You Don’t Have to Breastfeed Till Age Five to be “Free-Range”

“Free-Range” can mean many things to many people, which is fair, I guess. It’s not like I have the trademark on “free-range.”

But I actually do have the trademark on “Free-Range Kids” (because my friend is an intellectual property attorney), and the Free-Range Kids book/blog/movement does not believe that serious illnesses can be cured homeopathically, or that kids don’t need any rules whatsoever in their lives.

That being said, I don’t think any of us should care how long this mom, or any mom, does or doesn’t breastfeed her kids, and I am not against giving kids free time and a basket of junk rather than sending them to kindergarten. But I do believe in vaccinations.

There. I said it.

Mom Who Breastfeeds 5-Year-Old Son Raises Her Kids Without Any Discipline Or Rules

EMERALD PELLOT

Read the rest here.

Me, I am a big fan of medical intervention and almost everyone in my family is alive because of it at some point or another. But I don’t want to blame or shame this mom, because I don’t want to blame or shame any mom who loves and feeds and cares for her kids, no matter how at odds with social norms — so long as she does get them medical attention if they are seriously ill.

I have also come to believe that a child raised around books or other reading material that is enticing, and who sees other kids reading, will sooner or later want to learn to read, will ask for help in doing so, and will pick it up. I say this, having visited the Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts where kids are not “taught” to read, and yet no one leaves the school illiterate. Eventually even a kid playing videogames wants to be able to read the rules, and just as kids automatically learn to talk and, now, to type and text because they are so desperate to communicate, it seems that kids start longing to read, rapidly followed by acquisition of that skill.

So there are many, many ways for a child to get an education, just as there are many, many ways to feed and raise them. Free-Range is not really a child-rearing technique, so much as a world outlook that rejects the culture of fear and fragility we are surrounded by.

But anyway, Adele, just don’t call it “Free-Range.” Call it Adele Allan-ism. – L.

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You don’t have to do this to be Free-Range!

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51 Responses to You Don’t Have to Breastfeed Till Age Five to be “Free-Range”

  1. Workshop February 17, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    My cup of tea doesn’t have to be her cup of tea. In fact, I don’t like tea. But I do like whisky. And vodka. Good vodka, not that stuff they serve at bars they call ‘vodka.’ Really good gin is also fine, although glasses are better than cups.

    Someday it would be nice that more people understand this. I’m not hopeful, though. We are the center of our own universes, and it’s our nature to see something that doesn’t reflect our reality and want to kill it with fire (or be judgemental/ban it/shame it) while posturing as the pinnacle of human enlightenment.

  2. Melissa February 17, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    I’ve read this article. It is written in a very negative light concerning their parenting choices. She breastfeeds her 5 year old?!?!?!? Uncommon in most developed countries but not unheard of or harmful in any way. She doesn’t teach her five year old to read or write, just supplies arts and crafts!!!! So he has the kindergarten education that was common a generation or two ago. Developing fine motor skills and learning about the world around him. I’m sure they are read to plenty. Research has shown that delaying formal education can be beneficial. As for not having rules or bedtimes, maybe they teach mutual respect? Or natural consequences? I do think medical care is necessary but as long as the kids are healthy and thriving, it’s not really an issue.

  3. Megan February 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    Finnish kids don’t even start school until they’re seven and they leave us in the dust. Free Rangers should be all about letting kids learn to read when they’re ready because the coercion to make them read at five is all about adults saving primitive children from their ignorance and natural entropy. In other words, complete bullshit on a par with racism. Kids don’t need us for dozens of things nearly as much as we want to believe they do, which is why the problem in our schools is not neglect but hijacking.

  4. Kirsten February 17, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    Leaving them out in nature would be a better way for them to get in tune with it. Ultimately, when she decides to stop breastfeeding she can let them learn to forage in the woods for food and by trial and error build makeshift shelters for when it’s cold or it rains.

  5. Backroads February 17, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    I personally have seen “free-range” be used all sorts of ways. Frankly, I’d describe this of the article more in the unschooling vein of things. Which can be free-range-like.

    I’m now imagining a spectrum, or perhaps intersecting circles.

    Eh, I’m a teacher who leans away from pushing early formal education and has a rule of thumb of aiming for 2 years on breastfeeding. And I’m definitely free-range.

