OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK: Mom Ticketed for Letting Son, 14, Watch Brother, 3, for 30 Mins

Hi Readers — Just as we were rejoicing about sanity across the sea (see below, regarding Britain’s re-evaluation of its excessive background checks), comes this story, from The Express:

A MOTHER who left her son of 14 to mind his three-year-old brother while she went to the shops was given a police caution for “cruelty” and was suspended from work.

…Although there was no “incident” and they were not believed to be in danger, the mother was cautioned by officers for “committing an act of cruelty on a child or young person.”

You want cruelty? How about the cruelty of treating a mom like a criminal for knowing her son is a responsible young man? How about the cruelty of making a mom unemployable? How about the cruelty to all her fellow citizens  who maybe even remember BABYSITTING at age 11 or 12, but now feel compelled to treat their own teens like imbeciles? Or the cruelty to young adults who want to do something in the world besides playing videogames, but are being told, “No! You are a baby yourself!”

This is positively stunting to children, and shackling to adults, who are apparently never allowed to leave their children’s side till the kids go off to college.

Remember when the rallying cry for a generation was, “Never trust anyone over 30”? Now it’s, “Never trust anyone UNDER 30.” Or at least under age 16 —  the minimum age England’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children recommends babysitters be. (It also says kids should be 14 before they are allowed to stay home alone!)

This idea that teens are unable to take care of kids for even half an hour flies smack in the face of evolution, which has spent the past 300,000 years or so making teenage homo sapiens into parents. And somehow the species arrived at today. Glorious today, when we treat young children as infinitely endangered, and older kids as dangerously inept. — Lenore

We only want babysitters who are old enough to drive!

Boy Ticketed for Climbing a Tree — But This is NOT Our “Outrage of the Week”

So here’s the story, as reported in The Daily Mail: A 9-year-old boy from Germany visits his five cousins in England. They go to a park, the boy climbs a tree, a neighbor complains that the kids are being rowdy, the tree-climber gets a ticket.

It’s crazy to ticket a boy for climing a tree. But I have to say, while I would normally make this an “Outrage of the Week!” the boy’s dad  blew it for me by saying that now his son will be too scared to come back to England.

The whole problem with the world today (since you asked) is seen here twice. What is it? OVER-REACTING! The police over-reacted to a boy in a tree by giving him a ticket, for gosh sakes. But the dad is over-reacting, too, as if this one weird incident is going to traumatize his son for life. Let’s give a little credit to human resiliency, shall we? This will be a strange memory and possibly, in time,  a treasured family story. It’s not a plane crash.


Remembering that kids are resilient is KEY to raising a Free-Range Kid. If every sad, scary, or just plain screwed up event is seen as permanently scarring — or cause for a law suit — there’s no way we could let children do anything on their own. We’d have to HELICOPTER around, making sure everything is perfectly fine, all the time.

The world is not perfectly fine. We are babies, and we treat our kids like babies, when we insist it has to be. For the dad and the policeman I have one suggestion: 

Go climb a tree! — Lenore