Fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and/or the perils of a non-organic grape.
41 Responses to “Good Morning America on “I Won’t Supervise Your Kids” Class”
I didn’t see GMA, but I did hear/see the mention on The Daily Buzz. Good job getting people to talk about this!
I’m amused that the woman that they had as the “against free-range” actually seemed to agree with most of what was being said. She was concerned about the absolute lack of supervision with a group of children who don’t know each other.
I wonder if she would have been OK with Lenore hanging out in the park reading a book for the first session, while the kids got to know each other?
Won’t allow watching this video in Canada. Anyone have a generic video site displaying this clip?
Seriously, that psychiatrist who kept insisting “children need limits” wasn’t getting it. Duh, they need limits. All Free-Range parents believe that. That’s why we teach them limits AHEAD of time….and then set them free to actually put them into practice.
Don’t you just LOVE the way the media is comparing children playing in a park for a few hours to Lord of the Flies?! So ridiculous. Like they’re going to go completely feral as a direct result of being on their own for two hours.
Sad robot says, “Not available in your area,” but from the comments here, I think I saw this one… yes, agreed that it’s kind of hilarious comparing a couple of hours in the park to Golding’s story of the stripping away of all facades and decorum on a deserted island… shows what another side of this fear is: not just that kids will be “eaten” by predators, but if we’re not there, they’ll eat each other all up! Whew! But for the grace of Mommy go I! Seriously, if it were that much of a risk that kids playing together unsupervised would lead to murder and bloodshed, well, the landscape of my suburban Ohio 1970s neighbourhood would have been one littered with limbs and corpses…
This lady should be locked up and they should throw away the key!! Most parents are raising children only two hours per day now. With her advise this will let all those parents right off the hook and there will be kids without any parenting or parental interaction!
I work with at risk families and already see enough tragedy in the lives of children who are NOT supervised. Police, children services and any agency who can take children from her – should. As well, anyone who would leave their children “in her care” should have their children removed from them for supporting her advocacy of this philosophy.
What most children need nowadays is parental interaction and time spent with their parents. Advocating putting children at risk while she sits having her coffee oblivious to what is happening to or could happen to the children is nothing short of totally irresponsible!!
Howie Mandel – shame on you for supporting her point of view!!!!
Uhm, Sammi? No one here is advocating that parents stop PARENTING their children. They’re advocating effective parenting that teaches responsibility, limits, and independence.
Do you work with families whose parents practice and encourage this behavior with their children?
@Sammi: So you think my kids should be taken away because I’ve taught them how to act responsibly, how to behave, I’ve held them accountable for their mistakes, and I trust them to behave in a way that is mature and responsible even when I am not hovering over them?
This is not about abdicating our responsibility as parents; this is about teaching your children how to be responsible so we can have coffee with friends, trusting our kids to do the right thing even if they’re out of sight.
The problem kids are the ones who have been held accountable, either because the parents don’t care or don’t have the skills, or because the parents have been hovering over the kids, and making all the decisions for them, so the kids never learn to make decisions.
The basic tenet in my family is this:
“Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.”
It’s my job as a parent to insure that the bad judgement part comes early and in small doses, so it can be fixed with just a few stitches, and not later when the kid gets behind the wheel of a car drunk out of his mind.
OOPS: s/who have been held accountable/who have NOT been held accountable/
@Sammi: One more thing. My daughter is now in high school. She’s a year younger than her peers (long story, having to do with budget cuts and her missing a grade) but has the reputation among her friends as being more mature, stable, and having better judgement than her peers.
She has better judgement because we expect and demand it of her. We (the parents) also have a reputation among her friends as being far more strict than other parents in her peer group – because we expect all her friends to act responsibly and hold them accountable if they’re in our house.
In return she gets to pick her classes, her wardrobe, her schedule, and her friends, which is more freedom than most of her peers have. Go figure.
On the contrary…..parents that hover, overprotect, and do everything for their children are the ones we should worry about.
My oldest, whom came into my life at the age of 5, was the victim of a stifled upbringing. My wife, her parents and I were constantly at odds, over her developing independance and confidence. It was a struggle and continues to be at times.
Now my youngest, now 13, is fully independant and very self reliant. At times more capable of handling things, than my oldest.
I have first hand seen what type of child is produced from both overprotective and freerange parenting.
