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Why Are Millennials So Afraid of Freedom? I Think We Know

An extremely insightful and rather frightening op-ed idksbniybt
in yesterday’s New York Times
looks at why Millennials are “so wary of freedom.” It’s by Clay Routledge, a professor of psychology at North Dakota State University, and it cites stats about how the younger generation is less convinced that democracy or free speech are good ideas.  This crosses party affiliations, so it’s not like only conservatives care about liberty (which would be depressing in its own right).

The logical question then becomes:

 What unites so many young Americans in these attitudes? I propose that the answer is fear — the ultimate enemy of freedom.

Pause: Yup.

Parental culture in this country has become increasingly guarded and safety focused, as illustrated by the rise of “helicopter parenting.” The benefits of increased safety are many. But somewhere along the way, protecting children from needless harm became conflated with shielding them from stressors and uncertainties (such as having to solve everyday problems, like getting lost, on one’s own) that are critical for developing personal independence.

Of course, you know we never blame helicopter parents at Free-Range Kids, because even when parents WANT to let their kids walk home from school at, say, first grade, many schools won’t allow it, and it’s also possible the authorities could interpret it as neglect. So let’s blame our culture which INSISTS we helicopter and stunt our kids. How has it managed to do that?

It has told us for the past 30 years or so that everything our kids do on their own is likely to end up killing them. Walk around the neighborhood? Death. Trick or treat? Death. Home alone? Death. Or, if not death, our children will be hurt in such a way that they will never recover. Sleepover? They’ll be molested. Play at the park? They may be flashed. Take the bus? They could be bullied. And on and on and on. The “solution” (to a problem exaggerated beyond belief) has been to never let kids do anything on their own. Who cares if they don’t develop street smarts or resilience? They may be stunted, but at least they’re safe.

And now, at college, that cosseting culture continues:

Colleges and universities have exacerbated the problem of dependence by promoting what is sometimes called a culture of victimhood. American college students (who are some of the safest and most privileged people on the planet) are to be protected from, and encouraged to be ever-vigilant about and even report, any behavior that could cause emotional distress. Feelings and experiences that were once considered part of everyday life, such as being offended by someone’s political views, are now more likely to be treated as detrimental to mental health.

Once again the problem is underestimating young people. We think they can’t handle a walk to the park, a taunt on the playground (not persistent bullying — a taunt), and, when they get a little older, a visit to the campus by someone they disagree with.

There may be some benefits to an increased sensitivity to students’ psychological vulnerabilities. Young people today face unique stressors, such as the ease of harassment presented by social media. But instead of helping, a culture of victimhood worsens the underlying problem…. Indeed, despite growing up in a physically safer and kinder society than past generations did, young Americans today report higher levels of anxiety.

They sure do — huge Times article on that yesterday, too. The answer is simple — and hard. We have to give our kids back some unstructured, unsupervised time in which they deal with life’s curveballs on their own, growing brave and confident in the process. And we have to make sure society accepts the fact we refuse to keep helicoptering.

In truly dangerous neighborhoods, we may have to give kids their independence indoors. They can make dinner, visit a neighbor in the building, babysit. But in neighborhoods where bullets aren’t flying, it is time to get them back into the outside world.

Consider having your school adopt the Let Grow Project (formerly Free-Range Kids Project), where kids go home and do one thing on their own that they feel ready to do, like walk the dog. Or consider getting together with some other neighbors and sending the kids outside together, but without a security detail. Consider asking your kids to run some errands so they become part of the community. Consider getting your city council to declare your town a Capable Kids Community, where children are expected to be outside on their own, not treated as AWOL prisoners from safety land.

We are coming to recognize that in our desire for zero risk we have made our kids too safe to succeed. We can change that by insisting on our right to give them back the freedom to run around, screw up, and grow up.


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36 Responses to Why Are Millennials So Afraid of Freedom? I Think We Know

  1. sayford ford October 16, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    i grew up in the 50’s and 60’s,if i told you about my childhood,you would send the 82nd Airborne to arrest my parents!

