Who Stole America’s Faith in Everything Except Fear?

Readers: If you take a look at the 300+ comments on the Anderson Live Facebook page about my “I Won’t Supervise Your Kids” class in Central Park — the one where I invite kids ages 8-18 to gather and figure out how to play (a lost skill!) while I go sip a latte — you get a pretty stark look at the way many Americans think about the world  today. I.e., kids are never safe. Parents should never let their kids be on their own for a second because they are surrounded by danger. And if it’s not a pedophile or a murderer out to get them, why then the kids will break their arms or legs or skulls in a playground accident and no one — no one else on the planet — will help them. Not even if they’re in Central Park, surrounded by literally tens of thousands of people.

What never ceases to stun me is how bleak this conviction is. It’s like the country’s basic belief in humanity was swiped in the night — and no one even noticed! What a heist! All our optimism about our kids and our communities has been replaced by a twisted, vile vision of helplessness, anger and depravity. Come to think of it, that must be why Good Morning America started its piece about the same topic —  unsupervised play — with a clip from Lord of the Flies. Nowadays it isn’t even considered odd to make the leap from “children playing outside together” to “children murdering each other.”

God forbid they showed a clip of kids playing hopscotch.

I keep trying to think of an apt analogy. What if every time someone on a talk show said something like, “Air travel is safe,” the show rolled footage of 9-11 and the host said, “Oh yeah, REAL safe.” And the audience clapped and cheered because THEY care about safety, and clearly those people on those planes were NOT safe, which just proves that anyone who says people CAN be safe in any similar situation is WRONG. Danger anywhere, anytime is proof that danger is everywhere ALL the time.

It’s an absolute distortion, but it is seen as the truth, as these rabid comments about my class suggest. (And here is a piece about how incredibly SAFE America is at the moment — safer than when we parents were playing outside as kids, unsupervised.) I cribbed the rabid comments below from the first page of Anderson Live that loaded.

Interestingly: Anderson himself seemed to be very much on the SIDE of Free-Range Kids. But of course his show had to “balance” me with someone convinced that kids are under siege, and the siren song of fear was too strong for the audience (or at least these commenters) to resist.

*   *   *

* How come folks like this are not being charged for child endagerment and negligence?

* She should be locked away.

* Children should be supervised or watched after at all times. There’s too many bad things happening to children nowadays.

* Who is going to call Child Protective Services??????????

* Let’s all call!!

* I’d rather call the police after I whooped her ass, sorry about the violent thought, but the kids need to be safe, whatever it takes!!!

* This is an open invitation to all pedophiles and potential kidnappers. Why not just throw up an ad on craigs list, free for all in the park with unsuspecting kids!

* Plus, what is an 8 year old and their friends going to do when little Bobby falls and breaks his arm and needs to be rushed to the hospital. Or little Sally wanders off when she sees another friend from school. I am sure Lenore isnt going to be so confident when she arrives to one less child!

* Never ever ever leave kids out of your reach. This woman should be arrested. Do you know how many pervs, sex offenders, murderers, gov want kids…. Never let them go until they are ready to graduate college. Literally never ever let them go.

Land of the very, very scared.

 

112 Responses to Who Stole America’s Faith in Everything Except Fear?

  1. Janet September 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    I like that last one – the government is out to get our kids too?

  2. Maresi September 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    I could just cry with frustration over this. Lenore, I believe in what you’re doing. It changed my parenting life, even as a relative publicly calls me out as a neglectful parent. Thank you for hanging in there. I’m right beside you, and so are all the others of us who believe in reason, and refuse to be governed by fear.

  3. Earth.W September 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    9/11 certainly allowed people let themselves fear everything in life. I’m surprised they’re not fear of having showers.

  4. Warren September 14, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    You know you have my full support and admiration. I am so sorry that you came under personal attack. We all know that those who need to lower themselves to attack the messenger, are the ones that cannot argue the facts.

    Unfortunately, those that attacked you, are so narrow sighted and yes minded, that I feel that one would never get through to them. And it is their kids that will suffer in the long run.

    To these people, my kids playing in the park, unattended for the majority of their childhood, is the one off rare occurance. While we all know, that if one had been attacked/abducted.. that would have been the one off.

    Keep your chin up, and keep up the great work.

  5. Karen September 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Hang in there! Some folks are just paranoid nuts. But others MIGHT experience a shift in perspective. A mom told me today that she had been walking with her pre-schooler from their home 5 blocks away to the preschool at our church. But she stopped when she realized that the kid might figure out that he could do this in reverse and attempt to walk home on his own. WTF???? When my kids were little we were in a similar situation and I thought it was a GOOD thing that, if worse came to worse and something awful happened, they would be able to get themselves back home on their own because they walked back and forth every day with me.

  6. Diane September 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    This makes me sad and sick! :(
    HOW I WISH I could have Lenore come speak to our school (no busses – walk or be driven) and the parents. I really really am trying to start more of a movement around here because more people having faith in each other and their ability to help others is what will swing this thing. My DD got walked home by a man and his son after her brother raced off on his bike. I was comforted that she had a good free-range experience (she was 6 at the time, now 7) and a good outcome.
    I’m sad about this!

  7. Rich Wilson September 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    I wonder how many of them would have the nerve to come up with such vitriol in person, face to face. We all of us feel a lot braver when the other person is at a distance, and when we feel the support of our fellow mob.

  8. Bianca September 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    What i find really bizarre is that these people who think every child is living in constant danger, still have children. Honestly, if i thought the world was that terrible a place, i would NOT want to bring a child into it. Personally i think anyone that believes the workd is that terrible yet still chooses to have children is incredibly selfish and should be the one being locked away. Bringing another being into the world just cos you feel like it, but then refusing them any freedom IS cruelty. And it’s a hell of a lot worse than letting them have fun in a park!

  9. Taradlion September 14, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Wow. Last year on one of your threads a woman posted, “YOU PEOPLE google Libey Kletsky to see what happens when you let children walk alone.” my retort at the time was that if she googled my daughter’s name, she would get results of what USUALLY happens. Nothing. Nothing worth reporting.

    It makes me crazy to worry far more about people calling the police/child protective services, than I worry about the extremely rare tragedy. If a friend gets hurt at the playground, the kids will go get help. Parents aren’t sending kids to school or he park and leaving the country.

    My own kids are more worried that I will get in trouble if they ask for assistance (to borrow a phone, etc) than they are worried about something terrible happening. Something is really wrong with these grown ups.

  10. Becky September 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    I think what you’re doing is so crucial. I’m going to start giving your book to as a baby gift to new parents. Don’t give up….you’re constantly inspiring me.

  11. Sara September 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Have faith – we haven’t all gone insane. I loved your book and I tell every parent I can about it.

