How Trusting These Parents Are!

11 Nov

Remember my previous post on Halloween & how I feel that it is dangerous for young children to be knocking on strangers’ doors asking for treats?  Read it HERE.

I also mentioned that our children have to be old enough to differentiate the bad guys from the good & have to be fast enough to run away from danger if need be. 

I dunno about the rest of you, but I was brought up by paranoid parents who:

1)  do not let me go out alone with my friends until I was 15

2)  set a curfew for me to come home at 4pm when I can go out alone with my friends

3)  constantly tell me not to be in the lift with a stranger alone

4)  be aware of my surroundings at all times

5)  always stay in brightly lit / crowded places

Paranoia saves lives & offers protection, okay.

Then today on Freshly Pressed at WordPress, I see THIS blog post from Free Range Kids.  It promotes some kind of  “oh let them grow up & explore on their own, learn things by themselves without overprotective parents“.

In a nutshell:  A mother (Kimberlee Morrison) lets her 8 year old son go to the park alone.  Then when her son leaves the park to go to some place & ask for water.  A stranger approached the boy & asked if he was hungry, then bought him some food.  The stranger later called the police as he was concerned for the boy’s safety.  The mother is now unhappy & wrote to Free Range Kids for some pep talk or guidance.

Firstly, what is the mother so unhappy about?  Her son DID accept food from a stranger.

A stranger asked him if he was hungry, the Boy, thinking the guy was being nice, said sure.

See?  The boy THINKING that the guy was being nice.  If the son was a teenager, he would have refused.  Her 8 year old son was lucky that the stranger IS nice & not some child molester who planned on drugging her son’s food.

Then the mother went on to say, “To which I countered that there is no law against letting my son go to the park, and that the only problem right now is that the supposedly nice person HAD involved the authorities, even though my son was fine. My son was not lost, he wasn’t injured, he wasn’t afraid, he was just thirsty. I was told that since others thought something was wrong, I should too.

This really boggles my mind.  The stranger probably wanted to test if the 8 year old boy was smart enough to refuse food from someone he didn’t recognize, but since the boy accepted his free food offer, the stranger probably decided to call the police because he felt that the boy was still gullible enough to trust strangers.

Look!  I am an innocent cuddly teddy bear!
Come play with me!


The mother was actually unhappy that her son was safe & sound when the police called her???  Did she want her son to be lying dead in a ditch before receiving the call then only she feel that the call was justified?????  She was like, “wtf call me when my son is really lost, injured, afraid or dead“.

She was agitated because a stranger was concerned about her son???  It seems to me that she was irritated by the stranger whose kind intentions was for her son’s safety.  Hello, a nice person is concerned about your son & you blame him for calling the cops?

Of course, she went on about how the cops used fear tactics & threatened to put her in jail because she allowed her son to go out alone to the park & play & accept free food from strangers… blah blah blah.  But that is her side of the story.  I wonder how her tone was like when she spoke with the police.  Was it rude?  Condescending?  Even if the police did use fear tactics or threats, but there has got to be a reason why they resorted to those methods, right?  Did she provoke the officer first?

Then the author (Lenore Skenazy) of the blog replies to Kimberlee saying, “The idea of curbing your son’s happy, normal childhood and locking him inside for the next five years is tragic. It’s ironic, too, considering that cops are supposed to MAKE the town safe, not tell people, “We can’t! Just stay inside.

 I think a happy normal childhood is still available with parents spending QUALITY time with their kids, like cycling at the beach or playing catch TOGETHER.  Instead of letting them out to play alone & exposing them to unforeseen stranger danger.

And YES, cops are supposed to make the town safe, but I do not think they are telling kids to stay home & don’t go out.  They are just telling parents to accompany their kids when they do go out to the park or wherever.  I mean, give the cops a break, man.  How can there be a cop stationed at every corner of the city to make sure that the place is safe for everyone?  There are hundreds of parks with so many acres of land.  How many cops do you want to place at each acre?  And 1 cop only has 1 pair of eyes, how many people do you want that 1 pair of eyes to watch over?  10 people?  20 people?

Help me find my lost puppy, tender little girl?



In my Halloween blog post (link provided earlier), I mentioned that the Singapore government kept reminding citizens that “Low Crime Doesn’t Mean No Crime“.  Wise words.

I know, that beyond this site, many folks would say, “The boy CAN go outside! She just has to supervise him.” But since when do adults spend from 3-6 p.m. outside, then come in for dinner, and then head outside again? And spend all day Saturdays outside? And Sundays? A summers? The idea that parents should be in the same place as their 8-year-old children all the time is a new one, born of unreasonable fear.

Wow, this just takes the whole damn cake.  I do agree with many folks who say that the boy can go outside, but with supervision.

But Lenore, on the other hand, seems to be complaining that she does not have time to spend with her kid from 3-6 pm outside & spend all Saturdays, Sundays & summers.  Nobody is telling you to let the kid out EVERYDAY to go out.  Surely you got to tell the kid to compromise & say that you’ll bring him out on Saturday mornings or something like that.  If cannot go out, then stay home to do other activities like getting the kid to help you prepare dinner or clean the house or watch TV, spend time together with your kid, foster relationship.  That is so much more useful & will lead towards an even happier, more normal childhood.

