So, what is all this free-range parenting stuff?

A simple Google search will show dozens of advocates, groups and specialists purporting their own parenting model. So far, MJ and I have intentionally avoided these experts and trends telling us what was ‘best’ when it came to parenting. Part of this is because we are confident relying on our gut instincts and comfortable challenging conventional expectations. And part of it is because we simply want our kids to be kids and not label them products of some kind of model.

The irony is that our resistance to label our parenting style has helped to define it. Free-range parenting, slow parenting, or idle parenting is simply about letting the kids be kids. It is about getting back to basics in order to provide children with opportunities to learn at their own pace within environments that aren’t structured by adults. For the adults, it’s about overcoming fears that you are not giving your kids enough (stuff, activities, time, safety restrictions, etc). It’s about letting go.

That said, I do believe that the term ‘slow parenting’ (Honore) or ‘idle parenting’ (Hodgkinson) can send the wrong message. This is because the terms ‘slow’ and ‘idle’ can imply easy. I prefer the term ‘free-range parenting.’ I also believe that parenting will always be reflective of your own lifestyle. You can’t be a free-range parent, for example, if you over-schedule your own life, play the game of Keeping-Up-With-The-Jones, eat loads of convenience meals, and call shopping a hobby.

So, as MJ and I get ready to slap on a label, we are also conscious of how we live out our own lives. There is much we can do to live more simply. And in turn, we can become parents who create a home where our daughters can grow up creative, adaptable and happy.

This is the first post of Tortoise on the Loose and this is our journey.

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1 Response to “So, what is all this free-range parenting stuff?”



  1. 1 The Value of the Pause « Tortoise on the Loose Trackback on May 12, 2010 at 5:29 am

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