THIS MONDAY ON DR. PHIL!

Hello, Free Rangers —

This is just a note to say that on Monday, Sept. 29, I’ll be on Dr. Phil discussing this whole issue.  If you tune in, you’ll see that it’s about “Extreme Moms.” Naturally, I don’t think I’m extreme. I think letting kids walk to school, ride their bikes or go to a friend’s home without treating it like a trek across Siberia (or Liberia) is a good and normal thing to do. Even a wholesome, old-fashioned thing to do. But anyway – the show was really deep and surprising, as was Dr. Phil. You’ll see! And then I’d love to hear your thoughts. – Lenore

47 Responses

  1. Good luck! I am not much of a daytime TV watcher so I doubt I will have a chance to see you but I hope it goes well. Er since it’s already taped I guess I hope it went well.

  2. […] show was recommended by a guest who will appear – Lenore, from Free Range […]

  3. How wonderful! Do you think you changed anyone’s mind?

  4. It’s a trap!

    I’d love to see the word get out but don’t be surprised if he blindsides you with mothers who’s children were attacked by wilding teens on meth who slept with their underage daughter’s pitbull.

  5. Since when is letting your kids walk to school EXTREME??? How did we get to that screwed up place???

  6. Good luck! I hope there is some feedback from your appearance. Certainly, I am not a free ranger but if there is some meaningful discussion and thought inspired by you being on the show that would be great.

  7. So I finally get around to checking your website & I see that, wow!, I will be able to see your TV appearance Monday (since Friday is my last day youknowwhere and I will actually be home).

    As someone who grew up free range, in an era when that was the norm, I find the topic, and the debate, fascinating. “Come home when the streetlights go on” is not the stuff of myth. In the summer, that was the standard rule for my friends and me.

  8. I’m so excited that this concept will be getting some publicity!

    I wrote about your website on my brand-new blog, and linked to you; my very first post is about free-range kids, along with a photo of some of the kids on our island who’d climbed up pretty high above the ground, on a school playground where kids are still allowed to be free.

    I definitely raised free-range kids, and I have stories to tell… For example, here on this island, which is about 4 square miles in area, about a dozen kids ages 11 to 15 did a three-day walk around the island. Camping out on the beach at night, making campfires, packing along their own food. No adults. None. And actually, back then, (about 7 years ago) no working cell phones, because this is a fringe area and there wasn’t any reception.

    There was certainly risk. My daughter managed to miss her footing and fall down a cliff, where her fall was broken by a small tree. She only ended up with a bloody knee, and the other kids were pleased at the chance to use the first aid kit they’d packed along. The point is that there IS risk in the world, but if you try to eliminate it you end up starving something crucial in the human spirit.

  9. Thanks for the support! — Lenore

  10. I thought that your article in Reader’s Digest was phenomenal! I could not agre with you more. My wife and I live in a great middle-class neighborhood in Gilbert, AZ and there are never children playing freely. There are always parents lurking in the distance. It’s kind of creepy and its sad. Good Luck and I think you are a great mom by teaching your child about life, not protecting him from it.

  11. After it airs could you please post a youtube, or some other service, video for us to see? I don’t watch television, we don’t get any channels here, but I’d like to see what happens.

    Regards,
    -Benjamin

  12. and all this time I thought it was the helicopter parents who were “extreme”

    Heidi

  13. I have a feeling Dr. Phil will appreciate your stance and have some empathy will free-ranger parents. I was on Dr. Phil three years ago as another extreme sort of mom mainly because I demanded that my kids learn how to put away their own stuff and become self-sufficient before their teen years! I just read the Readers Digest article last week and felt like a wimp because my idea of letting my kids out on their own just means riding their bike a mile or so to a city park to watch a friend’s football game. Of course, I realized that in the suburbs of Oklahoma, navigating a subway isn’t an essential tool to gettin’ around! Yea for you Lenore. In 12 years, your son will be a self-sufficient adult while his peers are trying to understand why nobody has come to their parents house to offer them a job!

  14. I think that what you’re doing is fantastic and just plain common sense. I do have an issue with what was said on the Dr. Phil show. You said that any (insert age) year old should be able to do this. I know that my 10 year old, who has some emotional disabilities, couldn’t find his way out of the store. My son looks perfectly normal but truly is not. So I wouldn’t want to be judged for being a “helicopter parent” who really must hover. Thank you for your courage because a lot of parents might not understand.

