Archive for March, 2015

World’s Worst Mom

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015


It’s a harsh title – “World’s Worst Mom.”  Worlds-Worst-Mom

But that’s the nickname that was slapped on Lenore Skenazy in 2008, when she was given a public flogging in the press for allowing her then 9-year-old son, Izzie, to the ride the New York City subway on his own.

She left him in Bloomingdale’s, gave him a $20 bill, a MetroCard, a subway map and a few quarters. He wanted to do it. And she trusted him to figure out how to get home and how to ask for help if he needed it.

Izzie made it home, safe and sound – and proud of himself.  His mom, however, was vilified as a child abuser – at first. Since then, Lenore has gone on to carve out a business for herself as an expert in the world of overprotective parents.

She started a blog – Free Range Kids, and now she’s starring in a reality TV show for the Discovery Life channel titled, of course, World’s Worst Mom.  (The show airs Wednesday mornings.)

It focuses on “helicopter parents” who take the cocooning of their kids a little too far. They worry about their children getting hurt, being abducted, being victimized by pedophiles, being cut by a common household knife.

In each episode we see anxious parents and babied kids who aren’t able to do much for themselves. Enter Lenore. She questions the parents and the kids, and coaches them all into learning how to relax and enjoy life a bit more.

I was skeptical about another reality/intervention show, but this one take the issues seriously and showcases the valid fears parents have about kids, as well as the importance of letting kids develop their independence. It’s not hard to see why loving parents want to do anything to protect their children.

Lenore’s message: “The problem with this everything-is-dangerous outlook is that over-protectiveness is a danger in and of itself. A child who thinks he can’t do anything on his own eventually can’t.”

The bottom line is that the world can be a scary place. Stories every day give us reason to believe that. But living fearfully isn’t healthy for parents or kids.