My stepson, that I am now helping to raise, was overprotected, but is now really embracing the independance and freedom.
There is not a boogeyman in every park, there isnt a rapist around every corner, and there isnt a murderer stalking every kid. It is safe, and very healthy to let our children roam, like we did.
I have a general rule, at home and at the trailer park. When the kids come running through, to get a snack, drink, and update me on plans. If I do not here the keywords, “sex, gun, knife, drugs, or booze”, then they are good to go.
Lord of the Flies?!! Way to embrace the sensational, paranoid view of children playing together, GMA.
A more realistic movie to show how kids play is the Sandlot. Kids come up with a game, set the rules, and then play and have fun. No cannibalism, usually. Though they do come home VERY hungry.
The at-risk children you work with are victims of parents who are negligent because they:
–Don’t have the skills
–Don’t have the time
The children of Free Range parents are NOT at-risk because they:
–Are parented by people who DO care to make them responsible for their actions with logical consequences
–Are parented by people who DO have the skills to be good parents
–Are parented by people who DO have the time it takes to TEACH them how to be independent, self-motivated, healthy learners who are NOT afraid of the world.
See the differences???
Can’t watch from Canada :-/
“Most parents are raising children only two hours per day now.”
No, I raise my child 24/7. Yes, she is school part of the day – where kids have generally been for many generations – but that doesn’t mean that I stop raising her during those hours. If I parent correctly, my influence is there even when I’m not.
“I work with at risk families and already see enough tragedy in the lives of children who are NOT supervised.”
I also work with at-risk families. They are at-risk for many reasons. Free range parenting is not one of them. Yes, many at-risk children do run free, but they are not taught to do so responsibly. There is a difference between allowing your children to take steps towards independence that include being able to play for a couple hours without parental supervision and completely neglecting your children.
“What most children need nowadays is parental interaction and time spent with their parents.”
Really? That’s what kids need the most? How about when they are 18 and you’ve taught them … well nothing about how to handle their own affairs? How do they face life as an adult when you’ve been there interacting and spending time with them 24/7? How do they gain the experience to properly navigate the world independently without a safety net before they hit adulthood and the safety net of being a kid is gone if you don’t let them practice?
And show me a kid beyond toddler who wants to spend all his time interacting with his parents and I’ll show you a completely socially stunted human being. Kids are supposed to want to play with their friends, not their parents. It is our job to teach them to do it safely and responsibly and then give them freedom to try.
Lord of the Flies! You have got to be kidding me.
I would compare free range parenting to a parent TEACHING their child to swim. Exposing them to water and teaching them. Contrast to parents who make their children wear a life jacket at all times and stay in the shallow end to keep them ASILUTELY safe from drowning. The child who has been taught to swim will be safer in and arpund the water (and enjoy it more). Free range parenting is not throwing an infant in the deep end. It is not lazy.
Ugh. ABSOLUTELY safe…. And “in and around the water”….can’t see what I type until it posts.
“You’re killing me, Smalls!”
@Lollipoplover – great movie and great example of free-range kids playing, cooperating, problem-solving, and just having fun being kids.
Yes, I LOVE “The Sandlot” analogy! Perfect!
Gotta love how they begin the news piece with fear mongering by comparing letting children play on supervised to the Lord of the Flies.
The coming home hungry part is what I worry about the most. My grocery bill is already huge…I need to start packing away the dough *now*.
It would have been nice if they’d had someone who actually understands free-range parenting to comment in this piece. No one made any of the strongest arguments for FRK
- crime is down and strangers aren’t the dangerous ones
- a parent’s job is to teach kids to be responsible and they can’t learn that if we are always holding their hand. Helicopter parenting creates the nanny generation we have now who expect their mom to negotiate things with their boss.
- unstructured play with peers is THE fundamental way kids learn most of the important social skills
- the lack of physical play is a major contributing factor for childhood obesity
I do think the $350 charge was probably a mistake on Lenore’s part because that has become the story. People are outraged that she is charging for “nothing” and aren’t bothering to listen to the main point. She needs to make a bigger point about it being (1) optional and (2) a tongue in cheek way to get people to pay attention and think it’s important.
Sammi or whatever your name actually is, I’m going to put it to you bluntly.
