Roll your eyes, shake your head, scream “That stinks!” and go to bed.
Or, if you prefer, read on:
NON-EXISTENT DANGER IN AISLE 3
A University of Michigan survey of parents of children age 9-11 found that half will not let their kids go to another aisle at the store to get a few items. Too dangerous!
ALL YIKES, ALL THE TIME
“Gen Z perceives more dangers in life than previous generations,” according to a study presented at the 2023 Society for Risk Analysis conference. Gee, I wonder why young people think everything is dangerous.
MOM AND POP AND POTTY
Students in several Oklahoma elementary and middle school are now required to sit with their parents at all times during high school football games. At one school, the kids must have an adult take them to the bathroom. No word on whether they’re allowed to self-wipe.
RIGHT PLACE, RUNG RULES
One child per swing, that is. A playground sign in suburban DC listed 22 rules, including: Children must swing in “upright position.” No “loitering” on the slide. And on the jungle gym: “Do not skip rings or rungs.” Fun!
Meanwhile, the town of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin shut down one of its playgrounds when a health hazard was discovered on premises: a mouse. Eek! A bureaucratic overreaction!
SEX PANIC 1
After a 5-year-old pulled down a 3-year-old’s pants in Poncha Springs, Colorado, two preschool workers were criminally charged for not reporting the incident quickly enough. A defense attorney told the judge: “We are here because one preschooler pulled down another preschooler’s pants.” But that’s better than —
SEX PANIC 2
Sociologist Emily Horowitz’s 2023 book, From Rage to Reason, chronicles what’s wrong with the sex offense registry, including the case of an 18-year-old who had consensual sex with a 16-year-old. After this got the 18-year-old on the registry it was almost impossible for him to find a job, but at last he did – in an office near a school. A judge then sentenced him to six years in prison for working too close to chlldren.
BLAME THE MOM
Before Connecticut mom of five and part-time Uber driver Tabitha Frank left for her shift, she called the children’s dad to come help her daughter, 12, babysit. He said he’d be right over, but fell asleep. Tabitha’s 2-year-old fell from the window and died. Tabitha was charged with manslaughter — because somehow it’s always the mom’s fault.
TIME TO CRIMINALIZE THE DONUTS
Elsewhere in Connecticut, parents still too afraid of retalliation to use their names came forward to discuss the 2019 day they let their kids, 7 and 9, walk to Dunkin Donuts. The police saw them and charged the parents with risk of injury to a minor. A few days later, they dropped the case. But child protective services picked it up and insisted the mom get therapy. Because obviously she’s the crazy one here.
BLAME THE MOM SOME MORE
A Chicago mom who was late to pick up her children from school four times got a letter saying she was under investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). But that’s not so unusual. In Cook County – that is, Chicago — 60% of kids are the subject of a child protective services investigation. BUT…
THE FANTASTIC “FREE RANGE KIDS” NEWS OF 2023
This year, four states enacted “Reasonable Childhood Independence” laws: Virginia, Montana, Connecticut and Illinois! These laws, passed with the help of the nonprofit I helm, Let Grow, say that “neglect” is when you put your child in serious, obvious danger — not anytime you take your eyes off them.
That brings the total to eight “Free-Range Parenting” states, including Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
Next year we’re hoping to pass our law in Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Georgia, and California. If you’d like to get involved, please visit Let Grow’s legislative advocacy page. Here’s to a saner 2024!