  6. Nicole Schulman February 17, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

    Everyone’s got their views about the “best” way to rear and educate, and I completely agree that while breastfeeding till 5 and home schooling are hardly the norm in North America, they are also hardly without precedent globally or historically. Indeed, here in Canada, the first year of kindergarten is considered optional (although the vast majority of kids go).

    The “real” story is this parent’s rejection of science, in her attitudes towards vaccination and medicine. There have been several cases in Canada in which children died because their parents did not provide medical assistance — not because they were typically neglectful parents, but because they believed they could treat their children “naturally” (ie without resorting to science). http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/stephan-lovett-couture-trial-necessaries-of-life-charge-1.3557437

    It is unfortunate that questioning societal norms or parenting should be lumped together with questioning science. This parent’s parenting has less to do with “free range” than knee-jerk rejection of the status-quo. Many parenting decisions are open to be challenged, including the notion that kids need heavy supervision in order to be “safe” — but one should challenge social norms by looking at evidence, and using reason. It appears that this is not what this parent is doing.

  7. elizabeth February 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    I read this. While i dont mind the breastfeeding part, i do think its kinda stupid that she rejects modern medicine. I, for one, would never ever NOT seek medical attention for something serious, ESPECIALLY something deadly. If she did get cancer, i would hope the reality of the disease would scare her into getting treatment. If her kids are truly her first priority, then she would realize they need their mother, and that dying slowly and painfully because of a perceived notion is not the way to go.

  8. Crystal February 17, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

    What I want to know: why is this even news?

  9. SKL February 17, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    Not sure why a person would want to advertise the details of her breastfeeding relationship with her kids, photos and all. It makes me think the woman is looking for attention in a sick way.

    But yeah, you do you. Why do you (mom in the photo) think I care what your 5yo does to stimulate his mind? I’m pretty sure you aren’t interested in whatever I did when mine were 5. 😛

    I hope you shut down her use of your trademark, Lenore, because people will get the wrong impression.

  10. Jane February 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    Did she say “inspirating” towards the end of the video? LOL…

    All I can say is that kids raised without any rules or boundaries are going to have a rude awakening when they enter the real world.

    I wonder what the parents do for a living…

  11. SKL February 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    Oh, and I noticed that SHE is openly judging moms who don’t do things her way.

  12. Peter February 17, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    For some reason, I’m thinking of Ned Flander’s parents from The Simpsons.

  13. Marie February 17, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

    With luck, that boy may survive childhood illnesses but will he ever live down those photos?

  14. Miriam February 17, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    I think many of us are doing exactly what Lenore Skenazy wanted us not to do. Not to put words into her mouth.

    Megan:
    “Free Rangers should be all about letting kids learn to read when they’re ready because the coercion to make them read at five is all about adults saving primitive children from their ignorance and natural entropy.”

    Backroads:
    “Frankly, I’d describe this of the article more in the unschooling vein of things. Which can be free-range-like.”

    Can be, but not necessarily.

    “Free-Range is not really a child-rearing technique, so much as a world outlook that rejects the culture of fear and fragility we are surrounded by.”

    or

    “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.”

    Sometimes it can go with natural parenting, and sometimes the opposite (as parents who want a more natural environment for their children may very well worry about the perils of a non-organic grape).

    I guess we all interpret what we read, and change it in the process. And most of us agree with Lenore Skenazy and support her views one way or another, or we wouldn’t be here. But let’s respect her and if we want to share – we can share how we feel this blog relates to us. But generalising and stating “Free Range is” – is not our place to do…

    So what I like about this blog, is that I feel it empowers parents and doesn’t encourage shaming nor blaming. Including not shaming-blaming this parent (who is constantly being questioned about her choices, and is also judgemental of other people’s choices).

  15. James Pollock February 17, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    “Adele believes that all ailments can be treated naturally.”

    She’s right. Of course, treated SUCCESSFULLY is a different thing entirely.

  16. James Pollock February 17, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

    “But generalising and stating “Free Range is” – is not our place to do”

    It certainly is.
    Just as it is ALSO your place to disagree with someone who’s doing so.