People with your attitude are to be DESTROYED where it regards the arena of ideas, and where it regards you having any power and judgment over how Lenore or anyone else parents their children.
Your statements about the advocation of parents who support Lenore, as well as Lenore herself, having their children taken away from you–frankly, you are an absolute scourge of society. You are scum. I said it, and I meant it–you are SCUM. Who in the “ef-you-see-kay” do you think YOU are to tell other people how to parent their children & to advocate for severance of parental rights just because they parent differently than what YOU think is right? News flash for you lady or sir or whatever–those parents, THEY are the parents of those children, NOT you. I don’t recall them asking you your opinion about whether or not you agree with it.
You’re just like the other idiots in our society seduced, misled, and brainwashed by nimrods like the lovely Nancy (Dis)Grace, people who make it their business to build a career & livelihood out of making you think the world is just chock-full of every pervert ever known to mankind, when crime statistics reveal this to not be the case at all. It’s one thing for you to parent your kids as you do based on this nonsense, but you are crossing the line when you advocate for others to have their parental rights terminated to dare to be smarter than you.
Let me tell you something–it is because of people like you that I am very glad to live out in the boonies. Where I live, I have almost zero neighbors, and I allow my 3 & 5 year-olds to play outdoors all the time, unsupervised, in a fenced-in area in our wooded property. Thanks to the almost zero neighbors, I don’t have to worry about someone like you butting your damn nose in my private business and meddling, because frankly, I think anyone who would do such a thing–maybe this is ugly, but frankly it’s how I feel–I would love for it to be so that when hurricanes & tornadoes strike, they only strike your house, and do so when you’re home (alone naturally), because frankly, I think people like you deserve it for how your meddling wrecks people’s lives and freedom to parent, legally, however the “ef-you-see-kay” they choose to do so. People like you need to have your power & ability to meddle taken away from you however (legally) necessary.
You see, that’s the difference between most of us & most of you–I can disagree all day long with those people who “helicopter” parent their kids, it drives me crazy to see them yell “no running” to their kids–in the PARK of all places. I mean, if your kids can’t run in the PARK, where CAN they run? I see you guys & girls do that, and a side of me wants to just tell you what’s what and put you in your place.
But I don’t, and I sure as heck don’t advocate for the government to come around butting their nose into your private family business. See, that’s the thing–I & the others here, we may disagree with your style of parenting, but at least we have the decency to respect your parental authority. You would do well to do likewise.
As someone who works at a newspaper, all these “blame the media” comments really crack me up. Just sayin’.
Children need limits – this is code for ‘I have no arguments but feel it is wrong so I am going to use this strawman argument.’
I just saw her story on the front page of Cafe mom . Keep up the good work Lenore
It won’t let me watch the video in Germany.
Lord of the Flies means being able to make up your own games or modifying rules to fit the number of kids? My son and his friends spend their weekends at a local park playing football (soccer) or baseball. One kid brings a ball and then others start joining the game. My son has met a lot of local kids at the park through playing football. Kids who started off as strangers become acquaintances or even friends. These games usually have kids ages 10-18 playing together. The younger kids learn a lot from watching and playing with the older ones. No parents are present, though the kids do have phones to call their parents to ask if they can stay at the park longer.
I must be doing something right because on nice days my son would rather be outside playing football with other boys at the park than staying indoors watching video games.
@LRH while I think I get the sentiment of your rant above and I agree that Sammi may be missing the whole point of Free Range Kids, the vehement animosity you display toward a stranger because of her opinion really negates your last line ” at least we have the DECENCY to respect your parental authority”. Hmm, your repeated use of “ef-you-see-kay” and wishing ill will on someone’s home and person doesn’t sound decent or respectful at all. Hope that’s not the attitude you’re sending your FRK out into the world with.
JC Proc I get what you’re saying, I think. None of us, and that includes me, wants anyone to think that those of us who advocate Free Range parenting are a bit wacko & “fringe” like the Montana Freeman of yore etc. We sure don’t need that. I can assure you, in my case, it’s not like that at all. If my tone was a bit extreme, I stand corrected.
What I am saying is this: it’s one thing for anyone to disagree with free-range parenting, so be it, we can have civil discourse. However, when you advocate that someone should have their children taken from them just because you don’t like their style of parenting, that’s crossing the line. People are way too flippant about that, they think calling the department is no big deal–if nothing’s wrong, the parents shouldn’t mind if they have nothing to hide, and if there is something amiss, why then I’ve done a good deed for the day.