  12. Ali September 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Lenore,
    You are a braver woman than I by far. I’m speechless at some of the nasty things people said on the FB page. Absolutely shocking.
    Forever free range,
    Ali

  13. Geoff September 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Lenore, the smart, humane, reality-based approach to parenting and childhood you envision has made a big difference in the life of my own family. Our public discourse is full of so much fear and irrationality, and yours is such a welcome voice in that ugly cacophony. Keep up the good work!

  14. Becky September 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    Lenore – I whole-heartedly echo the sentiment of the previous comments. These negatively-minded people are NOT doing their children any favors, and it makes me livid that they feel it is okay to slander and threaten you this way. Your message is sound, and valued, and so very important to all of us. Hang in there – we’ve all got your back.

  15. John C September 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    What’s absolutely horrifying about this is the people who’s comments you posted. It really makes me sick to think people really have this attitude.

  16. Taradlion September 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Who’s going to go post on Anderson Live Facebook page in support of Lenore.

    Let’s all post!

  17. NancyM September 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Fear is the virtue of the weak. This probably tells us more about the degree to which people feel they can exercise control in their own lives right now. In other circumstance they might think differently.

  18. tom saask September 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Hatred and fear are addictive, and the gutter media know that’s the way to keep people tuned in. Delicious, delicious schadenfreude.

  19. Andy September 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    I am a fairly new parent with a two year old, and I hope that I can raise my child with even a fraction of the freedom I was allowed as a youngster.

    Two things I want to say, though. As Taradlion said above, I am far more worried about nosy neighbors calling CPS than I am about anything happening to my child. That, I fear, is a far more real threat to my child’s happiness and safety than some kind of predator or accident.

    Secondly, to your point about an injured or scared child being able to ask an adult for help: When so many parents see other adults only as threats and predators, I feel it is actually dangerous to talk to, let alone help, a child in need. (Because the only reason a grown man would talk to a scared child would be to groom them for abuse.) Another symptom of worst-first thinking.

    I am glad for your book and this blog and your efforts to change this culture of fear.

  20. Tism September 14, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    I’m 45 and myself confidence on a scale of 1 to 10 is a 1.5.

    You want to know why, lack of autonomy, my mother filled my head with fear of things and gave no choice or freedom. Anyone who overprotects their kids are setting them up for a miserable life either filled with failure or loaded with medications for the mental impairments brought on by lack of autonomy. Doom on all who oppose Free Range Kids and may you live a hundred years or more so you can watch all you love wither and die.

  21. Mark Clark September 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Lenore – I’ve come to realize that people enjoy having something to fear, and when there is nothing imminently awful right in front of them, their minds go to where the next enormity might be hiding, And there’s also the thought that they feel they might not have done such a good job preparing little Marmaduke for the big mean world around him, since he has been swaddled in a protective gauzy cocoon since the minute he emerged from the birth canal.

    I say fight on forever, Lenore, and let the naysayers, uh, say nay. I guess that’s what they do.

  22. CJW September 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Jeez, Lenore… Those comments have me more worried for YOUR safety than that of anybody’s kids!

    It’s incredibly brave of you top be sticking your neck out like this, but it also shows just how desperately we need to hear your message… And spread it.

    Keep up the good fight! And thanks for putting things in perspective!

  23. Sarah September 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    I so admire you! I agree with you and your belief that children are capable human beings and I love reading your blog. I am blown away every single day by how little faith people have in not only their children but in ANYONE but themselves: “Only *I* am capable of properly rearing my children!”. It’s such nonsense. Keep on doing what you do.

  24. David September 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Never underestimate the power in remaining a victim, there’s a lot of comfort in clinging on to the known even if it’s damaging. If your fear is strong enough you can easily transfer it to your children. Someone once told me If you maintain a very, very careful life nothing bad, OR GOOD will ever happen to you. Far be it for me to introduce the rationale of science to the discussion but the paper, “Children’s Risky Play from an Evolutionary Perspective: The Anti-Phobic Effects of Thrilling Experiences (Google the title), sets out the benefits derived from graduated risk taking activities /play and also the eventual anti-phobic effects. Regardless, “Scaredy’s gonna hate and rant and utilise all their phobias”.

  25. Evan September 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    With all the venom being sent your way, let me say what others have said in that I support everything you stand for. I’m glad my children are grown so I don’t have some paranoid helicopter parent telling me that I’m irresponsible. Please continue to fight the good fight. I’m still responsible for young children (elementary school teacher) and I try to give them a sense of independence as often as possible. Thank you so much for speaking the truth.

  26. RobynHeud September 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    I want to add my voice of support. Lenore, you have inspired me since before my first son was born. Almost every day I find myself referencing and talking about something you have posted. You have given so many parents the strength and courage to do what we know is right for our children, whatever that may be, and most of all, to give them freedom and responsibility that they may become capable and confident adults. It may seem like you’re a lone voice crying in the wilderness, but we’re all right here beside you. Keep up the good work, and we’ll keep doing our best to drown out the naysayers.

  27. denise September 14, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    Who stole america’s faith in everything except fear?

    The same people who decided that kids should never fail, never have a real life experience, never accomplish anything without holding their hand the entire way.

    We live in a world where parents believe that being their child’s friend is more important than being their parent. Where teaching children manners and respect and self reliance mean nothing.

    When we decided that self esteem was the most important thing a child could have…we started to self sabotage and actually take away all the thins that actually gave a child self confidence.

    We took away their opportunities to fall down, to learn to do things for themselves, to have pride in their own accomplishments.

    Instead we made sure we stopped keeping score when kids played games, we made sure everyone got a trophy. We made sure that they never had to do without…when it’s all those things that actually allow a child to grow up into healthy adults.

    The problem with all of this…is that it takes an entire generation before we realize what we’ve done…and that’s the shame of it all.

  28. Molly s September 14, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    Hang in there Lenore! You have the balls to get out there and get people talking about this, which is more than alot of us can say. I do think that the metro areas might have more irrationally fearful people than smaller areas. We live in upstate NY, and really, most people here are on the “free range” side of things. Not all, of course, but enough so that I don’t feel like a crazy person. Maybe you need a break from the big city for a while…

  29. Kelly September 14, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    You do great work, and have changed the lives of many kids and parents.

    The thing I’ve found when I “let” my kids do something that gives them some freedom other people get in my face and judge and question my parenting. On the other hand people don’t get in the face of a “helicopter” parent and question their parenting. I’ve spoken to other “free-rangers” and they feel the same way.

    Smother your child and no one questions you (at least not openly), but give those kids a bit autonomy and suddenly you are nuts!

  30. Donna September 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    In scanning a few of the comments, I found a couple favorites:

    “How about making your kids think they are alone while you watch them from a distance or a hidden spot, eh?”