  2. Theresa Hall October 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    Some of it could be the broken window theory. People thought if you knocked sense into people even over little things then they wouldn’t turn into big time criminals. Sadly it seems had the opposite effect. By treating small stuff as big deal everyone becomes a big time criminal in the laws eyes and since we can’t have that we go overboard trying save them from all those criminals who may be real big time criminals.

  3. Kenny Felder October 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    Here are two observations on our current culture. It’s not entirely clear to me that they are related, but they may be.

    1. If Person A says something, and Person B says “that offends me or hurts my feelings,” our culture today assumes that Person A is at fault and needs to change his ways. Always, and without question.

    2. If you ask “What is an acceptable risk that this will cause real harm?” the only acceptable answer today is “zero.” Anyone who says “Gee, I think I can live with one-in-a-billion” is considered heartless.

    I have no idea how to change those. I have no idea if it’s possible to change those. But they haven’t always been true, and they are utterly toxic.

  4. Troutwaxer October 16, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

    Everyone will die. There is no such thing as a billion-to-one risk. Everyone will die. Everyone is deluded and imagines that somehow they (or their kids) won’t die.

    Once you know, for sure that the cute two-year-old you’ve given birth to WILL DIE, then you can make good decisions about which risks are useful and which are not. Until you understand, firmly and honestly, that someday your child will die, you’ll probably be a lousy parent.

  5. Ariel October 16, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    >”Who cares if they don’t develop street smarts […]?”

    For most parents (including mine) the full sentence would be “Who cares if they don’t develop street smarts […] when they’re never going to be out there without me, anyways.” That’s the problem. A lot of parents just refuse the idea that there will ever be a time when having learned those skills will be useful. It’s like clipping a bird’s wings and then wondering why they don’t fly; “after all I did for them!” (A/N: “after all I did for them” is usually intended as the same as “look at all the opportunities I gave them”, but no.)

  6. SarahMom October 16, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    I wonder if a series of public readings of The Lord of the Flies wouldn’t help, too. Kids need and deserve some unstructured freedom, and they’ll benefit most from it with some breaks for reflection on how people’s unchecked behavior gravitates toward our most base reactions. They will learn from tough situations. They’ll learn more when we give them opportunities to react and reflect with the guidance of those who’ve been through the ringer and come out the other side with some wisdom to offer.

  7. Wendy R Leibowitz October 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    As you have noted before, this helicopter parenting fear is accompanied by a fear that our child will be “left behind” academically. So there’s an early push to read and write, which is often developmentally inappropriate, which makes some kids feel stupid or inadequate at an early age, and increases clinginess.
    Parents then fill up after-school time with tutoring, which is an expensive alternative to “go out and play.”
    My daughter had homework in pre-school. She (and I) refused to do it. When I screwed up the courage to tell the teacher, the teacher said, “Oh, half the class doesn’t do it, and the parents of the other half want more homework.” Our poor kids. And teachers. And parents.

  8. James October 16, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    I think there are two things going on here.

    First, there are actual safety concerns. It wasn’t that long ago that child mortality was a common aspect of life. Children were often working in very dangerous industries–for example, glass blowing. When the beer industry went to automated bottle blowers, it put a bunch of kids out of work. Then there are things like safety equipment, like seat belts, that have real, practical value in terms of keeping large numbers of children from dying.

    The second thing happening, though, is “keeping up with the Joneses”. Safety became THE thing “Good Parents” worried about. Since this is tied to social status, not objective reality, there’s no limit to what can be required. It doesn’t even matter if it’s effective or not–because the goal isn’t to BE safe, it’s to APPEAR TO BE safe. It’s like someone buying a house or a car way outside of their price range, in order to appear more affluent than they are.

    The first aspect gives the second aspect plausibility–a classic mote-and-bailey tactic. And once we’ve accepted that any risk to children is unacceptable, it gains the moral high ground–any critics can be silenced as baby-killers. It seems to be a fundamental aspect of human nature that whenever such a situation occurs, the most irrational people take charge.

