Lenore Skenazy, the so-called World’s Worst Mom, has a message for all you overprotective parents out there: relax.
Skenazy, who earned her moniker after she publicly bragged about let her young son ride the subway home alone, says the world is full of too many parents trying to shield their children from the real world. You’re probably familiar with what this sheltering looks like: extremely excessive amounts of check-in phone calls, restrictions from riding a bike or exploring a neighborhood alone, child leashes, trophies for last place teams – the list goes on. In Skenazy’s eyes, many of today’s parents spend way too much time coddling their kids and not enough time preparing them for life.
“Some kids are losing their childhood because their parents are so overprotective,” Skenazy told The New York Post. “Fear is being shoved down their throats at every juncture.”
Skenazy is trying to break these overprotective parents out of their anxieties on the Discovery Channel’s new reality show “World’s Worst Mom.”
“Yes, you have to be vigilant, but not to the degree where you are micromanaging and stopping them from thriving and becoming independent,” she says.
Keeping kids in this constant vacuum of safety, she reasons, prevents them from taking risks and accomplishing worthwhile things.
“Self-esteem doesn’t come from being told: ‘Oh, you’re great!’ It comes from doing something hard,” Skenazy says. “Part of our job as parents is to encourage kids to take that extra step.”
Here, from Skenazy and the New York Post, are five ways for parents to break out of their paranoid parenting habits:
1. Don’t buy into the over-the-top kids’ safety market: Whether its “Walking Wings” that keep kids from falling when learning to walk or child leashes, Skenazy says all these products are a waste of your money. Let them fall and let them explore their world.
2. Disappointment isn’t dangerous: Don’t shelter your kids from failure, she says. Failure is often the best way to teach a child how to succeed in future endeavors. Avoid the “trophies for everyone!” culture.
3. Stop Worst-First Thinking: Crime levels have been dropping for over a decade now. Grant your kids some more liberties accordingly.
4. Facebook isn’t a catalog for pedophiles: Many parents don’t let their kids on social media networks due to fear of predators. The truth is, instances of adults tracking down kids via social media are extremely rare.
5. Lose the Restroom Worries: Don’t make your kid of the opposite gender go to the bathroom with you, she says. Give them clear instructions about not engaging with strangers and let them use the bathroom on their own.