  15. I think this show was great! I was raised in a family that wasn’t too strict, but definitely had more limitations. I always wished I was pushed more to do those things on my own, instead of always being forced to go with people. I’m not 21 years old and still have no idea how to read a map for the subway! I wish I did, because for some reason it just challenges me more. It’s such a better idea to let them just get out there and do it and teach themselves. It’s like that quote “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
    Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” -?. I probably have tons of insecurities and fears about doing certain things on my own because I was never allowed to do many things by myself. Naturally I have an independent personality, so this never was good for me to be forced to be dependent on people in a way. You’re very courageous for doing this, it’s awesome. Hopefully more people begin to give their children more freedom. It gives them confidence in their own abilities and teaches them they can do anything if they learn and teach themselves. It’s a different type of knowledge I don’t think many people grow with. I enjoyed this show and I’m definitely inspired by it.

  16. OMG…..I had the neighbor call the police on me for being a worthless no good mother…I allow my 10 year old to walk or bike ride to school, the park, the gas station, and the grocery store….she hangs out for hours around town….I was concerned there is a pedefile living next door to the park????? I guess if his parole officer allows it and there are so many others around the park it is OK. I am in a small town…I work in a little bit of a larger town and I do not allow my daughter out of the yard where I work….but others do and that is there choice. What a great page you have here. It is sad the world has come to this. Like I told the mom who called the police on me for being under protective….I told her I was not raising my daughter to be a pussy….such as her son’s….

  17. I am the mother of a 4 month old, so I don’t yet grasp just how mature a 9 year old is. When I first heard the lead in for the Dr. Phil show about a 9 year old riding the subway alone I thought “I could never do that!”. Then I saw the beginning of the show. Your son is so smart, and he really seemed ready. Since he wanted it, that made me take a step back. When I was 12 I used to ride the bus from school to my dance studio every day. I knew the bus drivers, and they looked out for me. I never feared it. You are absolutely correct in saying that kids have to be allowed to be independent. I don’t think you’re extreme at all. Very reasonable. Every parent has to take their own factors into consideration (the location, activity, and child’s readiness), and you emphasized that. I’m definitely inspired by you, I think your approach is much healthier than helicopter parents (Though I still can’t get on board with the subway, the last time I rode, there was a stabbing and I was detained as a witness – so no subways in our area).

  18. I think one mistake that you are making is “assuming” other people would help him.
    If you were to do a survey on how many people given the choice would do the right thing or not, most would not do the right thing. We live in a uncivilized soceity.
    I have a 15 and 9 year I homeschool and I am in their lives and up their but 24/7. Any time unsurpvised can end in trouble.
    I don’t think it right that you expect everyone else to take the responsiblity of your chld. I don’t want to be walking down the street wondering where that childs mother is.
    Maybe it because you just want time to your self.

  19. Great job on the Dr. Phil show. You came across as as a mom that is raising a very competent and capable young man – isn’t that what all parents should be doing. It’s a shame so many children reach adulthood and couldn’t do what your 9 year old son did. Kudos to you!

  20. I used to go to school by myself everyday from the age of 8 years old. Rode buses, trains, subways, etc. It wasn’t an issue.

    The previous comment from patricia is ridiculous. When those kids get old enough to, they’re going to bolt. That’s when you’re going to have the trouble. School is essential for children to develop the social skills they need to succeed in life.

    To put it bluntly, you’re raising the people you don’t invite over for dinner because they’re weird.

