CBS Gets It! One Reporter Reforms Her Helicopter Ways!

Wow!! Thank you, CBS Early Show, reporter Kelly Wallace, and producer Joe Long, for this fantastic piece on the end o’ the line for helicopter parents! It even features The Simpsons! (Homer and Bart, that is, not Jessica and Ashlee.) Voila!

 

52 Responses

  1. Why did I get the feeling that the reporter bought that Duck on the way to meet you, just so she’d have something to throw away? 🙂

  2. Great piece, Lenore! I’m going to repost it today.

    My 13-year-old has started accusing me of being a “helicopter parent” every time we say “no.” It’s a pretty effective argument. It doesn’t always get me to say, “yes,” but it always makes me step back and really think about it.

  3. It was great! I accidentally left my comment on 70s waives kid

  4. Great piece! I admit too that I fell for the rubber hippo with the temperature thing, and I’m really not the overprotective type at all. It never worked anyway, but it is a cute bath toy.

  5. My 13-year-old has started accusing me of being a “helicopter parent” every time we say “no.” It’s a pretty effective argument.

    My older niece doesn’t use that phrase, but she uses that tactic! She wanted to walk home by herself from school, I’m fine with that. But she wanted to do it instead of on one of the quiet street, on the busy street where the sidewalk is narrow (and narrower still where the bushes jut into it) and precariously situated 6 feet above the street. So I said no. “But Connie, nothing’s going to happen!”

    I thought about it, conceded that she’s right, nothing *is* likely to happen… but that I don’t even like walking on that sidewalk because it’s so narrow and even though it’s unreasonable I don’t want her doing it, there’s other routes home. I’m allowed to be a little unreasonable, I think.

  6. Ha ha teacher tom, my mother used to be a big believer in a book called “Between Parent and Child” back in the 60s and 70s. So I read the book and would use it to criticize her parenting. Preteens and teenagers are smart!

    Lenore, I like the way CBS handled this, they get my vote! Maybe I’ll start reading their online news outlet. That was a good interview format and a lighthearted approach. So much better than that obnoxious Fox news woman and her ‘safety expert/salesman’

  7. I also agree that a little less material prosperity might not be such a bad thing for Americans, as pointed out by the Danish woman interviewed by Oprah.

  8. I had a couple of those ducks, baby shower gifts. They didn’t seem to work right. My wrist did. Never had a scalded baby. They liked playing with the ducks, though.

  9. I was just pointed to you because I’ve gotten some odd reactions for letting my 7 year old walk to school on his own: even though we’d well prepared and rehearsed and he’s mature, good at following the rules, etc. People also offer him rides – for TWO BLOCKS worth of walking – and he keeps having to say “no, I’m not allowed”. I find it very, very strange.

    And I keep being told it’s “illegal” to let him walk to school. When it really isn’t.

    So I really needed this clip. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in being a bad mom…

    On the flip side of freedom, my son also has some chores – not huge ones, but I expect him to help on house cleaning day, as well as his 4 year old brother. This also seems unusual.

    Except my son feels … well, like someone who is being treated with respect. Yeah, sometimes he mopes – sometimes I don’t want to do the chores, and I’m a grownup – but in the end he is responsible and therefore gets extra freedom.

    How is this cruel?

  10. Great piece!
    Good to see the popular media following the trend of commonsense.
    And good PR for you!
    Happy T-day, as well.
    I spent the day with my free-range kid who is now a happy, well adjusted, hard working 32 year old force to behold.
    What did we do?
    Ate like oinkers and watched the new Star Trek movie.
    Geek paradise.

  11. Why is this particular topic disappearing and reappearing from your site?

  12. Loved it!

  13. Well it seems to me that the next logical step would be to bring to the light all the provisions and roles that exist that prohibit 7-8-9 year olds from walking on the street. (Do they exist, or police is just “doing us a favor” by catching kids on the streets?)
    No, not to school only – to the store, to the library to the after school activities. Anonymous callers to the police complaining of “single child walking on the street” , and subsequent catching children by the police + calling their parents to get them must be stopped cold! OUR KIDS ARE NOT CRIMINALS FOR WALKING ON PUBLIC STRET ALONE. NO EXCUSE FOR POLICE TO STOP THEM.

  14. great piece!

    I do admit that my wife and I bought one of those ducks too. Very quickly came to the conclusion that it was a better toy than a thermometer.