    The only solution I can see is to fight the moral premise that all risk is unacceptable. NO situation is without risk, so obviously we must accept SOME risk. That paints the argument as a debate about the relative costs and benefits, where it should be, rather than “You’re willing to let one out of every ten trillion children die? YOU MONSTER!!!” Of course, this requires being in a community sane enough to side with the person arguing that we shouldn’t let fear run our lives. And the less we allow people to experience normal human life–ie, the less we allow children to interact with the world around them–the fewer such people there will be.

  9. Dee October 16, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    I’m torn about the demonstrations on college campuses. On the one hand, I applaud the students for standing against those they believe are spreading hate. But I agree, the whole idea of micro aggressions seems to have gone too far.

  10. Andy October 16, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    @Kenny Felder

    Let me guess — you’re usually Person A.

  11. jimc5499 October 16, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    I just wish that the college students would use a little more critical thinking and make an informed opinion instead of just parroting the views that they are being taught.

    I was interviewing people for a position last week. I had an applicant come in with his Mother. I thought that she had just given him a ride, no she wanted to sit in on the interview.

  12. James October 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm #


    “On the one hand, I applaud the students for standing against those they believe are spreading hate.”

    There are protests, and there are protests. A protest that reaches the point where the folks giving the talk don’t feel safe giving it–where they feel there’s sufficient risk to pull a paid speaker–indicates that the protest is not peaceful, and that the protestors have crossed a line.

    But that’s not really what this is about. This survey–and this isn’t the only one I’ve seen with these results–indicates that college students think it’s GOOD to curtail freedom of expression, and that certain people should be governed without representation in the government. This means: That certain people are lesser than others. Protests are another form of free expression (if they don’t devolve into rioting, anyway); what we’re talking about is people WANTING TO BE RULED. They may express it differently, but it’s the inevitable consequence; if we don’t have freedom of expression or “democracy”, someone is telling us what we can and can’t say, and that someone isn’t someone we chose. This is the mentality of someone who never grew up–not Peter Pan’s free spirit, but a cringing coward looking to hide from the world behind Mommy and Daddy.

    (Democracy is in scare-quotes above because we do not have a democracy in the USA, we have a representational republic. Democracy was considered a really bad idea by most political thinkers at the time of the Revolution, because it inevitably devolved into “Whoever convinces the biggest chunk of people gets to rule everyone however they want”; our country was founded on the principle that no one ruled, that we would delegate authority to certain, ideally respected, individuals to establish common laws within a rigid framework. That said, education has reached such a low point that most people don’t understand the difference between a democracy and a republic, despite the fundamental differences.)

  13. shdd October 16, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    My 16 year old interviewed for one summer job and one school year Sunday job without either parent present. She got both jobs without our assistance. For math tutoring her math tutor is amazed she takes a bus from her high school to two blocks away from the tutors house and walks herself. She said a middle school child would never be ever to navigate that. I said my high school student was able to do it without a problem. She doesn’t even need to cross a street.

  14. Donald October 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    Fear Fear Fear is so fun! We can’t get enough of it! We need more!

    Q. Where does the majority of fear come from?
    A. Television and the internet.

    Q. Why are we putting so much fear on them?
    A. Because that’s what people want.

    Today’s post shows the side effects of this entertainment.

  15. Donald October 16, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

    Freedomphobia is taught to many at birth and continues their entire lives.

  16. test October 16, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

    In a country that incarcerates the most people in the world (as a percentage of the population), has the longest sentences and where people who were in prison more then one year loose voting rights and hiring them means you did not do due diligence, where anything less then zero tolerance or broken window is “bleeding heart weaklings” and “not tough enough” adults are shocked that young people “want to be ruled” and are “not freedom loving” enough.

    You know, there might be some relation between those too. The generation that created all of the above played freely.

