Slow Parenting

Just as ‘slow food’ (usually local and fresh produce and foods as opposed to ‘fast food’ aka Micky D’s) is becoming more popular as the US is making a shift towards eating more sustainably, so is ‘slow parenting’. 

How often is it, I have asked myself, did my parents let me loose in out suburban neighborhood when I was a younger whippersnapper? Just to play? Not much. But apparently more than some. Today, according to an article in Time about this new phase of parenting called ‘slow parenting’, more and more kids today are being over protected and sheltered: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1940395,00.html

It would not be an exaggeration to say that an online uproar arose when mother and journalist Lenore Skenazy allowed her 9 year old son to ride the subway home alone. After being asked to appear on the Today show, Skenazy was dubbed, “America’s Worst Mother.” And her reasoning for letting her son make his way home via subway by his lonesome? The culture of fear that scares parents into going as far as to buy them child leashes (though according to BOTH my parents, was totally common-place as they were growing up in the 50’s) is teaching our children to be afraid. Skenazy does not want her child to grow up in a polluted atmosphere of fear. Plus, she points out that statistics show that things may be safer than we may think they are:

” I know that may sound a little scary, but it’s not. Here in New York, fam-ilies are on the subway all the time. It’s extremely, even statistically, safe. Whatever subterranean terror you see Will Smith battling in the movies goes home when the filming stops—probably to New Jersey. Our city’s murder rate is back to where it was in 1963. And, by the way, it’s probably down wherever you live, too. ” (see more at http://www.theweek.com/article/index/96342/The_last_word_Advice_from_Americas_worst_mom
)

Anyway. Whether an individual agrees with Skenazy’s decision or not she brings up an interesting point: are parents these days raising their children with an inflated sense of danger in the world? and then are they being too overprotective? Skenazy’s blog called Free Range Kids can be found at: http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/ You will be greeted by the tagline, ‘Giving our kids the freedom we had without going nuts with worry’. In my mind, there is a lot of validity in cutting down on the fear-ridden mental nooks our culture tends to stay away from. And if a parent is successfully engaged in removing the misconceptions we hold around fear beginning in her own family, what’s to judge? Less fear = more reality = more opportunity to solve real life problems!

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3 thoughts on “Slow Parenting

  1. I also can’t recall being nervous about where you went or what you did as a kid. Do you? It seems the inability to hang out in the neighborhood was inhibited by a widespread and burgeoning culture of organized activities and performance enhancement – no time to do nothing. That’s a different from “slow parenting,” isn’t it? Did you felt inhibited or afraid of venturing out on Huckleberry Finn type adventures? If so, why?

  2. I’ve just started reading “Growing Up Digital” by Don Tapscott. In it he says, “The Internet cannot replace the open green spaces, free neighborhoods, and unsupervised play time that previous generations took for granted, but the Internet can partially replicate and supplement what’s left of that experience.” He goes on to say one of the most important things about the Internet to kids is the freedom to explore. I certainly did my exploring through the empty lots and beaches of Belvedere and the the hills and railroad tracks of Tiburon. Dylan is doing his exploration on YouTube and other Internet sites. Where do you feel you’re doing yours?

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