27 Responses to ABC’s Nightline Revisits Free-Range Kids

  1. BL January 30, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    “Let me know what you think of the shrink!”

    Like all shrinks, she’d be out of a job if everyone exercised even a modicum of common sense.

    Other observations:

    Nice jump shot, Izzy!

    “… is a rotten egg!” That was old when I was a kid. I didn’t think any kids still knew that. Maybe it’s “retro” now.

    Is the camera lens distorting the perspective? Some of those crosswalks looked longer than a football field. Still trying to scare us?

  2. no rest for the weary January 30, 2015 at 11:09 pm #

    Anyone who uses words like “always” and “never” and insists on absolutes in anything but certain principles of physics and mathematics is immediately suspect to me.

    And… what divine order, to have this family bringing the issue to a head in the public domain RIGHT as your TV show finally hits American broadcast! I am grateful not for the Meitivs’ plight, but for the impact their family is having for the greater good… magnified by your timely TV show!


  3. Abigail January 31, 2015 at 12:39 am #

    I LOVE that it was mentioned twice that our children’s generation should benefit from the same freedoms as our parents offered us. Why can’t we raise our kids with some of the values that we were raised with? Sometimes I wonder if our historic agenda of progress is inhibiting our ability to appreciate that some things don’t require fixing.

    After all the hype around this story and others, after reminding myself we live in the golden age of childhood safety… I also remember that there are children genuinely facing neglect, abuse & danger. I want our state and federal resources focused on them. I want our overworked and underpaid social servants to be able to focus on them.

  4. Anonymous January 31, 2015 at 4:00 am #

    Anyone under 18 can’t be unsupervised?! I went to an academic high school which drew kids from the entire (major) city and suburbs – some travelling 2 hours each way by public transport (not school-run, but public buses and trains) from the age of 11!

  5. Powers January 31, 2015 at 9:20 am #

    “Like all shrinks, she’d be out of a job if everyone exercised even a modicum of common sense.”

    Wow, you managed to disparage not only every psychiatrist in the world but also every individual suffering from mental illness, all in one sentence. Nice work.

  6. SusanH January 31, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m immediately turned off by the heading on the clip, “Free Range parents believe in letting kids roam alone.” Superimposed over a photo of a 3-year old. Yeah, that doesn’t really sum up what Free Range Kids is all about.

  7. Linda January 31, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    I love it! I especially love that David Wright gave it a try with his own kids. Such a contrast to some of the other coverage.

    I still wish I could watch your whole show, but I did enjoy the clips posted on Discovery Channel’s website. Can’t wait to eventually be able to see the whole shows.

  8. Kirsten January 31, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    We are loving, caring parents who want our kids to grow up to be independent and unafraid. The media is the problem – not the stalkers, murderers and pedophiles that the media consistently suppose wholly comprise our country. Let the good people take over again!

  9. RJ January 31, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    “A ten year old should never be in charge of a 6 year old” This is a classic statement from a shrink considering that older children have been taking care of younger siblings since the beginning of time.
    Psychs and their people are animals with chemicals that need to be balanced properly ( with meds) in their brains are a major reason that society and parenting has gone down the tubes.
    In short Psychs are crazy… and their influence in the schools and the legal system has led us to this low point in human interaction.
    Get rid of this cult of mad scientists and let common sense and traditional family values become the norm once again.

  10. RJ January 31, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    If you go back to the pre- psych fifties you will find that children were raised by appealing to their sense of responsibility, desire to survive along with religious values. It wasn’t perfect but it had some workable success.
    Once the psychs began to assert their influence ( according to their master plan) then they made it more about brain and chemicals as the problem with behavior followed by their partners in crime Big Pharma.
    Responsibility, reason and morals have been replaces with psych meds and blaming it all on chemicals in the brain with the end result that society has gotten more neurotic and crazier.
    I rest my case. More info at cchr.org

  11. Kenny Felder January 31, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    That was AWESOME. A million miles from the ridiculous interview a few years back on “The View.” These people discussed the issues. IT IS SO GREAT THAT YOU ARE GETTING THIS PUBLICITY. I HOPE PEOPLE WATCH. I DON’T LIKE IT WHEN PEOPLE USE ALL CAPS BUT I JUST FELT LIKE I HAD TO THIS TIME.

  12. Papa Fred January 31, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    How refreshing. OMG, uncommon sense in child-rearing, what a threatening idea.

  13. Arianne January 31, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    Hey Lenore, is there a way to watch your show online? We don’t have tv, and the only thing I can find online is like previews of episodes. I’d really like to check it out.

  14. Edward January 31, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    I have read and commented on this blog since it’s inception and this is definitely Lenore’s “WOW” moment in my opinion.
    Lenore, I have said this to you in the blog and private correspondence in good times and in bad – and I’ll say it again now – Thank You for ALL you do.
    Edward Hafner

  15. Sophie January 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    ‘Under Maryland law, it’s illegal to leave anyone under the age of 18 unsupervised’…

    Did I hear that right?! Because that is – excuse my language – batsh*t cuckoo.

  16. Papilio January 31, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    @Arianne: All 13 episodes are still on the website of Slice (‘Bubble Wrap Kids’), but you have to be in Canada to see them. There is supposedly a way around that with the use of a proxy, so the site THINKS you’re in Canada, but I have no idea how that works. Maybe some whizzkid can find out…?
    Or you could book a holiday up there 😛

  17. Jenny Islander January 31, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    No, RJ. Do not derail the conversation.

