Free-Range Parenting: It works, says Jefferson Pediatrician

When his four kids were young, 10 years old and younger, Gary Emmett, M.D., Chair of Hospital Pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University/Nemours, let them walk to school in downtown Philadelphia alone. His neighbors shook their heads, but he began to notice that his group of four grew as the neighborhood parents added their kid “to the parade.”

“Now this is called ‘free range parenting,’ but we, and our parents before us, just thought of it as giving our children appropriate responsibility and letting them grow up,” writes Dr. Emmett in his post for the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Healthy Kids blog.

“In fact,” writes Dr. Emmett, “by several ways of slicing the numbers, life is a lot safer today than it was in the 1950s. In addition, letting kids go out on their own ensured that kids were getting outside, expending energy on the playground. As obesity rises in kids across the U.S., one has to wonder whether the hesitation to let kids out on their own might contribute.”

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