Let’s Hear it for Some Positive Press, Part II

Okay, first, here’s the positive piece I showed you folks yesterday. It ran on The Huffington Post.

Now here’s another, from Canada, by Shannon Proudfoot at the Canwest news service. She even found a dad to interview who did  not think the idea was nuts.

As for TV, this interview was fun to do, since the anchor — funny, bright Rosanna Scotto, an anchor on New York’s local Fox channel — was openminded.

And  here’s an earlier post on the topic that ran in SFGate, by Amy Graff, who is going to take her own 7 year old to the park and let her play for a little bit.

And finally, for the moment, voila a nice interview we me in Spiked Online, Britain’s version of Slate. It is currently their top story.

There’s hope!

I’ll be on Laura Ingraham’s radio show at 10:15 this morning and on Brian Lehrer, on New York’s WNYC, at 11:30. — Lenore

24 Responses

  1. Nice throwing of the baby fat into the fire! Just heard about this and wanted to commend you for the idea. It fits right into the theme of the book, Last Child in the Woods, since it isn’t only about play, freedom, self-development, etc., but also being in touch with the nature that we can not live without, as much as city dwellers might think they do.

  2. Thank you so, so much for giving me PERMISSION to raise a healthy, independent kid!!

    When my first child, now 12, was just 12 months, we moved to Paris for 18 months. An American mother in Paris is like a fish out of water. I remember the other moms in Parc Citroen looking at me as though I were crazy because I hovered over her, never more than 10 feet behind my toddler, while well-heeled and composed Parisian moms gathered in other parts of the park–well out of sight of their rosey cheeked cherubs and let them play and explore–run over hills out of sight, climb the concrete stairs to different levels of the massive terraces, play with children (also unaccompanied and unencumbered) by grown ups, and EXPLORE the limits of the city and their own resolve!!

    Moving back to the U.S., I quickly learned that parks were meant not for exploration by little ones, but for endless parenting sessions and gripe fests by parents who for some reason fervently believe that their own suffering is somehow a yardstick for good mothering.

    Thank you, thank you for sticking up for those of us who rail against becoming another helicopter mom–for the sake of our children!!

    Eileen

  3. What are you thinking..? So, Why did you have children in the first place? Think on that? FreeRangeKids….What kind of parent or better yet, what example are you leaving the up and coming generations? Child Development? There is plenty of TIME to build self-esteem and build independant children..at the age of 7-9. Then, leaving a child/children in a Public Park s by themselves With NO supervision, for the preditor of America or other parts of the WORLD.
    Any parent that leaves their unsupervised child/childern in a Public Park…well, let’s say, I will keep you in prayer.. Hence, that NOTHING happens you your precious gift. If a parent doesn’t already realize: Having a child is a GIFT not an obligation or a toy to brag about!

  4. I keep reading that you think our children should be allowed the same freedoms that we had when we were children….are you a complete moron? You may as well just compare our children’s world to their grandparent’s world! Times they have a-changed, and if you would take the time to check your local sex offender registry, you would realize that a 7-year old should not be left in a park without parental supervision! I just hope that more parents have the sense to ignore your stupidity…and realize that there is a fine line between encouraging their children to be independent, and ignoring their role as PARENT.

  5. Cindy, your denigration is totally unnecessary, not to mention ignorant. The role of a PARENT is to create happy, functioning adults and that means teaching your child the skills needed to take care of them selves. That means at some point giving your child more and more freedom. And if you waited to give your child any kind of freedom when you dropped them off at college, then you FAILED. Times have changed, they’ve gotten better! Crime is down across the board, so what have we done! Equated Parent with Prison Guard. This is the big problem in my opinion. We need to give our kids the proper tools and then let them fly! (until dinnertime, at least).

    Lenore, good luck tomorrow! I know it’s been stressful but you are doing a great thing for our over scheduled, over nervous society.

  6. My great-grandfather quit school at seven-years-old to work in a shoe factory in order to support his mother and two sisters. So, yes, I think my eight and ten-year-old kids can handle the park, alone, for a couple of hours. When did the parents in this country collectively go freakin’ insane about controlling every minute of their children’s lives?

  7. Go Lenore! Most of the negative comments seem to be coming from people who are not really listening to what you have to say (not surprisingly).

    This reminds me of when we were on vacation in a safe, private summer community where everyone knows everyone, and after a week with just me, spouse and kids (9&7), some cousins came to join us. In the morning, we told the kids to go to the park to play – its about 200 yards away from the house. The eldest cousin (10) said, “aren’t you coming with us?” and was shocked when we said no. He asked, “what if something happens?” We said, “come get us.” And when his sister fell and scraped her knee, he did. But everyone survived and the kids felt empowered all week.

  8. Just heard about this. What a fantastic idea. It also makes me grateful I live in a neighborhood with a neighborhood school & tons of kids close by. My kids no longer have ‘play dates’, they just play. When they head out to ride their bikes, there’s usually a parade of kids following them by the time get around the block.

  9. Sheesh, I like how some of these people writing these comments seem to think sexual predators and kidnappers were invented after 1980. Ever hear of the Lindbergh baby? In fact, in the past people were less likely to report sexual crimes as they are today and there are still less incidents of it today.

    These people wonder why their kids grow up to become drug crazed psychopaths that never move out of the house.. It is amazing..