I don’t even think it is right for your child to go out & play every 3-6 pm, all Saturdays, Sundays & summers.  No need to do homework, is it?  No need to study?  Feels like these Free Rangers just want their kids to go out & don’t bother their own parents, give the adults some peace & quiet.

I believe the idea of Free Range Kids is to teach the young ones to be independent & gain survival skills.

But in this 8 year old boy case, it is obvious that his parents did not teach him any proper knowledge & skills before they let him go out alone.  Accepting free food from strangers?  It must be either the boy has not been taught to protect himself & is damn gullible… or his parents are forgetting to feed him.

Whatever said, I still support the notion that we should be paranoid when it comes to our kids’ safety.  They are our responsibility for life.  And if you really want your 8 year old kid to go out on their own, then for god’s sake, teach them properly & make sure they understand the possible dangers first.

Letting your kids run out alone without any supervision was probably the reason that Adrian Lim was able to kidnap 2 young kids & murder them.  I wrote about him in that same Halloween post (link provided earlier) & an article on his infamous history if you’re interested to read.

If kids can go unsupervised, then are you saying that teachers do not need to be chaperons when the school arranges some kind of field trip or summer camp or any excursions?  Why not just bring your kids to the woods at summer camp & leave them there alone?  Let them run around in the woods, play in the sand, step into the river, do whatever they want, accept free food from passerbys, etc.  Let them go out alone & play!  Born free, run wild!  You parents have nothing to worry about anyway, right?

Since you believe that the young ones are so matured to take care of themselves, then why not let them watch R(A) movies?  Why does the government set movie ratings for different age groups?  Just release all the movies for little kids to watch lah!  The parents won’t mind, right?

Why bother to set an age limit for kids to get piercings & tattoos?

No matter which angle I try to see this case, it just makes no sense to me.  Buay beng (Don’t understand) at all.


35 Responses to “How Trusting These Parents Are!”

  1. Dragonwolf 11 November 2010 at 11:34 PM #

    I’m sorry you were shut in until you were 15. At 15, I was working (both a “real job” and babysitting) until as late a 3am. At 10, I was my own babysitter during the summer, left to my own devices all day, and allowed to roam the city.

    Perhaps it might be worthwhile to borrow her book from the library and read it? It provides a lot more context to Lenore’s response and stance, as well as figures that show that “stranger danger” is overblown (a person kidnapped by someone they don’t know is called “stereotypical kidnapping” and is at a rate of less than 100 per year, nationwide, contrasted with over 1,300/year killed and over 180,000/year injured in car accidents).

    Keep in mind, too, Elizabeth Smart and Jessica Lunsford were kidnapped out of their own bedrooms, with their parents in the nearby bedroom. Having a parent nearby doesn’t equate to absolute safety.

    • Berry Mii 12 November 2010 at 9:21 AM #

      That is interesting. When I was 16, my mother did not even allow me to hold a temp job during the holidays. It is true that the statistics are there, but it is also true that the 8 year old kid accepted a free meal from a stranger. That stranger could have been stranger danger. Even if it wasn’t a stranger, other things could have happened with a kid that young or he could pick up the wrong habits. I’m not saying that it is wrong to let your kid out alone, I just feel that guidance should have been provided beforehand before giving the kid some independence. I think it is always better to err the side of caution. But it is indeed interesting to see another point of view, maybe i WILL borrow that book to read it. Thanks for the insight. =)

      • Dragonwolf 12 November 2010 at 11:30 AM #

        I think one of the things that might be confusing for a child is that the person didn’t give him food that they had with them. They offered to buy food. Depending on how the boy was taught, it’s possible he saw “taking food from someone” and “accepting an offer to purchase their food” as two different things.

        That said, regardless of whether the boy was in the wrong in accepting the food, or even whether the stranger was in the wrong to call the police, the police overreacted and abused their power when they conveyed that the mother could be arrested for allowing her son to go to the park (or the restaurant) alone, despite there not being an age limit law in her area.

  2. Trixie Diddle 12 November 2010 at 9:38 AM #

    i gotta agree with berrymii though. young children tend to learn whatever they see on the streets and when they see a bad habit and try and imitate it, a parent is not around to teach them right from wrong. and by the time the parent notices a bad habit, it will be hard to correct it already. it is not so much as stranger danger, but even myself have encountered stranger danger at the housing estate staircase area. luckily i was old enough to know that.. ummmmmmmm… that scratching your dick & balls are not just because they are itchy. i think children should know how to identify stranger danger, like NOT accepting free meals from strangers. so i think berrymii has a point. no offence though, dragonwolf. :p

  3. Desiree 12 November 2010 at 11:28 AM #

    oh same here, i vote for paranoia. better safe than sorry, right? give them freedom but not too much. i think letting the kids out alone is a bad idea. safety is one thing, but somehow the family values don’t seem to be there if the parents let the kids out alone instead of spending time together, helping each other out in the kitchen or something. and the 8yr old boy did accept a meal from a stranger and that is quite worrying. it proves that he is overly trusting towards strangers.

