Yesterday I wrote a post for Psychology Today about puree pouches and Free-Range Parenting and some people were upset.  

I called the article The Perils of “Free-Range” Parenting and wrote:

Are we in an era of “free-range” parenting?  Neil Grimmer thinks we are.  But then, Mr. Grimmer is the chief executive of Plum Organics, a pioneer of food pouches, a product toddlers can consume while roaming around.

“Parents,” Mr. Grimmer told the New York Times, “want to be as flexible as modern life demands. And when it comes to eating, that means doing away with structured mealtimes in favor of a less structured alternative that happens not at set times, but whenever a child is hungry.”1

I can’t think of a better strategy to produce a nation of picky eaters. Fat ones too.

Read the rest of the article.

To be honest, I was responding to Neil Grimmer, the CEO of Plum Organics, and his interpretation of Free-Range Parenting.

But now I know he got it wrong.  Free-Range Parenting, according to Lenore Skenazy, the woman who coined the term, is much more about giving kids the space to be kids, within safe limits, though our current model of parenting might question those limits.

According to Skenazy:

We are all for giving kids a chance to do things on their own — play, walk to school, spend an afternoon just drawing on the sidewalk — which in turn gives us parents a chance to do things on our own, too, including get out of the car. Maybe even make a meal. Or have the kids make a meal.

Skenazy continues:

[The author] goes on and on about how SHE doesn’t believe kids should make their parents give them snacks instead of  meals. Moreover, SHE doesn’t think kids should be the ones to decide whether or not they’re going to sit in the car seat, or what time they go to bed.

Lady — neither do we!

Read the rest of Skenazy’s post.  Remember, the SHE Skenazy is talking about is ME!

First my apologies to the Free-Range Parenting crowd for accepting Grimmer’s interpretation on face value. It sounds like we agree on a lot about parenting. And we both think Grimmer is off base.

But I stand my post: What Grimmer says about how parents should feed their kids is a big mistake. Kids need boundaries and structure in order to learn to eat right.  But they also need the freedom to explore, participate, make mistakes and to learn to eat on their own.

For all my new friends in the Free-Range Parenting movement, I look forward to learning more about this perspective.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~