Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm into Free Range Parenting

And proud of it.

You may remember a few posts back when I posed this question to the blogging community. I asked because my son called me to bring something of his in.

I told him no. *gasp*

Nope. Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.

Does that mean I didn't want to do it? No. I totally wanted to get his project, jump in the car and run it down to him. But I didn't.

Why? You ask. Because he needs to learn that he is responsible for remembering his work. It's not my job. It's his job. If he wants to get the credit and the good grades then he needs to do the work and remember to hand it in. Not me.

I had a couple of friends post this article from Time to facebook. I loved it so much that I'm sharing the link here. Take some time to go and read it. It's worth it. Believe me.

Can These Parents Be Saved?

One of the highlights? I loved where it talks about the school that instituted a "No Rescuing" policy because one day "a mom rushed in with a necklace meant to complete her daughter's coordinated outfit." Is that crazy or what? I would love a "no rescuing" policy.

I also let my kids walk or ride their bikes down to a local gas station to get a drink. Granted, I have them take the cell phone with them. And my six year old hasn't joined their ranks yet, but one day she will. My 11 year old daughter has walked to her friends house that is close to a mile away from ours on her own. I still get nervous having my youngest walk around the block to play but I'm working on that.

Another thing that I thought of as I was reading this article was that I got a call the other day from the head of "Reflections"(a program here in Utah to help students develop their artistic sides. Great program) informing me about the awards ceremony that was to be held Thursday night.

Both George and McKenna entered this year. I was informed that George would be receiving and Judges Choice for Artistic Merit. Cool! George's artistic abilities have really taken off this year. He has found a love of doodling and drawing that is awesome.

But the this mom seemed very apologetic that George wasn't going on to the council level. And even more apologetic that McKenna would only receive a certificate instead of a medal or a trophy. She apologized about that exact fact saying "We know how hard it is when siblings are involved." What?

There is absolutely nothing wrong, in my mind, with the fact that George received a medal and McKenna received a certificate. Nothing. That is how life is. Sometimes we get the Judges Choice and sometimes we get certificate. Heck often times we don't even get either of those! McKenna has received awards for how well she's done in national testing and George hasn't. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. And kids need to learn this.

Last night as the kids got their awards I think that they did a fabulous job of presenting and making every one of those kids feel great. McKenna and George not only got their awards but they also got a Gift Bag that had some pretty cool stuff in it.


My kids are pretty much free range kids. Maybe not completely free range because we do have rules but they are not over scheduled or stressed. At least I don't think they are. Maybe I need to ask them and make sure.

They are also aware that sometimes life is going to throw them curve balls. And that life really isn't all that fair. And that sometimes they aren't going to be the winner or the best at something. I and they are okay with that (most of the time). And, as a parent, so am I. I love my kids no matter what and I guess when it comes down to it . As long as they know that....

That is all that matters.


Funky Kim said...


clan of the cave hair said...

I love your perspective on this. We too believe that sometimes (most of the time?) life is not fair and we are doing children a disservice when we as a society try to make life fair for children. I think it really stems from adults being too selfish and lazy to deal with a disappointed child in a loving and supportive way.
But I think we are starting to see a tiny little backlash at the "fairness" of these past couple of decades. I recently read in a parenting magazine that the most effective way to get your kids to do as you say is to ORDER THEM TO DO IT! No more being polite and saying "ok?" or acting like they have a choice in the matter. I could not believe my eyes! When I first became a parent 16 years ago, every book and magazine was about empowering your child and giving them at least the illusion that they had a choice in the matter. (which basically created a generation of kids who ruled the roost and parents who were afraid to say no for fear of having to deal with a few tears.)

Emmy said...

Thanks for posting this and the link to the article. I find myself saying all of the time "life isn't fair".. I think they do need to learn that. They need to learn that through THEIR hard work that they can accomplish anything, but it is only through a lot of hard work on their own part.

Kristina P. said...

I agree with this so much!!

Sher said...

I don't know if I could do it! On the other hand, my oldest is in 2nd grade and darned if I'm gonna help her with her one page of homework.

Mary said...

That is exactly how I was raised, and I agree with you 100%, well said!

I invited a girl from church to see a movie with me and we ended up having to bring her younger sister because she cried and threw a fit about it not being 'fair.'

Life isn't always fair, but we are always in control of our own reactions to those situations!

wendy said...

Parenting is SO HARD.
But love them first (as you said you do) and the rest "fits into place"

Gosh, times have changed so much. When I was little I walked all over the city by myself --at night---no worries.
We didn't even lock our house doors at night---big city!!

Now we have to watch them so closely it seems.

and for sure, learning that Life Is Not Fair ---is hard ------when you are young -------and still when you are older like me, it's. still. hard.

Brooke said...

I love this post, I needed to hear it today! Thanks!

Amander said...

Great post! My parents were always big on the idea that we have choices, but there are always consequences for our choices, and lots of the time those consequences will come from them.

Honey and Hotstuff said...

Thanks so much for your post! When kids depend so much on their parents the have no responsibility or respect towards anything. I have seen this come to haunt parents later in life. And the things they are dealing with their kids now is no picnic. Teaching/learning now is less trouble now than when they are older and the trouble is bigger!

tammy said...

Great post and I agree with your perspective too.

One thing that has driven me crazy over the years, and that I've tried to change, is my MIL teaching my son that nothing is his fault. Even when he was a toddler and he'd fall and get hurt, she'd blame the table or the floor for hurting him. I was thankful I had her to babysit for us while I worked, but I'm still trying to change some of the ways she spoiled him.

Anonymous said...

Amen...thnx for this post!!!

Shawn said...

I actually have that book on my Goodreads---about Free range kids---I agree to a certain extent---but then again, I get scared when kids are walking home from school by themselves when they are only 6 or 7----there are too many weirdos out there that can take them or hurt them....

Erin said...

Very good post. I remember when my (three years younger) sister and I entered Reflections, she won two dollars and an award and I got squat. I was angry for days. But I got over it. And I'm sure it's one of those tiny things that made me stronger.

I hope I'm not a helicopter parent. I don't think I am. I want to raise my children to be strong and independent.

Madalyn :) said...

You're an awesome mom! you're kids are so nice to everyone and a joy to be around!

M-Cat said...

Well done So.

Parenting is hard, and you are getting the hang of it dang well!

And good for your kids too!

Omgirl said...

There is nothing I appreciate more than a parent who does a lot of thinking about how they are going to parent. Even if I don't agree with everything they decide (which is hypothetical, not related to you at all), I still apreciate parents who think and dont' just parent on auto-pilot.

April said...

YEAH for moms who get it!!!
cute blog btw....for a ute fan ;)