When you were growing up, and this question is for those that are at least 40, were there parents on your neighborhood playgrounds? When you went to the playground, did you know everyone there? Did you walk to school at eight-years-old? Were you ever sent off the block to run to the store at that age? How much TV were you allowed to watch?
Now that we’ve answered those questions, do you think that children should be able to roam free at that age now? The general answer to that question has been, “Times are different now. You can’t leave children outside by themselves. Someone will snatch them or they’ll hurt themselves or someone else will hurt them.” But, the issue is more of a hot topic than we realize. Some experts and people with children have weighed in and the response has been argued on both sides.
Lenore Skenazy is a former journalist with two kids of her own that has supported the idea of letting children run free for many years. She is the author of “Free Range Kids” and runs a blog with the same name. When her son was 9, she caught nationwide attention and a lot of criticism for allowing him to catch the New York City subway by himself. But now he’s 14, and has obviously survived her parenting style.
But now she wants to take it a step further by offering time to parents for their kids in Central Park. She is charging $350 for parents to drop their kids off in the park and leave them unsupervised while she sits in a coffee shop down the street with a cell phone in case of an emergency. The charge covers the parent for eight 90 minute sessions. But, um, er, um, if you’re not there, why are we paying you, woman?!
According to ABC News, she hasn’t had any takers yet, but her send your kid outside alone in the park idea has caught on. After the incident with her son catching the subway alone, she started having “send your kid to the park” day. When criticized for her parenting style she said:
“A lot of people say, ‘I loved playing outside as a kid, those were my happiest times, but I can’t let my kid because times have changed.’ I say, well, times have changed. Crime is lower.”
I know one thing, I’m a little leery about the idea simply because her ideas have become national news and it feels like pedophiles of all shapes and sizes are preparing for the unsupervised days in the park too. What do you think? Check out the report.