Raising Free Range Kids in a Modern World
As a parent, you want to keep your kids safe. In a modern world safety seems to be the number one priority when it comes to our children. And it’s understandable, all you have to do is turn on the evening news to hear an array of horrible stories concerning children.
So just how do you give kids a little freedom to roam free in a modern world?
The answer isn’t straight forward and it all depends on each family’s particular needs and concerns. For example, if you live in the inner city you may be concerned about your child getting attacked or being hit by a car. If you live in a rural area your concerns may be your child getting hurt and not being able to find help. Each parent will have their own concerns related to their individual circumstances and all concerns are valid because they are a worry to the parent.
Here are a few ideas to help you approach this difficult topic:
Get the facts straight – It may help to get the fact straight when it comes to keeping your kids safe. Have a look at the statistics for your local area. You can easily go into your local police station to find this information and it’s also available on most government websites for your area. Getting to grips with the real crime statistics in your area will help make you aware of the real dangers. News stories, while often true at source, can easily be sensationalized or made to seem worst than they really are.
Talk to your kids – Speaking to your kids about the world around them is the starting point to raising independent kids. Explain your worries about certain situations and help them know how to deal with such scenarios should they arise. Don’t scare your kids or make them fearful. Explain the statistics to them in terms they’ll understand but also let them know why it’s important to be safe.
You can also set up rules and guidelines to make giving them a little extra freedom easier. For example, your son may ride his bike to the park and play for 30 minutes but then needs to check back in with you. Or your daughter can walk to her friend’s house but needs to call you to say she has made it there safely.
Don’t judge by age – Age isn’t always the best measure for what kids can and can’t do. Two ten year olds can be extremely different in terms of maturity and awareness. You know your kids best and by watching what they do and how they interact in the world you may instinctually know what they are and aren’t ready for.
Build a community – This may be easier said than done in a modern world but it is possible. Get to know your neighbors, let them know who your kids are and get to know other neighborhood kids. Setting up a neighborhood watch or getting involved in one is also a good way to build safe communities.
As the saying goes it takes a village to raise a child. While this isn’t always true anymore, having a village of people simply watching out for the local kids can make all the difference to their safety.
Trust your instincts – Finally learn to trust your instincts. We do live in a scary world but often this fear is made worse by media and access to worldwide news. What is happening in one part of the world may not necessarily affect you locally. This is why getting the true statistics for your area is important.
And when you feel the time is right trust your instincts as to when it’s right to let go a little. Children can only learn if parents learn to step back at certain times and let them take charge. Trust your instincts when it comes to your child and you’ll know when the time is right to gently start letting go a little.