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Old 04-16-2013, 12:51 PM
 
193 posts, read 449,768 times
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So I watched a movie on Disney Channel last night (yeah, don't hate) called "Little Manhattan."

In it, there is a 10-year-old boy that lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and he is allowed essentially a 10-square block radius or something like that throughout the city to run around on his own. He and a girl that are in the movie wander around the neighborhoods, Central Park, etc. on their own. There is also a part in the movie where the dad and the kid are hanging out just on a bench in the city, and the dad gets up to leave, and the kid says, "I think I'm gonna hang out for a while, but I'll just meet you at home."

See, this is how I was raised as well. I was allowed to wander around essentially wherever I wanted, as long as I was home at dark. I was smart about it, responsible, didn't get lost, etc. My friends and I would ride our bikes around town, go to the toy stores, go to the gas stations to get an icy drink, etc.

When I got a bit older and moved out of the city, I was shocked to find out that some kids weren't even allowed to leave their own street or YARD without a parent! I couldn't even comprehend it. But then again, I had moved from the city to the fancy suburbs, so maybe kids and parents were different there.

And I'm only 23, so I'm not talking about growing up in the 60s when most kids roamed free. I'm talking in the 90s. Maybe my parents were just throwbacks.

Long story short:
-Parents, do you let your kids roam free on their own? Why/why not?
-Did you roam free as a kid or not? How do you think that affected you?
-Do you think society is becoming too paranoid about their kids getting snatched up, etc.?
-Are different demographics more tentative about this than others, ie. is it a city vs. suburb vs. country thing?
-Other relevant thoughts on this subject?


Edit: Additional question - If parents allow kids to roam wherever they want, and that kid gets kidnapped or something else bad happens to him that is completely random and no one has control over, do you think this makes the parents bad parents? Or do you think it's just a horrible thing that is impossible to predict or prevent?
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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Are you writing a paper or something? I think you'll find that this topic has been discussed on this board multiple times, do a search.

Yes, I consider myself a free range parent. This doesn't mean that I allow my almost 9 and 6.5yr old total freedom. It means that I do let them ride their bikes around the neighborhood, sleep in the backyard in a tent, and go to public restrooms by themselves. I also teach them street smart behavior, what to do in an emergency, and that most strangers are just normal people. For the record with live in a small town with little crime.

Having lived in NYC for several years I can tell you that many many people allow their children to ride the subway by themselves, to ride the bus alone, and to walk home by themselves. It is really an upper middle class quirk to believe that children should be supervised at all times. The lower income kids in our neighborhood in Brooklyn took the bus home (the city bus) or the subway from school and hung around by themselves until their parents got home from work.
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Finland
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I intend on letting my child(ren) roam fairly freely although my child is too young at the moment (2). I live in a pretty safe country and see small children out by themselves a lot. I think its good for children to learn independence, how to navigate public transport by themselves and explore their surroundings in their own way.

I was allowed a fair bit of freedom as a child although oddly we were allowed to wander more freely when on holiday than in our home town.

I do think parents in general tend to be more paranoid these days which is a pity in my opinion. However I think I would be less inclined to let my child(ren) roam freely if I lived in a big city as opposed to a smaller city or town.

If a kid gets kidnapped I don't think it makes the parents bad parents, its just a tragedy thats impossible to predict but also, thankfully, very rare as most kidnappings (if I remember right) are done by parents fighting over custody (although thats horrible too I know, and very frustrating but still, its not the same thing).
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:17 PM
 
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The upper west side and the adjacent part of Central Park are fairly innocuous. Probably safer than many suburban neighborhoods. City people are already more comfortable with "strangers" or they wouldn't be living in the city, so its not really surprising that they would be more likely to cut their kids some slack.
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:26 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
9,486 posts, read 13,339,114 times
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My kids grew up in Memphis proper, so maybe that made a difference, but they definitely had boundaries as to where they were allowed to go when they were younger. If they were by themselves the circle was pretty tight, basically just the block around our house, if part of a group then more freedom to venture further out. Some of the surrounding areas were rough so yeah, more worried about them being in the wrong place at the wrong time than worried about someone snatching them.
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:29 PM
 
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I allow my kids some freedom now but I'm not a free range parent. I always want to know where they are/who they are with/when they'll be back. I've never been to NYC (neither have my kids) but I really can't see myself letting a 10 year old walk around NYC alone.
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:32 PM
 
15,744 posts, read 13,171,628 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springfieldva View Post
I allow my kids some freedom now but I'm not a free range parent. I always want to know where they are/who they are with/when they'll be back. I've never been to NYC (neither have my kids) but I really can't see myself letting a 10 year old walk around NYC alone.
New York City is not a single entity. The upper west side is geographically and demographically distinct. It is an safe, beautiful, family-oriented, wealthy neighborhood. Its probably safer than many suburbs.

You are probably picturing Times Square or Washington Square Park. It is really not like that.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:43 PM
 
5,210 posts, read 8,807,408 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
New York City is not a single entity. The upper west side is geographically and demographically distinct. It is an safe, beautiful, family-oriented, wealthy neighborhood. Its probably safer than many suburbs.

You are probably picturing Times Square or Washington Square Park. It is really not like that.
Yep. I was picturing crowded city sidewalks, crazy honking traffic, an occasional streetwalker or bum - pretty much what you see depicted on t.v. That would not be a place that I would want my kids to navigate all by themselves.

A quieter area where there are green areas for the kids to play, lots of parents/nannies/teachers walking around would be different. I'd probably give them a longer leash but not necessarily free range.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Back at home in western Washington!
1,500 posts, read 3,751,187 times
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I was very free range when growing up. We ran as a pack, skinny dipped in the creek, ran barefoot through the woods, walked a mile to the bus stop and rode the transit all over hell and back, we rollerskated for miles to the market, and rode our bike everywhere... makes me miss the carefree childhood days .

That was how it was then...my parents still live there, and I would NOT allow my kiddo to run wild like we did. Crime has gone way up in that area and I wouldn't feel it was safe anymore.

As I write this (from a small town in Montana), my 16 yr. old son is out with his friends playing basketball (I'm not sure where, but they'll show up when they get hungry) and my 12 yr. old daughter is over a mile away having dinner with a friends family (she ran into them while walking to the market).

I consider my kids free range and am glad we live in an area that I feel safe giving them that freedom.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Texas
42,203 posts, read 49,753,916 times
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I was a free range kid and bought in the exact same neighborhood so my kid could be one, too.
He's only 16 months now, but he always wants to be outside.
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