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Think Out Loud

Free-Range Parenting

Pete Springer/OPB

Would you let your nine-year-old ride public transportation alone? How about if you lived in New York? Lenore Skenazy did just that in 2008. She was a columnist so she wrote about it and shortly thereafter was dubbed, “World’s Worst Mom.” She was accused of being naive and negligent. She says simply that her son was ready for the experience, that he’d been asking to do it, and she never doubted that he’d return — as he did — proud and triumphant. 

She got so much attention and interest that she started her own blog, called “free range kids.” Skenazy says she’s part of a growing movement of parents who believe that children should be given more freedom, and that restricting their activity too much in many cases can significantly slow their progress toward developing into confident, capable people.

What do you think of the idea of “free range kids”? Where do you draw the line between caution and over-protection? How do you try to protect your kids from the dangers of the world? How “free ranging” was your own childhood?

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OPB | Broadcast: June 4, 2012