61 Responses to The Daily Show and Free-Range Kids!

  1. That_Susan June 4, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    I love it! By the way, was that psychologist part of the act or was that a genuine interview? If she was actually serious, I bet she’s pissed now, LOL.

  2. lollipoplover June 4, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    “As compared with 20 years ago, today’s kids are exponentially dumber.”


    “Doctor” Karen Ruskin just made the biggest idiot out of herself! “It doesn’t matter the quantity” and who cares about statistics. I love Jordan Klepper! This just made my day. Thanks for this and continuing the fight against idiots like Karen Ruskin who would have us all lock our kids inside and throw away the key.

  3. Anna June 4, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    I was wondering about the psychologist too. Was she for real? Anyway, great use of comedy to make a compelling case about something real.

  4. That_Susan June 4, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    LOL, I’ve just been to her site and commented. She is definitely for real.

  5. Warren June 4, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    Yep Karen Ruskin is for real. Check out her facebook she posts about being on the show, and provides a link to her own site where she tries to rip apart free range parenting, Lenore and the Metiv’s.

    Awesome job Lenore..

  6. Derek M June 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Lol, Oh wow, this was awesome. Thank you!

  7. BL June 4, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    “Looks like she is for real:”

    Is she old enough to be outside without her mommy?

  8. Kathryn June 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    Wish I could watch it! Unfortunately the link doesn’t work outside the US (I am in Sweden). Any chance you could write up a summary for those of us not currently browsing with an American IP?

  9. Betsy in Michigan June 4, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    Hysterical! Wow – Dr. Karen is a certified nutjob (don’t let your kids go to the park alone when they’re 16?!!).

  10. SanityAnyone? June 4, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Loved it! Favorite part: On a scale from Doogie to Bieber, how capable are your kids?

  11. Maggie in VA June 4, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    OMG, Warren, I was about to reply that surely she was an actress. I guess being a media figure explains her histrionic affect.

  12. Dee June 4, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    I so loved it but especially the message it sends. Lenore, you’ve done it! You’ve achieved critical mass! Hooray!

  13. lollipoplover June 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    Karen Ruskin said on her Facebook page that this was meant as a spoof. Yet she has articles where she’s very anti-free range, calling it “permissive parenting” and comparing it to a cult:


    So, she gets to call it a spoof when this “relationship expert” looks like a complete and utter idiot?
    I think she is the official spokesperson for helicopter parents anonymous.

  14. Eric S June 4, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    WT…Because I’m not viewing from the States, I can’t see the video. Boooooooo!

  15. Neil M June 4, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    Oh my gosh–this is great! So cool. And the stuff that Karen Ruskin says ALREADY sounds like it was scripted by the Daily Show.

  16. Miriam June 4, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    If you go to the link lollipop sited, Karen basically says that
    1. the world isn’t safe,
    2. if your kid steps outside for 2 seconds unsupervised, they will be molested,
    3. that the safety techniques we grew up with aren’t good enough for our kids,
    4 you need to check on all kids every hour
    5. free-range parenting damages a kids’ feelings of self worth and feelings of being loved
    (Yeah, because keeping them in a cage really makes a kid get confidence and feel loved.)

  17. Suzanne June 4, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    That was awesome!!

  18. Douglas John Bowen June 4, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Lenore played a stellar straight (wo)man to the interviewer’s probing questions, and was great at going along with the gag(s) involved; she could have passed as a Daily Show regular. Well done, Leonore!

    Like so many others, I had to check to see if Dr. Ruskin was an actress persona or a real person. If her appearance here was a “spoof,” she didn’t pull it off to great effect, at least in my (admittedly biased) opinion.

  19. Anne Egli June 4, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    It’s ironic that just earlier this morning before watching this video, I was reading that college kids today are having much more trouble adjusting to being independent, are worrying over just about everything, and seeking counseling for the most minor details of life. This is what happens when kids are put in a “box” with no chance to grow up.

  20. Eric S June 4, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    Lollipoplover: “Dr. Karen” is a complete idiot. lol Very narrow minded. Like many people like her, fail to see the bigger picture about children and their family.

  21. Mark Davis June 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    That was hilarious. And I’ll note that made use of (if briefly) the “hoary trope of the empty swing”.

