America’s Worst Mom

You may have heard about this already, but New York Sun columnist and author of the blog Free Range Kids, Lenore Skenazy, is definately America’s Worst Mom.

In the newsweek article it explains how, after admitting to letting her 8 year old son ride the subway by himself, Skenazy was labelled a horrible mother with no concern for her child’s safety by the psychopath’s that bandage scraped knees with horse hair suchors and do more damage to their children by keeping them under lock and key than riding the subway to and from the store could in a dozen years. What this article calls “Helicopter” Parenting.

It *has* to be her, because it can’t be my saint of a mother – nevermind her constant severe physical, verbal and emotional abuse. Nevermind that my mother also stood by and watched her husband beat my sister and I bloody for over a decade, that she took my youth and used us as work horses while denying us basic human rights like bathing. No, my mother was amazing and Lenore Skenazy is horrible – because my mother kept a close eye on me. She never let Laota or I out of her sight, we weren’t even allowed to answer the phone or door! How DARE Skenazy abuse her child by letting him ride the subway!?

There’s this feeling among adults that every time their child goes out to ride their bike they’ll be abducted and never seen again, and while I understand wanting to keep your child safe, keeping them dependant on you is going to make for a very unhappy childhood and a harder switchover to an independant adult life.

The case was made that when the baby boomer generation were young, they appreciated a certain level of trust and indepenedance from their parents, and were trusted with running errands, taking public transportation, going to the store, etc. and that moder kids are coddled and should be allowed more freedom. Now, while I agree with that, I do have an issue to point out – exhibit A, from Newsweek:

So why are some parents so nervous about letting their children out of their sight? Are cities and towns less safe and kids more vulnerable to crimes like child abduction and sexual abuse than they were in previous generations?

Not exactly. New York City, for instance, is safer than it’s ever been; it’s ranked 136th in crime among all American cities. Nationwide, stranger abductions are extremely rare; there’s a one-in-a-million chance a child will be taken by a stranger, according to the Justice Department. And 90 percent of sexual abuse cases are committed by someone the child knows. Mortality rates from all causes, including disease and accidents, for American children are lower now than they were 25 years ago. According to Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group, between 1980 and 2003 death rates dropped by 44 percent for children ages five to 14 and 32 percent for teens aged 15 to 19.

Now, I’ve been known far and wide for my general dislike of the Baby Boomer generation – it could be said that they had social change in the palm of their hand and pissed it away on drugs and disco, then turncoated in the 70s and 80s with the vintage Yuppie movement which bypassed my generation and is now landing on the faces of Generation Z. And it could be said that the Aquarians and their contemporaries were either too conservative or too liberal with no in between balance, and that they screwed up America for everyone who came before them by kicking sand in the eyes of tradition and screwed it up for everyone who came after them by creating a country based on consumerism that’s now destroying the planet and every last corner of the arts, but there is one good thing I can say about them – I think Lenore, while I agree with what she’s doing, is dead wrong.

Yes, children should have more freedom, I’m 100% behind that. And I don’t see anything wrong with her son having a level of independance – it’s great! But if you think about it, maybe all of this coddling from the baby boomers is the reason things are safer now, the reason that death rates have dropped, the reason that abductions have decreased – maybe all of that Helicopter Parenting’s kept those kids out of harm’s way. Something’s changed, that’s for damn sure.