    • Dragonwolf 12 November 2010 at 11:53 AM #

      How far do you go in the name of “better safe than sorry”, though? As I said to Berry, a child is over ten times more likely to die, and over 100 times more likely to be injured, in a car accident. If it’s always “better safe than sorry,” regardless of the odds, then you should/would never drive your kid anywhere.

      As for spending time with one’s kids, how far does that go, too? There are people who take it so far that their kids can’t even function without their parents, even when they, themselves are adults. There’s a difference between spending time together and constantly being around each other.

      “Family values” are also highly subjective. There’s a series called Taboo (you can stream it from Netflix or Amazon video on demand). In the second season, there’s one on child rearing. One of the groups highlighted is a tribe (in Africa, I think), where the children roam the forests and rivers, sometimes days at a time, from the time they are about 5 years old. The episode also highlights Chinese children who are sent off to a gymnastics school when they’re four or five, to undergo grueling Olympic training.

  4. Han Solo 12 November 2010 at 1:49 PM #

    my my my… this has sparked some kind of debate. i would like to give my 2 cents as well. and as a non-Singaporean, i’ll hv to repeat wat berrymii said in tat foreign language. i also buay beng the logic of letting a child out alone esp when they are so young.

    dragonwolf made a point by saying “a child is over ten times more likely to die, and over 100 times more likely to be injured, in a car accident”. tat’s true. but it is funny how some parents choose not to worry about their kids or wonder where they are. Does the 8 yr old boy carry a hp so that his mother can contact him?

    However, the examples on african kids & chinese gymnastic kids are a little ridiculous. their lifestyle & surviving skill sets are so much different from ours. i bet a handful of them get attacked by animals or get lost in the forest & their parents will just make another baby. chinese children get send off to gym school because most of their parents are poor or they know that surviving in china is tough w/o education, so some parents just want to make a profit out of their children. it is by force. the kids did not choose it for themselves. their parents sent them away. but the time they are young adults, most of these talented gym kids suffer from a bone disorder & that is all over the news.

    bottom line is strike a balance. and while you want you kid to grow up in that dog eat dog world, you also do not want to be exposing your kid to the dangers before they are ready.

    If you say that kids cannot function w/o their parents when they themselves are adults, then I’ll give you that benefit of the doubt. but what about kids who grow up too fast? i think we all know the dangers of that as well.

    i think the key is to strike a balance. You nuture them until a certain age & they can care for themselves & think for themselves before you let them out into the world. Even mother birds care for their young until they are old enough to fly & search for food.

  5. Jasmine 12 November 2010 at 2:12 PM #

    i can see that Dragonwolf is stating examples in the extreme cases so i have to place my vote with han solo. i dare say that i grew up alone with too much freedom. my parents would let me go out to the playground on my own and that was where i got molested by this disgusting fat guy. i felt helpless and confused so i did not do anything. i didn’t even know what to do. when i grew older, i realized that it was because he knew i was alone without an adult. he probably watched me for some time while i was playing alone to make sure that i WAS alone. so now i do not allow my children to go out until they are old enough to look after themselves and at least know how to seek help when the need arises. when you are young, you just do not have that guts to do what it takes to protect yourself!

    • Dragonwolf 12 November 2010 at 10:28 PM #

      As I said to Happy Gong Gong, the key here is that your parents didn’t teach you what to do in case something happened. Free Range isn’t just about sending kids out to play and do whatever they want, it’s equipping them with the tools needed to be safe. That includes instilling in them that if an adult tries to hurt them, it’s okay to kick and fight and scream like hell until someone pays enough attention to intervene (or the attacker decides you’re more hassle than it’s worth), and *then* not be afraid to tell someone that can help about the situation so that it can be taken care of in the long run.

      Unfortunately, many people are like you. They’d rather lock their kids up until some magical age when they supposedly know how to do something, but if the parents never taught them those skills, then kids at that age don’t know those skills and the stories like what happened to you at 9 are now people told by people who had the same experience at 15, and that cycle continues. Teaching children, regardless of age, to fight and kick and scream when something is wrong gives them the guts to protect themselves, because it gives them confidence in themselves.

  6. Happy Gong Gong 12 November 2010 at 3:51 PM #

    ya i agree with hansolo too. i think children must be taught and prove that they are independent enough before going out alone.

    sorry to hear about your childhood experience, jasmine. children who are alone are definately easier preys to perverts. my sister also got molested when she travelled home alone from school when she was about 9. after that incident, my parents learnt to realize that they have to teach us what to do and how to protect ourselves when in danger. and they send us to & fro from school until we are old enough to protect ourselves.

    • Dragonwolf 12 November 2010 at 10:04 PM #

      “after that incident, my parents learnt to realize that they have to teach us what to do and how to protect ourselves when in danger. and they send us to & fro from school until we are old enough to protect ourselves.”