  22. JJ June 4, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

    This was awesome! Great job Lenore. Lenore has pointed out in the past that both sides of even the most egregious anti-FRK event (arrested for letting your kids stand outside maybe) are sometimes debated as if they have equal points to make. Not so much in this segment. 🙂 It was pretty clear which side is ridiculous.

    I checked out Dr. Karen’s Facebook page and all I can say is bless her heart. If you ever wondered what a comma splice was or contemplated misuse of the preposition, her page would be a good place to find examples. And there you can also explore how you may have once been a helicopter parent and turned to FRK when you burnt out, or conversely you may have been a free range parent “from the getco!” Thank you, doctor.

  23. Eric S June 4, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    LMAO!! I finally got to see the video. That was some pretty funny stuff. I love how they shot that whole segment.

    Dr. Karen = Booksmart, but common sense stupid.

    For those who live outside the US, and can’t view the video, here it is on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-E2SuFxBPA

    @That_Susan: I think she was pissed. Many people who feel they know it all, but get put on the spot and can’t answer a question, always get pissed. They’re are embarrassed. Can’t argue with logic, yet they perpetually try too. Like trying to beat a dead horse to death. lol

  24. Vicki Bradley June 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    Eric S, thank you so much for including the link. It was hilarious, Lenore did a great job, and Jordan Klepper was fantastic – I can’t believe he was able to leave Ruskin speechless. I’ve always loved the Daily Show (it got me through the Bush years with my sanity somewhat intact), and this has given me one more reason to love it.

  25. Dantus June 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    My wife and I still believe in raising kids the free-range way bse we grew up as such.. What’s that psychologist talking about? She should try growing out there once.

  26. Sandi June 4, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

    This is awesome. So funny! The sad thing is that lots of viewers probably thought it was serious.

  27. Liz June 4, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    Isn’t that the same “Doctor” who said that 16-year-olds can’t ever be left alone, ever? And she wonders why nobody takes her seriously!!

  28. Beth June 4, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    I tried reading Doctor Karen’s blog, but I gave up because it’s so poorly written. Each page reads like an eighth grader’s essay that has been translated from English into Portuguese, then into Korean, then back into English, by someone fluent in none of those languages. It’s cracking me up!

    It’s a shame she can’t compose a coherent sentence, because we could glean so much wisdom from her. This woman is an expert on everything! Such as:

    “Should a woman ask a man to marry her, if she feels he is taking too long and they are about to move in together? Should a woman divorce her husband who cheated on her, or try to work it out? Tips for how to cope with medical anxiety (e.g., many people are experiencing anxiety due to the Ebola scare). These are the topics I addressed on ‘Ask Dr. Karen’ on FOX News Boston on 10/6/14. “

  29. lollipoplover June 4, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    Karen Ruskin said this:

    “The concern I have is that there are those of whom drink the Kool-aid of ‘Free Range Parenting’ who blindly commit acts of irresponsible parenting, which ultimately puts their children in harm’s way, which in turn indeed can be seen as negligence. But rather than seeing their behavior as potentially harmful physically and/or emotionally to one’s children, and simply saying- “this is how I have decided to parent”, the free range cult attacks parents who wish to provide parental supervision and adult oversight for children under 12 years old. What a silly argument. I cannot even believe this has become a debate. On what planet am I living when parents who want their 5-10 year old children to go places without adult supervision (e.g., park, mall, restaurant, walk home) react with vile words, respond with aggression and anger at parents who wish to provide parental oversight/supervision? Earth apparently.”

    Wait, there was kool-aid offered???
    This lady is clearly Lenore’s arch nemesis. And her kryptonite is apparently facts and statistics.

  30. pentamom June 4, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    My guess is that Karen Ruskin is sufficiently deluded that she thinks that she and Lenore were being equally spoofed, when it’s pretty clear that Lenore was mostly taken seriously and she was played up for a nutcase. I realize that might reflect some bias on my part, but if you pay attention to how Klepper was handling both of them and the audience reaction, Lenore’s side was being played much straighter than Ruskin’s.

  31. Warren June 4, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    I have a suggestion.

    Nationally televised debate Lenore Skenazy vs. Dr. Karen Ruskin. Each can bring two experts of their own to be on their panel.