  17. Dienne October 16, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    Good point, test.

  18. patricia howard October 16, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

    Being an immediate post ww2 baby I was blessed with a father who fought in the war but had the utmost confidence in my ability to look after myself having armed me with some good guidelines,boundaries and trust. We had our differences as I got to my teens but I was aware that I was not a fearful person and could and would speak out about things i saw as being unjust. I heard a line in an Australian movie Strictly Ballroom A Life Lived in Fear is a life half lived” and it really went home to me as to how many people do live in fear and as a consequence live their
    lives by other people’s opinions of how they ‘should’ act or speak. My younger sister once told me I had never learned to keep my mouth shut and I often wonder how frustrated people must feel who do this and how much of today’s illnesses are as an indirect result of such suppression.

  19. SKL October 16, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

    Totally silly aside, but I took my kids to see the musical Wicked in NYC this past weekend. Spoiler: according to the show, the reason the cowardly lion was a coward was because the main character saved it as a cub instead of letting it fight its own battles. 😛

    During the show, my kid kept needing to use the restroom, so after the first time when I discovered it was very close to the door near our seats, I let her go alone. While the other adults with me were having heart attacks. 😛

    Someday … someday going to the bathroom alone will not raise eyebrows. Maybe when they are in college?

  20. test October 16, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

    Even this blog and its visitors accept the danger and risk framing. Playing outside is described as “learning to accept risk” or “learning from tough situations”. I have zero plans to put my kids into risk and given generally much better life results of kids that did not went through “tough situations” and were not bullied, I would do quite a lot to ensure my kids wont go through them unnecessary. It just so happens that there is virtually no risk in real world parks. So like, they are not learning to accept danger (cause there is basically none), but they learning that it is safe. If bullying happens, I wont force them to go there. Bullying victims I have seen just became more shy, submissive and fearful anyway. Then some of them bullied weaker kids.

    The other reason for all the rules is that, at least in my observation, many American adults don’t like kids and are hostile to the idea that kids might be around in pretty much any non-kid oriented social occasion. The safety is imo just excuse to get kids out of wherever they currently are or are currently doing. If there are kids walking to school, adult drivers have to be more careful. Adult drivers really don’t like that. If there are kids in swimming pool, there is a bit more noise there. Adults don’t like that, so lets call it unsafe. Even in good old times, twelve years old would occasionally decide to play chase in store. It happened. Adults cant accept such occasional disturbance, better proactively make it not legal for them to come.

    And the third sub-reason, I suspect, are cultural wars around moms working. On one hand, it makes stay at home moms insecure and in need to explain their own usefulness. If you are not working hard, if you just sit there, maybe you are lazy and should have been at work. On the other hand, guilt tripping is effective strategy against working middle class moms, plus it makes the balancing harder, so lets overplay how much is moms physical presence needed. (As far as cultural wars went, fathers were irrelevant except when complaining about single moms and not really important except to compete at work and earn a lot of money. Which is kinda unfair, but well.)

  21. Steve N October 16, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

    To SKL:
    I’ve lived in some of our country’s bigger cities — Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and NYC. Contrary to popular perception, I think that NYC is probably the safest place to send your kid to the bathroom alone. I don’t know what it is, but so many people living so close to each other seem to understand that you have to look out for each other. New Yorkers are some of the nicest people around.

  22. Theresa Hall October 16, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

    When it comes to bullies I believe if you can talk some sense into them without help or threats they please do so. If they are trying to pound you unlike the silly folks in charge of our schools I believe you have a right to defend yourself. Because the guy getting pounded might end up in the hospital if he doesn’t defend himself by the time help comes. If you want to argue with someone till the end of time go for it. Disagreements are a part of life just like bullies but we have learn to deal with it.
    I think my teachers from when I was a kid could use the lessons on when to butt out. Once I this boy I barely knew in highschool blowing kisses at me. We only had one class together and I didn’t know him anywhere else but those kisses were a pain from my point of view. Since the teacher who class it was wouldn’t tell him knock it off I tried to politely tell him off. Before I could see if he could get the message my other teachers told the principle about it and although he did knock Sense into the pain in the neck boy I was trying to handle it myself.
    Although I still don’t believe the boy’s excuse that he was waving at me. Yeah right you’re in highschool and you don’t know what blowing kisses looks like and what waving looks like maybe that excuse could true when the dinosaurs walk again.

