#187 – Episode 187 – Parenting as Prevention with America’s Worst Mother


Lenore Skenazy believes our children are in crisis. That we are over-parenting them and stealing vital growth opportunities from them. If kids don’t build resilience and have confidence in their abilities then they pay a price in adulthood.

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about this episode

The roots of addiction start in childhood.

There’s a huge link between resilience and developing addictions, with resilience being a major protective factor.

To build that resilience in our children we have to give them the opportunities to problem solve, make mistakes, and learn from them.

In the latest episode of our Parenting as Prevention series, I’m joined by America’s Worst Mother, Lenore Skenazy, whose work focuses on the importance of childhood independence, where it went, and how to give it back to kids.

About Lenore Skenazy

After her newspaper column “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone” created a media firestorm, Lenore Skenazy went on to found the Free-Range Kids movement. She has lectured everywhere from Disney to Microsoft, been interviewed by everyone from Dr. Phil to The New Yorker, and hosted the reality TV show, World’s Worst Mom. Now Lenore is co-founder and president of Let Grow, the national nonprofit promoting childhood independence. She lives in New York with her husband and beloved computer. Her kids are gainfully employed.

key highlights

Cultural pressure of parenting

When we look at parenting in the 50s to the 80s, what was considered normal then has changed dramatically.

The things we grew up doing, like walking to school or playing with our friends outside, are no longer the norm. Is it because it’s gotten more dangerous?

Lenore believes the answer is no.

“We trusted kids to look both ways to cross the street or not get into a car with a stranger but we’ve lost that trust.” – Lenore Skenazy

We’re now in a time where it’s constantly impressed upon us that we should have eyes on our children every second of the day, either ourselves or under another adult’s supervision.

It’s not hardwired, it’s a cultural phenomenon.


Childhood free time and independence

When all of a child’s time is taken up by adult-organized and supervised activities, it limited what they learn to do and make happen.

Experiencing excitement, new experiences, and small risks helps you to figure out how to deal with disappointment and which risks are not worth taking.

“All these experiences and interactions form the basis of a human being.” – Lenore Skenazy

When everything is taken care of for you every day, you end up as a young adult who can’t navigate difficult situations on their own.

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