A guest post from Top 50 Mom Blogger Lenore Skenazy:
Reality TV, baby! That’s where I’m heading. I’m about to become the sort of Not-So-Super Nanny who comes to the homes of overprotective, worried-sick parents and says, “You can loosen up. It’s okay.”
Because that’s what I really believe. After I let my 9-year-old ride the subway himself, I started the Free-Range Kids book, blog and movement dedicated to the fact that, despite what we hear in the media, our kids are NOT in constant peril. In fact, FBI stats show the crime rate today is LOWER than when most of us parents were growing up in the 70s and 80s.
And yet, we’re more afraid than ever. Afraid to let our kids walk to school, or go on sleepovers, or even spend the afternoon just playing outside instead of at some organized activity. Every day in every way we are warned that if we don’t hover, our kids aren’t going to “make” it physically, academically, socially.
Most of us thrived on the freedom our parents gave us. Think of the joy of riding a bike around the neighborhood. Think of all the skills involved in organizing our own baseball games. Think of the responsibility we took on — and rose to — when we babysat at 11, or sold cookies door to door without a security detail.
Those things are great for kids. They build the kind of self-confidence we keep trying to Botox in with excess praise and trophies. We FEEL that something is missing from our kids’ lives that sense of self-reliance — but we are told by the Nancy Grace-ified media that letting them out of our sight is “too risky.”
I’ll be visiting families that would like to loosen up but are just too worried. Or maybe one spouse is ready, one isn’t. If you live around New York City or Toronto and are overworried, over-helicoptering or overscheduling your kids (or know someone who is) and would like to change, kindly drop a line with your story — in confidence — to Sylvia Lee, the casting director, at (416) 504-7317 x 618. Or email her at email@example.com.
I’d love to meet you!
Lenore Skenazy is a ParentDish columnist and founder of the book, blog and movement, Free-Range Kids.