    “I hope you shut down her use of your trademark, Lenore, because people will get the wrong impression.”
    Alas, other than a politely-worded letter, there’s not much in the legal toolbox for that.

  17. SanityAnyone? February 17, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    If Adele believes in raising her children with hunter-gatherer type security, then she needs to teach them to, at times, unconditionally obey her commands. She is the older, wiser and more aware. When she hisses “Quiet! Get under that bush, NOW!”, they better know how to respond to save their little skins. Or, “Stay close to the pack.”, “Get away from the edge of that cliff.”, “Stand absolutely still. Rattler.” This ability does not come easily. It is developed through months of practice in less severe situations. “Give the grape to Mommy.”, “Put down that knife.” “Be quiet, I have a headache.” “No running into the street.” To fail to demand any level of obedience or respect is to put your children in the way of real danger.

    Likewise, children need to learn parameters that help them interact positively with others. They cannot be allowed to hit, bite, scream, criticize, demean, fail to respect others’ property. The idea of raising children with no rules also smacks of someone who was abused herself. She is not only perpetuating her own abuse, letting her children’s needs always supersede her own, but she is in denial that children are able to tolerate reasonable disappointment, reasonable restrictions, and that they enjoy some level of structure.

    I guess the kids will have to finish raising themselves when they leave.

    I don’t like the way parental choices are bundled. I sought out home birth for one reason: doctors were hell-bent on making do repeated cesareans that I didn’t think I needed. I was tired of the fighting and bullying. Home birth was perfect. However, the decision came with a whole avalanche of expectations and judgments about exclusive breastfeeding, anti-vaccinations, anti-circumcision, pro organic foods, pro-co-sleeping, anti-sleep training, pro-baby-wearing, pro-homemade baby foods and more. I heartily rejected half of those ideas and heartily embraced the other half, but it was none of anyone’s business!

  18. Dawn February 17, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Oh, I know who they are now. I learned about them initially because they had a GoFundMe site (may still) because dad and mom wanted to move somewhere and not have to work for a living at all. IIRC they both really felt the world “owes” them a living because they are so wonderful and special.

    I’m all for breastfeeding if you and the child still want to (how many kids of 5 and 6 do we see with pacifiers or thumbs in their mouths?), and I still go barefoot all I can at 50+. I agree that reading will usually be picked up if a child is given a chance and the parents love to read. Unfortunately, these parents also aren’t readers and there were, at least from what I saw, no books in the house for the children to pick up and get interested in. I wasn’t taught to read – I was reading, at least as far as my parents know, at 2 1/2 – which is when my mom caught me climbing out of my bed at naptime to get a book and read to myself. No one knows when I really started. But both of my parents were readers and we had books all over.

  19. Puzzled February 17, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    >But I do believe in vaccinations.

    >There. I said it.

    Uh oh. There goes another Porcfest invite…

  20. Science, It Works Bitches February 17, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    Not vaccinating your kids is simply ignorant and irresponsible. It certainly is everyone’s business if you’re sending your nonvaccinated children into the world. If what you believe doesn’t affect anyone else then go ahead and believe it if you want but putting other people’s children at risk isn’t acceptable.

  21. Ron Skurat February 17, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    Where did Emerald Pellot get the idea that this flakiness has anything to do with “Free Range”? This is nuts.

    Just for the record, breast milk will make conjunctivitis worse.

  22. Beth February 17, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    “Free Rangers should be all about letting kids learn to read when they’re ready because the coercion to make them read at five is all about adults ….”

    Not all parents, free range or not, can homeschool or afford a private school that follows directives from each parent. The rest of us are dependent on the public school system and their curriculum. Implying that someone isn’t free range and/or is coerced because they use the public school system is kind of inappropriate.

  23. Jessica February 17, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    The fury in the comments (not here, but in the original article) is baffling. I totally disagree with not vaccinating. But a lot of the response is “That f-ing b***h, how dare she not make her kids wear shoes! They’ll be on f-ing welfare for their entire d**n lives!” People, really… really… need to calm down about one another’s parenting choices.

  24. Randy February 17, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    Every five or six years we get treated to a story like this: Some mother or parent that let’s their kids let their freak flag fly, and obviously, they get trotted out for eyeballs and clicks. What I’d love to see is a follow up about that five year old that we read about fifteen years ago who’s mom let him/her breastfeed until they were five, six, or more.