    Wow, so STALKING your children is more reasonable than just letting them play? Nothing creepy at all about following your children and hiding from them while they play.

    “Leaving children does not teach independence – it teaches them abandonment. As a child you do not understand that mom will be back, just that she left you.”

    Wow, Lenore, I didn’t know that you were advocating leaving INFANTS at the park alone. I am vehemently opposed to that. Oh wait, the ad says 8 and over. Seeing as my 6 year old fully understands that I am actually going to come back and pick her up when I leave her places, I think 8-18 year olds already have a good grasp of this concept. Especially when you say “Have fun, honey. I’ll pick you up right here at 5:00.”

    You can clearly tell that many of the commentors are not from NYC. They seem okay with the idea of letting children play at the park at home alone but the idea of Central Park horrifies them.

  31. JustaDad September 15, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Oh Lenore, some of the comments make me fear for the next generation. Please keep fighting the good fight. I have a few 19 and 20 year olds working for me I can tell you those who were helicoptered and those who were free ranged, solely in their ability not to have to run to me with every little problem. The free rangers have waaaay more confidence

  32. Lollipoplover September 15, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    Lenore, the comments and the threats are absolutely mind-boggling.
    That said, I think you should change your strategy. You should sell basement remodels. Because all these parents who are helicoptering these kids and thinking such paranoid thoughts are going to have children living in their basements when they are 40.

  33. Karen September 15, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    I believe some of the hateful comments on Anderson’s FB page were from people who read his short “blurb” and didn’t follow the link to really read about the class. By starting things off calling Lenore “America’s Worst Mom” and not clarifying that the program was for kids 8 and up, it can be misunderstood by some FB followers. At least I’m hoping that explains some of those awful comments.

  34. Karla September 15, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Don’t let them out of your reach until they graduate college? Is this person serious? That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. How can someone even say that with a straight face?
    As to what kids will do if one gets hurt, I don’t know about young kids. But I know this: about 15 years ago our town built a skate park. Shortly after we opened it, a few high school kids were at the park skating when one got hurt. Without calling a parent or any adult, these kids got the injured one to the ER, bc they were afraid the park would be closed if they told an adult. One of them told me this later. I wasn’t sure if I should feel pleased that they could handle the situation so well (the injured boy broke an arm, but ultimately was fine), or sad that they were so concerned adults would take away their much wanted park bc someone had an accident. I guess I was a little of both.

  35. mystic_eye_cda September 15, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    I love all the suggestions to call CPS. You’ve been on how many TV shows, written how many books, been in how many newspapers and magazines, talked to how many parents? I’m pretty sure CPS knows about you, and if anyone was going to call on you someone already would have. So either there’s a whole stack of complaints at CPS or it’s an empty threat.

    The illogic of it upsets me more than the fear, society really failed to create critical thinkers in the last generation or three, let’s do better.

  36. Jenna September 15, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    I think people just don’t get that we overschedule our kids and the whole point of this was to schedule in some actual free play time. This has been a much debated topic on a few parenting boards that I frequent. It’s crazy the things people say. There are many who think you shouldn’t let a kid be alone until they’re well into their teens! Of course, by that time, that kid is probably afraid to be left alone because he or she has been so conditioned to think something bad will happen if they are!

  37. Dave September 15, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    Don’t let them go until the graduate college? They can be in the army, drink a beer but don’t let go of mommy’s hand. Really?

  38. CrazyCatLady September 15, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    I am taking my 12 year old daughter to a book club/social tonight. The first hour is the book, the next two is social with suggested activities like “Capture the flag or play in the park across the road.” Parents after the first meeting are encouraged to leave and not hoover and supervise. The only reason parents should stay the first meeting it to learn how to run a book discussion.

    Should I say this group is being organize by another Free Range mom?

  39. Louise September 15, 2012 at 1:30 am #

    You are so right on. We owe it to our kids to resist the drive for “100% safety 100% of the time” with all our might. Who wants to live under a blanket?

  40. Lara September 15, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    I have heard enough. Parenting.com Facebook has almost 200 comments, all with the same fears! Some comments not worth repeating!

    Lenore if I lived in NYC! I would of been down there in a flash! If fact I believe my kids would have been down there already on their scooters exploring the park!

    https://www.facebook.com/Parenting?ref=ts

  41. Tara September 15, 2012 at 2:57 am #

    Headline in our local news yesterday, “First case of stranger danger reported by 12 year old”. Yeah. A twelve year old was asked by someone to get in her SUV to help her find her kids. He ran off. He didn’t get in the car. He knew what to do. And it made headlines that “stranger danger” is alive and well in our town. Todays headline? “Police investigate several sexual assults [in our town]”. Apparently in our town in one neighborhood 4 women report being assaulted in the last 4 months. Scary? Yes. being investigated? Yes. Cause for alarm? Not sure. Cause for education on protecting yourself, carrying a cell phone when you go walking, locking your doors at night (one woke up to a man standing over her) and being aware of your surroundings? YES!

  42. Lauren September 15, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    I saw the spot on GMA and The View and was so upset over how they portrayed Free Range Parenting. I tweeted them and even had to e-mail my local news when they started bashing you. What the hell is wrong with parents today?

  43. linvo September 15, 2012 at 3:27 am #

    Lenore, can I say thank you for continuing to speak out for FRKs? It takes lots of strength to put up with that kind of abuse for something you truly believe in and we are all right behind you!

    One of the comments here reminded me of a delightfully absurd situation when I went to a party at a friend’s place years ago when my daughter was 8 weeks old. Her dad is a grumpy old Italian man who migrated to Australia in his 20s. There were only people with young kids at this party, yet here is this 60 something man proclaiming loudly that this is a bad time to bring kids into the world. I can’t remember what examples he quoted but the gist was that it was a dangerous world and the kids were destined for a future full of hardship and strife. I stopped him dead by casually asking when he was born. 1940 he says! In Italy! I calmly told him that his parents were probably a tiny tad worried about the state of the world and how this would affect their new baby’s future when he was born in those circumstances. He opened and closed his mouth and walked out. Haha!

  44. maggie September 15, 2012 at 3:30 am #

    Lenore, you NEED to come to NW Ohio ASAP! This region needs you! Just today a local news station had a report about a 5 year old who was accidentally left outside after recess BY HIMSELF IN A FENCED IN PLAYGROUND! Oh, but wait, the fence was missing a section (because we all know “bad guys” and little kids would never climb a fence, only go through that deadly gap in the fence) The school said it was only a few minutes. A parent (who supposedly stood outside and watched this little boy for 15 minutes, but didn’t actually do anything about the situation, despite it being horrendous) said he was outside for at least that long. From reading the article, it does sound like the school made a mistake or two (but mistakes are not allowed in this day and age!) I’m sure the little boy was scared, being 5 and probably in Kindergarten and feeling forgotten about, but these people really need to get a grip! Oh, the threats of violence! Folks are gonna’ yank their kids out of the school! 5? Alone? Anywhere? Not til at least…never! Don’t you just feel HORRIBLE for the children who have to walk the shady, tree lined streets to and from school? And boy, I feel bad for the commentator who made a remark about this little boy riding his bike up and down the sidewalk alone! I think he just trying to make a point, but the point was lost. What? You actually saw this happen? Who on Earth would let their kid do that? Not a GOOD parent!
    Lenore, Ohio needs you more than you know..