      The key there is teaching children to protect themselves. Lenore and the rest of the Free Range people aren’t advocating just sending kids out into the world to learn everything for themselves. We’re advocating raising safe, confident, competent people who aren’t afraid to explore the world around them or handle most issues (such as figuring out how to get home from a given place using approved forms of transportation, handling disputes between peers, etc).

      What’s really sad about your sister’s case is that two things could have prevented or helped her – 1. the obvious one your parents figured out, that she know what to do in a case like that (kick and scream and fight), 2. if more people would walk to school again (she wouldn’t be alone in the first place).

  7. Farnie Galie 12 November 2010 at 5:32 PM #

    all i can say is that those free rangers are a bunch of irresponsible parents who give their children too much freedom! they will grow up to become irresponsible parents as well. i feel that children should not be given the responsibility of looking after themselves until their thinking process has been fully developed.

    hansolo is right about kids growing up too fast. its too dangerous! they’ll start learning all the adult stuff at a too-young age. what rubbish are these free rangers trying to promote? survival skills? or independence? tat’s not the way to do it. not at that child age.

    i say we let them mature a little first before setting them off in the world. us parents have to be sure that they can differentiate right from wrong before letting them go out alone and mixing with god-knows what kinds of people.

    not saying that parents shd suffocate their children. but children should be cared for until their brains developed enough.

    • Dragonwolf 12 November 2010 at 10:14 PM #

      You are misunderstanding what free range is about and I highly recommend you find the book at your local library, as well, or at the very least, look at the FAQ on the site.

      What is considered “growing up too fast”? I think most of the United States, at least, underestimate exactly what a child is capable of at a given age. An eight year old is fully capable of taking care of him/her self for a couple hours between getting home from school and his/her parents getting home from work, *if they are taught what to and not to do*. An eight year old is also fully capable of going a mile or so to the park, or run around the neighborhood with friends *if they are taught to be safe.* The key here, though, is that they be taught the skills needed to remain safe.

      The problem with the idea that “kids are growing up too fast” is that many Americans take it to the other extreme and baby their kids until sometime after college (if there’s ever any ending point). Ask a college professor, dean, or assistant to one about “teacup students” or parents who call in to complain about a student’s bad grade. They could probably go on for hours.

  8. Han Solo 13 November 2010 at 12:32 AM #

    i think you are missing the point, Dragonwolf. i believe they are saying that children are easy targets when they are alone, regardless if they are taught well or not.

    you also missed the point where some of the comments said that it is OKAY to let the children go out, but only after they are a little more mature & not learn bad habits on the streets.

    and you talking about many Americans taking it to the other extreme is hilarious becuz you yourself have cited extreme cases like African tribe children & young chinese gymnastics.

    kick scream fight? can a young boy at 8 have the guts to do that in the first place? even an adult might not be able to do that. a child is physically small, which makes it even more dangerous. children are simply not physically strong to FIGHT. bring attention to themselves? sure, but bear in mind that they are still easy to CARRY AWAY by an adult.

    that being said, even if danger levels are low, they will still pick up bad habits on the streets without proper parent guidance. i dun think the rest of the comments are talking about taking care of himself by getting himself to school & back home. i believe they are referring to learning to do adult stuff at a young age, like dating / premature sex / smoking / etc. there IS a reason why movies are rated PG, NC16, M18 & RA. we don’t want our kids growing up too fast & learning the wrong things from external environment.

    i think the Free Rangers should look at it in a broader spectrum. Yes, kids should learn to be independent & confident. but they also have to be protected from external factors that will lead them to grow up too fast.

    • Dragonwolf 13 November 2010 at 1:38 AM #

      “i think you are missing the point, Dragonwolf. i believe they are saying that children are easy targets when they are alone, regardless if they are taught well or not.”

      And you’re missing the point that Free Range isn’t about being alone, it’s about getting people to realize that things like child predators aren’t hiding around every corner, so that kids *aren’t* going to the park alone, but with a group of their peers, just like they used to, just like most of us did growing up (and pretty much everyone did in 60s and 70s). Being without an adult doesn’t have to equate to being alone.

      Some of the most well-known abductions, such as Elizabeth Smart, were kidnapped out of their own homes, with their parents. Parent vicinity doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot.

      “a child is physically small, which makes it even more dangerous. children are simply not physically strong to FIGHT.”

      Most women are also physically small and equally as capable as fighting off a defender as an eight year old (the highest victim demographic of rapes is college-aged women), but women don’t lock themselves in their parents’ house for the rest of their lives. They take self-defense courses, they learn to fight dirty, some get a concealed carry permit. While a minor can’t carry a firearm, they can learn to fight and make themselves a harder target, they can also learn to tell someone if they see someone that makes them feel uncomfortable, *before* the person does something dangerous.

      “i believe they are referring to learning to do adult stuff at a young age, like dating / premature sex / smoking / etc. there IS a reason why movies are rated PG, NC16, M18 & RA. we don’t want our kids growing up too fast & learning the wrong things from external environment.”

      If you think sheltered kids don’t learn that from places like school, then you’ve got another thing coming. In my experience, it’s preacher’s kids that are often the most rebellious, despite being raised in what most would consider one of the most wholesome home environments imaginable. Even many of the “good kids” can tell you who sells the best pot in a public high school.

