’d like to feel more comfortable closer to free range on the continuum.

  7. says

    I am on the fence on this topic…I want to give my children the freedom to experience things on their own, yet I want to hover over them to the point of smother mother to protect them from the world. This book seems like a perfect read! My children are 5 and 2…both vulnerable and innocent. I want to keep them that way, however it isn’t realistic today. I need to let them figure things out on their own and make their own mistakes…yet I want them to know that mommy and daddy are there to guide and provide comfort. I haven’t found that balance yet.

  8. says

    I’ve heard about this book and would love to sink my teeth into it. My daughter’s a bit young for the material, but time flies and I know we’ll be discussing whether she can walk or ride her bike the mile to elementary school (with friends or otherwise), in just a few short years. Maybe this will help shed some light.

    I wonder if it does anything to address the judgment and guilt that other people dump on you as you allow your kids the freedom to explore the world on their own terms while remaining safely and easily accessible if things get tough.

  9. says

    I’d be interested to read this book, since my 4yo is really clingy. It’s usually hard to get him to play on his own, though he plays very well with other kids even new kids.

  10. Brianna says

    This is a really thought-provoking concept for me. Just this weekend, my 6 year old asked to walk two houses down to see if a neighbor boy could play. I didn’t let him.

    I need to learn to let go.

  11. says

    Like most things in life, I think it’s a sense of balance. We, as parents, are fed all this anxiety and all this stress about the outside threats to our kids. And, again, a sense of balance between telling our kids what they can age-appropriately handle to assist in self-preservation but not dump all our anxiety and fears on them.

    I feel I fall more on the free-range side – providing opportunities for my kids (who are 5 and 7) to start interacting with the world one-on-one and problem-solve themselves through contained but real world situations (like approaching a customer service person or approaching a counter in McDonalds on their own).

    I’ve gotten comments often about not monitoring my little ones more closely. However, it’s like a good teacher – you want to teach so well you put yourself out of a job! LOL I want to parent them well enough that they will be able to function well without me when that time comes! :)

  12. says

    I tend to struggle with the nuances of Free Range parenting…while it’s natural for me to let my kids learn about the world first hand, through experiences, I often get a lot of slack from my controlling parent counterparts. This book, sounds like a great read, regardless!

  13. says

    Would love to read this book. I should add it to my library holds in case. (BTW, this is a great hack for parents of young children at the library. Browse and put everything you want to every glance at on hold online before you come. Then grab your stack of holds and off to the children’s section with the little ones. Just give the desk back the ones you don’t want to check out.)

    I’m a Montessori-blended free range parent. I like to teach my two-year-old how to do as much as he can and then leave him to it!

  14. Gail Luther says

    I would be interested in reading this book. My twin boys are 8 and one of them has been pressing me to let him ride his bike home from school by himself. (The other one wants to be chauffeured.) I’d like to encourage the independence (and exercise) but am concerned about the traffic and if he’s really paying attention. We are working on it. As far as the whole predator thing, my husband and I talk about this a lot. He’s a cub scout den leader and the leaders are very much aware of the danger and what to do to protect the kids and themselves against unfounded accusations. If my husband was not with them, I would be very hesitant to leave them alone with just one adult so I would stick around. It’s funny, on playdates I don’t particularly worry about this. I guess I trust Moms more than Dads. It’s an unfortunate world that we live in.

  15. says

    I’m definitely interested in this book. I had helicopter parents myself, and have been much more free-range in my parenting style with my son, who is now 15. It is definitely important to find the balance between freedom and neglect. I’m very lucky that my son has done well with freedom and responsibility, but it is very dependent on the child. There is no one size fits all solution, which is the problem with most theories, and books, on parenting.

  16. says

    my kids are still really little (3.75, 18 mos and 18mos) So I haven’t really put a lot of thought into this, but I do know that it will become an issue SOON. I’d love to win a copy of the book!

  17. rebelleink says

    I love the concept! I have a 6yo and 4yo and they play together on our very quiet street with some neighborhood kids and are so much happier for it!

  18. says

    There has always been conflict in our home with me being a lot more free-range than the Mr. Our oldest is only 5 but I encourage him to do certain things with RESPONSIBILITY, and I think that’s the key. He’s a daydreaming little boy so I am teaching him to be alert and aware of the things around him, to know his phone number, to know when things are wrong or right. It would be easier NOW to do everything with and for him, but I need him to help me, too!