  45. Lauren September 15, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    Lenore–

    Please, for your next project, start a “Find a Free Range Parent”. I would love to meet other people in my area who aren’t nuts.

  46. Maggie September 15, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    Lenore, I just want to thank you so, so much for getting out front on this issue. We need your voice of sanity.
    My kids are better off, our country is better off, than we would be without you.

    THANK YOU.

  47. tom September 15, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    stay strong – and thank you for speaking out against the lunacy of contemporary parenting.

    …for those of us that can read and do math, America is a safer place today then ever before.

    and the sad person that doesn’t want to let her kids go until after they graduate is probably the same person who’s going to have her son living in a spare room in her house when he’s 38 years old.

  48. Eleanor (undeadgoat) September 15, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    I’m in my early 20’s and I managed to offend the CRAP out of someone a little older than myself when I implied that her parents made a horrible mistake by not letting her outside on her own until she was 12. (TWELVE! I know kids that were having furtive below-the-belt activity when they were twelve!)

    It seems like in 15 years I will probably have to ACTUALLY learn to keep my mouth shut if I ever talk to young people and they will all be horribly socially stunted. (I know that a certain kind of mom is more likely to comment . . . but still!)

  49. Jeff Metzner September 15, 2012 at 5:52 am #

    My favorite is the one that says not to let them go until they graduate college. Not when they go off to college, but when they GRADUATE. When will they have learned to be on their own, then?

  50. linvo September 15, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    @Lara, I just commented on that FB page. Couldn’t be tactful either. I really, truly believe that lots of the helicopter parenting comes from a very selfish and self-absorbed place… Something to do with wanting to be needed. It is infuriating.

  51. Holly September 15, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    The comment about “not letting go of your kids until they graduate college” is actually one of the scariest to me.

    My husband is a college professor at our local state university here in northeastern NY. The school’s Student Health Services department surveys students annually asking them to assess their *own* mental health.

    The most recent survey was so disturbing it was actually reported in the newpaper last year when the results came out. Overall, current students were more likely than students several years ago to feel high levels of anxiety and stress, to consider themselves depressed, or suffering from other various mental health problems.

    When asked what they attribute these various conditions too the students overwhelmingly said that having to “manage their own time”, “wash their own clothes”, “prepare their own food”, “work while taking classes”, “shop for groceries & other supplies” and other basic daily activities were the cause of their anxiety & stress! Many of them specifically cited the fact that these day-to-day tasks had been taken care of by their parents until the moment they left the home.

    In other words, these young adults literally didn’t know how to care for themselves, and trying to figure out how to do so was causing them so much stress that they felt it was significant enough to mention on the survey.

    HOW can our culture not see that we’re crippling our children when we do this to them? When just making breakfast, washing your own laundry, running errands, and working a job is enough to drive a significant portion of our society to their knees (or their local pharmacist!) how will we continue to function as a society?

  52. mollie September 15, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    Blinding rays of light and wisdom shine from you, Lenore. We see it. Those who can’t are consumed by darkness and there is little that can be done from the outside.

    Take heart. You are living a life of amazing purpose and meaning. I myself am in awe of how you have brought so much awareness to this issue, an issue that I myself was nearly apoplectic about, but had no community to turn to and galvanize… now there is this site, there is community, and I consider you a friend, though I’ve never met you.

    You are a gift to parents and children everywhere there elective terror of imagined harms get in the way of human thriving. On your TV show, I saw the gorgeous unfolding of re-birth: of trust, of families, of wholeness, of love and connection and fun. Wow. Even if all you did was reach a couple dozen caregivers and their kids, you would have changed the world for the better, but you have done so. Much. More.

    THANK YOU.

  53. Valerie Hawthorne September 15, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    People NEED this to fail. They are begging for it to fail, in order to be justified.

  54. hineata September 15, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    @Lenore – don’t worry about it, keep up the good work!

    @Maggie – gotta ask, why would the 5 year old be worried about being left out at recess? Was he or she supposed to be taken in by others? My littlies just follow each other in, though occasionally I have to go and round the odd one up who gets over-involved in play. Don’t remember ever encountering one who was worried about being outside, the tears are usually about having to come back in, LOL!

  55. Donald September 15, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Hush now baby, baby, dont you cry.
    Mother’s gonna make all your nightmares come true.
    Mother’s gonna put all her fears into you.
    Mother’s gonna keep you right here under her wing.
    She wont let you fly, but she might let you sing.
    Mama will keep baby cozy and warm.
    Ooooh baby ooooh baby oooooh baby,
    Of course mama’ll help to build the wall.

    Pink Floyd

  56. Warren September 15, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Lenore,
    You have given us a voice of reason, in unreasonable times. You on our behalf have opened yourself up to ridicule, threats, and hatred.

    I think it is safe to say that we all want to say Thank You.

  57. Stijn Hommes September 15, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Hi Lenore, I’m all for debunking the perceived dangers, but charging people for nothing more than your permission to let kids play outside is the wrong approach.

    Give those parents one of your funny and insightful lectures so it doesn’t look like a rip-off to the critics. Give back something, so the kids have their freedom, the parents learn and the critics are silenced.

  58. Warren September 15, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Fired off a message to Anderson Cooper, that he may want to do something about the people threatening Lenore.

  59. Alina September 15, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Forget about the kids, YOU are the one who’s not safe out there! Watch out Lenore, the parents are after you ;)

  60. Caro September 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Stay strong, Lenore! You have changed so many lives for the better! What can these helicopter parents say for themselves? They’re really good at rabid threats, I guess…

  61. Taradlion September 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    @Stijn- the price tag is to make a point that unstructured playtime is VAUABLE. It is just as valuable as all the lessons and adult run sports that parents pay for (and it is about the going rate here in NYC). You know the saying, “you get what you pay for” …. There has got to be a MasterCard commercial here somewhere – “cost for Lenore to not supervise your kids: $350….kids develping independence, problem solving and social skills, and getting excercize:PRICELESS” ….

  62. Taradlion September 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    (oh, and as valuable as free play is, I do NOT really think Lenore is collecting the class fee, just making a point).

