Recent Tweets and Tidbits!

Hi Readers — I know not all of you follow Twitter, so I’m pasting some recent tweets (Tweets?) here for your perusal. Wonder which ones you’ll comment on! L.

Swing sets removed from some W. Va. schools after kid jumps off, breaks arm, gets $20,000. Stop the insanity!  http://bit.ly/d36m4y

Strong essay: “Confessions of a Childhood Bully” — a woman who tormented her baby sis as a kid, just…because: http://aol.it/bSmYYZ

Yowza. SLEEPOVERS are the latest parental obsession. Parents TERRIFIED. http://bit.ly/9XZQGb

Warning! EVERYTHING can kill you! Especially onion dip! And escalators! (My piece, in Readers Digest): http://bit.ly/c2jbLn

“Judge not.” Moving, realistic piece on Babble about blaming parents when their kids die: http://bit.ly/9gU7r7

Boy wears girly Hallo costume: “My son is gay. Or he’s not. I don’t care. He is still my son. And he is 5.” Yay! http://bit.ly/bZukyO

That’s it for now! Talk later — L.

42 Responses

  1. OMG. I’m in SHOCK over how insane those mothers are from the “overprotective momversation”. 9-years-old and hasn’t had a sleepover!? My kid had his first one when he was 5! How do these women not get that they’re not doing their jobs to raise their kids to be responsible thinking adults!? I know… preaching to the choir here, but wow. Shocking.

  2. Funny, nobody freaks out when my girls dress up as a male characters.

  3. Everything has the propensity of killing you. You can die from drinking too much water. And here’s the clue: we all die!
    It’s the price for being born.
    That said, I don’t want children to die, but you can’t protect yourself from everything, no one can. In another word it is what is called life.

  4. Neither my three other siblings, two brothers and a sister, nor I were allowed to sleep over at anyone’s house other than our grandparents’, nor were we allowed to have any friends sleep at our house until we were 10 years old. Period. it was a family rule, and we all followed it. We’re all on our 30s now, so it’s not so recent a trend either.

    Having attended plenty of sleepovers after turning 10, I honestly don’t think we missed out on anything by not doing so before then.

    That’s because we had so much other freedom. We could play all day for hours on end with our friends at their houses, at parks, other play places, being driven around by other moms and all even into the evening. We still had the freedom to wander around the woods and play unsupervised.

    We just couldn’t sleep over. And nope, not even at our cousins’ house.

    Big deal. I don’t think we missed anything that we didn’t get otherwise with the rest of our childhood freedoms. And we never really asked why that rule was the rule. It just was.

    The moms in that video clip, however, seem to be suffering from a paralyzing distrust and fear of others that goes beyond the whole sleepover thing. Crazy for cocoa puffs, they are.

  5. I love the “overprotective moms”. You won’t let your child sleep over a friends house, but you expect other parents to trust YOU? Crazy psychos.

  6. I haven’t seen swings at schools in years, which is too bad.
    On a similar note, both of my kids have broken arms on school playgrounds. My DD broke both at once after a hard landing from a zip-line when she was 5. She was the first “double” but not the first broken arm, nor the last. They took the zip line out after the next broken arm. I was not calling for it, and the thought of suing the school is absurd to me. It was sad to see it go, and I’m sorry that one of my children contributed to the decision to remove it–the kids loved it! My son broke his after jumping down from a very low surface (that was meant to be climbed upon and jumped from. Just bad luck!

  7. (regarding the sleepover video)
    Holy crap! These women are CA-RAZY! I’m not a parent yet, so maybe I don’t have a leg to stand on… but did she REALLY equate taking Prozac and driving with drinking and driving? That’s another whole issue, around the stigmatization of mental illness, that you don’t want me to get started on… but seriously? I thought my parents were overprotective when I was growing up… but they were positively loosey-goosey compared to these ladies. And what must they think of the parents who let their kids spend the night at their own homes? Do they think they are terrible parents? This makes my head hurt.

