Helicopter Parents Versus Free Range Parents

Tuesday October 2, 2012

By Amy Morin

Lenore Skenazy first made the news in 2008 after she allowed her 9-year-old son to ride the New York City subway by himself. Many parents were outraged by her willingness to allow her son to do something that could have been so potentially dangerous. However, she fought back and said she stands by her decision to make sure her son was independent enough to get himself home.

She is back in the news again with what she calls the free-play movement. She is challenging parents to allow their children to play in Central Park unsupervised. She states for $350 she is willing to sit in a nearby coffee shop with a cell phone in case of an emergency but she thinks that parents should not be afraid to allow their children to play outside by themselves.

This is in stark contrast to the beliefs of helicopter parents. Parents known as helicopter parents work hard to keep an eye on their children at all times. They are known for having difficulty letting go, even after children have gone away to college. They often do things such as calling their children everyday and checking up on their movements long after they've left the nest.

With so many parents making the news for things such as being a helicopter parent, tiger mom or free-play supporter, what's a parent to do? Well, certainly there's a happy medium somewhere in there. Doing anything to an extreme is not likely to be helpful. Finding a parenting strategy that is safe and best teaches your child to be prepared for life requires an eclectic approach to discipline.


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