Pixel Tracker

Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 3:27 pm | A Few Clouds 66º

 
 
 

She Said, Z Said: Free-Range Children in a Helicopter World

What's your breaking point for letting your kid fail ... or fall?

She: Time’s cover article last week was, “The Case Against Over-Parenting.” Do you think we over-parent?

Z: I think that because we’re having this conversation, by definition, yes.

She: I actually think I over-parent and you under-parent, so hopefully together we’re doing OK.

Z: Except when it comes to cookies. You way under-parent in that category.

She: I hope you won’t be offended, but if anything ever happens to me you’ll be legally required to run all major parenting decisions by my sister, your sisters and a few of our friends. It’s just a precaution.

Z: Why would I be offended?

She: And just talking about how you raise your kid doesn’t count as over-parenting. It seems minimally conscientious at worst.

Z: I guess I’m comparing us to previous generations. It used to be if you lost a couple of your kids to the lions, it would mostly be a drag because now you only had 10 children working your fields instead of a dozen.

She: We have one egg in one basket, and I’m not letting him near any lions. Or you anymore, for that matter.

Z: You’re right, it’s different now. One kid changes the equation. Cocooning him in bubble wrap every morning doesn’t always seem like a terrible idea.

She: So I won’t cancel my order, which is good, because otherwise I was going to wrap him in Charmin.

Z: The problem is that when you do that, then you kill all sorts of learning possibilities. If you’re always protecting your kid, then they never learn to protect themselves.

She: Alive and helpless isn’t the worst thing.

Z: Back when I was Park Dad, I had a rule of thumb for when he was climbing something, or learning a new piece of playground equipment.

She: You let him climb stuff? Seriously? You don’t love him.

Z: I always let him get high enough that it would hurt if he fell, but it wouldn’t maim or kill him.

She: Maiming was your threshold? That’s it. In the event of my death even minor decisions will have to be run by a jury of my peers.

Z: Honestly, breaking was my threshold. Serious scratching. Whatever. I wanted him to find out what his limits were, without putting him in real danger.

She: Well, it is true that we’ve kept him out of the emergency room (knock on wood).

Z: Other than the time we starved him when he was first born. My bad.

She: I don’t want to be an overly overprotective parent. I joke about having to balance you out, but the truth is I do fight against my helicopter instincts on a pretty regular basis.

Z: The only way a kid learns the right way to fall is to fall a few times.

She: Hey, I read the book on Free-Range Kids. I know all of the statistics on why we shouldn’t be afraid to give children at least the same amount of freedom that we had as kids.

Z: What’s the worst that could happen?

She: I broke an arm and nine fingers when my parents left me home alone.

Z: See? You can’t give in to the fear.

She: My favorite line from the Time article was that “Fear is a kind of parenting fungus: invisible, insidious, perfectly designed to decompose your peace of mind.”

Z: You’re going to be a bundle of fun when he gets his driver’s license, aren’t you?

She: My imagination splinters into a million fearful little pieces whenever I think about anything bad happening to Koss.

Z: On the other hand, I do agree that you can be too laissez-faire. I’m not a huge fan of the local day-care provider who let her own kids plus one of her charges go free-climbing up the side of a cliff.

She: I’ve got mixed feelings about that one, but I wouldn’t let Koss do it. I’ve still got the gray hair from when we let him go rock climbing — in a harness and safety gear — with his teacher in second grade.

Z: You realize he has that same teacher again this year?

She: And you realize that if they do it again this time, you’ll be the one chaperoning while I’ll be in full denial mode.

Z: You’re good at that.

She: It’s been a while, but your youthful sky diving, mountain climbing and river rafting days gave me a lot of practice.

Z: Yes, dear.

— Share your free range opinions with She and Z by e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.