Welcome to Free-Range House Calls — and goodbye to excessive parental fear! But before we get to THAT, here are two questions for you:
Think back on your childhood. What are you most proud of?
Chances are, it was something you did yourself.*
Now, think back on something that your KIDS did that made you really proud. What was it?
Chances are it was something they did on their own, too. It was great! Now it’s time to see some more of that.
I’m Lenore Skenazy, founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids, and host of “World’s Worst Mom” on Discovery Life (the title is ironic!!). I make Free-Range House Calls to folks who love their kids but feel nervous — very nervous — about letting them do things on their own.
If you want your kids to have the kind of fun, formative childhood that instills confidence and makes them ready to succeed — even lead — the good news is: It’s easier (and quicker) than you’d expect. All it takes is the ability to recognize just how safe and smart your kids already are.
Living in an era that dwells on the very worst, scariest stories, it can be hard to start letting go. Our society almost encourages misery and fear. If you’re feeling torn, confused or simply sick with worry every time you aren’t right next to your kids, that’s when it’s time to try loosening the reins on your kids. Do it on your own, or do it with a friend — send your kids out to play together as you stay inside, drinking coffee.
Or, if you want a little more help, call me.
With a one- or two-day visit to your New York-area home, I can probably help you let go of a lot of your anxiety. My track record to date is almost shocking success with 15 out of the 16 families I worked with. (Can’t win ’em all.)
I’m not a therapist, and I don’t have a degree in anything psych-related. But in the course of filming my TV show and making private house calls, I have learned that change can come fast. Not thanks to anything I say (alas). Thanks to the kids themselves. When parents see their kids bursting with joy and confidence thanks to the new things they can do, the parents end up joyful and confident, too.
And we’re not talking about dare-devil things! We’re talking about things that kids have always done, like walking to school, riding a bike, or playing on their own.
My job is to to hit the anxiety re-set button, allowing you to enjoy your kids’ childhoods instead of only worrying what could go wrong.
Happy, confident kids don’t love or need us parents any less. They’re just grateful to see that we believe in them.
If this sounds helpful or hopeful, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . I look forward to hearing from you. — Lenore
*An 80% chance, according to this article.