  63. gap.runner September 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Lenore, it’s too bad that you don’t have the funding to come to places like Europe or Japan, where kids walk to school or take public transportation by themselves at an early age. I would love to see you do a TV program that shows kids from other places in the world doing things by themselves like: playing in a park, riding their bikes, taking public public transportation, or walking to school. I would even volunteer my son to be the “free range model child.” :-) But knowing typical helicopter parents, the response would be, “But it’s so different there.” That’s the response I get from my friends and relatives in the States when I tell them that my son bikes to school by himself or has taken a train or bus to another town by himself since he was 10.

    Never let kids go until they graduate college? How will they ever get the skills needed to be successful in a workplace? Or will they bring Mom and Dad to work with them? My husband has hired younger workers who were part of the “self-esteem generation” and they were his worst employees. They didn’t want to start at the bottom and work their way up like their supervisors had to; they wanted to come in and run the place. They also wanted to pick and choose their work hours; and they also took more “sick” days than the older, more established workers. In addition, they required more “hand holding” than the older workers and had a harder time making decisions.

    Keep up your good work and don’t let the helicopter parents get you down. It’s good to see that someone is out there fighting the good fight. Every time I read comments like those to Anderson Cooper, I’m thankful that I live in a country where the kids still have an old-fashioned childhood.

  64. suzyq September 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    My 14-year-old son is off on his first unchaperoned adventure with a large group of high schoolers….my first instinct was, “over my dead body.” Then I realized the only thing I could come up with was, “you are only 14.” Unlikely to get mugged in a group of 12, unlikely to get lost when all of them have cell phones, and if he loses his money there are others who can at least ensure that he had train fare. Still scary but I know get (and WE) need this!

  65. Library Diva September 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I actually feel sorry for people like those who leave comments like the ones Lenore’s gotten, because they live their entire lives this way. I have a co-worker who can’t believe I walk to work alone, one mile each way, through a neighborhood that is one of the prime bar areas at night and is surrounded by really desireable homes. I could be shot, or stabbed, or something…it’s the city! She’s also afraid to be outside of our office at night because she believes there could be a shooting at the tiny gay bar next door to the building.

    I also have a relative like this. We went to visit her around the holidays and she had a litany of stories about all the times she felt threatened at Wal-Mart, her “brushes with death” after going there during the day and finding out about an incident there at night, etc. Needless to say, she too is appalled that I not only live in the city, but actually utilize it: walk to lots of places (sometimes alone), go out after dark, etc.

    When you think this way, you miss out on so much of life. You avoid going to the symphony or theater due to 40-year-old stereotypes of the neighborhood. You don’t get to go to any of those scary big-box stores without your husband to protect you. If you run out of something after dark, too bad, and if you feel like getting out of the house, better swallow that feeling and turn on the TV. All for things you conflated with other incidents or downright fabricated.

  66. gap.runner September 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    @suzyq, good for you letting your son go on his adventure. It will be a real self-esteem booster for him. You’re right about there being safety in numbers. A kidnapper or child molester won’t do anything to a kid in a group because there are too many potential witnesses. I’m sure that your son will have a great time with the other teens.

  67. Kenny Felder September 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Lenore, I know you’re tougher than most, but I also know it can’t be pleasant to be under that kind of abuse. So I want to remind you of what you already know. First, what you are championing is plain common sense, well known to all parents across all cultures until just a few decades ago. Second, many of us believe in you and what you’re doing, and appreciate you doing it. I would send my kids to your camp in a heartbeat (if step 1 wasn’t “fly them a few hundred miles”).

  68. Trey September 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Lenore, what I don’t get is what happened to the idea of raising independent adults who are responsible and have judgement?

    You can’t get that without giving children the opportunities to take responsibility and exercise judgement. And by making everything ‘safe’ (against a very bad ability evaluate risks) you deny them the opportunity to play and grow.

    Which is why I drive my poor wife nuts by letting my daughter run, climb and play at the playground. After all, I’m there and keeping a weather eye on her and if there’s an accident, I’m 10 minutes from the state trauma center.

  69. Warren September 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Why does it feel like we are a bunch of wackos living in a commune somewhere, with the rest of the world watching us, just waiting for the authorities to come charging in?

    If we are all living in Lenore’s commune of FREE RANGE, that is fine. But I am not taking on 7 wives………..the one I got is more than I can handle. LOL.

  70. Justin September 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    We have to change the mentality from “Raising Children” to “Raising Adults” Parents take care of children but adults have to take care of themselves. Teach children to be an adults. Instead parents are currently only taking care of them rather than teaching them.

  71. Claudia September 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    ‘ Never let them go until they are ready to graduate college. Literally never ever let them go.’ Get some professional help, please get some help before you utterly mess up your kids’ lives. Assuming you have kids, and aren’t one of those people who thinks that parents’ own judgement on what’s safe can’t be trusted.

    I agree with Justin about ‘raising adults’.I think the huge mistake people make is looking backwards – ‘She can’t do that, she’s a child!’ rather than looking forwards – ‘In two years’ time she could hold a driving licence/ In a year he’ll be going to college’

  72. Priscilla September 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I am so sorry that there were so many hurtful comments. II think many people are just not understanding what your intentions were.

    I have been raising my kids free range for years…long before I ever heard of you or the term. I allowed my son to ride his bike by himself to school in the 4th grade. My daughter too. Now they are in high school. I am constantly amazed by the comments my kids make about their friends. Just a couple of weeks ago, my daughter and her friend walked down town together in our small city. When they got back to the house I asked them if they had gone to the hot dog stand for lunch. My daughter said, “We couldn’t because Sara is not allowed to cross Main Street.” (These girls are in 10th grade!)

    My son has a friend who’s parents are also over protective (in my opinion). One day my son and this friend were at the house preparing to go on a major bike ride about 15 miles to another town. They had biking attire, helmets, water bottles, etc. Later on I said to my son, “I’m surprised that Jared let him do that.” to which my son said, “They didn’t. They just didn’t know about it.”

    So some of these coddled kids will be bubble-wrapped…and others will find a way to be free range on their own. BTW: These boys are seniors and will be off to college next year.

  73. Priscilla September 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Sorry for typo. That was supposed to say “I’m surprised Jared’s parent’s let him do that”

  74. Beth September 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    I’d like to know who or what gave America the “faith” that the first thing we do if we don’t agree with someone’s parenting is tell them that their kids should be taken away. Why is that the first go-to statement for so many people?

  75. Alex R. September 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    If you ever come to Southern California and run your class, I will show up and help you to not supervise children.

  76. Jessica September 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    This totally sucks, and by that I mean the reactions not the suggestion of leaving the children alone. It’s all the horror scenarios. What if and how and why and… There’s a saying about madness, be it group “psychosis” or something else that can go under the category of insanity; it only has to make sense to the person/people involved in it. Which is what the reactions to this all looks like.