  15. Loved that piece and I really must read the Time article.

    I never bought that stupid duck but I was always afraid someone was going to accuse me of being negligent because of it. Nobody ever did, but that’s what parenting is like these days. You question every decision, every action, wondering what the “others” are going to say, even when you know deep in your bones that you are doing the right thing. It’s maddening how I constantly feel like I’ll be called in to justify my choices.

  16. Yay! I’m so excited to have found others that feel the same way I do. I read the article from TIME magazine and immediately looked up your website. Thank you! I have friends who don’t let me watch their children because they think I’m to “laxed.” I’d love for you to read my DHS experince linkes here-http://thesmartts.blogspot.com/2009/10/just-say-no-to-nyquil.html
    it was a terrible experience but completely ridiculous!!! yes, i let my child walk to the bus stop himself and forgive me for not having hightech, security door stops for all my doors.
    I look forward to following your blog. Thanks for the great website!

  17. Great piece! I’m so glad you posted it because I forgot to set the DVR this morning.

  18. That duck wants our kids to freeze.

  19. Well … hot spit! They never had a duck like that when my kids were little and I managed (somehow) to never scald or freeze a child in the bathtub. Now my children are older (teen and pre-teen) and they are allowed more freedom than their peers, and nothing happens. Our life is so mundane it’s silly. And our children are able to do for themselves. So that when they are adults, they will be adults. I think many people have forgotten the end aim of parenting … to raise competent, productive adults … that’s what we’re here for. That’s how we love our children best by allowing them to become the people they are meant to be.

  20. we got like, 4 of those dumb ducks at baby showers….and regifted them. hee.

  21. I hope we can all “throw the duck away”, as it were.🙂

    That’s a great phrase.

  22. Great clip!

  23. Those ducks are complete garbage. They even say on the packaging that you still need to check the water with your hand anyway.

  24. Had the duck. Hated it. I really don’t think it’s at all accurate, and I can test with my hand.

    Love seeing the positive news reports!

  25. I really don’t think it’s at all accurate

    Like most heat-sensitive pads, they eventually become stuck on “HOT” and are totally worthless at that point.

  26. Yea, Lenore! Great clip – hope there are many more! (hey, I rhymed!)

  27. Yea, Lenore! Great clip – hope there are many more! (hey, I rhymed!) I must admit, though, to buying baby-feeding spoons with the heat sensors..

  28. Three cheers! Congratulations! I am very proud of you, you revolutionary you.

  29. I just hope that this goes from “we’re letting go because we can’t afford to be so overprotective” to “we’re letting go because it’s the right thing to do for our kids”.

    My husband was in the mall with my 2-year-old the other day and he let her wander about 20 feet from him. A “helpful” lady decided to point out (forcefully) that she was walking away (but still in plain sight). She was shocked when he just nodded and said thanks.

  30. Oh, and we had the duck, but I never used it as a thermometer. I think I threw it away because it got moldy.

  31. Congratulations! Viva la revolucion!

  32. I was very confused at to what a “Helicopter Parent” is. I couldn’t figure out what is the problem. Why can’t Helicopter pilots be parents? Honestly, I was thinkin that.

    You see, I am a Helicopter pilot. So I thought that made me a Helicoper Parent.

  33. Hey, I like my daughter’s duck. Not because it’s a thermometer…that part is definitely worthless…but because it’s the only duckie she has that floats upright and doesn’t get mildewed inside because the water won’t drain out completely!!!

  34. “International outrage” Really? Was there one? Apart from the U.K., I mean?

    Over here I can mostly remember articles of the “Lookie, what strange customs these Americans have”-type.

  35. being a single mom, it was just me and my 4 1/2 year old son at seaworld last night. toward the end of the trip, he started being uncooperative, because i wanted to go to the gift shop on the way out. i told him to come in with me and stay by my side while i shopped for a few souveneirs. we have an understanding when out in crowds, ‘if you can’t see mommy i can’t see you so always stay where you can see mommy.’ well, he was purposely being defiant, not following me, wouldn’t hold my hand etc., and ended up in a section where he couldn’t see me. however, i could hear him crying a little bit and see HIM, so i knew where he was, and decided to let him experience the consequences of his misbehavior for about 30 seconds or so before ‘rescuing him’. well, when i went over about 45 seconds later and calmy grabbed my son’s hand saying ‘that’s what happens when you don’t stay by mommy’, a father looked at me in horror for not being panic sticken that i had gotten seperated from my child and said, “what’s wrong with you?” i said, “excuse me?” and walked away. (of course he didn’t know it was the child’s own deliberate fault and that it was for less than one minute). it was my decision to (safely) let my kid experience the natural consequences of his decision to misbehave. was he maybe a little scared? sure and i feel bad about it, but next time he will listen to me…that makes him safer in the long run.