  21. I just want to say that you are an EXTREMELY good mother from what I’ve seen. I don’t think that you would be so free with your children if you didn’t first feel 150% that your children were menatlly, physically, and emotional capable to do what you allow them to do. I have to admit that I used to be a hover mom. It wasn’t until I looked back at my childhood and realized just what I was robbing my children of. No outdoor fun, no friends after school, no nothing for the most part. It was sad. I thought about how I might feel if my mom was a hover mom. I would have been miserable. It took a lot out of me but I fought really hard to start out by letting my children go while I supervised on the sidelines. Every day, I would back off more and more. My kids seam happier and healthier. For this, I feel my life is less stressfull and my kids are easier to deal with. A MAJOR plus is that it takes less time to clean the house because they’re not in here 24/7 destroying it. They now are responsible for every day chores that I was afraid for them to do before. They might do it wrong or get hurt. I finally said to myself SO WHAT!!! Sounds cruel to the wrong ear, but if they get burned, they will no longer come as close to the fire w/out proper handeling and safety precautions. right? You know, when I dropped my daughter off at her first day of cheer camp, hugged her, and left, the parents all looked at me like I was insane for not sticking around to see that she was ok. They have my number and address. If it’s a real emergency, there’s 9-1-1 and then my number. If I were to stick around, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see her perform in her first game. Anyway i just want to applaud you for you putting this old form of parenting back out there.

  22. Hey Lenore! Read your article in Reader’s Digest and saw you and Izzy on Dr. Phil. You looked great and I loved watching. Take care. See you in about 9 months. Barbara

  23. It’s pretty bad that she let her kid do this in the first place – however it’s far worse that she obviously had the plan to promote herself, her writing and her website from the get go with this reckless act. That’s the most despicable part. And, OF COURSE young kids are capable of finding their way home and navagating the subway system etc…. However, just because they can – should they? If you’ll notice, the child kept saying several times that he didn’t want to be treated like a kid – well, news flash – he IS a kid. I feel sorry for this kid with such a selfish and ignorant mom.

  24. I am watching you on Dr. Phil right now, I am absolutely loving what you have to say!

  25. I applaud you. I am a mom with two children of my own and three step children and my oldest is 11. I have just started leaving my son home alone and i wish i would of done it sooner. I grew up in the city and walked to school everyday (including my first day of kindergarden) with my older brother. I feel you have done a smart thing TEACH THEM EARLY!!!!!! You rock!!!
    Lisa at the Jersey shore

  26. I like the free range thing in principle. I do not think there are more dangers nowadays than before — I do think that dangers for children in the past didn’t get publicized as they do now (they became the dark secrets of each family…). As a result, it became easier to imagine that world was safer.

    I took public transportation to my elementary school classes at a VERY young age. I did not have a school bus for access until jr. high in fact. my parents were very clear about how I had to comport myself, and i was very clear what to do if someone approached me inappropriately. I knew my boundaries, but was given extraordinary rein within them. This was a wonderful thing, and I’m a better adult for having had these experiences.

  27. The show is on as I type, but I wanted to say I saw an article about you and your son in Reader’s Digest. YOU GO!!! I was lambasted by friends when I allowed my son to walk to school in first grade (with friends), and ride his bike to swimming lessons. Horrors!

    Thank you so much for sticking your neck out; this is an issue this country needs to talk about, and I hope learn from.

  28. I applaud you for standing up against what society deems acceptable nowadays.

    I was a so called latch key child growing up. I walked to school beginning at the age of 5, rode my bike everywhere all summer long and did everything freely with the permission of my parents. We were told to go play outside, and come back when the sun went down. This was before the days of cell phones so there wasn’t that constant contact. I survived.

    I think we need to give them (children) freedom to make choices little by little and allow them to grow up and trust them to make the right choices. Trust given is trust earned.

    If we spend our lives protecting our children from dangers that might arise, chances are, they will suffer because of it.

    YAY for you!

  29. Hey Lenore,

    I’m just watching you on Dr. Phil and I say, “amen sister”! Our kids are abit older perhaps, however we were recently criticized for allowing our 18 year old daughter to go on a vacation with her friends to Cuba (we live in Canada).

    namaste,

    Zoey
    life & business coach for women
    http://www.positivelyoutrageouswomen.com

  30. As a parent of now 20 and 25 year old young men, I tended to let them have much more freedom than a lot of other parents did. I was single from the time they were 11 and 5. I believe it has made them much more mature than their counterparts. My older son was a latchkey kid at 7 years old. He got home at 4pm, did laundry or other chores, his homework, and then I got home at 5:30. It worked fantastic. He is still single, has decided he doesn’t want kids (most of his friends now have small children) and recently moved from New Hampshire to Colorado and is very excited about his new life.

    His younger brother is very mature and I consistently receive compliments from his employers and other adults who are very impressed with him. His high school volleyball coach still considers him one of the best kids he has ever known.

