Some Important Perspective
First off, I didn’t realize that Lenore Skenazy began contributing to Reason. I follow her off-and-on at her primary site and know she filled for Balko at The Agitator for a brief while and am glad to see she appears to be finding a broader audience. She can sometimes be provocative simply for the sake of being so, which isn’t inherently a bad thing, but sometimes make her message a hard sell on people not inclined to her way of thinking.
That said, the conclusion to her most recent pieces shows a remarkable amount of nuance and injects some much needed perspective into an important ongoing conversation. In reference to a woman being arrested on charges of child neglect after letting her 7-year-old walk alone to a park, she writes:
Let me reiterate here that these arrests are uncommon—that’s why they make the news—and should not dissuade parents from sending their kids to play. On the contrary, the more kids running around outside again, the more normal it will seem, and perhaps these excessive fears will subside.
I don’t know the numbers well enough to dispute her take on the supposed “trend” of arresting parents for letting kids play outdoors. But there is a certain logic to her argument plus she makes her hay covering this very topic, so I’m inclined to trust her. I suppose a counter argument would be that society might have already shifted so far that such arrests are noteworthy because the behavior being criminalized is so rare — which my anecdotal experience does support — but that is far from conclusive. Regardless, I implore all parents reading to heed her advice and let your kids run outside and play. Yes, protect them appropriately from real risks but do not inculcate in them a belief that the world is a serious place which they need to be sheltered from.