    Now, I wasn’t the most sociable child, an explanation to which I got first in adulthood. I played though and my parents allowed me to run around as long as I didn’t stray too far. At school etc., I’d be left aside by the other children. An adult wouldn’t have been all that bad. Hence, I’m a wee bit anxious about the notion of groups of children self-regulating. Yet, I’m all for it when it works. For it to work you need the children, or even adults, to agree to a state where you begin and then build a group structure. If you are raised into believing that you’re not part of a group but your own entity, then it will be tricky to realise that you lose some battles, win others but that one person is not the center of the universe. Realising this is part of live development, of reaching a level of independence. The stories about how some arrive at college without even the most basic of life skills is highly alarming.

    We all need to learn how to interact, some children need help maneuvering into group structure. In all of this, however, even the idea of children maneuvering, or being helped to maneuver has gone out the window.

    All this said, go ahead with the plan.

  77. JR September 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Hang in there, Lenore. The problem is you are trying to use “big media” to spread your revolution, but big media was one of the first to suggest that free play is dangerous. They are not going to buy it and I would suggest that you stick with the alternatives. I have not watched a TV news show in over 15 years (though I avidly read the news that interests me and is relevant to my life). Big Media is not interested in creative, free spirited, clear thinking consumers of their product (obviously)! They want fearful, docile group thinkers. I appreciate your efforts and I know that your writings have improved my parenting and the lives of my kids.

  78. the full montessori September 15, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    That’s it, I’m telling EVERYONE about your book and giving it as a baby shower gift. People need to stop watching TV and start reading, maybe then they’ll realize they’ve been had by the government and the media.

    It kills me to think how my child’s generation will be as adults: incompetent, self-doubting, distrustful… I have a theory that some parents sub-consciously dislike their children and thus make their lives miserable, but do they hate them enough to sentence them to a life of mediocrity???

  79. Tressa September 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Oh my… If ever there was a time for standing up for our rights as parents, this is it. Yes, this for you, even if you do not have children or they’re grown.

    It’s about the right, as a parent, to choose what is in the best interest of our children, regardless of your personal beliefs on religion or diversity or schooling.

    Please check out this clip from parental rights dot org. If the Senate passes this children’s rights resolution, our rights as parents and the rights of our children to parent their children, well for generations to come, will be severely restricted. This was started by michael D. Farris, of the Home School Legal Defense Association.

    http://www.overruledmovie.com

    What do you think?
    Please consider signing the petition for the constitutional amendment.
    Please consider sharing this link.
    Please consider praying on this issue.

  80. Crystal September 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Lenore, you are my hero. I know how hard getting criticized can be, and just in case you were feeling down, I wanted you to know how many people admire you! You literally have changed people’s futures with your work. I’ve loaned out your book to so many friends I’ve lost count!

    And a side observation: all these haters must either have no children, or either 1-2 children. I’m 27 and grew up in a family of 6 kids (yes, same 2 parents, no half-siblings or steps…my parents just really like each other, I suppose.). With 6 kids, you just CAN’T helicopter-parent…it’s impossible! And boy am I grateful and reaping the benefits years later in my social life, family and career.

    March on, Lenore! You have an army of incredibly intelligent, successful people behind you!

  81. Donna September 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    What gets me is not so much the feeling that the world is unsafe, but that parents today seem to have absolutely no clue as to what children are capable of doing. There is no understanding of age-appropriate responsibility or behavior any more. Kids are either treated like toddlers or short adults. Even if you took away the predator fear, many parents still have no belief that their children are actually capable of existing without an adult for a couple hours. Because that is what the Lord of the Flies reference was getting to, not predators. And it is sad.

  82. Harley September 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Everyone who responded here needs to reply to that page. The more support she gets out there is worth more than saying it here. Lenore I’m sure you get crazies all the time but one person kinda game me the creeps. They said something about you needed to be taught a lesson. Just be careful of the crazies!

  83. Jessica September 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    @Harley,
    Support offered for Lenore on THAT site will unfortunately do nothing else but feed the trolls.

    I don’t think it’s fair to be accused in this way, especially not when things get to a level that makes a huge bar room brawl look like a a walk in the park.

    So Lenore, hang in there. And if you want to come to Europe for on-site-study, you’d be welcome to crash at my place anytime. Small apartment but bed offered ;). Hand in there!

  84. Rhea September 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    I’m so sorry you receive such disgusting, violent and personal threats and insults. It’s truly horrible that people with any opinion could express themselves in such a way. In a way it proves what narrowminded and immature people they are. I absolutely agree with your philosophy and I’m spreading it as much a possible. My kids will be playing in the park on their own I promise (not just yet tho – they are only 13months and unborn at the moment lol). Try to keep your chin up and remember that your supporters love you more than some people hate you.

  85. rhodykat September 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    “What is an 8 year old and their friends going to do when little Bobby falls and breaks his arm and needs to be rushed to the hospital”

    Well, when I was 7 or 8 riding bikes with my brother and cousin, we decided to start jumping our bikes off a hill because it was fun. Little Kevin fell of and broke his arm. He winced, we decided there was definitely something wrong with it, and we rode back to his house where we told his mother what happened. Later that night, she took him to the hospital. Likewise, my 4yo had a big fall in the cul de sac yesterday – my 7 yo came running to get me saying that she was screaming and he didn’t know what was wrong….I dunno – maybe the kids can decide when something is bad enough that they need adult help?

  86. Cavechic September 15, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    There is an analogy. It happens every time someone talks about the 2nd amendment and how safe guns really are when handled properly. The same type of hysteria abounds. Although still tragic, ‘ONLY’ about 8000 people die from homicides involving guns every year while nearly ONE MILLION die from bad medicine and pharmaceuticals each year. Where is the concern for them and the preventive measures or protection form those, ‘evil’, ‘harmful’ doctors?
    No one cares because it is not something that can be sensationalized.
    Kids playing outside is normal and natural and should be happening across, America. We MUST stop the nanny based hysteria and start living!

  87. Mark A. Adams JD/MBA September 15, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    CPS is dangerous because a judge determines whether the child was endangered and should be removed from the parents’ custody without a jury trial, and the judges almost always rule in favor of CPS unless the parents can afford a well connected attorney.

    In case no one knew that those quaint old democratic rights to trials by juries had been stolen, see the article at http://floridajurypower.org/home/no_right.php and don’t miss the link to the U.S. Supreme Court case in which 5 of the so-called conservative, strict constructionist judges found the word “serious” written in invisible ink in 2 clauses in the Constitution.

  88. BL September 16, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    “first thing we do if we don’t agree with someone’s parenting is tell them that their kids should be taken away. Why is that the first go-to statement for so many people?”

