Home & Leisure
We Wanted the Best for Our Kids -- But Made a Mistake
An article about to be published in the Journal of Pediatrics is titled, "Decline in Independent Activity as a Cause of Decline in Children's Mental Wellbeing: Summary of the Evidence."
The authors are three big names in child development: Anthropologist David Lancy, psychologist David Bjorklund and Peter Gray, a professor in the Dept. of ...Read more
The Kids are Owl Right
Meet Flaco, the Free-Range Kid... who happens to be an owl.
At age 13, having spent almost his entire life in the Central Park Zoo where he was pampered, loved and educated (his home had a mural), this Eurasian eagle-owl was suddenly sprung from his cushy confines the night of Feb. 2. Someone -- not me! -- cut a hole in his wire mesh cage and ...Read more
NJ Dad Arrested After Letting His Child Walk Outside
This fall, just as Keith Kaplan was finishing up his first term as a town councilman in the New York suburb of Teaneck, New Jersey, he proposed a Reasonable Childhood Independence bill. It states that when parents allow kids to perform age-old independent activities, like walking or playing outside, they are not guilty of "neglect" unless the ...Read more
Adults Are the Reason Kids are Addicted to Phones
What to do about all the young people on their phones, growing depressed, anxious... and worse?
Well, there's an ancient plaything kids have loved forever (literally). It keeps them occupied for hours and can probably hold its own against TikTok. It's called "the world."
If we liberate kids from all the time they're spending in cars, classes ...Read more
Still Judging Parents, Even When They're Dead
A very long study of about 1,000 adults born in the '50s and '60s looked at how they were raised, and whether that upbringing had an impact on their longevity. The researchers found that folks who'd grown up overprotected were more likely to die before age 80 than, I guess, Free-Range Kids (now Free-Range Geezers).
As reported in ...Read more
My Spongy Valentine
As Cupid's favorite day draws near
It's time to give full-throated cheer
Not just to all the gals and guys
With whom we share our love (and fries)
But also to those other things
That buoy the soul like water wings.
Things so everyday-ish they
Get overlooked. But not today!
Today we frankly celebrate
The stuff we overlook that's great.
The Dunkin' Donuts Case
It was Super Bowl Sunday in February 2019. Cynthia Rivers and her husband decided that their kids, 7 and 9, deserved a long-promised treat for cleaning their rooms: the chance to walk to Dunkin' Donuts, a mile away, by themselves. (I changed her name to protect the family's anonymity.)
This was in a suburban town in western Connecticut. The ...Read more
It's Not Just You
It is hard to stay sane in this crazy world! Luckily, many of the conditions plaguing Americans today are mild and temporary. Including:
Hairanoia: The suspicion that everybody is just saying they love your new haircut.
Kinsomnia: The inability to fall asleep once one starts thinking about one's family.
Rexhibitionism: Childhood ...Read more
Letting Kids Play Outside is Not Neglect
Each year, the nonprofit I helm, Let Grow, works with local advocacy groups, parents and sometimes even kids to get states to pass the "Reasonable Childhood Independence" law. This law says that "child neglect" is when you put your kid in serious, obvious and likely danger -- not anytime you take your eyes off them.
Want your kids to play ...Read more
More Stuff for Parents to Buy
"Walking Wings" aren't wings. The product is a vest that goes around your baby with long straps on the top that you can yank to pull them upright, like a marionette. According to its marketing materials, this vest ensures your kid will "take fewer tumbles, which will help to build his confidence." As if kids don't build confidence from learning ...Read more
Talking to Strangers
What a fantastic study: Research just published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that when people are prompted to talk to a stranger, surprising things happen:
They start to feel less awkward after doing it a few times.
They feel less likely to be rejected.
They are more willing to do it in the future.
They consider ...Read more
Safety Gone Overboard
What happens when society get so concerned about child safety that it starts imagining danger EVERYWHERE, and punishes anyone remaining rational? Here are the child-safety follies of 2022:
MOM HANDCUFFED, JAILED, FOR HAVING SON, 8, WALK HALF A MILE
Last year around this time, Heather Wallace asked her son Aidan, 8, to get out and walk the half...Read more