  36. oh, and i got like, 3, of the temperature things at my shower , 2 ducks and a hippo. they only work for a few months, however, my son is almost 5 and has yet to be admitted to the emergency room because of a bathing experience.

  37. “I also agree that a little less material prosperity might not be such a bad thing for Americans, as pointed out by the Danish woman interviewed by Oprah.”

    Sure, if you start out in the upper class, upper middle class, or middle middle class. But if you start out in the lower middle class or lower class, less material prosperity is a pretty darn painful thing, and less material prosperity for the upper and middle classes MEANS less material prosperity for the lower and lower middle classes. And you can have ecnomic prosperity and CHOOSE to live below your means. There’s a foriegn concept to most people (and certainly to our government), saving or donating your excess money.

  38. Kristin, I love the way you handled that. Now, I hope you don’t mind a suggestion. I came up with this about 2-3 years ago when my younger son (who is now 4) turned into a real “runner”. I’ve always had my kids on a very long “leash” but this one really pushed the boundaries. The habit I’ve gotten into when we’re going somewhere crowded is to write my (and my husband’s if he’s with us) cell phone number on a label and stick it to the back of his shirt. I did the same with my older for a while but now I just write it on a piece of paper and make sure he has it in his pocket. That way, if they do get lost or hurt, I can easily be contacted.

  39. Gail,
    My parents did something similar with us on vacation. They would put the name of the hotel, and phone number (no cell phones then) and pin it to our pockets. When we got older it was an envelope with hotel information and enough money for a cab ride to the hotel that we each kept in our money belts. I still do it today.

  40. I had one of those ducks! Of course it said “HOT” even if the water was only slightly lukewarm. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the duck was useless as thermometer but did make a nice bath toy for my baby (who’s now four years old and likes to draw his own bath….with some supervision of course!).

  41. I understand teaching independence but what if that 9 year old child went missing? Can u know what that would feel like of you could not find your child and the nightmare it would start. There are too many of these cases we hear about and no one can find these kids and if they do, it’s usually not good. Is a 9 year old able to defend themselves from preditors ? You can trust them to be responsible but can you trust the outside factor? I don’t know that teaching them independence should over ride the preditors that prey on our kids I wish that was the casebut as a parent, I think our jobis to protect and teach independence in safety from home

  42. Whow. Was it really about the duck?

  43. Vicki- are you serious? Check the statistics. Yes, there are too many cases of child abduction and molestation that we hear about. Even one case is too many, and most cases are perpetrated by someone you and your kids know, not some strange “predator”. However, we hear about them on the news because they are NEWS, which is by definition out of the ordinary. Otherwise it would be commonplace and not on the news. How can you teach independence in safety from home? The very idea is contradictory. It’s like teaching music in theory only and then handing a child a guitar, expecting them to be able to play with skill. Independence is taught though experience. Yes, I can teach my child to be independent at home- pick up his own toys, pour his own drinks, eventually wash his own clothes, etc. I can’t teach him to safely navigate a grocery store, parking lot, or street by himself by insisting that he holds my hand until he is eighteen. “Is a 9 year old able to defend themselves from predators?” Is an eighteen year old? A twenty year old? A thirty year old? Adulthood doesn’t make you safe! Being aware of your surroundings and able to use common sense makes you safer, at nine, sixteen, eighteen, thirty, forty-two, and every other age.

  44. Kristin: I have been using that tactic ever since my eldest hit 2. Trouble is, not one of my kids ever minded getting lost. I have been waiting for a stubborn 3 yo for 20 mins (no joke, I checked my watch) around a corner, and she never panicked, the ungrateful brat. One of the first times I lost sight of her in a department store, she got hold of her younger sister and walked to a security guy to tell him her MUM had got lost, would he help find her, please? She was about 5 at the time, before I even thought of teaching her what to do if she got lost. Turns out she figured it out by herself!