    This site is about parents who are terrified of boogeymen lurking behind trees and about school districts who are terrified of being sued. It’s about what Zero Tolerance does to the boy who uses that ancient tool of childhood, the jackknife, to cut a twig while on his own time and off school grounds. It’s about people so allergic to research that they will ban sunscreen use during school hours–in Texas!–on the grounds that it must be much deadlier to somehow drink the stuff than it could ever be to contract skin cancer. (Five minutes’ research proves that one wrong.) It’s about scout troop leaders so frightened of minor injury that they make s’mores out of marshmallow fluff. It’s about children being metaphorically smothered in cotton wool to the point that they can’t even walk on their own.

    Please do not derail the conversation with your talk of “psycho-psych” master plans.

    Also, please learn to proofread what you write.

  18. Vicky January 31, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

    The ‘shrink’ really got my dander up! Who does she think she is? She is entitled to her opinion and when you get down to it, that’s all it really is, her opinion. Statistically she has nothing to back up her grossly broad and ridiculous claim. Shrinks/APA have garnered far too much authority to make these sweeping, all inclusive determinations.
    Only a parent, close trusted family member knows a child well enough to determine when they are developmentally mature enough to be trusted to do certain things. Children are much more intelligent than we give them credit for. My gosh, they have led countries. Bad things happen and they happen to everyone, but that’s part of growing up and by teaching our children common sense and through their own experiences, they begin to adopt critical thinking skills, thus make better decisions.

  19. JKP February 1, 2015 at 12:25 am #

    “A ten year old should never be in charge of a 6 year old” solely because there could be situations the 10 year old is not equipped to handle.

    But every adult also has situations they are not able to handle, and yet we don’t stop adults from watching kids because they are not able to handle every possible situation that might come up.

    My dad faints at the sight of blood. Luckily, I never cut myself around him, but if I had, I would have been the kid calling the ambulance for my unconscious dad and a ride for me to get stitches. Should he not have been allowed to be alone with me?

    My grandmother has a phobia of water and can’t swim. If one of the kids fell in the lake, she couldn’t have saved them. Maybe grandma shouldn’t have been allowed to watch the kids either. (Although she did make sure that all her kids got swimming lessons so she wouldn’t pass her fear down to them).

    Plenty of petite woman wouldn’t be able to fight off a carjacker or kidnapper any better than the 10 year old.

    Why do we hold kids to the standard that they should be able to handle every possible contingency, when even adults aren’t held to that standard?

  20. sexhysteria February 1, 2015 at 7:51 am #

    Statistically a child is much more likely to die or suffer a serious physical inury while riding unrestrained in a motor vehicle. Are the police and CPS threatening to arrest parents and kidnap their children if kids don’t wear seat belts? Everybody knows the worst thing that can happen to a child – worse than death – is SEX.

  21. Rachel February 1, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    That was really great! And never mind what the shrink said. It’s interesting that the report spends much of the time explaining the positives of letting kids do more things alone, and gives the shrink only 1 sentence for a counter argument.

    This past month does seem like a real turning point, triggered by the publicity about the family in Maryland. The news reports are looking a lot more open-minded.

    Congratulations, Lenore, and thank you! And thanks to the Meitiv’s for their bravery discussing their situation with the media and the world. Hopefully, CPS will drop their investigation soon!

  22. Alex February 1, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    That is a pretty well put-together segment.

    But I feel inclined to comment that the kid at the end shouldn’t be thinking the world is not dangerous. Many things people say are dangerous generally are not, but there are still dangerous things, and it’s important to be able to reasonably distinguish between generally dangerous, generally safe, and the spectrum inbetween.

  23. Havva February 1, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    Spot on JKP. I’ve had things I couldn’t handle as an adult. A few years ago, a friend lost consciousness while on a bike ride with me, and was hurled head first into the road. There my friend had a seizure and started vomiting. I knew to turn people vomiting while unconscious, and not to touch people with a potential broken neck. So, after stoping traffic, and getting someone to call 911, I had no clue what to do. I had the only actual panic attack of my life, I was an adult. I still ride bikes with others, and my friend still rides too.

  24. Jen Connelly February 1, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    I really hate those idiotic blanket statements: a ten-year-old should never be in charge of a six-year-old? Really? Does this person know every 10yo and what they are capable of? Because, I have three kids that have passed the age of ten and each was perfectly capable of watching a 6yo sibling and dealing with emergencies that came up.

    I always wonder what kind of kids these people that make these statements know. Are they really that incompetent?

  25. Suzanne Lucas February 1, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    Yeah, totally agree on the ludicrous nature of the “something might happen that a 10 year old couldn’t handle.”

    I remember getting into a discussion about allowing kids to stay home alone. One woman told a story of a 14 year old girl, who walked in her front door to be met by a robber who stabbed her to death. This was taken as proof that you shouldn’t let kids be home alone.

    I responded that what on earth would the mother have done if she’d been there? Probably be stabbed to death herself.

    I can barely fight off a kid who is trying to steal my candy, let alone an armed robber.

  26. Mike February 2, 2015 at 4:39 am #

    I agree with the shrink! The 6-year-old would be much better off by herself, without her “helicopter-sibling” hovering over her and monitoring everything she does.

    PS I hope everyone’s sarcasm dectecors are switched on 😉

  27. Juluho February 4, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

    I spent the ages of 13 through 16 in MD, almost all of that time as a paid babysitter to younger childern. Who knew all those parents were breaking the law?!? LOL. Under 18? I can’t comprehend? Did they misquote? I wasn’t a teenager that long ago! What about 16 yr olds driving to work? 17 yr olds driving to school? That’s all unsupervised.