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Old 04-20-2013, 12:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelySummer View Post
Wow. Upon seeing the initial post, I immediately thought that responding posters would think that the OP was out of the ordinary for allowing free range. I now see that lots of parents allow their children to be unsupervised (and therefore unprotected) in locations that are far away from them. This is really, really surprising to me. To do such means that not only do you trust your child not to get lost, etc. but, even moreso, you trust adults and older children THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW to not harm your child. Even people that are known to children harm child (e.g., relatives are the biggest percentage of child abusers) but how much more unsafe to allow a child unsupervised (and therefore unprotected) in the face of adults and other children that you do not know.

For me, I cannot leave the safety of my child to happenstance that no one will be perverse, weird, crazy enough to bother my child. It happens, and sometimes in the best neighborhoods. As such, it is interesting to me to hear people state that their neighborhood is "safe." This is as if to say that weirdos cannot drive down the street of any neighborhood - a weirdo can drive down the street of any neighborhood. Whether it is a good neighborhood or not. We live in a good neighborhood in the suburbs and one of the children in my subdivision was followed a week ago by a van while the kid was walking his dog. Do people think that weirdos only go to bad neighborhoods to kidnap children?

And to the people who think that a child will be able to defend himself against the power and strength of an adult bc you have given the child martial arts lessons - well, I have to say that the lessons must be more for the adult to convince themselves that what they are doing is right than for the child bc I do not know any 8 year old that can withstand the force and power of a full grown man. Martial arts or not. Come on, let's be serious.

Further, there are children who are FORCIBLY abducted. That means snatched inside of a van... against their will. Or approached and taken. Teaching children to not speak to strangers and to not go with strangers does not protect them against forcible abduction.

All that I can say is I hope that all of the free range children are and are able to keep safe and good luck to everyone. This is being said in true good will and hope for safety for all of our children.
I don't think anyone (certainly not me) has said that martial arts courses are designed to prevent 8 year olds from being overpowered by adults. I do think that self defense courses can be a good idea for kids, though, for lots of reasons - remember these courses are cumulative so proficiency can take a while, even years to achieve. Many tweens/teens are adult sized so classes like that *might* help them to get away from, maybe even overpower, an attacker.

I personally did not allow my own children "free range" when they were 8. I did allow them to walk down the sidewalk, maybe hop a fence to a neighbor's house to play for a certain set time, etc. They are older now and they have more freedom, I would not call them "free range" - not by a long shot.

Last edited by springfieldva; 04-20-2013 at 01:29 PM..
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linmora View Post
Yep, absolutely! And we've had these conversations with our kids. Unfortunately, he showed bad judgement and this let us know that he wasn't ready. Even my daughter who is 13 has on occasion answered the door while I'm in the house doing something else. Again, it is all about life lessons and trying to get the point across to your kids. I suppose the only way to keep kids 100% safe to have them around you constantly, even while showering or using the bathroom. Oh and to be armed in case a stranger was trying to break in. Unfortunately, we don't have firearms around and even if we did, I'm a lousy shot with rifle or pistol so I would have to practice.

But let's get back to discussing free range kids and not particularly my scenario which I was trying to use as an example, albeit unsuccessfully.
I thought your example was actually a really good one. We've also run into situations where we've had to tighten back up on the leash a bit, clarify the rules...it happens .
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
That is why most cultures start kids in formal schooling at around age 6-7. There is also a research basis for that.

Seven Year Olds Exercise Conscience | Scholastic.com
The Five to Seven Year Shift: The Age of Reason and Responsibility (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Mental Health and De): Arnold J. Sameroff, Marshall M. Haith: 9780226734477: Amazon.com: Books



In all my years of parenting, I never worried about kidnapping. I was more concerned about things like the above. Really, an "almost" 11 year old should not be left at home alone for nearly an hour. Other things can happen, too. A relative of mine (I won't say who) left her "almost" 11 year old and 8 year olds home alone for some time. A thunderstorm came up and when she got home the kids were hiding in a closet, scared to death. Kids get scared if the phone rings and it's a kind of hinky call. (Not such an issue any more with everyone having cell phones and many homes not having a land line at all.) My kids were good about not answering the phone when I left them home alone, which I didn't start until the oldest was 12.

I'm not sure the leaving kids home alone is a component of "free range" or not. My kids had a fair amount of freedom, but I did set limits on how far to go (fortunately we live on top of a small mesa, so there's not too far you can go before going downhill again, so that was a boundary), when to be home, etc.
Well, I guess that you would have a problem with all the latch key kids in our neighborhood who are left alone for an hour or more, waiting for their parents to get home. Many of them are 5th graders, my son's age. I'm a SAHM and see it all the time, especially with our area being so high cost and both parents having to work. Again, I'm not happy with my particular scenario and my son opening that door. It was a lesson for my son and me. I actually have more concerns about leaving my 13 year old daughter alone but I'm trying to give her more trust and freedom. Their "alone" time is pretty limited anyway since I'm usually around except when I do an early morning jog (in the summer months) or if I'm shuttling one of them around and the other wants to stay home.

