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.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Help! I'm Sick of Overparenting My Kids

Thank you!

This article has been sent!