Thursday, April 24, 2008

Protecting Your Children

So which is more protective? Not letting your child ride the subway by themselves or dropping them off at a subway station and telling them to find their way home?

Have you heard of the case of Lenore Skenazy? Ed Gilbreath points the way:

Skenazy equipped her 9-year-old son with a map, a subway card, and 20 bucks, then dropped him off at a New York department store to find his way home by himself. Skenazy wrote about this in The New York Sun and promptly heard it from outraged folks accusing her of endangering her son. There was some supportive feedback as well. Check out the article and a Today show segment about the episode. Skenazy, who believes today’s parents have allowed the culture to make them more paranoid than in earlier eras, has launched a website called Free Range Kids, where she calls parents to stop being so overprotective of their children.

So, whaddya think? Is she right?


Greg said...

My view is that it's natural for parents to be protective of their children--and to an outsider it's easily perceived as being "overprotective."

Where is the line between protective and overprotective? Well, first of all no parent is perfect. But second, what is considered a "reasonable" precaution oftentimes depends on the environment.

In Skenazy's story about her son, she makes the argument that the New York subway environment is safe for kids to ride alone. She might be right, but at the same time, I'm not in a position to judge. First of all, I don't live in New York. Second, it sounds like kids riding the subway alone is a rarity. Only as more and more kids ride the subway alone, and thus changing the environment further, can a determination be made as to whether it's "safe" for kids to ride the subway alone.

orryally said...

A couple different thoughts come up for me. 9 years old seems too young, but maybe for a 12 or 14-year old, or with a friend I could see doing that. The fact that the boy begged for it shows his personality and determination; not every kid is going to want to do that! The mom felt comfortable doing it, which is a huge necessity, as well as the fact that it was a Sunday afternoon (not super busy, probably, and not dark, out!) It was a very interesting concept though- I would agree that we overprotect our children, but as a mom it's in my nature to do so.

Chairman said...

If kids can drive at the age of 7..

...then letting a 9 year old take the subway by himself isn't that big of a deal.