But as you say, this is off topic from free ranging kids which is a bit different. My kids aren't huge free rangers for the reasons I cited in is thread earlier. My biggest concern...traffic. Especially outside the neighborhood. Within, I let them bike, walk the dog, etc. I was super free range back in the 60s. My parents were traveling the world and we were on a ship for weeks, I was in 3rd or 4th grade. They would leave me in the cabin while they enjoyed the adult past times. I would be allowed to roam with my friend and we would go everywhere...kitchens, engine room, and others places we shouldn't be. Still remember that month on ship to this day. In Hawaii growing up, would go out roaming, do my archery (until I shot a hole through the swimming pool which was used for water catchment), shoot cans with our rifle (and yes, I'm a lousy shot, with pistol or rifle, hehe). Complete freedom and ability to free range. My husband was the same way and would go out in the morning and not get home until dinner with his friends. I feel a bit sorry for kids nowdays in what they are missing.

Last edited by Siggy20; 04-20-2013 at 01:28 PM..
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^If school gets out around 3 (sometimes earlier), these kids are home alone for more than an hour, probably closer to 3 hours. Yes, I think that's too long at 10. JMO.
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:47 PM
 
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This is not a criticism - but I'm surprised at the number of parents on this thread who allow their kids to walk the dog by themselves, not something I've ever felt comfortable allowing. I would be worried about aggressive strays running up to them (dogs seem to be magnets for other dogs) or maybe the dog somehow pulling out of it's collar and running out into the street....I suppose the child is supposed to drop the leash, let the dog go, go for help?
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springfieldva View Post
This is not a criticism - but I'm surprised at the number of parents on this thread who allow their kids to walk the dog by themselves, not something I've ever felt comfortable allowing. I would be worried about aggressive strays running up to them (dogs seem to be magnets for other dogs) or maybe the dog somehow pulling out of it's collar and running out into the street....I suppose the child is supposed to drop the leash, let the dog go, go for help?
Excellent point! I work in a pediatric office, and we had a kid who needed stitches b/c of a situation like the above. An adult probably would have just dropped the leash, but she held on and got injured.
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Lower east side of Toronto
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Free range kids grow up to be free range adults. Few of them prosper because they are seen as non-compliant. Getting a formal education is not about getting more knowledge so you can get a good job...a degree is a sign of compliance and a statement that you will fit into a not so free range world. Free range kids must be taught that there are social and economic consequences to unbridled freedom...it might just make you poor...Kind of like the horse eating oats and decides to jump the fence and be free...only to find that there are no free oats out there.
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Excellent point! I work in a pediatric office, and we had a kid who needed stitches b/c of a situation like the above. An adult probably would have just dropped the leash, but she held on and got injured.
I walk our dogs (sometimes my kids help me) and I've had aggressive dogs (even a fox) approach us and I've also had a dog slip a collar before .... scary even for me.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springfieldva View Post
This is not a criticism - but I'm surprised at the number of parents on this thread who allow their kids to walk the dog by themselves, not something I've ever felt comfortable allowing. I would be worried about aggressive strays running up to them (dogs seem to be magnets for other dogs) or maybe the dog somehow pulling out of it's collar and running out into the street....I suppose the child is supposed to drop the leash, let the dog go, go for help?
I think that it really depends on where you live and of course your dog. We live in a well established neighborhood so dogs are either in houses or behind fences. Fortunately, I've never have seen a stray around. I suppose that in more rural areas, this would be more of a problem. When my husband and I lived in Oregon, surrounded by rural areas, we would go running with our doberman with a squirt gun filled with vinegar. Some of those dogs were pretty mean and our dobbie was a bit of a wimp, even though he was 100 pounds, lol. A few dogs got a face full of vinegar which was suprisingly effective. Would I let my kids take the dog for a walk in that area? Nope. Too many mean dogs that were allowed to roam free. This was out of our neighborhood and more on the back roads though.

Our dog is really well behaved. Can be on or off leash (although we do respect leash laws around here) and never pulls. If I had a vicious dog or one that would lunge, never would I allow my kids to walk the dog. I think it is all situational and your comfort level on where you live. And of course your dog.

As one aside, when my kids walk, my daughter who is 13 is in charge of the dog. A bit more responsible in that regard and is bigger so she can control the dog.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oleg Bach View Post
Free range kids grow up to be free range adults. Few of them prosper because they are seen as non-compliant. Getting a formal education is not about getting more knowledge so you can get a good job...a degree is a sign of compliance and a statement that you will fit into a not so free range world. Free range kids must be taught that there are social and economic consequences to unbridled freedom...it might just make you poor...Kind of like the horse eating oats and decides to jump the fence and be free...only to find that there are no free oats out there.
Not always Oleg. I was extremely free range yet went into the Army, got my education (as did my husband) and was quite successful. Both my husband and I are very independent though and made our own way in the world. I did 21 years in the Army and never had a problem with compliance. I'm happily enjoying my full retirement and husband makes a good salary as a senior IT guy (courtesy of the Army).

Generalizations are never a good thing to make.
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