Raising Free Range Kids or Just Another Day at the Beach?

The Hamptons has always raised free-range kids
The Hamptons has always raised free-range kids, Photo: olesiabilkei/iStock/Thinkstock

A new type of parenting is getting a lot of attention of late and it involves raising “free-range kids”

This is the exact opposite of “helicopter parenting,” where parents pay extremely close attention to their child’s growth experiences. The term is derived from the idea that the parents hover over them like a helicopter.

Many so called “parenting experts” are reporting the dangers of raising free range kids, while others are openly singing its praises.

The media has even dubbed the woman who literally wrote the book on this practice, “the world’s worst mom.” Lenore Skenazy, who hosts a World’s Worst Mom reality show, believes her formula for raising kids—as written in her book, Free-Range Kids, How to Raise safe, Self-Reliant Kids (Without Going Nuts with Worry)—is the best way to parent.

Peter Gray, author of the book Free To Learn, writes of Skenazy, “Her message is that children need free play and freedom to explore without constant adult direction”.

Skenazy, because of her beliefs in child rearing, has now appeared on Dr. Phil, The View, the Today show, Good Morning America and Anderson Live, just to name a few. Every interview I have seen seems to focus on a 2008 article she wrote for The New York Sun titled, “Why I Let My 9-Year Old Ride the Subway Alone.”

Personally, I feel that Skenazy is somewhat of an imposter because the Hamptons standard for raising kids has always accepted that once a child understands basic water and beach safety, which includes swimming, avoiding strong tides/undertow and wearing sunscreen, they are safe to spend summer days roaming the beaches by themselves or with their young peers.

And to be perfectly honest, I think the East End is turning out some pretty responsible kids.

Why isn’t someone from the media out here on the Island interviewing parents about this long-held parenting practice? Where are the public speaking engagements, appearance fees and book deals?

Free-range kids… Here in the Hamptons, we just call it another day at the beach.

Read more blogs by Mr. Sneiv.

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