Monday, May 11, 2009

Lenore Skenazy

Salon's Katharine Mieszkowski interviewed Lenore Skenazy about her new book, Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts With Worry.

Part of their dialogue:

I grew up in the Houston suburbs in the '70s and '80s. Back then, we kids waited for the school bus without our parents. Now, in that exact same neighborhood, parents always wait at the school bus stop with their kids, although the neighborhood has not changed significantly.

This was a shock to me. Now, parents wait at the bus stop. They wait in the morning to make sure their kid gets on safely, and sometimes they wait at the bus stop in the afternoon to drive the kid home, even if it's on the same block, even if it's in a gated community. Sometimes they wait with those little golf carts. It's the new social norm.

What do you think are the reasons that change has taken place?

When I was growing up, my parents were not watching those horrific television shows that are on now like "CSI" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." They were watching "Dallas," "Dynasty," stuff with maybe big hair, but that was the biggest crime. It wasn't all these shows with really graphic, horrifying consequences for kids.

And then, you didn't have cable, and cable has to fill 24 hours with the worst possible stories, because if they filled it with stories about kids getting home safely, you wouldn't watch. What's the most compelling story that anyone has come up with so far? It's something terrible happening to a child.[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue