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At School, Learning Helplessness

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

Jodi M. is a seventh-grade health teacher in a quiet, distant suburb of New York City. She is worried about her students, many of whom have lost their independence and become less resilient as a result of the pandemic.

"These kids are so anxious and depressed they can't do anything for themselves," she says. (I'm keeping her last name ...Read more

Things To Ignore, by Your Friend Lenore

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

At this point, your "TO DO in '22!" list has probably become your "TO DO in '23!" list. Mine, too. To salvage our self-respect, here is a far more achievable goal list for 2022: "Things to ignore, by your friend Lenore!"

--In the coming year, we resolve to do our very best to ignore:

--Bad haircut (own)

--Bad haircut (friend's)

--Cookie on ...Read more

If You See Something, Post Something

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

"Child Luring Incident!" read the warning that appeared last Friday on several Teaneck, New Jersey, Facebook and other social media pages.

"A man in a car pulled up and tried to get a child in around 11 am on 12/31/21," it said. "You can clearly hear the child say, 'I do not accept rides from strangers,' and 'no' several times before walking ...Read more

The Wackiest Parenting Stories of 2021

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

In a crazy year, some stories were crazier than others when it came to kids, parents, worrywarts, scolds -- and everything besides COVID-19, which we give a blessed rest in this list!


A Beaverton, Oregon, man screamed at a lady for leaving her kid in the car while she ran into the grocery for two items. ...Read more

What Kids Learn When They're 'Just' Playing

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

We're heading into two weeks (or possibly ... two months? two years?) of the kids at home. It's called Christmas break, as if it's a break from learning.

But that's just our Puritan Work Ethic talking -- the idea that if something is fun, it is a pause from our real job, which is to always be hard at work on something tough, unpleasant...Read more

Coming to New York? Here's the Lingo You'll Need

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

New Yorkers have always had their own slang. For us, "Coffee, regular" means coffee with milk and sugar. A "straphanger" -- one who hangs from a strap -- is shorthand for a subway or bus rider. And "fuhgeddaboudit" is a single word. In fact, when you are on the expressway out of Brooklyn there's a real sign that says, "Leaving Brooklyn? ...Read more

Why Aren't Kids Outside Anymore?

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

"What is a good age to let kids walk to the park and play without an adult?"

That's the simple, straightforward question someone posted this week on Raising Independent Kids, a Facebook group I run as president of a nonprofit promoting childhood independence.

The answers are all very kind and nonjudgmental. No one is screaming, "Never let your...Read more

Cool Cop Calms Catastrophizing Public

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

"A person following you down the aisle at a big box store does not constitute an abduction attempt. It might be creepy, but it's not kidnapping. It's not human trafficking and it's not a crime. They might just be heading to the snack section just like you are."

So wrote Lt. Tim Cotton on the Bangor, Maine, Police Department's Facebook page last...Read more

The Terrible Toys of 2021

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

In the face of the supply chain crunch, some parents are making do with the only toys left on the shelves. These include:

Chutes and Lepers: The game is the same. The graphics are ... disturbing.

Skanky: A Slinky that stays out all night and stumbles down the stairs.

Supersize Fidget Spinner: Pizza-size version of the popular gadget.

Hangry,...Read more

Maybe Therapy Got it Backwards

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

In her new book, Everyday Vitality, psychiatrist Samantha Boardman recalls a patient early in her career who walked in one day and announced:

"I hate coming to our weekly sessions. All we do is talk about the bad stuff in my life ... Even if I'm having a good day, coming here makes me think about all the negative things." And with that, the ...Read more

We Must Stop the FDA from Terrifying Us About Hand Sanitizer!

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

Last week the government issued a press release sure to shake up anyone about to sanitize their hands:

"FDA warns that getting alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the eyes can cause serious injury."

Oh my God -- "serious injury"? Everyone I know carries that stuff! Is hand sanitizer blinding an entire generation?

Well, not quite. It seems that, ...Read more

Let's Hear it for Risky Playgrounds

Parents / Lenore Skenazy /

Germany is adding MORE RISK to its playgrounds. Some of its climbing structures are now three stories high. And who is requesting this?

Insurance companies!

They want kids to grow up "risk competent." Ironically, "safety" culture is stunting kids' risk assessing abilities.

"This is fantastic progress in understanding childhood as the right ...Read more



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