I couldn’t disagree with that more. It’s a form of meddling. It usurps parental authority & thus is downright amoral. How many times have we seen people post here “I’d let my kids play outdoors, but my neighbors have threatened to call on me if I do” or “it’s not the perverts I worry about, it’s the disapproving neighbors-strangers who may call on me.” That power such people have is wrong, and needs to be stopped. It’s serious business.
Obviously, there are cases where people SHOULD call, I’m not saying a parent’s authority should be so absolute that they’re able to molest or beat their kids with wooden planks to the back of the head & be untouchable. But when it’s to where we call just because we disagree with someone’s style, that’s totally crossing the line–and it shouldn’t just be called out as such, it needs to be stopped, legally.
I mean, as much as I disdain those who yell “no running” to their kids in the playground, as much as it pains me when I see kids frustrated that their parents stifle their play, I would never dream of calling the department on them. I respect that no matter how much I disagree with helicopter parenting, they are the parents, & that should be respected.
That was the point I was making–it’s one thing for someone to post “I don’t agree with that style of parenting” or “it sounds nice, but I can’t see myself doing it,” and we can have our discourse, which at times may get a little heated, but typically we try to keep it civil. Absolutely. But when we start advocating using the government to meddle in someone’s business just because we don’t like their parenting style, that needs more of a response than just “you have the right to your opinion,” I think.
Sammi, I think your experience with “at-risk youth” has skewed your perception of what most parents do and most kids need. You see a disproportionate amount of bad families, and no one’s trying to argue that some parents are just plain negligent parents. But I believe in your case, all you have is a hammer so everything looks like a nail. Read this blog more and see what kind of parents these actually are before you start screaming for taking everyone’s kids away.
This really has nothing to do with your class, but I wanted to tell you about my experience with my 10 year old daughter yesterday. The kids had a half day of school and got home at 2:00. My daughter packed a bag with a few things and a snack and told me she was going to go for a walk. We live in a large subdivision with sidewalks and also woods and a small creek behind it. My 8 year old son had already left to go to a friends house and had taken their shared phone with him. Since I knew where he was, I told my daughter to go by the house he was at and get the phone from him so I could call her when I needed her home. I needed to go to the grocery store in an hour and a half and would need her to come back then (even though I let the kids stay home alone while I am at the store, I am not yet comfortable with them being out wondering around while I’m gone). She left to get the phone and go for a walk. She specifically said she was not going to any friends houses, just for a walk. About 45 minutes later I tried to call her and realized her phone was dead. I got on my bike and started biking around the subdivision looking for her to let her know she would need to come home soon. I found my son and his friend up and tree and he confirmed that she came by to get the phone and he told it was dead. I bike all over and can’t find her. I returned home thinking I missed her somewhere and decided to write my list and get ready to go. With only 10 minutes before time to leave for the store I got in my car to find her. She was nowhere. I returned home where my son was now back. I sendt him to look in the woods. During this time of looking for her never once did I think that she had been kidnapped! I was irritated with her for not being responsible and checking in with me and for not being where she said she would be (walking around the neighborhood). During this time my husband came home early from work and I told him I could not find her. He started driving around. My son arrived home alone. I decided to call her friends even though she has assured me she was going out alone to walk and was not going to be going to any friends houses. Turns out during her walk (where she knew the phone she had didn’t work) she ran into a friend and went to her house. She never thought of calling me to check in and even though almost 2 hours had gone by, she thought it had been a much shorter time. When we found her there was no running and hugging and “I thought I’d never see you again, I’m so glad you’re okay”. Thanks to reading free-range kids for several years I knew she was fine, just irresponsible. She was disciplined for her lack of responsibility. She needs to realize that the freedom to run around the neighborhood alone depends on her ability to do so responsibly. Thank you Lenore, I could have been frantic and scared to death yesterday, but instead I was able to be calm and logical, and have the correct response to her when I found her
That video segment has got to be one of the most surreal things I’ve ever seen. Lord of the Flies? Are you kidding me? People were talking about kids playing in a park unsupervised as if the End Times would fall upon us immediately. I weep for our society sometimes.
