Fox & Friends & Me! Tues. Morn around 8 a.m. Eastern Time

I’ll be on Fox & Friends tomorrow morning, defending Free-Range Kids as a sane, safe, happy, healthy way to raise children with some moxie!

But maybe I won’t call it “moxie,” for fear of sounding 389 years old. Maybe I’ll say it’s a way to raise children with some solid “self-esteem” — which is also true. (As I like to say there’s a reason it’s CALLED “self” esteem…not “parent-assisted” esteem.) — Lenore

36 Responses

  1. Good luck Lenore — stay strong 🙂

  2. I second the stay strong motion– I suspect there will be less than the most respectful decorum going on with those “Friends,” if they behave in the ways I’ve seen in the past. I have all the faith in the world that you’ll rock the house with the FRK ideas! 🙂

  3. GOOD LUCK! I fear I will be at work when it airs, but maybe I can catch it later on some internet site. I love your website. And what you have to say:) Down with hysteria. Up with common sense!

  4. Please be sure to mention the article you posted from the 18th about all adults being the “BOOGIEMAN”…

    I was proud (but kinda worried about what others thought), when my husband and I took my 3-yr-old son with us to speak to a group of about 7 insurance adjusters. Each agent that came up to me was grabbed by the hand for a shake by my son then he introduced himself and tried to carry on a conversation with each one. (The conversation didn’t go so well since only 2 out of every 3 words were understandable lol) But they all seemed astonished and charmed by it. Evidently this is not typical behavior from other 3-yr-olds who are perhaps taught to fear every adult person.

    And just to assure some parents who may be appalled – I’ve carefully explained why my son can not walk naked on our back porch in full view of the laundromat, gas station and a busy intersection (i.e. “there are some yucky people”; or “no one wants to see a naked little boy”). But as long as mommy or daddy is there, he can shake hands and communicate to his heart’s content.

  5. This was a really great read, I am very glad I came across your site.

  6. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/garden/16nudity.html

    An article on nudity and kids. The number one reason given for Never Ever Ever Letting Your Kid Be Naked Ever?

    “A pervert might be looking through your window”.

    No, seriously. That’s followed by “If they don’t know they have to ALWAYS wear clothes, they won’t understand if an adult tells them to do something inappropriate”.

  7. Lenore,

    Your attitude is sooooooooooo New York. Your comment at the end of the Fox and Friends segment was very inappropriate. I found it very condescending, stating that it is not safe to fly now. You came off as a 12 year old.

    I’ve now seen you on both the ‘Fox and Friends’ and ‘The View’, and disagree with your position and comments.

  8. Good Day Everyone:

    Great name Lenore,

    I have just viewed Fox & Friends with you on the show – and I must say – I LOVE THE TRUTH YOU PROVIDE – with that I will purchase your book!

    I did however, want to point out to everyone – despite the attitudes that thwarted towards our children: ‘They aren’t mature enough to do.’ The only thing that keeps you in F.E.A.R. of them doing is your false evidence appearing real syndromes – what you see on tv read in the paper or hear on the radios shouldn’t convince you that the entire world isn’t safe for your child’s future. Our children still have to live here long after our death; Don’t assume you can shield them from themselves – more importantly you can’t shield them from FATE. This I bare witness to daily – growing into the person I am – take a look at yourself – how bad did you turn out in your epic of becoming?

    Bare in mind – these delicate little jewels are doing so much more behind your back of protection. JUST BECAUSE are overly protective! GOD forbid scared parents you ever find out. ‘I can’t believe’. would be the only offerance you’d have for such – plus blame towards everyone – except yourself for being so closed minded about NOW…times are not different just the painting you form of it!

    What happens now was happening long ago – the only difference, the media has scared you into oblivoius fear. The fears our society has are based on of – sci fi appearing real – ‘Special Effects’ – come to grips with this people – the news uses it daily – to keep your eyes focused on their preaching dogmatic tongues!!!!

    Free range kids – very good!

    Thanks a bunch Lenore for being a true nurturing parent to ALL our children!

    Always Love,

    Kim L. Kendrick

  9. I just saw your spot on fox and friends – I have to say this is not good advice on your part – I understand your intentions – I know they are honorable – but quite frankly they are dangerously stupid – some children somewhere are going to be harmed through this advice -you have a responsibility towards this end – you need to have guidelines for our society today – it is not your grandmothers society – the other gal who was on appreciated your desires but understood the real responsible danger out there – and had good guidelines –
    your “program” is irresponsible”. you cannot just pretend all is well out there and then it will be – what did she say – every 21/2 minutes some child is the victim of some crime – come on –

  10. Thanks for your comments Kelly. Totally agree.

  11. well I have to come back because the more I look around this site the more concerned I become –

    this whole idea is a little air -heady which makes it even more dangerous!
    whew –

    I will be on the watch for this irresponsible advice – you are setting yourself up for real legal trouble – and I hope no more than that!

    grow up!