    First of all, I wouldn’t believe this — or any — story right out of the box just because it appears on some website that before now no one heard about. This is exactly the kind of piece that rains down attention to otherwise obscure media outlets. As you read this, ask first what does this family get from this exposure?

    Second, perhaps she has unusually well-behaved kids, but as a parent of a 12-year-old who fights us tooth-and-nail just to get her to feed the cats she so dearly loves, our house would quickly become a disaster if we just let her live like a little Mowgli, and I can guarantee you that we would either quickly become (justifiable) pariahs in our community or get visited by DYS.

    At the risk of sounding like a nudnik, I think these parents are being irresponsible. I hope her kids grow up to be oil company executives.

  25. SKL February 17, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

    I agree, we’re only seeing a snippet of their lives. I can’t help wondering if the parents are on drugs and neglecting their kids when the cameras are off. “He can come over and do what he wants when he wants out of these boxes.” Um OK. It seemed to me that the 5yo’s speech was delayed, but again, it was only a snippet ….

    If they are on welfare in order to support their lifestyle (as a commenter mentioned above), then obviously that is not realistic for the average parent. Somebody has to work to pay for the kids’ basic needs.

  26. Rachael February 17, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

    As a homeschooling mom and aspiring free range parent, I have to say I relate to a lot of what Adele is saying. Although I never got past 8 months of breastfeeding any of my kids and my four year old reads at a second grade level, I don’t vaccinate and will take a natural cure first. I think that ‘basket of junk’ is just fine for school for a five year old.
    I also think we should stop criticizing parenting choices. Isn’t that the heart of the free-range kids movement?
    That being said, I agree they should not use the term ‘free range kids’ and I hope you contact them about it.

  27. jennifer February 17, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

    Lenore may well have a friend who is an intellectual property right’s attorney (long live corporatism!), but as a parent of over 2 decades… that has even longer than that been following the radical unschooling, noncoercive parenting, natural parenting circles “free-range kids” did not start with her… it has been used to describe these practices for decades. If I had access to old hard drives I could dig out alt.net usegroup messages with the term.

  28. Dave February 17, 2017 at 7:41 pm #

    Nothing new here.

    For those old enough to remember, A.S. Neill, a British teacher and psychologist of the mid-20th century, ran a therapeutic school called Summerhill for troubled, unhappy kids. The children were given total freedom to go to classes – or to simply play and explore as much as they wanted. Most eventually chose to attend classes, and nearly all grew up to be balanced and productive adults. Neill frequently said he’d rather graduate a happy, well adjusted trash collector than a neurotic accountant or lawyer any day. He published a popular book (Summerhill, Hart Pub. 1960) describing the school and his philosophy of total freedom for kids. It sold well in the US.

    However, total freedom does not extend to license, a concept that most American readers of the book did not grasp. Americans, it seems, got the total freedom part just fine, but not the personal responsibility part that was key to the school’s success.The idea that freedom can’t extend to trampling the rights and freedoms of others apparently didn’t occur to these parents. You can imagine the result! After it became clear to Neill that American parents were off track, he wrote a second book called Freedom – Not License (Hart Pub, 1966), specifically for American readers.

    The books are long out of print but can often be found on Amazon and in used book stores. Both are well worth reading – but read both!

  29. Becks Reay February 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

    You know, their lives sound kind of lovely.

    I believe in vaccinations too and there’s something comforting and safe about being part of the system but to be able to throw off the shackles of school and parenting norms would be liberating. I’m not tuned into nature enough to do it their way but they seem to be pretty confident about it. I bet the kids have a really great balance and sounds like natural consequences etc are probably used.

    And actually breastmilk is good for conjunctivitis and many other things no doubt.

  30. Amy February 18, 2017 at 4:24 am #

    My mom taught me to read at 3 1/2 by taping words on things in our house. After I learned how, I never stopped. Read the dictionary, encyclopedia– even my mom’s collection of romance novels! (although i didn’t really understand them, ha ha.)