      And there’s a very big difference between “being on the streets” and being allowed to go to a suburban park alone, and even going across the street to a fast food restaurant to get water and food, on a sunny afternoon.

      “i think the Free Rangers should look at it in a broader spectrum. Yes, kids should learn to be independent & confident. but they also have to be protected from external factors that will lead them to grow up too fast.”

      Perhaps you should read the book and peruse the site more before making such judgments? You might realize that we do protect our kids, we just do it without constantly hovering over them.

  9. Han Solo 13 November 2010 at 9:14 AM #

    ok now i AM sure that you are working for that Free Range Kids. no wonder you’re so defensive & trying desperately to state your case.

    • Berry Mii 13 November 2010 at 9:52 AM #

      ok don’t mind if I do a little intervention here. after listening (or reading) all the comments here, it seems to me that both sides have stated their cases & both have their own logic in using the methods they choose. And both are not wrong. i think the only issue is choosing the right method for your child, depending on their personality & unique characteristics. i’m not trying to be diplomatic here, but this is just the way i see things. for eg, i admit i have grown up in a rather sheltered home until i was a teenager around 16 or 17 before my parents let me out to explore the world on my own, but i turned out very ok (i believe that to be true). but in this world, there are probably also children who grew up in a sheltered home like me but they remain dependent on their parents.

      on the other hand, there are kids who were raised as Free Rangers who grow up being defiant & learning all the wrong stuff because they were given that extra freedom. However, there are also those who learnt to be good people & are independent.

      Bottom line, i feel that each individual is unique & parents need to learn which methods work best for their children to reach a balance between being controlling & letting go.

      we are all entitled to our own opinions & the important thing is to keep an open mind. we can agree or disagree, but if the other party tries to state their case, then i feel we shd let them. if it is something new to us, then we should at least listen to both sides & try to accept the other parties’ views/perspective as well. then you decide for yourself if that is the method you want to incorporate into your life.

      you know, it’s like religion. you are catholic, she is buddhist, he is mormon or they are muslims. we can ask questions to learn more about their religions & see what they see, learn what they learn. who knows, we might learn something new that can be useful. we don’t necessary have to convert to become a muslim or catholic / etc. we can still remain who we are, but at the same time, pick out the points that might be useful to ourselves & incorporate it into our lives. on top of that, i don’t try to convert you to become a buddhist & you don’t try to force christianity on me. you know what i mean? just stating an example.

      i did read the FAQs on that Free Range website & i personally i do feel that some parts of it makes sense, but at the same time, i would not say that i will completely use everything stated there as i still feel strongly about certain things. but at the very least, it opened my eyes to a different perspective & it’s always good to see another side of the world, so we don’t become a frog in a well.

      i know things are getting a little heated up here, but i want to say….. honestly & sincerely, GOOD DEBATE, GUYS!!!! this is both exciting & an eye-opener on this issue. *thumbs up thumbs up*

      • Dragonwolf 14 November 2010 at 1:14 AM #

        Thank you, Berry.

        To be clear to the others, I think it’s better people decide to do or not do something because they’ve looked at various options and agree or disagree with something, or consider facts about a matter, instead of simply making judgments based on fear or not knowing. If, after you’ve seen our rationale and what the FRK idea promotes and the facts, stats and research we have to back up our decision, you still think we’re a bunch of kooks, so be it. We’re just tired of being harassed by people whose fears are based on 30-year-old cases or single stories that are rehashed by the news so many times and for so long that viewers begin to think they’re happening all the time (because fear sells).

        And no, I don’t “work for Free Range Kids,” there’s no organization to work for. It’s a book and a blog written by a journalist mom in response to a huge amount of criticism and FUD by the mainstream news sources in response to a parenting decision she made and wrote about. She just happened to get backed by parents/people who agree with her.

      • Berry Mii 15 November 2010 at 10:16 AM #

        Hi Dragonwolf, I wouldn’t say that I completely agree/accept the FRK’s rationale. There are still certain parts that make sense like trying to groom our young kids to be more independent. You’re right that fear sells, but I believe sex sells too. And that is what the kids will be exposed to if they are given the freedom. And I am not judging this based on nothing. I have actually seen numerous cases like this. When it comes to young children, there are many aspects to think about. Still, as I mentioned before, it really depends on that individual kid’s characteristics. Whether or not, we shelter them or train them to be more independent, that really depends on how that kid reacts to that particular method.

        On the criticisms received, I just want to say that no matter what a person does, they will always receive criticisms. You shelter your kids too much, people will talk. You give them more independence, others will still talk. I have not read the book, but I’m guessing that it was the way the book was written that subjected it to being scrutinised. Just basing it on gut instincts.

  10. Trixie Diddle 13 November 2010 at 10:01 AM #

    LOL!!! i’m sorry somehow all this is so cute and funny to me. but berrymii makes a lot of sense in that last comment. you are one of those few ppl who actually remain very neutral & objective in situations like this, yet at the same time it makes ppl sit up & listen & agree with you. YOU have officially opened up my mind. i think i shall also go & take a look at that free rangers website now to ‘open my eyes to a new world’ as well. see what useful things i can find for myself.

    i am curious who you really are in real life. are you a manager or someone in HR or some kind of counsellor?????????? so curiousssssssssss… wink.

