Child-Rearing: Home on the Free Range

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You may have heard of the uproar caused when one New York mom and blogger allowed her 9-year-old son to ride the subway alone in 2008. Lenore Skenazy armed her son with maps and subway routes and sent him on a short trip to prove that so-called "helicopter parents" are way off base in overprotecting their kids. Many people traipse down memory lane, remembering childhoods when entire days were spent roving the neighborhood unsupervised, and a bike ride down to the convenience store - un-helmeted and un-padded, no less -- wasn't out of the question. But the idea is unheard of these days among those very same people, who are now parents. On her blog, Skenazy explains she's not reckless; she's simply giving her child the independence he craves and needs to grow into a strong, confident man. She writes of free-range parents, "We are not daredevils. We believe in life jackets and bike helmets and air bags. But we also believe in independence.