    Moderator needs a sense of humour but needs to keep it serious without losing the audience.


    LENORE “PRO ABDUCTION” SKENAZY VS. DOCTOR KEEP EM LOCKED UP as the main event at the next WrestleMania.

  32. JJ June 4, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    Warren I really like your suggestion.
    “Nationally televised debate Lenore Skenazy vs. Dr. Karen Ruskin. Each can bring two experts of their own to be on their panel.”

    I don’t know if it could get on national television but there are many other and probably more effective media outlets. Lenore can you challenge her to a cyber duel? If writing is involved Dr. Karen is particularly doomed!

  33. Tsu Dho Nimh June 4, 2015 at 4:45 pm #


    How did you keep a straight face for that filming?

  34. Papilio June 4, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    Lenore, “you sick [BEEEEP]”, how on earth did you manage NOT to laugh???!!!
    It must have been hard though to still give him coherent answers when he’s distracting/making fun of you as much as he did!

    @Pentamom: yes, that’s what I thought when I lost my internet connection for a moment halfway through: that the interviewer is making fun of Lenore during the interview, but does support her point with those interfering parents, while he leaves Ruskin alone when interviewing her, but mocks her though that dumb kid graph etc.

    “eighth grader’s essay that has been translated from English into Portuguese, then into Korean, then back into English, by someone fluent in none of those languages”
    Or a computer. Those translating sites result in the most hilarious spam…

    The video worked for me. Perhaps aliens have abducted my entire neighborhood with me in it and placed it somewhere in the USA. O.O
    Okay, NOW I’m panicking 😛

  35. Steve M June 4, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    If you are outside the USA, use a proxy or Tor and specify a USA IP address or download it via BitTorrent.

    The torrent file and magnet link for the 2015 06-03 episode of the Daily Show



  36. bob m June 4, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    I LOVE that Lenore used “child abductor white” as the color of the van in her example of when it would be good

    to talk to a stranger

    these were found on 1st 2 pages of a google search “child abductor white”:

    “she was approached by a man driving a white van.”

    “His vehicle is described as a newer white, four-door midsize sedan…”

    “when a man in a white van pulled up next to him and offered him a ride…”

    “Investigators believe the girl was dropped off by a suspect in a four-door 2008-2012 white Nissan Altima…”

    “The girl reported seeing a white vehicle in the alley — a van, truck or SUV that was older with some rust.”

    “…a white van pulled over near her, and a man wearing a ski mask followed her on foot.”

    “… approached by a stranger in a white van… “

    Some of these were suspicious – most not. The only confirmed case I saw of the 10 I read was a man driving

    a BLACK Mercedes Sedan

  37. RJ June 4, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    Psychology and Psychiatric nut cases with “official credentials” are the reason society is so screwed up today.
    The government and society has thrown away common sense learned from centuries of tribal knowledge out the window and bowed down to these strange people with weird ideas bearing the approved sheepskins.
    Society’s current condition didn’t happen by accident… it was caused!

  38. Steve M June 4, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    The link posted by lollipoplover is blood boiling. I don’t know if she’ll delete it, but I commented and I hope that other will too because I included my take on FRP, but I think a variety of opinions would be useful.

    In case she deletes it, my comment is:

    Helicopter parenting is extremely damaging. Free-range parenting isn’t about being permissive, it’s about allowing your child to be self dependent. It’s not about giving your child carte blanche or blanket decisions like helicoptering, it is about making informed decisions based on your child’s abilities and the risks involved. I live in a small city and I don’t allow my daughter out of my sight outdoors because the risks are significant. However, if we lived in suburbia, she would be allowed to walk to her friend’s house unsupervised, just as I did at her age [8]. A few days ago, my daughter walked down the street to her friend’s house. Because of where we live, my wife watched her from the door until she got there. We also let her cook [supervised when using stove or oven]. She is self sufficient, independent, and proud of herself. This is Free Range Parenting.

    My wife’s 17 year old cousin was helicopter raised, she can’t take care of herself, doesn’t know that you still have to pay for stuff when you use a credit card, failed 4 grades, and has been molested twice, raped once, and date raped 3 times. She’s terrified of the world, has never had a job, and has absolutely no self worth.