    • Berry Mii 15 November 2010 at 10:23 AM #

      thanks ah, Trixie Diddle. that is indeed a… very… interesting compliment. hahaha.. sorry, i don’t know how to respond to that, but I’m glad I made some sense. ermmm… no comments on my day job… LOL… it’s my secret identity.

  11. Han Solo 13 November 2010 at 10:25 AM #

    hmm, ok maybe you’re right berrymii, i might be a little over the top with my opinion. but maybe that is becuz my parents raised me to be some sort of free range kid and things just didnt work out right so i felt that free ranging is not the way to raise a kid.

    so you are right about using the appropriate method for your child becuz each child is unique. maybe free ranging wasnt the method my parents shd hv used on me.

    i did look at that free range kid website and my parents did attempt to raise me using most of the methods there but it just didnt work out for me, i guess.

    i grew up in the neighbourhood whr a bunch of kids were some sort of free rangers, but i noticed that as they grow up, they tend to be less attached to their parents and their parents usually end up alone when they get older becuz their kids are already used to not needing their parents. and by the time their parents get older/weaker & start needing their kids, their kids in turn don’t feel the need to be around their parents.

    well, pros & cons. so i agree with you on striking a balance.

    • Berry Mii 15 November 2010 at 10:20 AM #

      Hey Han Solo, if anything bad had happened to you during your younger days, I am sorry to hear that. Really.

      Although I have been sheltered & well taken care of by my parents, I do have my own set of problems. I guess this is just a growing up phase. But the impt thing is the end result, whether you learn from mistakes & turn out to be a person of good morals & principles. =)

  12. Farnie Galie 15 November 2010 at 1:45 PM #

    i read the FRK already & i still do not agree with their methods. it still seems a little dodgy & unclear in certain areas. it doesn’t cover the other concerns. no wonder it got a certain amount of bad press. it’s a no-go for me.

    • Dragonwolf 15 November 2010 at 9:32 PM #

      What do you find dodgy and unclear? I’m genuinely curious. After all, we’re all human, and one of the best ways to improve is to give and take feedback. Also, just as an FYI, Lenore is a very friendly person (the community is also friendly and helpful overall), and I’m sure that if you send her an email or post a comment on her blog with your concerns, you would get the answers and clarification that you seek. At the very least, it would provide them with something to think about.

  13. Kangie 15 November 2010 at 4:19 PM #

    guess i hv to be the mean person to say that i think the writer of FRK is selfish. as much as we want to believe that the world is a happy joyful place to live in, it is NOT. she herself wants her kids to grow up free range, but at the same time, i believe she is aware that it is not safe because she stated that if more kids are free range, they can go to sch together & look out for each other. so in turn, the underlying meaning is that she wants more children to accompany her children. even if the world is a safe place to be in, in terms of other areas, it is clearly undefined, like peer pressure & other stuff. you group a few kids together, you better make sure your kids are mixing with the right crowd. i kw kids who play punk together all the time as their parents are not around them to guide them. FDK talks about guiding children by words, but without an adult present at the time of mistake done by a child, how much guidance can be provided? children are too young to think for themselves no matter how you see it. i think these FDK parents are selfish people by pushing their children to grow up sooner than they should. independence will be given to a child when they are ready.

    • Dragonwolf 15 November 2010 at 10:10 PM #

      But what makes a child (or any person) ready for anything? Talking to them about things without providing them with the opportunity to do it isn’t going to do any good.

      It’s not about making them “grow up too fast,” it’s about realizing that kids aren’t completely brainless and incompetent to the point that they can’t even be left alone for a couple of hours (be it at home or at the park) without something catastrophic happening to them.

      It’s also not about pushing a five year old out the door and telling them “go do something until dinner” without equipping them with the things they need, such as where they can go, when to check in, what to do about strangers, etc. and the child proving they can be trusted and are ready. This proving is done through accomplishing other things that lead up to being able to go off alone. When they’re older, this includes the people they hang out with.

      The world actually isn’t as dangerous as people believe. Yes, there are risks, but the very act of existing is a risk (after all, no one gets out of life alive). The point is to look at the potential risks objectively. There is NOT a child predator around every corner, waiting to snatch up a child separated from his mother (stereotypical kidnappings occur less than 100 times a year). There ARE sort-term and long-term consequences to making your child sit in the house (or school) all day without being able to get up and play (shorter attention span, obesity, diabetes). It’s NOT realistic to expect parents to hover over their children every waking moment, controlling their every move, and still be able to do the other things necessary to take care of a family (cook, clean, work, shop).