  12. Oooh boy, here come the crazies.

    Can’t wait to catch your segment on the Internet later today, Lenore. I hope you didn’t get blasted too badly. Keep fighting the good fight, and may sanity and reason prevail!

  13. I think I agree with Lenore. Kids are not allowed to explore or “tinker”. All play is so organized and supervised these days. My son is only 3 right now and too young to range free. I hope to do some research about child related crime stats to see if times have really changed.

  14. I have passed your book along to many parents in hopes of changing the fear mongering attitude that is so rabid in our area.

    Thank you for continuing to step out and speak the truth for the kids who are not getting a chance to have a normal childhood.

  15. I am a stay at home mom and it is your kids coming to my house allllll day long asking for water, juice, food, “can we have a snack?” Leaving toys all over my yard, wanting to come into my house to spread more toys all over to give me more work whilst their mother is at home blistfully enjoying a nice long nap or bath doing her nails or watching tv. Keep your kids at your own house ’cause I don’t want to take care of them. I speak from experience because there are some “freerange” children in my neighborhood and when I asked them why they couldn’t use thier own toliet they replied that “mom” wouldn’t let them in the house because they “mess” it up. This has nothing to do with “freerange” and more to do with you not wanting to be bothered with your little darlings whom you assume everyone is just so delighted and entertained by them and should feel lucky to be with them. Guess what, we’re not!

  16. You came off as a 12 year old.

    Thus says the woman whose very first sentence runs “You are sooooooooooooo New York”.

    what did she say – every 21/2 minutes some child is the victim of some crime

    At whose hands? Usually their parents, I’d wager. (Also? Please learn to punctuate, or the dashes are likely to revolt.)

    I am a stay at home mom and it is your kids coming to my house allllll day long asking for water, juice, food, “can we have a snack?”

    You have a yard in Manhattan? COOL! Lenore, you’ve got a yard in Manhattan too? I didn’t know anybody had a yard in Manhattan. Can I get in on this?

    Keep your kids at your own house ’cause I don’t want to take care of them.

    So don’t. Kick ’em out and send them down the block.

    I speak from experience because there are some “freerange” children in my neighborhood and when I asked them why they couldn’t use thier own toliet they replied that “mom” wouldn’t let them in the house because they “mess” it up.

    Doesn’t sound free-range to me, sounds houseproud and neglectful. Did the *mother* talk to you and say she’s free-ranging, or are you just making assumptions about US that are entirely unwarrented for no reason than because you do not like HER?

    This has nothing to do with “freerange”

    You’re right. It doesn’t, and is entirely irrelevant.

  17. I didn’t see the segment, but just reading over the idea, it’s not totally a bad idea. Yes, there are things we need to allow our children to do as they get older, but there’s also times when we, as parents, need to watch our children closely. The problem I think is with calling it “free range.” like someone said above, there are parents out there who will be more than happy to just kick their kids out the door while they take time to themselves, I used to teach many of these kids. They end up being troublemakers and criminals because it’s the only way they ever get any attention. Then, there’s the flip side. The parent who home-schools their kids for fear of the world outside. As parents, we need to find a happy medium. Our job is not to protect our children from the world, but to prepare them for it. And, as such, we need to teach both independence and caution. free-range and helicopter are both wrong methods, because they both lack either caution or independence. Like everything else, parenting is a grey area most of us stumble around in hoping we’re doing it right.

  18. Kudos for having the stomach to go on Fox & Friends, and good luck dealing with the inevitable blowback from commentators in the “you hippie/liberals/elitists don’t know what you’re talking about” vein.

    I look forward to watching the segment on the web later today. Hopefully there will be a number of viewers who understand that the philosophy you advocate has nothing to do with “naive idealism” and everything to do with being able to teach your kids how to grow into responsible, self-sufficient adults by filtering out all the panic-inducing news & statistics and finding a reasonable, realistic balance that is right for each individual family and each child’s capabilities, and allowing parents to trust their children to explore, have adventures and learn for themselves.

  19. what did she say – every 21/2 minutes some child is the victim of some crime

    You clearly didn’t LISTEN to what was said – it was every 2 1/2 minutes someone is a victim of a sexual assault. Not necessarily a kid. If you want to argue something at least listen to the facts.

  20. Hey Nicole, are you also one of those mums who lets their kid actually *gasp* order their own food at a fast-food place? I’m a fast food worker, and I see so many kids who will go shy when I wask them what they want. Most parents will, instead of helping them out, just order for them. Even kids who can talk clearly get their parents to order for them.

    On the upside, this isn’t all parents. Some of them actually tell me, “Thank you for talking to our kid.”