    How can we expect our children to act like mature adults when they grow up if thwy never get any practice?

    The link:

  39. dancing on thin ice June 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

    I can’t help thinking about what is left out from both sides of any topic in news coverage these days.
    Many stories as covered by the media are heavily edited to push the viewpoint they want to tell.

    Fortunately, this was a comedy piece with a positive take towards FRK.
    It had 5 minutes of airtime but Lenore Tweeted that the interview was 2 hours long.

    I feel sorry for Dr. Karen, she may have to get therapy from another psychiatrist after the traumatic experience of not having her parents at the interview.

  40. dancing on thin ice June 4, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

    I was comparing this to other interviews that didn’t go so well such as with Nancy DisGrace.

  41. realjjj June 4, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

    In some parts of the world even the cows and goats come home on their own https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM2Wyx78sCY

  42. lollipoplover June 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    @Steve M-
    She probably will delete your (well said) comment. Controlling people usually don’t entertain other viewpoints.

    But this is now on her Facebook page:

    “An Open Letter to Dr. Karen Ruskin:
    Earlier today I posted the following comment on Dr. Karen Ruskin’s website, in the comment section for an article she wrote criticizing the Free Range Kids philosophy:
    Hi Dr. Ruskin,
    I was unaware of you or your views until watching the Daily Show, as I practice in a different part of the country. I specialize in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders and OCD. I am also a self-described free-range parent. I say that not to instigate, but rather to be open and honest about the fact that I have an agenda, which is to promote a lifestyle for children that fosters self-reliance, resilience, responsibility and fun.
    It’s my opinion that you send a dangerous message to parents and the community at large when you over-estimate danger, just as it is also dangerous to underestimate danger. Danger has an awful lot to do with probability, and so it is quantifiable. When you discuss danger with your patients and with the people watching you on TV, the idea of probability should be paramount.
    The message that an 8 year old cannot be left alone to fend off danger is multifaceted and should consider many factors (high crime vs low crime area, surroundings, cognitive ability, congested cityscape vs. suburb vs. rural, playing alone or in groups, etc). You are not taking into consideration all of these factors when you make blanket statements about children being able to play on their own.
    My children wear seatbelts and helmets and we have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors in our home. We, as parents, have calculated the probability of danger and also the cost of taking these precautions and have estimated that for a relatively low cost we can keeps our children safe from events that are unlikely to happen. The price that you are asking people to pay for being safe from kidnapping and murder is not worth the cost, which is fostering a sense of impending doom, isolation and learned helplessness.
    If this “what if” mentality were to guide our decisions we would all be helpless creatures, afraid of the world. I implore you to please consider reading into the research more carefully before making claims that are not in the best interest of our children.
    I understand that besides being a psychologist you are also in the entertainment field, but your words have tremendous consequences to people reading or listening to what you have to say.
    Michael Blumberg
    I had no intention on putting this on Facebook, but since she took down my post (while leaving up a post of someone who supports her view) I felt like I should post this.
    Feel free to comment, even if you disagree, and I promise I won’t delete your comment.”

    Wagers on how long it takes her to delete this from her Facebook page??

  43. Donald June 4, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    I’m in Australia and can’t watch the video. However it sounds like Karen is such a dingbat that she is actually helping the free range movement.

  44. Kevin June 4, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    That was awesomely funny. But then, I expect no less from The Daily Show. I was wondering about the psychologist myself but I see from the comments that she is for real. I have often said it’s a scary world out there. But I didn’t really know what scary was until I heard her.

    Keep up the good work Lenore!

  45. Travis June 5, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    Finally, this is brought in a positive light. From the second I adopted my son a little over a year ago, it’s like the world is looking at me like I’m a monster. Yes, I let my kid go to the park by himself, and he can cut his own meat, I don’t see why others feel the need to come and criticize me for it. One person actually referenced this woman to me, so I’m glad they put her in her place in this show.

    Glad you could bring this issue up in the daily show, Lenore!

  46. Nathan Hennig June 5, 2015 at 3:20 am #

    That is quite easily one of the best things I’ve ever seen! Couldn’t stop laughing.

    But really Lenore, you should be ashamed! How DARE you push your agenda with things like facts and statistics? Everyone knows that what really matters is feelings!! xD

    Keep up the good work.