  19. says

    This sounds like a perfect book for me NOW. I have 9 and 7 year old boys who are dying to venture out on their own. We see the other kids in the neighborhood riding their bikes and cutting through the woods to get to thier friends’ houses, but I just haven’t said YES yet. I encourage them verbally to be more responsible but wonder how they’ll ever actually become more responsible if I don’t let them try it all out on their own…

  20. Ginger says

    Perhaps the appropriate degree of free-range-ness depends on the individual child. Our 3-year-old is very aware of his surroundings, physically coordinated and socially tuned-in, but our 7-year-old is often lost in thought, not paying attention to what’s going on around him and doesn’t seem to be alert to potential hazards. I would not let him ride his bike to school at this stage, but I can imagine the younger one being ready at an earlier age.

  21. says

    As always, specific freedoms are dependent on the kid (some are self-possessed at a younger age than others). But I think this is important for us to work out internally, independent of our kids, so we have a perspective based in our own values.

    My experience of parenting so far has been a major exercise in surrender. I see more clearly than ever that I can’t control the randomness of the world. I try to let go of that fear and focus on the bounty. Sounds woo-woo, but it’s actually quite practical.

  22. says

    Would love to read this. My four year old is extremely responsible but also prone to distraction. I’m trying to figure out how long of a virtual tether he needs!

  23. Mary A says

    This is also something that we have been thinking with our son. We also just had a conversation with my sister-in-law about how she doesn’t think she will ever let her son ride his bike unchaperoned. I think this would be a great read for her. Thanks for the giveaway.

  24. Jill says

    I know that I’m overprotective and, so far, I’m ok with that BUT as my children are getting older I know that I’m going to have to start letting go a bit. Maybe this book would help??

  25. cindy says

    My (rather enjoyable) childhood was pretty free-range, yet my default parenting style is not. Need to become more mindful of this contrast and learn to let go a bit more.

  26. SusanOR says

    My 4.5 yo ran ahead the other day on a walk through the neighborhood after dinner with us. We rounded the corner — and she was no where in sight. Found her near our house — which had required crossing TWO streets.

    Found myself thinking whether I was over reacting by insisting she was still too young to cross without adult supervision, or at least still too young to make the decision herself. Sigh. I think I aged a few years that night.

  27. Stacy says

    Oh my. I think I want a copy for every mom in my neighborhood. We live in a very safe community and yet everyone still acts completely paranoid all the time. My oldest is only 4, but I wish the neighborhood vibe leaned more toward kids just playing in the yards and less towards arranged playdates. Sigh.

  28. Jen says

    For me… free range is leaving the baby to explore the bed while I pee and hope he learns not to fall off the edge… So any information helps! :)

  29. carriem says

    I love the free range blog, and I don’t really think it is irresponsible to practice free range parenting. It is not ‘lazy parenting’ it is just goal oriented. The goal is competent, healthy adults. ‘Responsible’ parenting’s goal seems to be children who are alive. Worthy, but setting the bar a little low.

  30. Emily says

    I am still in the early stages of parenting, with a not quite two-year-old and I hope that I can find that balance as well! I know the concept of free-range parenting but have not yet actually read the book myself. I hope that I will figure out the best way to let my son experience the world but in a safe way. I am a high school teacher, and my husband works at a university and we both see many students that aren’t functioning well because they’ve never had to do anything for themselves. I certainly don’t want my kids to be like that, so I’m trying to encourage problem solving before mom or dad jumps to the rescue. Right now that mostly means things like putting on his shoes or fitting a block into the right shape hole, so it’s a bit easier. I know this will be more challenging in the future!

  31. says

    Love her and her website — I’d love to win a copy.

    I tend to think I’ll err on the side of free-range (my DD is only 2 now), mostly because I want her to be confident, not scared of everything. I don’t want to project my unfounded fears onto her.

  32. jessica says

    With my 3 year old and 6 month old in day care, I worry whether my complaints to the school, such as when a serial biter gets my kid, is considered being protective or overbearing. How do I balance being a good parent and not making my day care hate me for pestering/criticizing/complaining to them?

  33. cindy says

    I am very interested in the book too. I tend to be more free-range, while my husband tends to be more protective and hovering. We completely disagree about whether our five-year-old twins can play unsupervised in our front yard on our safe, quiet street. I would love to hear some perspectives from others that have the same conflict.

  34. Justin says

    Look forward to reading the book!

