In favour of free-range parenting

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"When I was a child we played outside all day and came home when the sun went down. You can't do that anymore these days. It's too dangerous!" It's common to hear something along these lines. The world just isn't as safe as it used to be. Or is it? 

According to this video from MYLKmedia, that's just not true. The world still has the same amount of danger but the thing that's changed is that we now have social media to help instil a sense of fear in parents.

Take a look at the video below:


Free Range Kids from MYLKmedia.com on Vimeo.

My two biggest fears as a parent are my kids getting into a car accident and being abducted. The first thing I refuse to budge on is car seat safety, and it's important. I don't care, I'd rather be safe than sorry in that case.

But maybe I should look at the statistics of my child being abducted instead of taking the emotional response I've developed because of those videos of kids almost being abducted that are spread on Facebook.

According to the above video there is a higher chance of my child being hit by lightning than being abducted. Does that mean I am just going to throw caution to the wind and let my 3-year-old wander off on his own? Probably not. But it does mean weighing the risk of any given situation.

In their book "The Happiest Kids in the World: Bringing up children the Dutch way", Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison talk about the Dutch concept of relativeren. "It means weighing up the pros and cons and, rather than worrying about child-snatchers, paedophiles or major disasters, preparing children for more common risks, like drowning or traffic accidents, by ensuring they can swim, ride a bike and cross the road safely."

This makes sense to the logical part of the human brain but the emotional part of the human brain is a lot harder to dampen. Especially when social media instils fear so easily to the collective parenting community.

Nowadays you can't let your children play in the front garden without someone calling Child Services. There have been so many reports of parents being reported for letting their children play outside without supervision. The result of this fear mongering is Helicopter Parenting.

Parents have reacted in the only way they know: by smothering their kids. I am so guilty of this! We live in a security complex but I won't let my 3-year-old play outside alone with the other kids. I'll stand there and watch and police and yell and stress. "Don't go there!" and "Come back here!" in fear that he will run into the car park and get knocked over.

But I've taken a step back and just let him be. I still pop my head out every so often to check that he's okay and I can hear him playing the entire time and so far nothing untoward has happened. In fact, he's actually gone and made a few new friends.

Do you think parents today are too overprotective of their kids? Send us your thoughts to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish them.

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