  23. David N. Brown October 16, 2017 at 6:25 pm #

    I think bullying is the one problem that got worse over time, at least during the previous century. What I have found striking from my own experiences is that the worst abuse was from groups of kids that I mostly didn’t know or have any means to identify. In hindsight, I think this was just one aspect of “big city” anonymity.

  24. Donna October 16, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

    SKL – Your companions probably would have really had a heart attack if they had seen me leave my child outside the Museum of Natural History while I went inside to find (not particularly easily) and use the bathroom and then I stayed outside while she went in (we had several shopping bags that we didn’t feel like taking through security so we went in separately).

  25. James October 16, 2017 at 10:13 pm #


    “The other reason for all the rules is that, at least in my observation, many American adults don’t like kids and are hostile to the idea that kids might be around in pretty much any non-kid oriented social occasion.”

    An interesting take. I’ve certainly seen that attitude, though I haven’t though about it much. There’s definitely a view in our culture that children are an inconvenience, to be tolerated at best.

    There’s also a related attitude: People want the kids to be there, but they want the kids to be ornaments, not participants, in the events–ie, to do what they’re told, when they’re told, and to not act like kids. They want to have been there with their kids, not to BE there with their kids, if that makes any sense.

    One example that springs to mind: At a Christmas parade a while back, my son started sword-fighting with another boy. They were using foam rods that lit up. From my perspective, they were polite about it–they were trying to hit the “swords”, they weren’t hitting each other (very much, and when they did it was treated as part of the fun), and they’d stop if people had to walk by. The other family was…less amused. Thing is, it took over an hour for the parade to start. Kids get board; these two handled it by making a new friend and playing a fun game. To my wife and me, this was an added bonus. But it wasn’t what they were “supposed to do”, so the other family freaked out and dragged the kid–who was angry and confused about leaving his new playmate–away from us.

    On the flip side, and to provide a counter-example to illustrate the insanity of the first: there was an SCA event (Medieval re-enactment) that we brought our kids to. A knight walked by while my boys were fighting with foam swords, and gave them tips. Then the boys, and a few others, went after a 13-year-old kid who, instead of being upset by it, had the time of his life taking on between two and five random kids! The adults watched, but only in the sense that they made sure the kids playing didn’t get in the way of the adults playing; that’s a legitimate safety risk by any standard.

  26. Coccinelle October 16, 2017 at 11:30 pm #

    Not saying helicopter parenting or even the fear mongering everywhere doesn’t affect this generation but I think the biggest culprit for the rise of anxiety is the school system. Too much stress, too much insisting they can’t fail ever or their life will be ruined forever.

  27. Bill P. October 16, 2017 at 11:57 pm #

    I just had a thought.

    No wonder the TV show “Strange Things” is set back in the 1980s. If they tried to have a modern setting, there wouldn’t be kids careering off on their bikes to solve mysteries – and get into dangerous scrapes.

    No one would believe it!

  28. Roger the Shrubber October 17, 2017 at 6:57 am #

    Andy October 16, 2017 at 2:53 pm #
    @Kenny Felder – Let me guess — you’re usually Person A.
    Andy – You just made Kenny into Person B. But the point that you are avoiding is that Person B’s hurt feelings should not give him or society any authority to suppress Person A’s speech in the name of protecting others from similar hurt feelings.

  29. Helen Armstrong October 17, 2017 at 8:14 am #

    Test – you make some very interesting, thought-provoking points, especially the one regarding not liking kids. Essentially, it’s the “inconvenience” they cause for the adults by being independent that’s the problem, not a fake concern for their well-being. I also like and agree with your point about moms – talk about being in a no-win situation, as it doesn’t matter if they’re stay-at-home moms or work outside the home, they’re often judged harshly either way.

    I wish people in general could stop worrying so much about what others think of them and the decisions they make, and just get on with their lives. Unless the decisions they’re making are truly harmful to themselves or others, the rest of the world should just MTOB (mind their own business) – live and let live.