    If I had not let my kids have “free range” I think they would have rebelled horribly in their teens. They never did. Their stepmother is a helicopter mom and both boys have said their now 11-year-old half sister will go crazy once she goes to college and is out from her mother’s reign. By the way, she is the only person I’ve ever met who called me a bad mother. Ironic, isn’t it??

  31. I’m watching you on Dr. Phil. I admire your point of view. It is refreshing.

    After the first day, I walked to school with my older brother. When I was about 12, my father would “put me out” of the house anytime of the year and give me some money to go to the movies or engage in whatever activity that I wanted to get involved in.

    It helped me be a man.

    You are right. The world can be a great place if you allow children freedom.

    We no longer have rites of passage that delineate that point that you are declared a woman or a man and it’s causing our society great harm. What you are advocating is the closest thing to culture I’ve heard of in a while.

    Good Luck and thank you for your courage.

    J Paul

  32. Oh thank you SO much for being the way you are and bringing it to the public’s attention!!! I feel just the same way and am so happy you have so much positive feedback!!! Just a couple that weren’t so great 🙂 I am so sad when I listen to friends talk about what they will and won’t allow. And as a mom to 4(including one who has special needs) I say “Rock on”!!!! let’s all spread the word. It’s parents who are afraid of the “big bad world out there”- not kids. (and yes I know and am sad when bad things do indeed happen sometimes) Loved seeing you on Dr Phil. You were the smartest most rational mom on the show! I do indeed miss my carefree childhood and coming in when it started to get dark out… ahhh, memories!!!

  33. I’m watching the show right now! And I think what you do is pretty awesome. I’m only 18 and my parents when I was younger did give me more freedom than other people I knew and now I’m one of the only people I know, that doesn’t do drugs, drink, or any of that. So I think giving your kids some freedom is a good thing.

  34. Great show. Its about time to put living back in perspective. Children 100 years ago lived with far greater hazards but were far better equipped to face them then children in our age. Its so refreshing to find parents teaching their children to GROW, and become STRONG and INDEPENDENT!

  35. Extremely weird how stupid some people can be in this world. Children left alone at age eleven with younger siblings, then put on Subways at nine. I was left to my devices when young and rotten things happened. IF they risk their children getting messed up for life they are no mother to them, just selfish idiots. Who told them in the first place it was a good idea? Creeps lurk around schools, buses and skytrain stations. I suppose they are all around subways too, as Dr. Phil noted on the map. What if the kid had to stop at a bathroom? Other people cannot watch the child as they may get hurt or make a mistake. I don’t care what itinerary a child has, anything can happen and it is not worth it.

  36. OH MY GOD! for pete’s sake, bad things HAPPEN whether or not you suffocate your child with your percieved ‘good parenting’. Sooner or later people are going to have to accept that. People are so neurotic these days it’s pathetic.

  37. I saw parts of the show last night and I have to say that as a mother of 5 kids, 2 of which are grown and 3 teens, I think letting a 9 year old little boy find his way around NY was just plain foolish. My sister a social worker for the state of Kansas wanted to know were Social Service was. I don’t have a problem with letting your kids go out, my issue is that this isnt’ a 100 years ago, its not even the 70’s when I was a kid, things have changed and there are fools every where or did we not take that to heart when we heard about the Hornbeck kid. I just don’t believe in that much freedom for a 9 year old kid.

  38. I watched the Dr. Phil show on Monday and I agreed with Lenore. I have a 15 month and he’s my first. I already am trying to give him a little independence. I try not to hover over him all day long. I made the house pretty much fool proof for him and i just let him roam on his own. He can play with his toys in his room or the living room. I let him explore and do his own thing. I think I would be okay with letting my son have a day of fun around a city he is familiar with. I do believe in taking precautions like Dr. Phil said and teach the kids to protect and defend themselves. I think your son was just adorable and he is a confident kid who will be less likely to rebel like that poor mother that appeared after you. “Helicopter Parenting” is a bad idea I think. We gave these kids life so that they could live it. they need to experience it and make their own decisions. I am looking forward to watching my son grow up into a confident, strong minded man.

