Help! I'm Sick of Overparenting My Kids

Dear Bintel Brief:

I want to be a Free-Range parent, I really do. I want to let my kids have the same kind of fun I had as a child. But I am so paranoid it is ridiculous.

When I was in third, grade I used to walk a few blocks up the street to a small park where I would play for hours by myself. I now have a son in third grade, and couldn’t even imagine letting him do this by himself. I was always able to go and do almost anything I wanted from a very young age, but I can’t even begin to think about letting my kids do this.

I have three sons ages 8, 3, and 1.5. I am not a paranoid person when it comes to anything that has to do with me. I am very confident in myself. My 8-year-old is very smart and capable, but the thought of him even being outside by himself is enough to reduce me to a nerve-wracked pile of goo. I want to be able to do the things with my kids that I was able to do as a kid. I have no idea where my paranoia came from. It sure wasn’t my parents because they had no problem letting me go and do things by myself. I don’t watch much TV, because I don’t care for it, and what I do watch is just a couple of shows here and there. No news. Where is this fear coming from? How can I fight it?


Lenore Skenazy, a former columnist for the New York Daily News and the New York Sun, now writes a syndicated newspaper column and hosts a topical humor contest that runs in The Week magazine. She is the author of “Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts With Worry” (Jossey-Bass), published in April, and “Who’s The Blonde That Married What’s-His-Name? The Ultimate Tip-of-the-Tongue Test of Everything You Know You Know – But Can’t Remember Right Now” (Penguin), published in June.

If you have a question for the Bintel Brief, e-mail Questions selected for publication are printed anonymously.

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Help! I'm Sick of Overparenting My Kids

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