Willie's
                           Place

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Recently, the term “free range” was connected to chickens. Now a growing number of parents are using the term “Free Range” to describe a type of child rearing which allows more independence to children at earlier ages. Looking back In Cincinnati where I grew up, I was a “free range 50’s” child, from a fairly early age, I could start to roam around town without my parents freaking out. I would walk to school even across town, I can remember hitch hiking to get to junior high school,

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Raising a Free-Range Kid today is an approach to parenting in these overprotective times. Today free range parenting, is trying to give them the best of both worlds, they are attempting to shelter their kids from adversity, but giving them the opportunity to make decisions, learn from their mistakes, and develop the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties needed to thrive through the ups and downs of life. This is all done in the name of Love but too much of a good thing can result in kids who always expect to get what they want when they want it. I was brought up, early on, that if I wanted something it was my responsibility to earn money to get it. if I wanted spending money I needed to get a job! My first job was delivering newspaper then I was an usher at the local movie theater (didn’t make a lot of money but I could eat all the popcorn I wanted). After the usher job I got a job at Okrent’s men and boys store, I did everything from selling clothes to washing windows and mopping the floor. This began my foundation for my future. That is what I consider free range parenting in the 50’s and 60’s.

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Being a child back in the Parenting Stone Age, my parents were the most important people in the family. They knew what they were doing and didn't need my help making decisions. When they spoke to me, they spoke in no uncertain terms. The rule was very simple: They told me what to do, and I did it, because they said so. Today's parents treat their children as if they are the most important people in the family. When they talk to their children, they get down to their level, the rule seems very simple: Parents ask children to do things, and children take their requests under consideration. My family was like most families in the 50’s. I was brought up with a fairly strict discipline, and more times than not I experienced being spanked at a young age. Today, concerning raising their children, they must be conscious of the laws. How the parents discipline their children in the 50’s would probably land them in jail today.

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Was it easier to raise a child in the 1950s than it is now? I think so. The family has changed, and the pace of life has quickened. Parents today seem to have their priorities mixed up. Now the children merely tolerate adults and care little for what can be learned from the past. They are bored by current events and their attention span runs no longer than the time it takes for the next music album to come out. Their heroes are millionaire sports jocks, their idols flash in the pan musicians. Parents who are trying to provide their children with a good set of values find out that it’s hard for them to compete with FaceBook. Peer pressure reigns supreme and drugs are rampant. Raising a child in this environment is a monumental challenge.