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Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) Paperback – Apr 19 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (April 19 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470574755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470574751
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 23 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

Library Journal Starred Review - Skenazy flies the black flag of America’s Worst Mom, a title this syndicated columnist and NPR commentator earned by allowing her nine-year-old son to ride the New York City public transit alone in 2008. Here, she puts parents? fears to bed by examining the statistical likelihood of the dangers we most fear (murder, baby-snatching, etc.). Drawing on facts, statistics, and humor, she convincingly argues that this is one of the safest periods for children in the history of the world, reiterating that mostly, the world is safe and mostly, people are good. Even the lowest-flying helicopter parents would have trouble disagreeing that we have entered an era that says you cannot trust yourself. Trust a product instead. Skenazy argues that it’s time to retire the national pastime of worrying and that childhood is supposed to be about discovering the world, not being held captive. The obvious has never been so hilarious.

"Skenazy will find plenty of supporters for her contention that, in a world where the rights of chickens to roam freely are championed, it's time to liberate the kids." (The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2009)

"Skenazy advocates for a child's right to separate gradually from a parent's assistance and to learn the joy and self-confidence that comes from trying out independence."
—Christian Century (November 2009)

"Free-Range Kids is the best kind of manifesto: smart, funny, rigorous, sane, impassioned, and bristling with common sense. If you’re a parent, or planning to become one, read this book. You have nothing to lose–apart from your anxiety."
—Carl Honoré, author, In Praise of Slowness and Under Pressure

"Even scaredy-cat parents like myself now have a how-to manual on overcoming irrational suspicions and, finally, differentiating between an axe murderer and a play date!"
—David Harsanyi, syndicated columnist and author, Nanny State.

"Free-Range Kids makes the perfect baby shower gift."
—Nancy McDermott, parenting blogger, Spiked Online

"Moral insight without moralizing—how rare is that?"
—Amity Shlaes, author, The Forgotten Man

"Keep Free-Range Kids on your bedstand next to your bible and the TV remote, and refer to as needed during the 11 o'clock news."
—Jordan Lite, news reporter, Scientific American online

"Read this book—Mommy said you could."
—Penn Jillette, Penn & Teller

Review

"This book is a bubbly but potent corrective for the irrational fears that drive so many parents crazy. Skenazy is witty, perceptive, persuasive, and above all, sensible."
—Robert Needlman, M.D., coauthor, Dr Spock’s Baby and Child Care, 8th Edition.

"Free-Range Kids is the best kind of manifesto: smart, funny, rigorous, sane, impassioned, and bristling with common sense. If you’re a parent, or planning to become one, read this book. You have nothing to lose–apart from your anxiety."
—Carl Honoré, author, In Praise of Slowness and Under Pressure

"Lenore Skenazy is a national hero."
—Mary Roach, author, Bonk and Stiff

"Even scaredy-cat parents like myself now have a how-to manual on overcoming irrational suspicions and, finally, differentiating between an axe murderer and a play date!"
—David Harsanyi, syndicated columnist and author, Nanny State.

"Free-Range Kids makes the perfect baby shower gift."
—Nancy McDermott, parenting blogger, Spiked Online

"Moral insight without moralizing—how rare is that?"
—Amity Shlaes, author, The Forgotten Man

"Keep Free-Range Kids on your bedstand next to your bible and the TV remote, and refer to as needed during the 11 o'clock news."
—Jordan Lite, news reporter, Scientific American online

"Read this book—Mommy said you could."
—Penn Jillette, Penn & Teller

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book, while meant to be funny, is little more than a diatribe against any parenting techniques or ideas to which the author does not ascribe. Skenazy is merely preaching to the choir. It's easy to read along and say, "Yeah! You're totally right! 'Helicopter parents' are so annoying." But, you don't come away with much positive encouragement. The lowest point of the book comes when she hypocritcally berates over protective mothers for berating 'free range' mothers. She spends most of the book insulting the kinds of parents who are likely reading it for guidance.

With sweeping generalizations she discounts everything she's ever read about parenting that suggests that children don't simply raise themselves. She gives examples of people with crappy childhoods who have grown up to be successful adults. She never says 'happy', though.

She provides some relevant and helpful statistics that illustrate how our generation is being taught by the media to fear the worst when the worst is very, very, very unlikely to happen. There was also one chapter in which she described how kids have more freedom in different parts of the world. I found these stories to be interesting and very relevant. If Skenazy had stuck to this model and given us even more interesting and encouraging stories in which to find inspiration, she would have done a lot more for her 'Free Range' movement. Her book makes it clear, however, that she is not interested in creating a movement. She is only interested in finding an outlet for her intolerance, which she finds very amusing.

If you already agree with Skenazy then you will love this book. If you're looking for someone to help you broaden your point of view and maybe loosen up a little, you will be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy was so daring when it came out. She had been called "America's Worst Mom" because she let her 9-year old son return home on the subway from downtown Manhattan (her TV show Bubble Wrap Kids, which started airing in January 2012, is filled with parents who don't even let their 11-year old walk to school alone, a few blocks down the road) and within a month after posting this information on her blog, a tsunami of critiques was generated. This book is her very well articulated response to explain how to go beyond our irrational fears to raise self-reliant kids. The book is thoroughly researched, the true work of a journalist. She goes on to destroy some myths deeply ingrained in the parents' psyche. One great example: How many kids were harmed by evil manipulations of Halloween candies based on crime reports dating back from 1958? None! Zero! (A university teacher analyzed this and I don't know how many states his research covered but still!) Her goal is to make us aware of how we don't base our fears on facts. And she wants us to reassess our evaluation of the real dangers threatening our kids so we don't go nuts for the wrong reasons. One great lesson from her book and the TV show she's hosting: Remember how you were at your kids' age, the kind of fun you had, what made it a happy childhood. And don't cheat your kids of this joy. What a woman!
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Format: Paperback
From the first page of "Free Range Kids," Lenore Skenazy grabs the reader with her conversational, witty and often sarcastic style. After allowing her 9-year-old to ride the NYC subway by himself, Skenazy received inordinate flack from parenting "experts," one of whom dubbed her "America's Worst Mom." Such criticism spawned the Free Range movement based on the idea that kids have common sense and need to explore the world beyond the confines of their parents' paranoia.

The book guides the reader through 14 commandments, which includes ideas on how to give kids more freedom. Skenazy uses reassuring statistics to back up her reasoning: the likelihood of your child being abducted by a stranger are 1 in 1,500,000, violent crime rates have greatly declined since the early 1990s, no child has ever died from poisoned Halowe'en candy. Ever. She also spends a chapter addressing specific safety concerns parents have, such as choking, drowning, abduction, and "stranger danger" in general.

At times the author lets her personal feelings influence her writing and get in the way of evidence, as when she discusses breastfeeding. But, overall, she provides some useful information and reassurance . One example is her view on breastfeeding, which of course I must address considering my career choice (childbirth & lactation educator). I agree with her that babies who are formula fed are going to mostly turn out just fine. I don't agree with labeling the benefits of breastfeeding as "supposed" and downplaying the importance of nutrition in general. It sounds like she had a run-in over formula feeding when one of her kids was a baby, and it has created a 12-year grudge (her words). I hope she can one day work through those feelings.
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