  8. My elementary school has swings and they are popular! They are over big wood chips. Not that soft nor that hard.

    I love the “overprotective moms”. You won’t let your child sleep over a friends house, but you expect other parents to trust YOU?

    My mom just experienced this. A woman was walking up her sidewalk obviously upset, with her kids, and then a car started following her. My mother said, “If you are in danger, come in here right now!” and she did.

    Mom called the cops and they did their thing. The woman needed to go back to the house after the cops dealt with the man, and give a statement and all that, so Mom offered to keep her kids for her. And the woman was OK with that.

    My mom’s friend was SHOCKED, SHOCKED I tell you, that the mother had let Mom do that! “You’re a STRANGER to those children! I wouldn’t have left my kids with you!” Which of course, basically offended my mom, because SHE woudln’t do anything to hurt any kids!

    When I gently told her, “But Mom, you say the same things about your grandchildren and people they don’t know…you wanted to follow a 12 and 10 yo on the light rail train because you were just SURE a stranger would try to hurt them or they’d get lost. Yet you expected other people to trust YOU…a stranger…with their children…”

    She made me shut up with, “Okay! Okay! Get off the soapbox already!” which let me know, for once, I got her on a point, and she hasn’t made much comment about my kids being on their own since.🙂 She even was okay with my 12yo son going out *gasp* with his 12yo friend ON THEIR OWN for Halloween.

    Little by little…mind, we were pretty free-range as kids ourselves, and there WAS a case of molestation with my sister, and yet we weren’t locked up. At ten I was getting my 6yo sister up for school and breakfast and out the door myself as mom and dad had to work.

    Damn Nancy Grace and her Broadcasts of Fear!

  9. Hey, those staplers are tricky–as I kid I managed to staple my finger not once but twice… Of course I suffered no lasting ill effects from doing so (obviously not even enough to learn my lesson the first time!), just wrapped something around it ’till the bleeding stopped and dumped some peroxide on it. The moral of the story is, yes if the kid plays with the stapler they might staple themself….so what?

  10. I was more disturbed that the 9 year old was just now learning to ride a bike than the sleepover thing. I mean I can understand a fear of sleepovers even if it makes me roll my eyes. But a bike? Kids get hurt. She’s afraid he’ll get his teeth knocked out!? Yeesh. Anyway… Isn’t that a better reason to learn young? Baby teeth grow back lady, 9 yr old teeth your stuck with. Just weird.

  11. I live in a color neutral home, simply for the same I’m not buying two differing colors of things. My four year old wanted pink frosting on his birthday cake, he got it.

    When I was volunteering at my children school, a preschool girl told a boy he couldn’t use the pink crayon box. I responded ‘What, a boy can’t eat strawberry ice cream either?” and told her to share the crayons.

  12. The Readers Digest piece ROCKED!! I had a friend post about it on facebook who I don’t even think follows Free-Range Kids.

  13. I am a fan of Momversation, but I somehow missed that one. It is really sad, the comments even sadder. I will say here what I didn’t dare in my big comment over there. Mainly, I think over-protectiveness is a form of selfishness. Parents are so afraid of losing a child, of THEIR heart being broken, of watching them get hurt, that they deny the child their right to independence and a life of their own. They strip them of so many basic childhood opportunities that we took for granted as kids. One of the mom’s comments said they didn’t let their child walk on grass or play on monkey bars. They don’t let their children go to people’s houses or ride bikes! To me, that’s a form of child abuse. Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but you get my point. Those poor children! Save them from their neurotic parents! I should start a charity…

  14. I used to do child care, and we did a lot of cutting, coloring, crafty-type stuff. One father told me that I was not to allow his son to use pink construction paper for anything, because he was raising a MAN (the child was a pre-schooler at the time).

    I had to wonder about the genesis of the belief that a color will turn someone gay.

  15. LOL, watched the overprotective mom one. I’ve seen Wendy William’s show a couple times. I like her. At least she admits she’s a little crazy.

