Oh, sighhhh! I voice of sanity amidst the madness. What a relief it was to read this book! By nature, I am not an overly protective parent. I leaned free-range before I picked up this book. Still, this book freed me from so much fear and anxiety, it was completely empowering. Skenazy sums it up this way, "Free-Range Kids is a commonsense approach to parenting in these overprotective times." We are raising our kids in an era of manufactured fear. It is so hard not to by into all the hype when it comes to our kids. Skenazy does a brilliant job of evaluating our overblown fears and works to give us a realistic perspective.When my mom was a kid, she didn't wear a seat belt in the car and she roamed outside with her siblings with little supervision. Skenazy would say there is no question- our kids should wear seat belts, it keeps them safer. They should also be allowed outside to play, even without you standing guard the whole time. Crime rates happen to be lower then when my mom was a kid (who knew?) and the risks of being nabbed are no higher. It is our media fed fear that has shot through the roof. I find fear to be the most paralyzing emotion and it is my firm belief that we are never our best when we are coming from a place of fear. Eliminating much of my fear with Skenazy's logical and well researched book has made me a better parent.
I watch my kids do homework and I marvel. I vaguely remember a time when I went to the library and laboriously looked things up when I needed to write a paper that involved research. This modern world can be magnificent. It can also be damaging. Palmer says, "The best way to 'detoxify' childhood is to focus on what children need for healthy development, and how we can meet these needs in a 21st century context." This book provided much food for thought. Utilizing the best our modern world has to offer while making conscious choices that mitigate the things that will be detrimental to my children is the kind of intentional parenting I aspire to. I was better prepared to do that after reading this book. It covers a gamut of issues, including TV and other media, diet, sleep, communication with our kids, schooling and education and advertising. By the time I finished this book, I felt like a had a good grasp of the issues we are facing. Not only that, but I was armed with down to earth, realistic strategies to help me navigate the challenges we inevitably face parenting in the modern world.