    Because such people are cold-blooded evil.

    I’m serious.

  89. Nerd-faced Girl September 16, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    One small comment to make: “What if little Bobby falls and breaks his arm and needs to be rushed to the hospital?”

    I was little Bobby. I was wrestling with another girl, alone, just the two of us, out on the lawn while our parents were attending some boring function. She tackled me, and I landed wrong and was in a world of hurt, with a floppy arm. The other girl, whom I had just met that day, was about 8 years old. OMG, what did she do?

    She helped me up. She saw that my arm was hurt and she held my hand and helped me find an adult, who then helped me find my mom so she could drive me to the emergency room, since it was after office ours.

    It makes me furious that people think a child as old as 8 just wouldn’t know what to do if another child hurt himself. Of course children know what to do if they come across something they can’t handle; they go find an adult! Unless we’ve taught them that all adults want to hurt them…

  90. gap.runner September 16, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    @Nerd-faced Girl, I had a similar experience when I was 6. I was at a friend’s house (she was in my class and therefore my age), running around with her in her back yard. As I was running I stepped on a nail, which went through my shoe. I was crying pretty hard, so my friend went into the house and told her mother what happened. Her mother was busy feeding her baby brother or sister, so her older brother (age 10 or so) was dispatched to take me home. Yes, a 10-year-old back in the late ’60s was deemed responsible enough to take a 6-year-old home by himself. He carried me down the block to my house, where my mother bandaged my foot.

  91. Andy September 16, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    @Mark A. Adams JD/MBA I read some article about US legal system and excessive safety. They wrote that juries tend to be more strict when judging parents and they are also more likely to fall for irrational fears. My conclusion from that article was that judge is actually better option for you in that case. In was linked somewhere on this site.

  92. Sean September 16, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    It is sad the pessimism toward humanity, but it makes me wonder how people think the human species even still exists if we are so fragile? There is also the fear that kids will miss an opportunity if they are not sent to a class or planned event every day of the week. Huge amount of fear…

  93. katrina September 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    What would kids do if something happened? Cope. Get help from the nearest adult. Not freak out because every injury is life threatening.

    My friends and I, ranging in age from 8-12, were playing softball at a local ball field, no adults around. One girl was hit in the head with the softball. Since I lived the closest, we walked to my house, my father gave her a frozen steak to diminish the swelling and sent her home, by herself. She had a great black eye the next day.

    I don’t remember this being a big deal, these things happen when kids were out and about. I’ve had kids visiting that couldn’t cope with the smallest scratch, which I refuse to make a big issue.

  94. shannon September 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    i know you probably won’t see this , but the comments have gotten much better, the last 50 are all in support of you. i left a comment supporting you too. here it is:

    i’m the pregnant product of the ultimate helicopter mom. i have limited social skills and diffuculty making friends. i’ve lived in the same city my entire life, and have only a basic idea of how to get around in it. i’m terrified of the world, i have to remind myself nearly everytime i leave the house alone that chances are i’m NOT going to be raped, shot, stabbed, robbed, or hit by a car today. i have a hard time finding jobs because i’m terrified people will notice my lack of social skills and take advantage, which has happened before. i have a younger 20-something brother who is even more afraid of the world than i am, and as a result has only left his bedroom a few times in the last 10 years, and won’t go outside without me, our older sister, or her teenage son. I plan to be a free range mom and raise my baby the polar opposite of how i was raised. so he or she will have a chance.

  95. Suzanne September 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    I am totally in agreement with you, Lenore. I have two children on the autism spectrum and allow them the full range of their abilities. If they were more able, they would have even more. For example, the younger one can supervise the older one on a bike trip to the park ALONE. It saddens and frustrates me to hear people say “You can’t be too safe” (you CAN, actually) and that the world is a “different, more dangerous place now that it ever was” (it’s NOT). I always remind people that both Polly Klaas and Elizabeth Smart were taken from their own bedrooms with their parents present. The effect of helicoptering and assuming that the world is so dangerous a place that children cannot be allowed out alone in it is to raise a generation of paranoid people who cannot conceive of the world as the wonderful, free place it really is.

  96. Danielle Meitiv September 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    I know that you blame the media for the increase in helicopter parenting and I agree that “true crime” and sensationalist news programs are part of the problem.

    But that’s not the whole picture. I see a lot of parents who hover because it makes the parents feel better; it makes hem feel relevant in their kids lives. They don’t want to let go because hovering makes them feel important. Little Julie can’t go to the park – he needs ME. (Of course she does – but not to watch her every move!)

    I’ve tried to figure out where this insecurity comes from. Maybe it’s because parenting has changed so much since we were kids (I’m 43) and our generation fears that we’re not doing it “right.” Maybe we feel guilty for not doing all the things that the media (yes, they’re to blame too) says that we “should” do for our kids. Maybe we need more to do in our own lives, to find ways to feel fulfilled beyond our offspring.

    Thoughts?

  97. Bee September 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Good Lord… The comments from the Anderson Cooper Show…make everyone seem like vultures looking for carrion. Which should lead me to believe all adults live in a cut-throat society and are ready to kill each other to maintain safety.

    Seriously? The bulk of the comments leave me sad. You and I have the right to raise our children as outgoing gregarious independent individuals. Each of us knows whether or not our kids are ready to preform certain tasks or take on certain roles.

    I will continue to work to maintain my freedom to raise my child the way I chose: As a little guy unafraid to say “Hello Neighbor!” Whenever we are at the park, on the street, etc. Makes me proud. Those adult comment leavers…make me ashamed.

  98. Jen Connelly September 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    I still don’t get the “what will they do if someone gets hurt?” thing. Kids aren’t stupid. Last summer my daughter (then 8) fell off her bike at the park and busted her knee open. She was, luckily, with a friend. The friend lived near by so brought some paper towels and bandaids and tried to fix it up but the knee was bleeding too badly so she helped my daughter up and they rode their bikes back to my house. My daughter even started cleaning herself up until the adrenaline wore off and she went into shock. Her friend paced out in the front yard (we told her she could come in but she refused) waiting to find out how she was. I was very proud of both of them for staying calm and collected.
    And if my daughter hadn’t been able to get up her friend would have come and got me or one of my older kids (they were 9 and 11 at the time) to help her get home. I trust the intelligence and judgment of my kids and their friends.

  99. Kara September 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    I commented supporting you, too, and found a lot of other positives. I tried to report the threatening posts… but fb said there was a problem. I love your posts, and your philosophy that focuses on the true dangers of raising children!