    I always thought it was a little funny: all these moms I hear ranting about how their kid will NEVER sleep over at someone’s house but other kids are free to sleep at theirs. If everyone eventually has that opinion it will be the end of sleepovers.

    On that note, my 9yo son and 8yo daughter have never slept over at anyone but families’ houses but not for any obsessive overprotective neurosis. They just never really had any good friends with which to partake. My son had one opportunity when he was 6 but he’s a bed wetter and when he realized he’s have to change into his pullup he decided he was too embarrassed to stay the night (he went to the party and came home after pizza which was an option listed on the invite).

    We’ve since moved and the kids have made all sorts of friends that live right on our block and I’d have no problem with them sleeping over. I’ve told my oldest (10) no all the times she asked so far but her first time asking we had only been here like 2 weeks and I didn’t even know where the other girl lived, lol. We’ve been here 3 months now and even though I haven’t met her parents yet I feel confident that they are nice people (the woman knit me a hat and blanket for my baby and she has never met me). I finally met my son’s new best friend’s dad on Halloween. He’s a great guy and I now know the woman next door (her dd is friends with my 8yo).

    Let the sleepovers commence. In fact I prefer my kids to go sleep at other people’s houses. I don’t want to host them. I have 5 kids of my own in a little 3 bedroom house. We have enough people here, I don’t want a houseful of kids.

    Someone mentioned the bike thing. My 10yo’s best friend back home is 11 and doesn’t know how to ride without training wheels. Why? Because she never has an opportunity to learn. They are so busy running from one activity to the next they are rarely home and when they are she sits inside playing video games because she isn’t allowed outside alone even on the sidewalk in front of her own house in the suburbs. When she was 9 we offered to teach her to ride (my then 8yo had just learned) but her gramma said no because they were leaving for a camping trip that weekend and she might fall and break something (this from a woman who didn’t believe her own dd broke her arm at 10 at the roller rink–where they were unsupervised–and didn’t take her to the doctor for 2 days, I love her to death but she’s not all there in the head sometimes).

  16. Overprotective Moms or just Control-freaks that does not trust in other people…..control-freaks that certainly believe that their way is the only right way and yes, they certainly know how to judge other people?
    Nice characters!

  17. “What’s wrong with being an overprotective parent?”

    Let’s look at that question. The prefix “over” means TOO MUCH! As in overeat, overload, overwork, overkill.

    What’s wrong with simply being “protective?” Wanting to get to know the parents before allowing a sleepover – protective. Never allowing a sleepover, ever, under any circumstance – overprotective.

  18. Beth: What’s funny is that 100 years ago in Anglo-American culture, pink was considered a boy’s color and blue a girl’s color. A few years back an Evolutionary Psychologist (the capital letters are important) was widely ridiculed for publishing an evolutionary “explanation” for the pink-for-girls, blue-for-boys phenomenon (while evolutionary psychology is a valid realm of inquiry, Evolutionary Psychology tends to treat contemporary, local customs and attitudes as somehow timeless and universal, and treats statements like “men are pigs” and “nice guys finish last” as axioms).

  19. One of the comments to one of those posts (sorry, can’t remember which one) linked to a very moving article about children that died after being left in cars. Aside from the cruel persecution of parents over an accident, the victim blaming and total lack of empathy, there was one thing that stood out to me. There apparently used to be a safety device on the market that would make a noise if you left your child in your car after it stopped, but it *wouldn’t sell*. In this day and age of baby knee-pads and GPS tracking and so on, a safety device that would *actually* save a significant number of lives WON’T SELL. People are just so happy blaming grieving parents that they won’t consider the possibility it could happen to them, but third degree burns from bath water because you didn’t buy the duck, oh, that’s okay to worry about. Even though you’d actually have to be an idiot not to notice the temperature of bathwater that you would presumably touch at some point.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/27/AR2009022701549.html?sid=ST2009030602446

  20. The sister bully article struck a cord. My sister bullied me growing up (she is 19 years older than I am), and people don’t recognize the kinds of scars that leaves. For me, it was the sense of not being physically and emotionally safe in my own home, and distrusting letting others see me too clearly for fear they would use my weaknesses and vulnerabilities against me. My mother was also overprotective of me. She spent so much time worried about all the bad stuff that could happen to me outside our home. (She was still not as overprotective as some parents today.)