  47. Cassie June 5, 2015 at 7:43 am #

    That was awesome, way to go Lenore.

  48. Cassie June 5, 2015 at 7:47 am #

    Me too… You need to use Hola Unblocker, it’s free (and unfortunate that it is necessary).

  49. Mike in Sweden June 5, 2015 at 7:56 am #

    @kathryn http://www.comedycentral.se/shows/506-the-daily-show

  50. Mike in Sweden June 5, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    “Dr.” Ruskin doesn’t hold a PhD. Shocking, huh?


  51. JKP June 5, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    @Mike in Sweden – Thanks for the link to her bio.

    I thought there were laws against calling yourself “Dr” without the proper credentials.

    Also what kind of title is “Media Psychotherapist”?

  52. Shaun June 5, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    Great bit. When I was a kid, my friends and I gathered up the mitts, bats and balls at 9 am, and didn’t return home until it was too dark to play. Of course there was the lunch break, but most of our parents were at work, so us 13 yr-olds were left to our own devices. If we ever (rarely) felt threatened by a strange person, we either ran off or simply laughed it off. Needless to say, we all made it safely into adulthood.

    As for the psychiatrist, I took great joy in watching her reduced to stuttering, then silence. It’s her kind of ignorance that adds to the peak in Effexor use, among other prescription drugs, and child obesity.

    Great job Lenore….keep up the positive work!!

  53. Kacey June 5, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    We caught it on the OSN replay last night from here in Saudi Arabia. It was fantastic! I loved that you were so calm and factual and Ruskin was hyped up and clearly outmatched.

  54. Havva June 5, 2015 at 10:02 am #

    Considering her history and lack of PhD, I would say “Media Psychotherapist” means she plays a psychotherapist on the internet and on TV.

  55. bob m June 5, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    Mike In Sweden:

    Karen Ruskin claims a Ph.D on her website, although she doesn’t list any of the schools where she obtained this degree.

    From her website:

    Credentials: Karen Ruskin, PsyD., LMFT. This mental health professional holds her Doctorate in Psychology, her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, and her Bachelor’s in Psychology. Provides counseling services as a Psychotherapist, specifically she is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Counseling couples, individuals (adults and children), and families since 1993. Clinical Fellow: American Association For Marriage And Family Therapy.

    It appears Ruskin has latched onto Lenore as a way of creating a controversy about parenting in order to promote her business, tv appearences etc

    She makes specific reference to Lenore several times on her site.

    I found no other folks called out by name

    She also deliberately mis-states Lenore’s philosophy in order to promote her own agenda/business

    The irony is that this woman seems to be in love with being on camera (I have seen her elsewhere) so much that she doesn’t realize she is closer to free range than she realizes. This point 9 in her 10 point Systemic Parenting Approach:

    9 – a parent who balances the importance for children to experience independent opportunities along with maintaining parental control

    The word control is a bit much for me, but balance is right word.

    She is clearly interested in this topic as a way of promoting her business and support the sale of her books.

    Clarity and consistency of argument just get in the way

  56. Sarah M June 5, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    This was so fun to watch!! You AND Melissa McCarthy? What a blast. Loved it.
    Sarah M

  57. Rina Lederman June 5, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    Man I hate that guy, and I love the add at the end.

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  59. Emily June 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    @Warren and J.J.–I’d never heard of Dr. Karen Ruskin until now, but I’m reading one of her articles (link is here: http://www.drkarenruskin.com/free-range-parenting-a-cult/), and the things she says are crazy. She basically thinks that giving an elementary-school-aged child (she said aged 5-10, for the sake of argument) any independence at all, meant letting the kid run wild, and make all the decisions in the household. In her mind, there’s no middle ground, but Free Range is really all ABOUT the middle ground, where the parent and the child adjust the child’s level of independence to his or her abilities and maturity level, and continue making adjustments as the child grows. Why is that such a hard concept? Until recently, before the sanctimommies and the bureaucrats and the people afraid of getting sued took over, that was just good parenting.

  60. Anne Ofalamo June 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    I laughed thru this. I am a mom of 7. They play outside, in parks, for hours…and my neighbors don’t like it. I am the fodder for many conversations…life is crazy!