FREE-RANGE KIDS: Why does an old-fashioned childhood sound so radical?

Annual Julia Howe Ward Child Development Lecture
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Diana Center, Event Oval

A Lecture by Lenore Skenazy, founder of the book, blog and movement, "Free-Range Kids."

Lenore Skenazy is a big city newspaper columnist (16 years total at the New York Daily News and New York Sun) who has written for everyone from The Times of London to Mad Magazine -- yes, that  Mad Magazine.  She also spent several years on TV, first at CNBC and then at The Food Network. And before all THAT she got her B.A. from Yale and M.A. from Columbia.

Everything changed in 2008, when she wrote a column about letting her 9-year-old take the subway alone. Two days later she found herself on “The Today Show,” MSNBC, Fox News and NPR – and then on media worldwide -- defending herself against charges she’s “America’s Worst Mom.” (But Google that and there she is, for 35 pages.) She launched the blog, “Free-Range Kids” and went on to write the book by the same name, to explain her parenting philosophy: Safety is good! Car seats, seat belts, helmets – great! But our kids do NOT need a security detail every time they leave the house.

Since then she has lectured about “Free-Range Kids” everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to a convention of bus drivers in Portland, Ore. She’s been on “Dr. Phil,”“The View” and pretty much every show except Oprah (and now it’s too late!!). The rest of the time she lives in New York City with her husband and two sons, Morry, 14 and Izzy, 12, who are not quite as Free-Range as she’d like, but she’s working on it.  And it helps that her older son just lost his iPod Touch, so now he has to come up with something else to do besides just sitting there, staring at it. 

One thing she understands: None of us is a perfect parent.

Apr. 26, 2011 - 11:00 AM