  10. Hi! I listened to you on WNYC today with Brian Leher Although I agree with most of your statements regarding letting children go out and play, please realize that it’s other parents’ judgment that really put a stop to this ‘free range play” at least in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Anyone attempting to allow their children to have independent play, will soon learn that Children Services will be knocking at the door, having been called by some ‘well intentioned: parent in the neighborhood.

    My almost 13 year-old son is finally allowed to ride the bus by himself for the 20 block ride to school, and I still get parents telling me, “What? You let him ride the bus alone?” Good luck with your project, that’s all I have to say….

  11. The journey of a thousand steps begins with one step.

    I think you’ve brought us a few steps closer.

    *SO PROUD* to be a part of this.

  12. Lenore,
    I wonder what would happen if we asked the kids that are currently teens/early 20’s their feelings..

    I think its time for you to start a facebook page to get their feedback, on how they felt about growing up in a state of fear (or not)

  13. Great comeback on WNYC of pointing out to the 72 YO woman that the incidents she cited, as is usually the case, were not from strangers.

  14. I think Yorlene and others here have it exactly right – it’s not that the external world at large has changed dramatically, but parenting has vastly changed. When I was a kid, as long as I wasn’t in the hospital, wasn’t failing, and wasn’t hanging out with what she perceived to be a bad crowd, my mom pretty much let me do what I wanted to. Did she love me less than parents today? No way! This was parenting circa 1975. Today, parents are judged way too harshly. Oh, your child’s not in the gifted program? Oh, I’m so sorry. Oh, he’s not on a team, that’s too bad. What enrichment program is she in this summer? On and on and on. You tell someone you left your child at the table while you used the bathroom? Horrors! You picked up your other child and left the first at home? And he was okay? So much judging and largely at the hands of other parents. And we all feel so darn guilty! Even look at poor Lenore! It makes me want to move to Paris and parent there. Oh, la la!

  15. Yeah, I’d like to see a Free Range Kids Facebook page.

  16. There is a Free Range Kids Facebook page. But it isn’t very active, and Lenore apparently doesn’t participate. Boo!

  17. The comments to those positive articles were astounding! (And not in a good way). But my favorite, by far was this one

    “”Would you let your 7-year-old play at the park alone?” In this country? are you out of your mind. of course not. Next thing you know he will be in a suitcase or you’ll see it 20 years later.” from wkxvida on the sfgate article.

    What makes it special? Why the Che Guevera picture used as the avatar. Oh yeah, with child protection advocate heroes like that it’s no wonder he senses murder and danger lurking everywhere.

  18. Thanks for the comment Lenore! Here is my updated version for tomorrow.

    http://marco4bella.blogspot.com/2010/05/do-you-know-what-tomorrow-is.html

  19. I heard Laura do the intro for your spot and then my local channel switched to their own morning program. Gah! I was not happy that I did not get to hear your interview. How’d it go?

  20. As a young 20-something…

    You can tell what parents babied their kids (and still continue to do so!) You will notice my twitching for one ;)

    When I first went to university I, and others who were either free-range or a little bit older, spent most our Thurs, Fri and Sat nights making sure our younger, less experienced friends didnt walk right into bad situations.
    After a year or so they get the hang of it.

    My friend is an inner city paramedic. She hates it that she spends half her Friday and Saturday nights picking up 18 and 19year old girls in hysterics because a) Theyve had too much too drink b) Theyve lost their friends or c) much much worse.

    Teach your kids how to look after themselves, in small increments, so when they become an adult I dont have to spend half my time out making sure they arent making very dumb choices. I have better things to do when I am out on the town.

  21. Reading some of the negative comments makes me wonder when they will simply call for the paving over of parks. No parks, no problem.

    I simply wish that people would realize that 30, 50, 100 years ago there were kidnappings, child molestations, everything we have bad today in human nature was bad then too. What is the difference? We are inundated by the media today. Wake up people- the world IS the same as it was when you grew up. The difference is that you are scared of it now.

    At any rate, hopefully saner heads will prevail. You had a great interview on Good Day NY. I’m sure that this time tomorrow night the press will be overblowing some minor bumps and bruises, but stay strong Lenore.

  22. @ Cindy Shafer

    You said ” Times they have a-changed, and if you would take the time to check your local sex offender registry, you would realize that a 7-year old should not be left in a park without parental supervision!”

    The only difference between your childhood and your childs is the registry! Are you really so simplistic as to believe that there were no sex offenders before the registry? The danger was GREATER when you were young because you didn’t know about them!

  23. Lenore, your interview on Spiked Online was terrifc! It was so clear, so well organized, so sensible and so inspiring all over again! I wish I could have a live feed from you as I encounter non free-rangers. I usually say stuff like, ah, yeah, it’s, om, good for them to be out and about by themselves to make, ah, decisions alone, you know?

    You are JUST SO RIGHT. Full stop, like they say in England (when they aren’t prowling for predators…) :)

  24. I have never commented here b/f but have read the blog for about 1 year. I watched the gdny interview on the internet and the Mrs. Oz that followed. I found it really interesting that she felt children were not capable of being at the park or unsupervised but she then went on to explain how they were dealing with the PTS type night terrors of her own son from playing call of duty video game.

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