And, as some others have pointed out, that lady who talked about limits did not really grasp the topic at hand. Free Range does not mean removing love, limits, boundaries, discipline, respect, etc.
Holy Cow – that was just bizarre.
Lenore, for the first time I really feel for you – I mean, I finally get the extent of the craziness you are fighting. And we’ve got your back here. Thanks for the work you do for our kids.
The video was quite gloomy, but the good news is that people are waking up. The responses on Yahoo! are overwhelmingly positive.
You’re my hero as always, Lenore.
@Carol Everettt Adams-
That was really bizarre. I wonder what scenerios of doom and gloom these “experts” imagine for children at parks- like they are on the game show Wipeout, competing with pedophiles and killers for their lives.
Sometimes stickball is just stickball.
Honestly, my news has been bombarded with children killed and injured this week. The children injured/killed were in car accidents with buses or runover waiting at bus stops. Yesterday, a 5 yo was struck while getting on the bus. Were parents nearby? YES. Did they save or help anyone? Unfortunately, no.
Sometimes accidents happen even when we are right there.
Kids 8 and up are very capable of playing in a park INDIRECTLY supervised. They can handle themselves without resorting to anarchy and cannibalism in 2 hours (though my son complains he’s so hungry he could eat his arm off). I played kickball, stickball, kick the can, manhunt, baby in the air, cops and robbers, and freedom for hours and days in my youth and miraculously still lived back in the 80′s. I weep for today’s over-parented youth and paranoid parents. Let the kids play!
Personally, the kids I worry about most are the ones who can’t move a limb or in fact do nothing at all, without their parents barking, snarling, or cursing at them. Oh, they’re receiving constant attention all right. This is probably more characteristic of “at risk” families than teaching your kid to be responsible on his own for a few hours in a safe location with plenty of other people around.
Has ABC explained why they used a video from a spaceprobe on another planet whose transmission back to earth has rendered it completely useless for a network news story? I thought this was about kids ON the planet earth?
What an insult – to every one of those kids.
Okay, I can’t watch the video at work, and I’m not certain I want to (what with all the Lord of the Flies comments…I mean, really!). So, Lenore, I’m asking if you’d be willing to post an update on how your first class went? Was your coffe good? Were there scraped knees? Laughing? Pedophiles? Enquiring minds want to know.
I can see, Sammi, your point. You work with disadvantaged kids and so the thought of them running free with no parental interaction is wrong – and you are absolutely correct. If parents ONLY have two hours each day to spend with their kids – THEY BETTER BE SPENDING THAT TIME WITH THEIR KIDS. However, that leaves 22 hours left. In our family this is how our day goes. We get up in the morning and have breakfast together. The kids then go school. They get home at around 2:45 and have a snack and do their homework while my wife talks to them about their day and gives any help that is needed. They are usually done by 3:30 and then the kids then ask if they can go outside to play with friends, ride their bikes to the park, etc. We live in a small friendly neighborhood with lots of kids that do the same, so we have never felt uncomfortable doing this. She reminds them to be home for dinner at 6:00. We all gather around the table at 6:00 for dinner. After dinner everyone helps clean up. Then we almost always do some sort of family activity together. We might play a board game, or take a bike ride together, or play a backyard game of basketball. After that it’s time for bed. Now if my kids were in school all day and then roamed free from after school until bedtime, then yes, I would agree I am not taking any time to parent them – no matter how much I insist I am. It’s just not logical. If I am not there I am not teaching them. But it is possible to believe in free range practices and be successful without going to the extreme of most days only seeing your child for 5 minutes. And Donna, I do agree with most of what you said, but have to disagree on one point: “Kids are supposed to want to play with their friends, not their parents.” I think a well adjusted kid can enjoy playing with their friends and their parents. Our kids certainly do and they seem happy and well adjusted. We’ve been taking time to spend with them on a daily basis since they were little so maybe it’s because they haven’t known any different, but they genuinely seem to enjoy doing activities with us just as much as they enjoy playing with their friends. (They are 14, 11, 8, and 6.) So I think it can be both ways.
@Justin – I agree that happy well-adjusted kids want to hang with their parents. I disagree with Sammi’s stance that parents should always be interacting with their children. Kids want time away from their parents to play with peers. I simply meant that kids are supposed to want to be with peers, not only their parents.