"What if you wanted your child to be kidnapped by a stranger and held overnight? How long would you have to leave him or her outside and unattended for that to actually happen? When journalist and author Lenore Skenazy asked people to take a guess, the answers showed a country increasingly, and irrationally, consumed by fear."
Lenore Skenazy, author of Free Range Kids, got to the nitty gritty of where parent's fear of unsupervised children stems from. When Skenazy's 9-year-old wanted to travel on the NYC subway alone, she let him. (After teaching him how to safely go about it.)
After he did it, she wrote about it. Boy- did she hear it! Comments and letters poured in chastising her and calling her the "worst mom ever".
Whoa- what would that make me! I'll admit I was not the most mommiest mommy at the park. I'd forget to pack the extra diaper, toy, wipe, juice box, assorted snack mix, clothes, and that damn binky!
My kids were the ones that would pick up stray cheerios and snack 'em down. They were the ones that would wander down to the creek and jump in. And boy would I get the look from the mommies. That look that says, "You're not playing by the rules dear. If your kids jump in the creek then my kids will jump in the creek and today is not creek jumping day!"
Or I'd be trying to make polite conversation with another mommy and I'd hear. "You know, there are snakes in the bushes over there." To which I would reply, "maybe garter snakes but they aren't poisonous. I'm not concerned, but thanks." To which she replied, "It's still a snake and who knows what or who could be in that bush! You really ought to bring your kids closer."
What or WHO could be in the scary bush??
Have we really come to this people- where kids should be afraid of romping in the bushes?
I like my kids like I like my chickens - free range as Skenazy says. A good read and a must for any new parent. Check out her blog as well!
Oh, and the answer to the first question: 750,000 years. Read why here.