      Life itself is a phenomenal teacher. Kids learn best through playing with each other. There are dozens of studies that have been done that prove that free play with other children teaches kids diplomacy, improves their spacial recognition, increases their confidence, and numerous other things. That’s not to say that FRK parents don’t teach them anything – just that they don’t try to teach them everything about things that are better taught through other means. Parents can only guide children so much, before they no longer can only do so through words. It’s at that point that FRK branches off from what has become mainstream. On the one hand, the parental guidance turns from words into actions, and parents are doing everything for the kids, leaving them unequipped to ever be “ready” for their independence (many of which end up crashing and burning in some way in college because they suddenly have freedom and can make their own choices for what may be the first time in their life). On the other, there’s the FRK-type people, who allow life to be the teacher, leaving them better equipped to take on adult life, but taking a number of risks (threats on the parents by police, typical life risks of broken arms, not-so-typical ones of getting lost, etc).

      If you happen to live in the Great Lakes region of the US, I recommend you visit a nearby Amish community. They’re actually a really good example of young kids that are responsible within their means. Children as young as four or five have their own buggy that they drive, with no adult in sight. By 8, they’re typically in their adult roles, helping the adults. So, the boys are helping drive the plows or building buildings, and the girls are cooking (even using knives!), sewing (with needles!), and so on. They are allowed to play out on their own (after chores are done, of course).

      • Kangie 15 November 2010 at 10:27 PM #

        is FRK backed by any media or associations or any schools or educational institutes or any respectable person that state that it is the appropriate method of raising your kids in FRK manner? if there is, then it is credible. if FRK receives nothing but criticism, then it’s time to re-evaluate it.

      • Dragonwolf 15 November 2010 at 11:38 PM #

        “is FRK backed by any media or associations or any schools or educational institutes or any respectable person that state that it is the appropriate method of raising your kids in FRK manner? if there is, then it is credible. if FRK receives nothing but criticism, then it’s time to re-evaluate it.”

        The FRK philosophy (it’s not a formal organization) is in agreement with the US DoJ statistics, as well as the Crimes Against Children Research Center and the AAP.

        As for newpapers and whatnot, here are a few that are aligned with the FRK philosophy:

        There are also about a dozen pages of resources in the book’s bibliography, which includes New York Times articles, CDC guidelines and findings, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

        If you’re looking for statements that address FRK specifically, you’ll have to ask Lenore that question. I’m sure she can give you a better list than I can.

      • Berry Mii 16 November 2010 at 2:51 PM #

        LOL… this is becoming very interesting indeed. Thanks for the articles, Dragonwolf. I especially liked the one from because I remember my dad telling me all these stories about him running around the streets when he was 8 or 9, climbing rooftops (which I’m quite sure is dangerous but he does it anyway) & playing sparkles with his friends on the streets. Then when it came to my generation, they started to get paranoid about me going astray because young children only think about fun & not the difference between right & wrong.

        As for the stranger danger bit, due to my own personal encounters with creeps on 4 occasions, I might have psyched myself out & I started to think, “who said lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice? It stuck 4 times for me.” They were nothing THAT serious, but it was still traumatising & might have created a sense of insecurity & formed my own beliefs on how to raise/guide/protect my children in future. Maybe that is why a part of me thinks that FRK makes sense, but at the same time, I am still leaning A LITTLE towards giving the young kids a little bit more protection before letting them out. I don’t have kids now, but I am already trying to devise a balance of life for them. And this topic is worth thinking about.

      • Dragonwolf 16 November 2010 at 9:51 PM #

        Berry, I know a few other people like you. One of them was sheltered to the point that probably made your growing up look free range. She was constantly being told “you can’t do that, let the men do that.” She was told that for everything.

        She ended up sexually assaulted two or three times by people she knew, because, as she determined in retrospect, she wasn’t equipped to defend herself. She was left helpless because she was always being told “let the men defend you.” What do you do when the very men you’re taught should defend you are the ones hurting you?

        Instead of being scared of the world, though, she did what she needed to to take measures to heal and help make sure it didn’t happen again. It took years of therapy, self-defense and/or martial arts classes, and a lot of self-convincing, but she now has the confidence to do things she never thought she’d be able to do, even things people like me (who were raised with that confidence) take for granted, like walking alone at night in a city.

      • Berry Mii 18 November 2010 at 12:08 PM #

        yeah… your friend might have been an extreme sheltered case, Dragonwolf. My 4 encounters were really minor, either i saw something or they asked a ‘favor’ of me, which I was able to react accordingly. But those incidents happened when I was older, so it did make me wonder what would happen if the creeps approached me when I was a child. Still, self-defence classes might come in handy. I’ve always wanted to take one of those.

  14. Farnie Galie 16 November 2010 at 8:17 AM #

    Dragonwolf said “It’s NOT realistic to expect parents to hover over their children every waking moment, controlling their every move, and still be able to do the other things necessary to take care of a family (cook, clean, work, shop).”

    This tells me that you are a parent who only think about extremes. Nobody said that a parent has to look at their child 24hrs a day. Throughout the comments, we are all saying that we need a balance. A balance like: young children stay at home when the parents have to work/cook/clean/etc. But parents have to make time to take their children out over the weekends. This is a balance. a HEALTHY balance.

    On the surface, FRK looks like they are all about teaching their kids independence. But because it doesn’t consider other factors, it seems to a lot of ppl that it is just for parents who do not have time for their kids, so they rather their young kids be independent & take care of themselves. And this is what seems dodgy to me. i also think this is what Kangie meant by ‘SELFISH PARENTS’.