    Then I went to Kindergarden……

    My teacher was furious cause i had already read all the baby books the others were reading, I already knew how to write my name and simple sentences, and knew the sign language alphabet. She called my mom. Exact words:
    “How dare you teach her how to read and write. That is my job.” My mom looked at her and said “The hell it is. I’m the parent not you.”

    This was 1981, mind you. And while my mom wasn’t jumping at shadows, and i was allowed around my close neighborhood, she wasn’t fully free range until i was about 14-15.

  31. Andrew February 18, 2017 at 5:28 am #

    Oh, Summerhill still exists. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summerhill_School Now that is “free range”.

    This woman can reject science and technology in favour of belief is she likes. Good luck with that.

  32. BL February 18, 2017 at 6:22 am #

    @Amy
    ‘My teacher was furious cause i had already read all the baby books the others were reading, I already knew how to write my name and simple sentences, and knew the sign language alphabet. She called my mom. Exact words:
    “How dare you teach her how to read and write. That is my job.” My mom looked at her and said “The hell it is. I’m the parent not you.”’

    I too was reading quite well when I started school, and so were a quarter to a third of my classmates. This was in suburban Detroit, Michigan.

    The teaching profession would have you believe that it takes specialized skills and knowledge to teach reading:

    http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/reading_rocketscience_2004.pdf

    The experience of a large part of the population says otherwise.

  33. BL February 18, 2017 at 6:32 am #

    ‘You Don’t Have to Breastfeed Till Age Five to be “Free-Range”’

    I’d think a real free-ranger would at least be drinking light beer by age five.

    (Just kidding!)

  34. Suze February 18, 2017 at 6:46 am #

    Lots of people are chiming in and saying that no one should judge her parenting. I’ve never been of the stripe to think a child even needs to be breastfed when they’re 5 years old but again, she’s free to do it. Living out in nature, fine. I read the original article and I won’t take credit for this comment but I saw one person say they thought it was hypocritical that the little girl didn’t wear shoes (the parents had some odd reasoning for that) but the parents DID. I’m like most hear and don’t like the fact that they don’t vaccinate or believe in traditional medicine. I fear the little girl the most walking around without shoes; easy to step on the wrong thing doing that and cut yourself. A tenants shot in a case like that may be the only thing standing between her and dying of some infection. The worst issue here is the no rules no disipline. How will they function with out them. Kids need rules and boundaries. In my opinion, they will end up the dead opposite of what we here actually know to be “Free Range.” They will grow up clinging to their parents for eveything with out a clue who to navigate the real world or even learn socializing with others to function from day to day.

  35. elizabeth February 18, 2017 at 7:37 am #

    As for the little boy not having reading material, that is her choice but did she consider maybe not having any reading material is the reason he hasnt learned to read yet, instead of the other way around? Or am i a rarity, learning to read before kindergarten?

  36. Jessica February 18, 2017 at 7:57 am #

    Oh my goodness every single commenter here has made a point to tell us that they could read before they started kinder. I’m a teacher, and I assure you, about half of parents in any given class will approach the teacher before school starts to “confide” that their child can already read. And the teachers are gracious about it, but the reality is, that just isn’t very relevant. It’s nice to read early, but everyone eventually learns how to read, and whether you do so at 3.5 or at 5.5 just doesn’t really matter.

  37. Beth February 18, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    @Jennifer, I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t read early!

    I became a voracious reader anyway, while learning in first grade right along with everybody else.

    (Yeah, I’m so ancient that we didn’t start learning to read til first grade.)

  38. pentamom February 18, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    The simplest way to put it is that Free Range is not identical to a personal philosophy of anarchy. It doesn’t mean you reject all rules and limits or set yourself in opposition to all established ways of doing things. You can be Free Range and do those things, but that’s not what Free Range is.

  39. Jessica February 18, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    Good for you, Beth! Being a voracious reader is a heck of a lot more important than being an early one!

  40. SKL February 18, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

    I am also not so sure I’d call those kids “free range” as I didn’t see them ever more than a few feet away from their parents. Though again this is just a snippet we saw – but the whole thing was in a fenced yard (with parents present) and inside a tiny home (with parents present).

  41. SKL February 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    As an aside, I wonder why the reading thing gets so many parents’ hackles up.