    I definitely tend towards rearing independent children because I was certainly independent myself, but as mentioned in a comment above, I have also received a lot of guilt-pouring from others who have considered my decisions dangerous situations. I don’t disagree with them by any means, but I think that sometimes, you just have to trust life and trust your kids. Things do happen and things do get screwed up, but it’s usually not your fault and there probably was nothing you could have done about it anyways. I can only hope that I can keep the communication lines as open as possible with my children – particularly difficult as they get older, I think. Making sure to have regular, extended one-on-one time with them is key, I think. I always wanted to talk with my parents but was very uncomfortable with it, often thought I’d get in trouble, and sometimes felt I just didn’t really have the chance.

  35. Christy says

    This becomes an easier concept to grasp the older my children become. In the end I had to have an introspective moment where I made a list of all of the qualities I hope my children have when they grow up, and then, after looking at those qualities, figuring out how best to foster them in my kids. I just want them to be happy, self-reliant, well-adjusted educated people.

    At some point you just realize it’s not your story, it’s theirs, and every experience that they have adds up to the people they will become. I wish I could protect my kids from every bad thing that comes their way, but the reality is that they will have to cope with whatever happens to them with or without me. I’m just a supporting player in their personal movie.

  36. says

    Today, just today, my husband and I are having this conversation! How do you stay on top of things without smothering? My second-grader has a teacher who is not as adept as I would like, however, he does not speak up when something is bothering him. I am trying to stay on top of things, but at what point do I back off and let him figure things out…or step up and take over? And he has three more siblings following in his footsteps! I could really use a copy of this book.

  37. heather says

    Would love to win a copy of the book! I don’t know where I stand with this…I tend to be overly paranoid but with a total desire to allow my kids the kind of free range childhood I had. Thanks!

  38. Adrienne says

    I am free range mom trapped in a helicopter suburb. Neighbors comment as to why I don’t stand outside and watch my 5 and 7 yr. olds ride their bike in front of our house and holler “CAR!!!!” everytime one drives by so they can meander on through life never paying attention for themself. Yet, when I check on them, they are always within their preset boundary doing exactly what they should be doing. I consider that a win win situation for us all. I don’t like being the oddball, but I like that my kids can and do interact with adults and authority with confidence and politeness. I’d love to win this book so I can read it and have some more insight into my gut feelings.

  39. Tara says

    I feel like this is THE central question of parenting: how to keep them safe and teach them what we know while allowing them to discover and explore and be who they are. My daughter is almost 3 so I’m not dealing with some of the issues that other commenters are, but I’m trying to get myself prepared for that day when she rides her bike around the corner and I can’t see her.

  40. Allison says

    Wow, this sounds like a great book. Would love to read and see what approaches the author suggests. Parenting is mostly about understanding your child, using common sense and trusting your instincts… Sounds like that might fit here as well!

  41. Judy B says

    I grew up as a “free range” kid, partly because the area we lived in was very rural. Now we live right in the middle of a small town, and I feel like my son (almost 3) is going to miss out on that freedom. I think it had a huge impact on the kind of person I became (very independent and confident), so of course I want that for my son. I love Lenore’s ideas and her website too.

  42. says

    I think I tend towards free range at heart, but our neighborhood is not one to practice the concept in. Cars race around our corner without looking or slowing down. We have no backyard and have to play in the front yard. My daughter (7.5) can stay in a designated area and has done so since she was three. My son (almost 4) however, runs all over the place and scares me to death! I’ll be interested to see which way the almost 1 year old falls.

  43. says

    Sounds like an interesting read. My kids are too young to cross the street at the moment, but before long, they say, they will grow up too fast.

  44. says

    I have been wanting to read this book. I am more conservative than my husband when it comes to the kids. I was raised free range, but am having a hard time letting go of my 9 yr old & 6 yr old. They want to ride to their friends’ houses in the neighborhood but my fear is too strong. I need guidance on how to let go of my control and let my kids be more responsible.

  45. says

    I love the idea of free range kids and letting them explore their community as much as I did as a kid but it just seems so much has changed since I was a kid that every time they are gone I tend to worry about them far more than I should. Having Free Range Kids is an excellent concept but it’s hard to accept as a parent.

  46. says

    Such a tough one. I agree with the Free Range philosophy, but I struggle to put it into practice. We live in the land of Chelsea King and Amber DuBois and although our neighborhood is safe, I can’t imagine letting my 5 yo roam free.

    Thanks for the discussion and the chance for a copy of the book. I heart PH!

  47. says

    My brother and I ran wild through our small subdivision nestled among woods and farms. We had number of big lakes to explore and a few small creeks.

    We live somewhere much less open, but I want my kids to enjoy the outdoors like we did.

    It’s hard to reconcile my own wide-open childhood (where my then 7 year-old older brother used a machete to kill a poisonous water moccasin that lived in our lake) with today’s expectations of perpetual adult supervision.