  39. Lady, you’re crazy, and you need some psychological help. If you want your child kidnapped/raped/killed then go ahead, but that is sad, and I won’t let you do that. That’s why I have filed an order to keep your child off the street here in NY. If a police officer sees your child without adult supervision, he/she will escort him home and you’ll receive a heft fine. This measure had to be taken.

  40. i just wanted to comment on the subject of free range kids. i agree with many if not all of your philosophies. this is how i grew up as well. it sounds like you did a really good job preparing your son and nurturing your son before you let him exert his independence. i commend you on this. i just have a thought about the term “free range”. for me, it suggests and seems that you let your children run around free. i do not think that is what you are doing. you really gave your son the tools he needed to start his journeys. i see so many parents that have “free range” kids that are not nurtured and given the tools that you have provided for your child. i am sure you will not change the term at this point, but i would like to think of another term that would be more appropriate. i agree that so many parents are over protective. i was pretty protective of my first. then i figured out it wasn’t a good idea. so now i practice this philosophy but with the nurturing and tools that they need to learn independence.

  41. Omar, you *really* don’t get it, do you? Obviously your threat is an empty lie to scare her, and I really don’t think she’s dumb enough to be scared by some anonymous web commenter 🙂 Because she’s one of the few people in this country left with brain cells. Your “kidnapped/raped/killed” situation is much more likely to happen to the 18 year old who you raised who wasn’t allowed out of mommy and daddy’s sight until they turned 18 then had total freedom and decide they want to see everything – including seedy back alleys – that mommy and daddy hid them from! She’s one of the few parents who is teaching her kids healthy, effective, life skills.

  42. I wanted to let you know that I was raised in a military family. When I was 9 we moved to Sicily Italy. At the age of 9 I was aloud to ride the bus from town to the Navy base. I was also aloud to go to the base pool alone. I feel it made me more responsible and a well rounded child. Good for you for allowing your children freedom.

  43. You Go Girl!!! i just watched only five minutes of the dr phil show & caught your web address & good on you!! my daughter is 12yrold and has been doing soo many other things compared to her age group whom are wrapped up in cotton wool – she is smarter for it!! confidence boosted!! i prepared her for all the possibilities & glad you were on th show…. we have to give them some freedom yr right!!!

  44. Australia is no US. However i feel that the media is doing everything in their power to put the fear of GOD into parents. Let them GO. Give them the tools to survive and then let them be free to LIVE. People have always been the same, from the beginning of time. Pedophilia and the likes are not something NEW.

  45. lady you gotta be one of the dumbest bitches around have you ever heard of gaging a kid and kidnapping.
    oh yeah did i forget to mention that i was held up at knife point in the middle of manhattan and no one helped and you think someone will save your kid i dont think you know people dont want to get involved

  46. I applaud your efforts.

    When I was a kid, I rode my bike around town and all over the place — even up to 20 miles away and downtown. My wife lived downtown as a kid in Chinatown (which had a couple seedy areas) and we survived just fine. We lived in a medium-size city (~1 million) and we survived.

    There are a few things that people don’t seem to realize which is that Manhattan is probably the safest place for a kid in North America. The number of eyes on any given street make it one of the lowest-crime urban areas in the US. Furthermore, the crime levels are significantly below those of 20-25 years ago — the “good ol’ days” for many of us. That includes child kidnappings.

    Overall, I think that you’re doing the right thing. I think each parent needs to judge where their child’s life skills are at and determine what sort of experiences their kids can deal with. I have a 1 year old and as he grows we want him to have as much freedom as we feel he can be responsible with.

    Personally, I’ve only visited NYC a few times so the thought can be frightening to let a kid go unfettered through such a big place. However, I realize that if you live there day in day out that your (and your son’s) understanding is much deeper and thorough than my own. Certainly I’ve visited Tokyo a couple times and found that children there regularly ride transit, subway and trains on their own, and they have the mother of public transit systems.

    When people in Kansas and Minnesota go “oh lord that’s dangerous” it comes from a lack of understanding of large cities, and that in NYC, Chicago, LA, Tokyo, Paris, London, Toronto, etc. that if you are simply familiar and educated with the place you live staying out of trouble is not hard at all.

    Ultimately, it’s about teaching your child to be responsible, conscientious and independent as possible.

  47. and all this time I thought it was the helicopter parents who were “extreme”

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