  21. Well, Sammi, they may be reluctant to slow down the line. I know I often am. And I know sometimes cashiers get snippy if you let your kid do this or that. Sometimes I’d rather deal with slowing my kid a little than dealing with a frustrated, overworked cashier taking it out on them.

    I’d be thrilled to know more cashiers like you, definitely 🙂

  22. @ Sammi: I am one of those parents who say “thank you for talking to our kid!” I choose retailers / restaurants / physicians / dentists / etc. precisely BECAUSE they speak to my (9 yr old) child directly. She’s not mute, she speaks clearly and well, reads perfectly, and is entirely capable of requesting the kid’s pizza, cheese only, please.

    Another aspect of this kid invisibility (and massive pet peeve) is when we’re, say, at the mall and someone bumps into my daughter, turns, and apologizes to ME. I’ve told more than one person, “I appreciate that, but it wasn’t me you bumped in to.” Happened so many times that now my daughter will pipe up, “It was me you bumped, not my mom. Apology accepted!” Usually startles the crap out of the person. Heh.

    Why do so many businesses act like all children are both deaf and mute, if not completely invisible?

    *ending derail, abject apologies*

    Now I’ll go watch this video. I’m kinda lost though because the post is dated the 21st and says “tomorrow”…but today’s the 21st where I live (TX) and everyone’s seen the video?

  23. *headslap*

    Never mind – just read the post title, which clearly says Tuesday.

    More caffeine is clearly necessary.

  24. Sammi, we need more food-service and retail workers like you! I have always (since she could talk) expected my daughter to order for herself at a restaurant. It drives me absolutely crazy to be sitting in a restaurant and have a waitress completely ignore my daughter (now 7yo), and ask ME what she is going to have. I’ve gotten to the point that the #1 factor in how much I tip is whether she is treated the same as any other diner. I usually just look at her and say her name, and she orders… up until last year I would read the menu to her, now she reads independantly so I often don’t even know what she’s going to get until she orders, so asking me what she’s going to have is completely useless.

    Retail stores are the same way… my daughter will put something on the counter to purchase, I’ll be standing a few steps away and the cashier will ask me if that will be all. Umm… I don’t know, because I’m not the one making the purchase!

  25. “some children somewhere are going to be harmed through this advice”

    The reality is children are harmed every day. You cannot eliminate all risk. It’s a matter of prioritizing the risk, and recognizing the cost of trying to eliminate each risk.

    Sure, we’d all like to make our kids’ lives risk free. But that’s not possible. And at what point does removing a risk remove the value of the experience?

    Obviously you don’t let your kids play next to the freeway. Huge risk, and really no benefit from playing next to the freeway.

    Most of us let our kids out of our sight to go to school. Could something happen to them at school? Of course it could! Shouldn’t we go to school with them to protect them? Do we really trust the school to do it?

    We make the choice that them being out of our care to go to school is an acceptable risk given the benefit of going to school.

    Free rangers simply have a different take on the value of letting our kids learn from experience, and the actual risk associated with that experience. Lenore actually has some research to back up her assessment of the risks involved.

  26. neener: I suspect the problem is fear. Someone who bumps into your kid is probably already terrified that they’re going to get the police called on them; if they directly address your kid, they have no way of knowing that he/she won’t start screaming “MOLESTER!!!” at the top of their lungs. Remember that a mere accusation is as good as a conviction in the eyes of most people.

    As for the businesses, part of it is probably rules their insurance companies imposed on them in the wake of the gigantic payouts on behalf of various archdioceses. Showing that you’ve engaged in security theater goes a long way towards defending yourself in a lawsuit. Another part of it is probably worry over offending parents (.e.g. there’s a parenting book popular in ultra-conservative Christian circles that quite specifically advises parents not to let kids decide what to have in restaurants).

  27. “what did she say – every 21/2 minutes some child is the victim of some crime – come on -”

    Well that isn’t what she said of course.

    As a general tip it is a bad idea to just blindly believe any statistic anyone happens to say without a source. 59% percent of the time the statistic is incorrect.

  28. (.e.g. there’s a parenting book popular in ultra-conservative Christian circles that quite specifically advises parents not to let kids decide what to have in restaurants)

    I’m sure I don’t want the answer to this question, but I’ll bite: WHY do they advise that?

  29. @ ebohlman: That angle never really occurred to me, but you have a good point. I’m not going to let their paranoia stop me, though, from making my kid VISIBLE and insist she be treated as a person in her own right.

    @ Uly: If I had to guess, I’d go for the “they don’t get to decide what to have for dinner at home, so why at a restaurant” theory. But I would love (read: be annoyed) to know the real reasoning.

  30. Uly: If I had to guess, I’d go for the “they don’t get to decide what to have for dinner at home, so why at a restaurant” theory. But I would love (read: be annoyed) to know the real reasoning.