    There were risks in our daily activities. I got a concussion biking, my brother won a Big Wheel race but rear-ended a parked pick-up, I was once treed by a vicious dog for hours, and I stepped barefoot on a snake running through the woods. We spent hours swimming and boating together (we weren’t allowed in/on the water alone).

    Yes, I’m afraid of letting my kids explore and adventure, but I’m even more afraid of keeping them insulated.

  48. says

    As a father of five, each one being very different in their needs, and abilities, I am not sure how I fall on this… I tend to view myself on the free range side, however, I do think I am likely over protective. I would love to receive the book!

  49. honu-girl says

    I tend to fall more on the free-range side of things than even my husband. Luckily no strife between us – we work it out so that we’re both reasonably comfortable with the outcome. But we do both find ourselves modifying what we REALLY want to do with how it might be perceived. That’s the real challenge – not necessarily the disapproving looks or whatever from other parents, we’re adults, we can handle those. But what if those parents call social services or the police? I need some data on how often that happens.

  50. Simone says

    Each to their own. It also depends on where you live…what its like on the way home…

    Our neighbours all shut up shop…no one is out in the streets…its a quiet area…even the parks are deserted.

    If there is a child alone in the park you would first think this child was neglected…

    Also it does not help when everyday the newspaper reports the local crimes and Neighbourhood Watch leave the monthly crime report newsletter in the mail box.

    I think you could be lucky to let your say 10 year old walk a few blocks to a mates place alone here.

    But its the young teens travelling via the local train station and bus stops that are more at risk.

    We live in a good area but so many good kids are into drugs..and the free range ones seem to hang in gangs on the outskirts of the shopping malls smoking and riding bikes…tiny tough thugs…

    and i have seen the appearance of some of these girls that join go from nice decent girls to very much slutty looking things…but I suppose its trendy to them to have heavy make up and skirts that show knickers…. these free range kids look like they have no one at home that gives a crap….they end up rude blocking the entrance to shops etc….yet its often said all they want is a bit of discipline and structure and someone to care….because some of them say…oh no one cares what I do…

  51. says

    As a relaxing tiger mom, I’d love to learn more about relaxing. I have started letting my six year old ride her bike on her own and my 4 year old can play in the yard even though we don’t have a fence. It helps a little that the meth house I knew about is gone now. It was just 5 doors down.

    I want my kids to have a childhood, but I want them to be responsible, caring, rational people.

  52. says

    Aaaaand KtCallista is the last commenter to enter the drawing for one of two copies of “Free Range Kids”! I’m leaving the comments open so we can keep talking — love reading all of your thoughts on this.

  53. MattB5 says

    It’s really hard to find that balance. In theory/on paper all the free-range stuff sounds great. And I know the chances of my kids being abducted or molested are ridiculously small. But it’s so horrific when you hear about it that you can’t help but overreact. That’s why I try hard not to watch the sensationalized news on tv. I get most of my news on the Internet and skip over most stories that don’t have local relevance. I honestly don’t care if someone is abducted in California. I don’t live there. Not an immediate threat. Nothing I can do about it. No need to get anxious over it.
    I think the prevalence of national and international news is a big part of the problem. Years ago if something happened 5 states away you didn’t hear about it right away or at all. Now I know if there’s an active police chase going on on the opposite coast as it’s happening with live footage. If a child is abducted *anywhere* there’s a pretty good chance we’ll hear about. And I’m sure they are acutely aware of our horrible skills at assessing real risks and responding emotionally. That’s not good for the national psyche.
    I think this trend of the news scrambling for ratings like a prime time drama is forcing news producers to seek the most shocking and appalling stories to draw in viewers. “It’s like a car crash, I couldn’t turn away.”
    Why do you think so many people are seriously getting their news from The Daily Show and Colbert? There’s no reason why it has to be gloom and doom all day long every day. But I guess there are no ratings in saying, “Well, it’s another fine day in the safest era known to mankind. The forecast for village ransacking is at a threat level green today – looks like we’ve got a raid-free week ahead of us. Plus if you’re hearing this you’re probably in America where even many of the poorest are overweight from eating too much. And in the weather it looks like clear skies. But watch out because you’ve still got a better chance of being hit by lightning than having your kids abducted by strangers. And that is the free-range news for this evening. I’d wish you a safe tomorrow, but it’s already statistically assured.”