    Free-range appeals to me because, when I have kids, I want to protect them from the stuff that matters while I’m giving them the confidence to protect themselves when I’m not there.

  21. I used to do child care, and we did a lot of cutting, coloring, crafty-type stuff. One father told me that I was not to allow his son to use pink construction paper for anything, because he was raising a MAN (the child was a pre-schooler at the time).

    I had to wonder about the genesis of the belief that a color will turn someone gay.

    1. Yeah, you really have the time, energy, and eyeball power to police the construction paper colors. “STAY AWAY FROM THE PINK!”

    2. Reminds me of a guy my mother knew growing up, a psychologist who was CONVINCED that one of his three sons was going to grow up gay because, at the age of two, the boy liked playing with soft toys.

    As it happens, one of his sons WAS gay… just not that one.

  22. Those women for the sleep over video were insane! I cannot believe they were saying such awful things about their fellow mothers for one. And what the H? It is redneck to let your kids sit on the floor now???

  23. Hey Dirty, if you wouldn’t mind sharing, what did your parents say about your sister’s bullying? Did you get sympathy or support? Did they get after your sister?

    Sibling issues are one of the harder ones to deal with so I am always curious how it was handled.

  24. They are all so very, very sad.

  25. sleeping over in a cross gendered halloween costume may NOT kill you, but it could and that is the point. We NEED to worry about what COULD happen, otherwise what would we do? Life without needless concern is not worth living!

  26. Couple of things
    1. Not everyone with an high age rule is helicopter parent. My younger sister was allowed non family sleep overs before I was. I also was restricted to a few parents, and sis wasn’t. I have life threatening allergies. I had to prove to my parents that I could flat out disobey adults if they didn’t believe I was having a reaction, before I could be under the supervision of other parents without family. This rule was made after adults forced me to put my hand in peanut butter resulting in Anaphylactic shock. They thought my parents were overstating my allergy to peanuts. Yes roofs were raised and hell was paid.

    2. According to some friends that are history buffs – pink/red used to be thought of as a male only color because it was seen as a powerful color. Blood is red = power.Blue was the color of female virgins.

  27. “third degree burns from bath water because you didn’t buy the duck, oh, that’s okay to worry about. Even though you’d actually have to be an idiot not to notice the temperature of bathwater that you would presumably touch at some point.”

    I actually had the duck (crab actually but same thing). I personally like scorching hot baths. What would be a comfortable temperature for a normal person feels uncomfortably cold to me. Realizing that I had absolutely no ability to gauge an appropriate bath temperature for my baby (or any other human being on the planet), I did get the crab. After a short time, it just became a bath toy for the kiddo but it was easiest way to get used to what a normal bath temperature feels like to me.

  28. First time commenting, although I have been reading and nodding in agreement for a while now.

    I happened to notice in the Chicago Tribune a very small article that mentioned needles found in candy on Halloween was a hoax. Title is (“Tainted candy” Calls Tied to Hoax).

    A teenager inserted needles into his Snickers and told his parents they were given to him that way. The teen is ow being charged with felony disorderly conduct. What is sad is that next year no one will remember the hoax part, they will only remember the needle part.

    I made a cursory look on the Chicago Trib online page, but could not find the article, you may have better luck – it is from November 5th

  29. If the reason for forbidding a sleepover is a severe allergy, then a parent would say so up front. Frankly, if there’s that kid of exception, a parent probably will say it up front for any discussion of why their child is nor permitted to do _____. It’s a valid reason, not just being a helicopter.

    That being said, sleepovers should be treated with caution, because what’s more likely to happen is encountering things like inappropriate movies or behavior from other family members.

