Many of the children in today’s generation are experiencing a childhood vastly different than that of their parents or their grandparents. Many parents believe that they must be constantly present in their child’s life to protect them from a vast array of dangers; a well known trend termed ‘helicopter parenting’. The “Lost Adventures of Childhood” documentary explains this situation very well and demonstrates that some parents today cling onto their children so closely they have no independence or self-confidence.
One of the parents featured in the documentary is Lenore Skenazy, termed “America’s Worst Mom” after she let her 9 year old son take the subway in New York by himself. She went on to write the book ‘Free-Range Kids’, explaining how views towards parenting and children’s freedoms have drastically changed even though today’s world is seen to be more aware of dangers and therefore safer. She offers fourteen Free-Range Commandments on how to give kids “the freedom we had without going nuts with worry”. One chapter focuses on things parents have banned including walking to school. It’s interesting to chat with a senior today and hear their proud stories of how they boasted walked miles to school both ways, yet parents today won’t let kids have that same experience out of worry. In the age of video games, fast-food and reduced physical activity, now more than ever is a crucial time for youth to get outside, get active and start walking or biking to school again. Lenore Skenazy goes on to write that walking actually solves the problems the parents worry about when they drive their kids to school. “If kids started walking again, everyone would be better off, thanks to less pollution, fewer accidents and fitter-as opposed to fatter-kids”. An even better alternative to tackle parents’ fears is a walking school bus to ease their mind off of traffic issues or being taken by a ‘predator’. A Walking School Bus can be some parents who take turns walking to school with their kids and, similar to a bus, pick up the other kids in the neighborhood along the way to class. All the preventative measures are in place for kids to have a safe childhood, so parents can begin to trust the outside world. I understand that as a parent, you want to protect your child from everything but if they try remembering their own childhood and the privileges they had, perhaps it might help trigger them to go easier on their own kids.