  30. Backroads October 17, 2017 at 9:04 am #

    I will speak for the school system: we have kids in interventions immediately upon entering kindergarten. And no, I am not talking about the kids already on some IDEA, but your nuerotypical kids who “are behind”. Behind on what?

  31. Specht October 17, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    Just reminded me: My university actually kicked a student out of student government for suggesting they invite a certain speaker who was likely to be unpopular with most of the students. When I heard about this my thoughts were: I wouldn’t like this speaker either, but I don’t have to go see him, others should have choices, and: This seems like a way to artificially suppress the appearance of hate, but not address the root cause.
    On my campus I have felt like there is little chance to have a nice political debate. Everyone I come across at my school either shares my views ( most people ), or is uncomfortable at the thought of discovering that some disagreement might take place, thus hiding their views when I share mine. I feel like I am in a bubble.

  32. Lois Marshall October 17, 2017 at 9:38 am #

    At my wedding, I included among the restrictions that no persons under the age of 18 were to be present. I love children, and would have loved to have them there, with child chaos, infant crying during the ceremony, and all. However, the best man was on probation like the young man in a recent blog post, and would not have been able to be best man had there been children in attendance. It would have been a violation of his probation, and during his next probation meeting he was intensively grilled about whether there were any persons who might have been under 18 there. He was able to truthfully answer that he knew that the young adults present were at least 18, as they were members of the family. He brought along a copy of the invitation with him, and I went with him to insure that the probation officer did not decide that he might have unintentionally violated his probation.
    It is no longer merely about whether you want children present. Sometimes it is about whether you are legally permitted to have children there at the same time as some adults.

  33. Craig October 17, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    This is a great article, but is not aware of the other contributing causes aside from hover parenting (the root of which is part of the bigger problem)

    “1. If Person A says something, and Person B says “that offends me or hurts my feelings,” our culture today assumes that Person A is at fault and needs to change his ways. Always, and without question.”

    @Kenny Felder

    If you are offended it means you are identified with something that is too small. Our own inner states, our emotional body is something that only we ourselves can ever be responsible for. We can change how we see things at any moment. We have the power to heal. People who make others responsible for their inner states are powerless, or believe themselves so. Thus in continual victim seeking will always be victims. They need a good therapist to help them to see this, but more likely, deprogramming.

    I can line up 10 people and say the same words to them, a couple will be horribly offended, ‘triggered’ maybe, one or two other may be uncomfortable, the rest won’t care. what is the difference between those who are offended and those who aren’t? So it can’t be my words that are the problem, only each persons inner state. Now sure, if I am deliberately seeking to offend, that is just being an asshole and I have to own it and apologize. But If offence occurs in regular conversation, today this is the result of mind control, emotional programming. (Don’t laugh, it is true) What is really needed is for these people to undergo a kind of cult deprogramming. This programming happens chiefly at schools and universities but also from interacting with other programmed people. It is almost always emotional in nature. Who besides me has seen adolescents come home from school crying that they want to be vegetarians because eating meat is destroying the planet? Emotional programming..

    Emotionally programmed people, when they are triggered actually do not have access to any rational faculty in that moment, they attempt to think with emotions which cannot be done. Ever tried to apply reason to a person like this? They are simply not able to hear what you say. It’s limbic brain operation.This programming will eventually break down. If they don’t get help with deprogramming. Their behavior is easy to predict and easy to trigger. These people are easy to manipulate (This is why advertising and news work so well) They become parasites and feed off the attention they get from playing this role and operating this way. They do not seek healing or correction for themselves, but more attention and energy from others, constantly looking for ways to claim their exalted status. If you keep them triggered the programming will eventually start to break down but it won’t be pretty. They need to feed, and if you do not give them what hey want they will get angrier, then they will start to try to feed off their agreeable peers, turn against each other. The worst thing you can do to a crybully is apologize to them to try to calm them down. Just keep them triggered.

    it is up to each of us individually to become aware of our own programming, to see it clearly and outgrow it, leave it behind. This is the single most powerful thing we can do to change the world, change ourselves. Start to learn how your ideas about yourself and your world do not arise naturally from within you, but have been given to you, put into you by someone who benefits from you seeing things as you do. This is in-authenticity. I am seeing people everywhere starting to figure this out.