  54. Simone says

    what about free range to wander from the house alone…unless say your walking from point a to point b.

    or do find safety in numbers…let the kids go out in groups.

    what fun would there be to wander the streets on your own as a child anyway…

  55. says

    so. tricky.
    There’s obviously no ‘right’ solution, it depends so much on each of our situations, children, neighborhood, etc.

    I let my daughter ride her bike to piano lessons, etc. and play outside with friends unsupervised and have for years (she’s 10). I have a harder time with my two boys (6,8) because one is a spectrum kiddo, and some of the judgment skills just aren’t there yet. Also, we have 12 (12!!!) boys 10 and under on our street and I’ve noticed that the more that are out playing, the more ‘stuff’ happens. Like their judgment gets worse when they are together. And I’m usually the only parent who even goes outside, even though they ‘get into trouble’ about every day. Drives me nuts, and I’m not sure what the ‘right’ answer is.

  56. says

    Well said. One of the best things to come out of homeschooling my “unconventional” son has been the necessity to step back and consider the real goal of his education. Reading, writing, math…he can learn those in all sorts of ways. Learning to find his own strength and passion…that has been our goal.

    It applies to parenting. If the goal is to raise independent, competent kids, it only makes sense to shift responsibility to them.

  57. says

    TONS of fun to wander the streets alone as a child! I covered my neighborhood and beyond on my bike for years, discovered all sorts of little things only I found interesting. Weird plants in people’s yards, freaky-looking houses, little dead-end adventures, shortcuts…watching the hood change with seasons (as much as there were in N. California), running into friends and their parents, meeting neighborhood dogs and cats, noticing different cooking smells from different houses…

    Our kids need to learn that there’s endless entertainment without direction. Just like you can have a great walk or bike ride with no destination in mind.

  58. says

    That’s important, kirsten. That’s when the “village to raise a child” adage comes into play. I don’t think that “free range” equals “no supervision.” In many ways, behavior expectations were tighter when I was a kid, while physical restrictions were looser. Parents had no problem disciplining/reprimanding a neighborhood kid if he was acting up.

    I think that’s an important parallel issue…collective adult supervision of neighborhood kids.

  59. Alex says

    The piece I don’t hear people mentioning much is the fact that your kids DO STUFF when they are unsupervised and it’s up to other adults to deal with it when you’re not around. I watch my 4 year old at the park from quite a distance, and it drives me crazy when other parents aren’t looking, because their kids have hit my kid in the face unprovoked & often told her she couldn’t play on something. I ran around in the street alone with a pack of kids at age 5, and have lots of sympathy for the free range idea, but I’ve also worked children’s retail and seen unsupervised kids destroy A LOT. There’s an element of citizenship involved. There’s an awful lot you can do to foster independence without being completely absent while your child does things.

  60. Leslee says

    “Cautious optimism” pretty much fits the bill. Both my kids’ phones have Verizon’s Chaperone (also called Family Locator). They think I can use it to find a lost phone; I know that my kids are lo-jacked!

    It’s necessary to discern the difference between my unrealistic fears and the needs of the kids. Should the 13-year-old walk 1/2 mile to karate after school? It’s statistically unlikely that anything will happen to him (and he IS a black-belt). Walk it, kiddo!

    Should the 16-year-old go across the country alone to the summer program? It’s statistically unlikely that the plane will crash. Have a great time!

    But call me when you get there, please.

  61. Liz says

    interesting discussion. I have a teenager and the only wisdom I can pass on with regards to this topic is; giving your kids freedoms is great. As they earn them and show responsibility, allowing them more control is completely healthy etc. etc. Don’t however, assume that they’re ok! They can go backwards at any moment. So do you hover? Well, not really, you step back but still pay attention to that little voice in your head that warns of trouble and never assume, “but my kids would never do that”. That excuse, “it’s my friend’s” or “I don’t know how that got here, someone else must have…” is almost never true! Even the most responsible, smart, focused teen can meet temptation and stumble. Know your kids, know their friends, go to their school, watch them interact, supervise all computer time, cell phones are not necessary to keep in contact with friends 24/7, have dinner together and if they do run into trouble…love them back to a good path. Good luck!

  62. Karen Kay says

    I had an interesting experience with my daughter when she was 11 years old that made me rethink the whole parenting role. I was a strict mother and kept tabs on my daughter all the time…One day she told me she would be going to a friends house and for some reason, I failed to ask for details. Later Before her curfew, I got a phone call and she was half way across the city. I’d always told her to call home no matter what for a ride. She did just that!!! I went and picked her up and no questions were asked. I want to point out as well, that this was 25 years ago and it WAS much safer then…just saying