  30. So you should avoid all sleepovers because your kids might see an inappropriate movie? While I might not let my kid spend the night there again, my child has not been irreparably harmed by watching one inappropriate movie nor do I assume first that all other parents will show my kid an inappropriate movie.

    While some situations may require more diligence, like kherbert, for the average family this is just a control issue. The parent can’t stand the idea of not having 100% control over everything in their child’s life. We seem to have given up the ability to understand that one negative experience doesn’t destroy the kid’s life. if your kid sees an inappropriate movie or some unexpected behavior, you explain why it is inappropriate and move on with your lives. Assuming that you’be been minimally diligent in checking on the family, you’re not going to send then somewhere so drastically different from your own lives that they are in serious harm.

  31. “sleepovers should be treated with caution,”

    “So you should avoid all sleepovers ”

    I don’t think that’s what she said. You don’t treat with caution that which you avoid entirely.

  32. How about this comment

    I think I am…. My daughter was 3yrs old before she ever walked on grass.:/ I didnt let her start climbing on the monkey bars till she turned 10.

    Not allowed to touch grass for 3 years???????????????

  33. The video was disturbing, the comments below the video even more flaky.

    These people do not see their children as individual human beings but as projections of themselves. These parents want them to be forever dependent. Keeping their kids afraid of the world gives these parents total control and give the parent the ego boost that comes with the control.

    Many of these parents are in for a rude awakening. Most of these children will eventually become independent adults. Then what? No sleepovers allowed with your boy/girl friend in your dorm room! Good luck to these parental twits dealing with that!

    I have a couple of relatives who “overparented” before it was trendy. Fast forward 3-4 decades and they alternately whine /rationalize about their basement-dweller offspring who refuses to get a job and smokes pot all day.

    IMHO, this “helicopter” parenting is not parenting at all. Its a form of narcissistic control.

    BTW, Lenore, love your blog!!!

  34. True but I also think that “treating with caution” lest my child see an inappropriate movie is a bit overkill. Generally I trust that the parents of my daughter’s friends are not knowingly letting their own child stay up all night watching porn or whatever is inappropriate so it isn’t a worry. My child’s school encompasses some very high crime areas so there will definitely be houses she is not allow to visit. But otherwise there is nothing she is going to be exposed to in one night in a typical middle class house that I’m too worried about.

  35. Not that it’s a super awful movie for scarring children, but I distinctly remember watching Grease at a sleepover when I was 7. There were a lot of more adult bits that I didn’t understand — we just shrugged them off and went back to singing along with the music. As for violence, I think kids are less likely to be traumatized by some of it than we might think, and most of them can tell reality from fiction (better than some adults, I think!). I can understand being cautious in that you want to at least get to know the parent a little bit before you leave a child in their care, but I don’t think movies are as big of a concern as the general public make them out to be.

    @ Donna (re: temperature duckie); fair enough, I overreacted with the idiot part (sorry!). Still, there is more demand for that sort of thing for safety’s sake than there really ought to be (assuming most people here aren’t scorching-hot-water lovers), and not enough demand for some things because people think it couldn’t happen to them.

  36. True enough, Donna, but I think now we’re talking about parenting differences “on the margin.” Every set of parents has different things that are more important to them than they are to some other people. I don’t think it’s fair to play the “overprotective” card for everything family X is more concerned about, than I might be. Overprotectiveness is more about running to extremes or an overall overly restrictive mentality, don’t you think?

    My point is really only this: the people who the original article refers to, are apparently overprotective in that they think sleepovers are always, and by definition, terrible things, for all kids, and so their solution is just forbid ’em, period. But you seemed to also jump on Katie who was merely suggesting caution and had specific concerns. I don’t think we should lump together having different concerns about a particular area than we would have, with the kind of people the original article quotes.

  37. As far as the swings are concerned- he’s right! Who wants to keep playground equipment around when parents are so obsessive over their child’s safety during typical play that they would sue when a child falls from a swing! Also, the state makes it VERY difficult to manage playgrounds- it is VERY expensive to maintain the “cushion” that they require. It’s a vicious cycle and our children are the ones suffering!

