Archive | Infantilizing young folk

Boy Scout contraband?

Boy Scouts Can’t Squirt Squirt Guns at Each Other and Must Use Goggles

Boy Scouts can’t shoot squirt guns at each other. Here’s the rulebook (see page 99). And here’s the article for Boy Scout leaders that points out:  “Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn.” Water balloons, meanwhile, have a size limit: “For water balloons, use small, biodegradable balloons, […]

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While the parents were shopping at a garage sale, their kids went HOME ALONE.

“I Found Myself Agreeing with Your Work…But I Wasn’t Letting Go”

From Tamara Treber, a high school English teacher, comes this story she calls her “Reality Check.” Dear Free-Range Kids: My husband and I have two kids (ages 7 and 5).  We live in an impoverished, largely agricultural area of Central California.  Nevertheless, we have a nicely appointed home on a quiet cul-de-sac.  I read your […]

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A culture of self-infantilization seems to have spawned on campus.

What Hath Overprotection Wrought?

What happens when a generation grows up being told that they need constant supervision because nothing is safe enough? That they should never encounter a bad grade or mean remark, it’s too wounding? That they didn’t lose, they are the “8th place winner!”? At least a slice of them become convinced that they are extremely […]

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students, go home and ask your parents if you can do something new that you are ready for.

When Schools Do the “Free-Range Kids Project”

On my show (3 episodes air tonight starting at 5:30/4:30 Central Time on Discovery Life), I give the children of very anxious parents a task to do that they seem ready for — even if their parents aren’t. They walk to school, make dinner, ride a bike. And usually, when the parents see their kids […]

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Son, you are two minutes late to your sociology class on the Surveillance Society!

App Alerts Parents if Their Kid Skips a College Class

You’re only young once, but our culture seems determined to make sure that childhood lasts into middle age, if not senility. To wit: There’s a new app, Class120, that pings parents when their kids don’t show up for their college classes. NBC reports: Class120 works with the help of GPS or WiFi. The campus is […]

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The cop asked the dad: "Do you know your daughter was out walking WITHOUT A HAT?"

A Girl Walking Down the Street — and the Cops. Twice.

When does it make sense for the cops to stop kids and make sure they’re safe? A  mom in Maine writes: Dear Free-Range Kids: My daughter, 9, wanted to hang out with a friend of hers that lives about 2 miles away.  Because neither set of parents could take them, the decided to walk to the […]

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That will teach you not to let your kid eat the non-organic frosted flakes!

New British Law Will Call All Sorts of Things “Child Abuse”

Readers — The so-called “Cinderella Law” working its way through Parliament may sound as if it is going to rescue ragamuffins stuck in their own little corner in their own little chair. But in fact, by expanding the definition of child cruelty to include emotional, psychological or even intangible harm, it holds the threat of criminalizing […]

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Meet your kindergartener at the bus...or ELSE.

Meet Your Kindergartener at the Bus…or ELSE

It happened about 1,600 times in the last school year: Bus drivers in Hillsborough County arrived at the bus stops in the afternoon with kindergarten students who had no parents or guardians to meet them. So begins an article in Florida’s Tampa Bay Times describing the terrible scourge of parents who trust their kids to walk […]

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Just reinforcing social norms.

12-Year-Olds Need a Babysitter?

Readers — Here you go, from commenter Laura: Dear Free-Range Kids: Just me venting.  I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly, and in their fall movie previews in their current issue, they preview “St. Vincent”, a film starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy.  Melissa and her 12 yo son move into this new area after a divorce […]

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The night is dark and full of diamonds.

Are Sleepovers Too Dangerous to Allow Anymore?

Readers: Remember, whenever considering any childhood activity, no matter how innocuous, first think about how TERRIBLE you’d feel if it ended up a tragedy from which your children (if they survive) NEVER RECOVER. Then go ahead and decide if you think they should do it. Here’s a lovely example of that worst-first thinking, below. It’s from a […]

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