  42. dancing on thin ice February 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    Being able to read at an early age is nice, but being able to evaluate content is a learned trait that takes longer to learn.
    A bigger picture is that this is the era of fake news, clickbait websites like her article is on and pandering politicians.
    Do we place an emphasis ratings and popularity over the experience of experts or fact checkers?

    The definition of “fake news” has Devosed from made up stories to boost credibility on fringe websites to news we disagree with.
    Likewise we should use Lenore’s meaning of what constitutes “Free Range Kids” as she is the originator and owner of the name “Free Range Kids”.

  43. dancing on thin ice February 18, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    Not saying her story is fake.
    The original article is on a clickbait website where the main focus is to get people visiting, talking about and selling ads. The more credible websites and other media place being profitable secondary to promoting a cause or being informative.

  44. James Pollock February 18, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

    “The more credible websites and other media place being profitable secondary to promoting a cause or being informative.”

    Or at least, that’s what they tell you.
    I’m skeptical of “news” that comes from a source that’s promoting a cause… they tend to filter the news (things that favor “our” point of view get covered, things that don’t favor “our” point of view get ignored), and to get “spin”, and, in come cases, to get twisted into something that is nowhere near the objective truth.

    The news business is in the midst of a massive change.
    Once upon a time, every major city in America had multiple newspapers. The news was about the same, but the editorial slant applied to the news was different for each paper, and different groups of people gravitated to the newspaper that reflected their opinions.

    TV news came along and changed things… The fact that, up until the 1980’s, TV news was covered by something called the “Fairness Doctrine” meant that TV news tended to shy away from taking an editorial position on any political topic, and when they DID weigh in on political topics, they were very careful to give fair consideration to every side (because if they didn’t, citizens could demand (free) equal TV time, and the broadcasters would have to provide it. This meant that pretty much everybody got the same news, largely free of “spin”. This caused newspapers to fold and merge until most cities were down to being served by only one daily newspaper.

    Reagan ditched the “Fairness Doctrine” because he (and his political cronies) didn’t want any shackles on the growing phenomenon of AM talk radio, which was overwhelmingly consumed by conservatives, and therefore was programmed for conservatives. (Reagan also lifted caps on the number of broadcast licenses that could be owned by a single company, so there was a huge wave of consolidation that left the majority of radio stations owned by only a handful of giant broadcasting companies, who found it cheaper to syndicate the same shows all over the country than to have separate radio hosts and shows at each station.) With the Fairness Doctrine out of the picture, AM Talk Radio didn’t even have to pretend to be objective any more. Radio hosts generated listeners by being outraged, OUTRAGED!, by whatever it was that day, and if there wasn’t anything real to become outraged about (as their usually is not), why they’d generate it themselves.

    Which brings us to now. People no longer have a limited choice (whatever TV stations they get, the one newspaper in town) for news… they can get it from cable news channels, or websites, or wherever. And here’s the deal… most people want to hear news with a slant that matches what they already want to believe. So a certain portion of the population believed, wholeheartedly, for eight years, that TODAY was the day Obama was going to be coming to take their guns away. Because that was what they wanted the news to be; they listened to news that was full of panic and outrage about how Obama was coming after the guns, and they ignored all the times Obama said “listen, folks, I don’t want to take your guns away.” Because, of course, that’s what a guy who wants to take all your guns away would say, right up until he takes all the guns away. A bunch of people were fooled by a badly-drawn fake Kenyan birth certificate, and before that, a lot of people were fooled by fake discharge papers “proving” that W never finished his Air National Guard service.

    Of course, being critical of “our” side is pretty much guaranteed to not make you any friends. The only thing worse that someone from “their” side is someone from “our” side who isn’t toeing the line.

  45. Another Katie February 19, 2017 at 7:44 am #

    I’m perfectly content to judge this woman on her parenting choices to treat infections with homeopathy, and not vaccinating. Homeopathy is absolute bunk, and people who don’t vaccinate not only endanger their kids but risk public health as a whole. Non-vaxxers/anti-vaxxers are selfish, science-denying people who get to NOT watch their children die of vaccine-preventable diseases like polio and pertussis thanks to (almost) everyone else vaccinating.

    The rest of her parenting choices have no impact on the community at this time. If the kid’s 15 and still can’t read, then I’d be happy to criticize her unschooling, too.

