Would you pay $350 to let your kids play unsupervised in the park?

No, I am not being facetious.
Though I really hope the mom who suggested it is…in fact, I’m almost very probably sure that she almost is 😉
Lenore Skenazy is the author of the book Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) and proponent of a parenting style that she describes as “Fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers, Ivy League rejection letters and/or the perils of a non-organic grape.”

On her blog, Free-Range Kids, a few days ago, she suggested that parents pay $350 (full scholarships available for the taking) for the privilege of dropping their 8-18 year old in Central Park to not be watched by Lenore herself.  Because Central Park is the safest precinct in the safest largest city in the country.  Oh, a waiver is required absolving Lenore of any responsibility.

I was curious what was up, so I send this email to Ms. Skenazy:

On Sat, Sep 15, 2012 at 11:27 PM, jessica Bernstein <jessica@peekababyny.com> wrote:
Wondering what the deal is? Is this a put on? A publicity gimic?
I assume that nobody is actually expected to pay and fill out a no-liability form to say hi to you and have you not watch their kids in the park, correct?

and received this response a few hours later:

it’s a real class that no one has signed up for, alas.

Now, my children engage in lots of free play, plenty of it outside…but I don’t leave them completely unsupervised in our apartment building’s hallways, let alone in the park.  I don’t structure their play, nor do I leave them to protect themselves from kidnappers and broken bones.  Granted my children are both significantly under the age of 8…but I like to feel that there is a happy medium between smothering my kids and sending them out unprotected into harm’s way.

I kindof wanted someone to sign up for the class to see how it all panned out…


2 thoughts on “Would you pay $350 to let your kids play unsupervised in the park?

  1. I agree with you…there is a happy medium. If there was absolutely no fear in that nothing would happen to the children, why would Skenazy have the parents sign that waver?

  2. Though the concept of free range children resonates with me somewhat, I think certain areas work better for this style of parenting. If you live in a place with big open fields and know a lot of the people who live around you, then it may work better. Perhaps NYC fear has just been bred into me, but I am quite sure that my parents (who also grew up in NYC) were also not gallivanting around Central Park by themselves as young children. IMHO, there is a way to keep your children safe without completely limiting their freedom or their creativity–I take my kids to the playground and, at least with my 6 year old, tend to fade into the background while he plays with whatever kids are there. I do keep him in view, though, so that I can rescue him or patch a boo-boo if that becomes necessary.

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