    Berrymii is right. It is probably the way the book was written. It was such an unclear manner as in it doesn’t consider other factors & seems like it is more for the benefit of busy parents who don’t have time for their own kids. maybe that is why Lenore received so much well-deserved criticism.

    Kangie questioned if Lenore was supported by any credible source. i think this is a good question. the government is there for a reason. the media / associations / institutes are all there for a reason. to scrutinise actions & people in a responsible manner, so that the wrong things are not being released to the public. if it has loopholes, then yes, FRK should do some self-reflection.

    • Dragonwolf 16 November 2010 at 10:43 PM #

      I haven’t disputed that there should be balance. As I’ve said, it’s not about tossing a 5 year old outside without any preparation, but equipping him with the means to be safe so that when *he’s ready* he can be allowed to go to the park by himself or stay home by himself or walk to school by himself and the parent doesn’t *have to* go with him everywhere until he’s 18. However, the problem is that a large amount of vocal people think it’s criminal for kids to do things as simple as walking two blocks to school by themselves (something most of those very same people did when they were that age).

      “But because it doesn’t consider other factors”

      What factors does it not consider? If you want to criticize it with the air of improving it and making it a realistic idea to you, then you need to bring actionable points to the table.

      That said, it’s not going to detail “this is what you should do in this situation” because that’s the *whole point.* The book and blog came about in response to a “what if” mindset, in which a person tries to think about and plan for every possible outcome of every decision, and how trying to do that will only drive you crazy because you end up worrying about the least-likely, most catastrophic possibilities. The idea is that you do an assessment of the *realistic* risks, such as the risk of broken bones while climbing a tree, and making assessments based on *those.* Therefore, if you live in a ghetto, where the cops just busted your neighbor for a meth lab, then obviously you don’t want your kid running around by himself in that environment. However, (and this is another thing, it’s aimed more at suburban and safe urban living and the fears manufactured by not having things like the above example) suburbia doesn’t have those kinds of things, and it’s largely the suburbanites that she’s butting heads with.

      Free range parents also don’t just kick the kids out of the house all day, every day. Nor are they all too busy to spend time with their kids. In fact, many of them are stay at home, or work at home, parents and many home school their kids. However, they value a child’s time alone *every day,* even if it’s just in the back yard.

      And that’s another problem, there have actually been cases where neighbors have called, or threatened to call, the cops and/or CPS because a person let their kid play in their (often fenced) back yard by themselves (regardless of whether the person could see them from inside the house).

      Keep in mind, too, that Free Range isn’t an all-or-nothing thing. If you read through the comments on the article Berry linked, or any of the other articles Lenore posts, you’d see that we don’t all agree on everything (actually, more often than not, we disagree with each other). Take this issue for example. Pretty much the only thing that there’s a consensus on between the ones that agree with the Free Range idea is that the police overstepped their bounds with threatening to put the mother in jail (because whether or not anyone agrees with what she did, there is no law against what she did). Beyond that, it’s split between general things like it was fine for the kid to go to the park, and even the restaurant, but they shouldn’t have accepted the food offer; or it was fine to go to the park, but not the restaurant. If you look through the archives, you’ll even find that there are several cases where the regular readers don’t even agree with Lenore.

      “Kangie questioned if Lenore was supported by any credible source. i think this is a good question. the government is there for a reason. ”

      And as I responded to Kangie (see my response for the list of sources), the principles of FRK are supported by the DoJ, FBI, Crimes Against Children Research Center, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and several others. If you read the book (and didn’t just skim and speed-read like most do with a fiction book, but actually read for understanding and retention) then you would already know this, as there are entire sections dedicated to information from the DoJ and CACRC.

      “the media… are all there for a reason. ”

      I already addressed the research institutions, so I’m just addressing the media here. You’re right, the media is there for a reason, but not the one you think. The media is there to get ratings. What gets ratings? Politics, natural disasters, war, violence, bad things happening to children.

      Consider your daily commute. How often have you seen a car accident (or the remnants of such)? Now, how often have you actually seen it *anywhere* on the news or in the newspapers? Probably almost never in comparison to the number you’ve seen for yourself. At best, you get a little blurb in the traffic report, only because it affects the traffic flows. These days, nothing short of a large, multi-car pileup or an overturned semi carrying hazardous material makes the news. I once saw an ambulance take an accident victim to a hospital less than a mile away, using a siren/light code that said that he’s not likely to even make it there. That didn’t even make it into the news, and it happened right in front of the Department of Motor Vehicles (they had to have a cop redirecting the traffic out of the DMV complex). And yet, the news was silent about that.

      Why is that? Because it happens too often. The news wants anomalies. They WANT those worst-case scenarios, because that’s what sells. That’s what makes it news.

  15. Jasmine 16 November 2010 at 5:39 PM #

    i’m so sorry to hear abt your creep encounters, berrymii! i hope you’re alright. i know how traumatising it can be. i just wish all these perverts will rot in hell.

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