  46. Donna February 19, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    This woman CHOSE to make her parenting choices public, therefore the reading/viewing public is entitled to express their opinions as to what she has said without being told that they are not allowed to have one or express it. If people don’t want to be “judged,” I strongly recommend that they stop posting the intimate details of their lives on the internet for other people to view. I rarely bother to pay enough attention to what my fellow humans are doing when I pass them on the street to “judge” them. However, if I spend my time viewing personal drivel, I am likely to have formed some opinions by the end of it. Since the personal drivel was posted for public consumption, I fail to understand why the opinions it generated must be kept private.

  47. dancing on thin ice February 19, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    James Pollock: Sorry if things came out indicating something different than what was intended while editing.
    It should have read:
    “The more credible websites and other media place being informative over being profitable OR promoting a cause.”

    I agree that bias is often a factor in what we hear, the movie “Good Night, and Good Luck” about the McCartney hearings had a scene where the reporter is questioned by his boss as to his own bias through omission.
    The fairness doctrine furthered the long trend away from impartiality. Editorials and ads used to be marked as such. Until 1963, TV news was only 15 minutes long.

    But my main point was putting more credence in experts in their field.
    That doesn’t mean they are qualified to offer an informed opinion on unrelated topics.
    (But isn’t wannabe journalists sharing unverified or agenda based stories on social media a bid part of what the internet is all about?)

  48. James Pollock February 19, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    “The fairness doctrine furthered the long trend away from impartiality.”

    How so?

    The only way I can figure is that it fostered false dichotomy… that ever issue has exactly 2 sides. (This contributed to where we are now, with journalists trying to present “both” sides… but sometimes there’s only one side, and sometimes there’s more than two. And that led to “my opinion is as good as your facts”, which is a big part of the current problem… a substantially large number of people who want news to be reported AS THEY WISH IT TO BE rather than AS IT IS.

  49. hineata February 19, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    @Jessica – I’m a teacher too, and I hope you listen to those parents ‘confiding’ in you. All children learn at different rates, and my youngest suffered 5 months of boredom when she first started school because the new entrant teacher didn’t believe in letting children read where they were at. Fortunately she had her older sister’s books to read at home, which was how she’d taught herself to read in the first place. We teachers can be so darned arrogant – in actuality we are experts in only one, very important, field, and that’s managing large groups of children. Everything else is, frankly, hit and miss, because of the infinite variety of ways the human mind works. We should definitely be listening to parents, and to kids themselves, about their respective abilities.

    When she was finally moved out of that classroom, my girl jumped 17 reading levels, because the next teacher was willing to let her read what she actually could. To my knowledge, the new entrant teacher still considers that a sign of her own excellent teaching skills. Whatever.

  50. Papilio February 19, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

    I laughed because the whole breast=best thing is not something I associate with you, Lenore, after that rant about hospitals no longer automatically giving new moms formula…

    Agree with everyone who thinks no rules, vacs or modern medicine is ehm, less wise to say the least. Rules and vaccinations are not just for yourself. Life without modern medicine was hard to survive for young children (and certainly less pleasant for everyone else).

    “I do believe in vaccinations.”

    Vaccinations are evidence-based; not much believing required here. I know it’s hard to avoid that word (and I’m not too good at it myself…), but if we keep using it, it kinda makes it sound like both views have the same “value”, as if it’s all only a matter of belief and opinion and anecdata. It’s not.

    @Beth: “I didn’t read early! I became a voracious reader anyway, while learning in first grade right along with everybody else.”

    Exactly the same here!

  51. tdr February 22, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

    A shout out to the language processing impaired people who probably would NOT have learned to read without a healthy dose of intervention. My ex-hub and I are huge readers. Kids number 1 and 3 loved to listen to stories and were very interested in learning to read. Kid number 2 never liked it from day 1, and still hates it. Thankfully we figured out there was a bit more to the story when she was in 8th grade and reading at a 4th grade level. She would be oh so happy to never have to read another thing again. And she goes to a whole school full of kids like her.

    the bottom line (it never does get old, does it?? 🙂 )– you gotta know your kids and do what’s best for your kids and your family. that’s the Free-Range Kids way and sometimes it involves getting MORE involved rather than less. Oh the irony!