  45. “I just hope that this goes from “we’re letting go because we can’t afford to be so overprotective” to “we’re letting go because it’s the right thing to do for our kids”.”

    Baby steps, baby steps. At least this way, people get a chance to see that their kids aren’t dropping dead like flies as the over-protection relaxes. Then maybe they’ll see that it works, and has its benefits. It’s not as ideal as having people realize what’s best for their kids from the outset, but it’s better than nothing.

  46. How interesting on the labels with cell phone numbers… when we take our boys to crowded festivals or the like – I write my cell number with a sharpie on the child (on his arm if he has a long-sleeve shirt on, or his belly or side if it is t-shirt weather). They know where the number is and it can’t be lost or torn.

    Then, I can let them stray a bit more than I might, because I know that we can reconnect.

    That said, we’ve never had to use it.

  47. HAHAHAHHA! I have a duck like that! But give me a break, it’s the only rubber ducky I could find, and my baby doesn’t even take it in the bath…..he showers.

  48. @K -(shudder) writing a phone number on a child is right on the edge for me- I understand and appreciate it, and it does alleviate some concern when the kids are in a crowd or might lose a phone number (or not know it), but it just has really bad vibes for me personally. I worked with Hurricane Katrina evacuees sent to Columbia SC and many of the ones I helped were from attics in the flooded parts of New Orleans. During the week or more that they were trapped they wrote “next of kin” info on their bodies because they were certain that they were going to die (some sat in attics with those that had passed away, too – such a nightmare).
    On a lighter note, when my college age sons were kids (and pretty much free-range) there were tyvek-type labels that you could write emergency info on and tie to their shoelace (under the laced up part, not at the end). They were very practical, because the kids almost always had their shoes on when out playing, waiting for the bus, or when we camped. Any EMT could contact us in an emergency. I actually refused to buy velcro-laced shoes because there was no place to put the tag (plus I wanted to make sure the kids knew how to tie their own shoes – sheesh!). Do they still have those?
    When I travel internationally I do keep a card with the hotel phone number and ‘next of kin’ emergency contact in case I get hit by a cab or something and always had the kids put one in their pocket, too. Especially if I am in a non-English speaking country. It just makes claiming the body easier for the State Department (oh, lighten up, I am just kidding about the last part – well, sorta).
    By the way, I am still furious that Lenore got the “World’s Worst Mom” moniker — I wanted that title!! Not Fair!
    Loved the interview.
    @Vicki dodd – please take your time to read the blog, take it in, and trust that you will have a mental shift and realize how much we have all been brainwashed by the media- — come on over, we’ll be here waiting for you! Like penta said- baby steps, babysteps.

  49. I saw this clip live when I was in NJ visiting my family for Thanksgiving. I have been singing your praises to my very free-range family for a while, so we were excited to see the clip AND see how well the network handled it. Nice job!

  50. Great piece! Also, I totally just realized after reading these comments that my son’s rubber ducky is supposed to be a thermometer, which I find totally hilarious (it says HOT on the bottom, and I when I bought it I was like, huh, well, maybe it’s a really popular toy). Really though? People can’t check the temp of water? And there are heat sensing baby spoons? This is just silly.

    On a slight side note, I saw a preview today for The Babies documentary and was loving the shots of the African baby playing happily in the dirt and the Mongolian baby shooing a goat away from their bath water with a smile on its face– can you imagine how people would carry on here about that!?

  51. If you think helicoptering by other parents over your kids is bad, try helicopter in-laws! Mine actually called me IN THE HOSPITAL immediately after giving birth to my oldest (they’d just got me comfortable in my room) and she chews me out for not cleaning the bathroom, specifically the tub, before I’d left for the hospital while in full labor. How dare I even think of putting her grandchild in such a filthy environment. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So I hung up on her. She’s always put her nose into my child-rearing ever since. My priority was to bring a healthy, happy child into the world. Her’s was being Mrs. Clean. She’s the one who bought my kids all this rubber-ducky-water-is-too-hot-type thingys. I took them back and exchanged them for things they really needed, like diapers, and replacing the clothing they outgrew every 5 minutes. They grew up just fine, with mudpies and jumping in puddles and all. She tries pulling that stuff on them now that they’re adults. They think she’s, well, nuts.

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