    It is a very deep rabbit hole but the most rewarding thing you will ever do. Start with searching youtube for John Taylor Gatto. Former two-time NYC teacher of the year. Read his books, One of which is The Underground History of American Education” From him you will learn that the reason school is 12 years long is to install into each of us very specific responses to authority, and that the ‘authority’ is always everybody but you. You are conditioned that you must always defer to someone else as you will never be smart enough to discover your own answers.

    Then google Edward Bernays and download and read two of his short books; Propaganda and Crystallizing Public Opinion. Keep in mind that these books are almost a century old and that systems in use now go much deeper and are much more sophisticated. Also keep in mind that the more you become aware of your own programming, the less susceptible you are to these influences. The freer you are. and the more clearly you can see how the world works and how other people work. There is so much more that can be said but this is a good place to start.

    And for kids, homeschooling is the best option.

  34. Eric S October 17, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    Many parents are raising “invalids”. Whether they realize it or not. With the expectation that that when they reach “adulthood”, they will be “fine”. That is the definition of ignorance.

    It’s “raise your kids to become successful adults”. Not, “shelter your kids, and hope for the best”.

    I still believe, it starts with authorities. If they kept their noses out of family affairs, I think parents will be more inclined to raise their kids proper, without fear of getting arrested, or their kids taken from them. Of course, this doesn’t mean they can abuse their kids if they get out of hand. But it will certainly help when parents and children are ready for them to start doing things on their own. Like walking to school by themselves. Or taking public transit. Or even playing outside on their own. All with no repercussions from busy bodies, authorities, schools, etc… You know, like it was back in the day/generations past.

  35. John B. October 17, 2017 at 4:18 pm #


    Wow! You really went into super psycho-philosophical/analytical detail there in your post but in muddling through it all, I think you were spot-on in your assessment of the snowflake generation. Especially the part about “emotional programming” and you’re exactly right, this type of programming is happening at the universities and even at the elementary and high school level. I call it a form of brainwashing.

    Now it’s true that we need to provide our kids a certain level of emotional comfort as we did in previous generations but we also need to do a better job of emphasizing emotional toughness and resilience among today’s children which they sorely lack.

  36. Ricky October 22, 2017 at 9:32 pm #

    Wendy R Leibowitz: I had a stay at home Mom. She home schooled me from the age of 4. When I started first grade in 1958 I was at a third grade level. Fortunately my teachers realized I would be bored by the basic curriculum and used me as their aid to assist struggling students. In second grade We were on our weekly trip to the library. I found and interesting book and took it to the desk for check out. The librarian said “Oh honey this book is for much older kids”. My teacher overheard. She randomly opened the book and had me read a paragraph. The librarian said “Honey. You can check out any book you want”. This is the book.

    The Invisible Island
    by Dean Marshall
    “Actually it was an island! Right in the middle of the wooded acres surrounding their new home up in Connecticut! On one side was the pond, on another a wide brook, and running from that to the pond, another, narrower brook. So here the four young Guthries were, ‘cast away on a desert island’ which they promptly named Invisible.

    Mother sent ‘rations’ from ‘the wreck’ which was the name they gave the house beyond the orchard; David discovered a cave; Winkie, who still believed in fairies, caught a glimpse of a dryad (with freckles); and a pleasant, shivery mystery hung over the island from the very beginning. Solved, it put the happiest possible ending to a story already bursting with all the things children love. Here are summertime and out of doors and make believe all woven into a story of exceptional beauty.”
    hardcover, 191 pages
    Published 1948 by E.P. Dutton & Co.
    It was like a training manual for Free Range Kids. At that age I was already allowed to go play at a nearby creek alone. I want my 8 year old Grandson to read it.