  100. Teresa September 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Lenore,
    Like everyone else here, I find this whole “debate” depressing. Take-heart, however! I live in the Bufalo area, in a fabulous neighborhood with lots of kids who roam freely. They knock on the door and ask for each other, and the play outside, without adults, nearly every day. I LOVE my neighborhood. I could not ask for a better place for my own kids to grow-up. I love hearing about the games they make up, whose kinda bossy, whose a good sport and whose got the best yard. They come in on summer nights dirty, bug bitten, and sometimes little “scuffed up” . They also come in happy.
    Hang in there- there are Free Range neighborhoods out there!

  101. Sue September 17, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    I just had a “free range” birthday party for my 13 year old son and his five friends. I sent them outside and told them not to be back for at least an hour. After dinner, I gave them 5 bucks each and they walked unsupervised (in the dark) to the Dairy Queen (about 1/2 kilometre away). On the way back they played hide-and-go seek in the dark. The result? My son hugged me and said it was “sooo much fun!”. Go figure! I wish I had thought of this type of party years ago as it would have saved me a lot of money and head aches.

  102. Yan Seiner September 17, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    This just bugs me…. All the what ifs… What if your kid breaks an arm and you’re not there to panic? Well, teach the kids first aid. Teach them what to do. What if someone got raped on the next block? Well, keep your kid inside. Always, forever.

    The problem I see is that most of the helicopter parents I’ve come across are no better prepared to deal with an emergency than the kids; all they add is stress and confusion – and blame and guilt once the dust settles. “What were you thinking? Are you stupid?”

    The other problem I see is the extremism of the comments (and by assumption the thoughts of the posters.)

    Things like “You should be put in jail and your children taken away” to “You spawned the brats, take care of them. Don’t expect me to.”

    This sort of dehumanizing of parents (and by extension anyone who is different) is deeply disturbing. It really does take a village, or a town. If my kids are causing you problems, I expect you to jack them up, read them the riot act, and when you’re done, call me and I’ll do the same. And I will jump on your kids when they cross the line.

    The flip side of helicopter parenting is that “I’m the only one who can tell my child anything. My child is perfect, and you have no right to discipline them.”

  103. librarian September 17, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    Lenore, we love you. Thank you for fighting the good fight for sanity of children and parents in this country (and beyond). Please don’t get discouraged by hateful comments.

  104. Lollipoplover September 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    @Danielle Mietiv-
    Parents who believe that they need to be involved in every aspect of their child’s life are unable to give up control. It’s usually control or trust. Either they don’t trust them to do it themselves or they want to be in control of the outcome.

    I know moms who still pick out clothes for their 12 year olds. My daughter last year played on a soccer team with a 10 year-old teammate who kicked the ball hard and lost her cleat. First thing she did was yell “MOM!” because apparently her mother still tied her laces and clearly it was not tied tight enough. If parents keep doing everything for their baby/child, said child will never be accountable for their actions. After all, SHE didn’t tie the shoelace so it wasn’t her fault it came off. Unbelievable.

  105. EricS September 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I feel truly sad and sorry for these people. They can’t help being stupid and ignorant. Weak minded and insecure. That’s all it is. The worse part, is they are doing more harm to their kids by being that way. More than what they believe the rest of us are when we let our kids go out and play on their own. That’s the worse kind of thinking. It’s like the person who knows something might be wrong with them medically, but refuses to got to the doctor to get checked, because they’re too afraid to deal with the reality. When all the while, they can be cured. The illogical and lack of common sense thinking, is what is plaguing society these days. Whether your joe schmo, or some notarized personality, fear, paranoia, and ignorance doesn’t differentiate. The human mind is the human mind. If your fearful, your fearful. And it’s that fear that causes one to think irrationally and with no common sense. Even if they think they completely know what they are talking about (clearly they don’t). And when they spread it to others, those people spread to more people. Then the media gets involved. It’s a huge domino effect. That’s exactly how society has gotten into this way of thinking.

  106. Donna September 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    @Lollipoplover – I don’t think it is always control or trust, I think it is an unwillingness to be obsolete. If your child can do for herself, then that is one less task that you are needed for. You don’t want them to grow up because then what do you do with your time, energy and worry?

    Some people are simply too wrapped up in their kids. I have a friend here who will tell you that she feels bad if she doesn’t pick her kids up from school and attend every activity. It isn’t a control issue. She is simply afraid of missing something. She also has little else in her life. She gave up her career to follow her husband around the South Pacific. Doesn’t appear to have any hobbies and doesn’t appear to have any friends who are not tied to relationships with her children. Nor does age even interact with those people outside the presence of her children. She doesn’t call us up for lunch while the kids are at school for example. She has built up an entire life around her children. They don’t socialize unless the kids are involved. Even when they had an au pair, she never once asked her to babysit at night so that the adults could go out. So she babies her children – they still drink out of silly cups at 6 and 4 – and does everything for them.

    As a result, her children are incapable of existing without her. Her kids would rather go and sit with her at each others swimming lesson than go do something fun with other kids. They are also incapable of doing anything for themselves because it has never been asked of them. They seem much younger than their ages and both are painfully shy (whether that is nature or nurture, I don’t know).

  107. Jemma September 18, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    I don’t think it is necessarily a need to control or lack of trust either–though that can play into it. In addition to the media hype about our unsafe world I think there is so much peer pressure on parents. Where I live (a big city) we hear a lot about how uninvolved and even neglectful some parents are Many jump to the conclusion that if a bad parent is neglectful then a great parent is involved in every detail of their kids’ lives. There is a lot of parent bragging about “level of involvement” around here too. So and so just drops off her son at soccer while she grocery shops (gasp!) instead of watching. Or the parents who seem to have weekly conversations with the teacher. I don’t think i need to see every lap my kid runs or read every line of his homework to be a good parent. I used to feel guilty but I see how well my kids are thriving and I forget about it.

  108. Ellesar September 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    I taught my kids the usual ‘stranger danger’, but I also told them that MORE people are friendly and helpful. The kind of people who are anti FR I guess are the unfriendly ones – who will not look out for your kids (unless it has all been prearranged) as YOU should be doing that! If they do not approve of you it seems as though your children are judged as harshly.

    I am from the UK, and things are not SO bad here, though I have certainly had my moments of being thought of as a thoroughly neglectful mother because I let my kids do stuff when I wasn’t around. Now they are 13 and 16 and soon I am taking the 13yo across the world with me for 4 months and the 16yo is going to look after himself.

    Obviously I am going to make sure that there are a number of safeguards in place before I go, but I have confidence that he’ll be fine, because he has the confidence and sensible attitude of a typical FRK.

    I cannot envisage how unhealthy it would feel if I were not able to let go, and throughout their childhoods I have extended the freedoms appropriate to age and ability – I just could not have done it any other way. I have paid the price to some extent with social ostracisation, but being ostracised from idiots wasn’t a great hardship!

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