  38. I agree with Cary about the swings – I can’t blame the school district. Imagine if a second child broke a bone on the swing set and sued the school district. Now the district had knowledge that the swings are “dangerous” and they did nothing to prevent it.

  39. Being from Canada and living in the US for about 5 years, I *finally* understand why Americans are more prone to suing than… well… people in most other countries in the world. When you have universal health care, it doesn’t matter where you got hurt, or how you got hurt, you are taken care of. In the US, in the health insurance industry makes it necessary to prove that someone else is to blame for injuries, so there are no longer simply “accidents”. It’s so sad to me that kids are missing out on play because someone got injured and a lawsuit resulted in removal of playground equipment. It doesn’t have to be this way!

  40. OK, there’s a difference between “letting” your son dress up as a girl on Halloween and insisting he still wear the costume even AFTER he’s had second thoughts and is well aware he will be ridiculed for wearing it and begs you not to make him wear it. There’s no doubt a reason he had second thoughts – such as possibly mentioning his plan in school and the other boys laughing at him for it. (He had the second thoughts BEFORE those moms gave him those looks, so the second thoughts were probably inspired by the boys.) It is just a reality that boys make fun of other boys for doing “girly” things in a way girls do not make fun of other girls for doing “boy-like” things. It may not be a good thing, but it is simply a reality that can’t be wished away. In light of that reality, to force your child to subject himself to such ridicule when he’s figured out it’s going to happen and figured out a very easy way to avoid it (i.e. don’t dress up like a girl) is not to my mind necessarily a moral and wonderful thing to do. It would be one thing if he had no second thoughts and hapily wore in that costume, but he repeatedly asked not to and knew full well it would be an embarassment to him and she basically forced him to subject himself to that embarassment. Who would make fun of a kid in a costume? Come on. Has she ever been a kid? Who would make fun of a kid? Other kids.

  41. OK, there’s a difference between “letting” your son dress up as a girl on Halloween and insisting he still wear the costume even AFTER he’s had second thoughts and is well aware he will be ridiculed for wearing it and begs you not to make him wear it.

    Neither of us was there. It seems to me that you are exaggerating what is described – it could just as easily be “this is a kid who worries a lot, and who often goes back on what he wants, and she encouraged him to go ahead with his original idea”. Kinda like if you have a kid who is worried about trying out for the school play, and would back out without your support.

    It is just a reality that boys make fun of other boys for doing “girly” things in a way girls do not make fun of other girls for doing “boy-like” things. It may not be a good thing, but it is simply a reality that can’t be wished away

    It doesn’t have to be that way. Children can be socialized and taught not to taunt each other for this sort of thing, and in the comments (buried in the comments!) you can find a few people reporting that they worked with their kid’s school to create such a culture change.

    Who would make fun of a kid? Other kids.

    There’s no evidence that the other kids *did* make fun of him, neither in that post nor in the other one on her son’s costume. The only people known to have insulted his choice of costume were grown-ups.

    Of course, neither of us knows what happened other than what’s posted.

  42. my daughter attended a church daycare/preschool, and one of the little guys — an absolutely cherubic little boy with a headful of golden curls — regularly dressed as a princess from the dress-up box, tiara and heels and all. nobody cared. my mother in law was visiting and commented on the pretty little girl and everyone laughed and said, oh, that’s liam. she was a little generationally appalled but the teachers took liam in stride, even when he came to school in his sister’s shoes, which apparently he did from time to time. man i miss that preschool.

    i wasn’t allowed to sleepovers until i was probably 10 or 12; my mom was (and is) overprotective, i was an only child (at the time), and she is an immigrant from another country, which may account for unfamiliarity with such preteen customs. i don’t think i missed much, nobody i knew was doing sleepovers much before that; i don’t remember sleepovers really getting popular before sixth grade or so anyway. why in the world would anyone want a houseful of strange 9 year olds? good lord, that sounds like a punishment, lol.

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