    Well, yeah, but that’s for pragmatic reasons: I Am Not A Short Order Cook, as my dad used to say. At a restaurant, they ARE short order cooks! Are their children so stupid as to not understand the difference between here and there?

    Oh, now my head hurts. I’m gonna go bang it against the wall.

  31. I am interested in the whole talking/not talking to children issue. It is something I encountered I great deal when I worked at as a cashier at buffet restaurant as a teen. I would always ask the kid how old they were [it was how we computed the price] I was not trying to get a more honest answer, I just knew that most kids love telling you that sort of stuff about themselves. I cannot tell you how many parents, pulled their children behind them and said something along the lines of “you do not address my child, you speak with me, the adult” I generally apologized and tried to make amends saying that I was just trying to engage the child.

    I always attributed it to parents trying to lie about their child’s age (at least those where the kids had not already happily replied with an age) but maybe there was something deeper.

  32. Uly and neener: The stated rationale is that people learn to make good decisions not by practicing at making decisions but by having good decisions made for them. You have to remember that this advice is addressed to people who believe that all decisions, including those dealing with matters of preference, taste, interest and aesthetics, are morally weighty decisions with one good alternative and many evil alternatives. Therefore, it’s important to them that their children have the same tastes, preferences and phobias that they do.

    This ties in to a more general problem, not confined to the religiously rigid: parents who have overly specific expectations for their children. It’s all well and good for parents to have high expectations for their children in certain areas, areas that we’d collectively call “character”; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with parents expecting, and even demanding, that their kids be honest, hard-working, polite, compassionate, etc; the only caveat is that their expectations of how their kids express those traits have to be developmentally appropriate. What isn’t fine is when parents have narrowly-defined expectations for their kids’ interests, personality traits and, as kids get older, careers, and therefore try to force-fit their kids into a predefined mold. Expecting your kids to score status points for you, e.g. in social competitions over whose kid gets invited to the most birthday parties, or expecting them to help you vicariously live out your childhood dreams, e.g. the classic “little league father” is another aspect of this.

    This is an area where the cognitive distortion of false dichotomy rears its ugly head. No parent faces a choice of having no influence/control whatsoever of his/her kids and letting them run completely wild versus completely programming them like robots. It is not sending kids a “mixed message” to simultaneously tell them that it matters a whole lot that they don’t steal other kids’ lunch money and that it doesn’t matter at all which way they hang the toilet paper.

  33. @Brenda–Thankfully I never get anyone yelling at me! The majority of parents just act as though I never spoke to their child at all and start giving me their order. Some will let their children order or coax the younger ones through their order.

    The managers don’t mind that I talk to the kids. It’s not like I could molest them from behind a counter with their parents right there. 😛

    Seems to me this whole “don’t talk to adults” thing is actually going to make the kids less safe, not more. After all, what happens when a kid gets lost in a store? If they’ve been raised with “don’t talk to adults,” then they won’t be willing to have a store clerk help them–and if they look obviously lost, a predator would know that there’s no parent around.

    (I do know that the risk of being kidnapped, even with a lost child, is still infinitely small. I’m just saying that the kid is more at risk when the parent tries to be overly safe with them.)

    Then again, my sister and I used to purposely run off so we could get our mother paged. We did this every week, and it seemed like our entire small town was shopping in that one supermarket. That finally ended when we did it twice in one day and got spanked for it.

  34. Uly and neener: The stated rationale is that people learn to make good decisions not by practicing at making decisions but by having good decisions made for them. You have to remember that this advice is addressed to people who believe that all decisions, including those dealing with matters of preference, taste, interest and aesthetics, are morally weighty decisions with one good alternative and many evil alternatives. Therefore, it’s important to them that their children have the same tastes, preferences and phobias that they do.

    I guess that makes sense, although I don’t think very highly of it as a viewpoint, I must say.

  35. @ ebohlman – Having spent many years married into a deeply religious family (very Southern Baptist, very husband-as-unquestioned-authority), I was afraid the answer was likely something along those lines. The problem with that philosophy, as I see it, is that eventually learning to mimic others’ good decisions hasn’t really taught a child how to work through the problem to get to the good decision him/herself. Even if the decision is as basic as pizza vs. hot dog. But, of course, their goal isn’t necessarily raising children with independent minds. (I do not mean that in a derogatory way – simply referencing the fact that obedience without question is central to the belief system. I assure you I am in no way a religion-basher – more a peaceful hippie type!)

    @ Uly – That was actually my initial take, though phrased badly – rather than the angle of “I’m not a short order cook”, which I use in my own home, though I use the variation, “this is not a restaurant.” So of course when we ARE in a restaurant, she knows the rules are clearly different!

    I hope you didn’t hurt your head. When I read of these ultra-rigid, obey-without-question ways of raising children, I prefer to beat my head against the desk. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: