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May 20th, 2010
07:25 AM ET

Just Leave 'Em...

A New York mom, a well-known writer and blogger, is organizing "National Take Your Kids to the Park and Leave Them There Day" for this Saturday. Lenore Skenazy says "helicopter parents" are always hovering over their kids these days, preventing them from having the sense of free play that we had when we were young. Skenazy says the world isn't actually more dangerous for them, but we all feel it is, and we're stifling our kids' creativity.

We want to hear what you think. What's the right age to start doing this? She says 7 or 8. Do you agree with Skenazy and her philosophy?

She’s joining us live at 11am ET. Leave a comment or question and we’ll share some of them on air in the CNN Newsroom.


Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Josh Levs • Tony Harris
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Michele

    I would be interested in hearing Nancy Grace's opinion of this philosophy.....along with the opinions of the many parents whose children have been featured on her show in the last 12 months.

    May 20, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  2. Jerry D

    I disagree that the world is not more dangerous. There are far more pedophiles and a world that is seeing them as victims rather than the predators they are. Perhaps some parents are a little over-protective, but at least the child is safer. Who among us hasn't read of some pedophile being given a virtual "slap on the wrist" for raping a child, while an adult rapist goes to prison for the rest of their life (which is right, of course)? No, there really are monsters out there.

    May 20, 2010 at 7:33 am |
  3. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Our country is full of child rapist I live in a small town and would not leave my grand children alone in a park one mistake is all it takes why gamble with a child's life for a self centerd ego .

    May 20, 2010 at 7:39 am |
  4. cyril ayanbadejo

    Paedophiles and accidents are 2 things that make me go against such decisions!

    May 20, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  5. Lahn

    Kids definitely need boundaries, and you'll know from your child(ren) when to relax those boundaries.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  6. SouthgateJo

    Parents are parents because they watch over their children. They decided what is safe and because of their life experience, know what is safe and what isn't. This guy needs to be taken to one of our downtown Detroit parks ...We'll see how he dodges bullets for a while ....

    May 20, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  7. Karen

    It is sad that times are not like they used to be, however, advertising a day where children will be left unattended is only asking for every sicko to come out and shop at the local park for some child to abduct or do unspeakable acts to. No thanks. I put a $2K swingset in my backyard and invite the neighbors over.

    May 20, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  8. Lesa, Wilmington De

    This is a huge issue controversial issue yes. I do believe, however that this society has turned into a group of " helicoper parents".

    I have two boys. 12 and 7. I believe we need to be realistic about how our children are brought up. Making every single decision for them, and even worse while they are standing next to us doesnt encourage their inner leader. Mass media has made parents paranoid paranoid paranoid.

    I'm a dedicated parent-I know there are sickos out there, and that cars can run us over. I just think that parents are overdoing it. It starts from "omg my kid has the sniffles, He CANT function today at all so I cant let him outside at all for a week!" to "We dont go to that park because I dont know who is sitting on the benches!!!" or "There are mean kids at that park, I dont like it" Come on..we encounter strangers, mean people everyday and have learned how to deal with it.

    I let our kids choose the park they want to go to. I dont leave mine because I usually have to drive to the one they want, but I do not keep them from public places. At the mall, my 12 yr is allowed to go to the stores he is interested in. We live in a city, and he takes our two dogs for walks on his own. He and his 7yr old brother are allowed to go to the local market, on their own together if they want something. They also walk to the library together here in the city.

    Ive had the talk with both of them..many times about "stranger danger" and walking in the city. By allowing them these small opportunities to think on their own I believe its a benefit. Its hard to let them experience life because we know what is potentially out there. Just let them make decisions–it empowers them and we can still keep them safe.

    May 20, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  9. Michael in Phoenix

    It is sad that in my youth we played outside till it was dark. Then we came in to get flashlights and go back and play until we heard our mom call us in. Parents today do not think it is safe for children to play without supervision. I know this is because of the free flow of information and the spinning of stories by the media. I wonder if it is really less safe nowadays or if it has always been like this. Then I think that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, let it be someone else's child I will stand here and watch mine.

    May 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  10. maze1gerald

    I agree about helicopter parents that's one reason there are so many fat kids,they make kids stay in the house to much.they also will make their kids wimps by doing this.we also played outside untill dark ,but we were taught common sense,also safety skills.Also kids sataying stuck up around parents too much can cause them to act too grown.

    May 20, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  11. Raymond W. Seward

    I understand the thinking of Ms Shenzay, allowing your children to have the freedom to grow. It is important for a child to realize that they have to be able to understand what life is all about. However it's not the children that are the problem, and it's not the parents that are the problem either. It's the over whelming mass of creeps, rapists, child abusers and child murders that are. If Ms Shenzay is trying to convince the public that the world is NOT any more dangerous than it was before I have to very strongly disagree. I was a child of the 50's. I grew up in a world of small towns (very much like Mayberry) where everone in the town knew who you were, and everyone in that town watched over every child. That's not the case these days by a long shot. Today people don't know their next door neighbor let alone someone from the other side of town. A missing child in the 50's was a rare thing, and if a child did go missing the entire town stopped everything they were doing and started searching. In my opinion, this lady is way off base and completely out of line. There are many ways to teach your children the ways of life with out taking them out to a park (no Less) and abandoning them. Where I come from that would be considered child abuse and endangering the health and well being of that child. I pray no one takes this ladys advise, and if you do and your child ends up missing, remember one thing. It will not be her that walks to that bedroom at the end of the evening, sitting on the bed crying wondering if your child is still alive, safe, has had enough to eat, and praying to God for just one more second of time to be able to tell your child that you love them.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  12. Jim J

    Finally! A fair and balanced debate on the school text book issue...good for you TJ! Now, please get the visitors to not interrupt.

    May 22, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  13. Troy

    @joshlevscnn really? So Texas has become the first state to be a religiously conservative dictatorship state? When do they plan to seceed and become the third world country they are meant to be in the first place?

    May 22, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  14. Ellis

    She is completely correct. The world is actually a less dangerous place now than it was when we were kids. The only difference is that the media likes to emphasize every incident everywhere in the world so that it seems like these things are happening all the time. News flash – your kid has about a 1000 times better chance of dying in the car that you are driving than being abducted and murdered by a stranger. Let them go to the park – it's safer than driving them there. Stop living in such a paranoid fantasy land.

    May 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  15. Deb B

    Uh, OK, maybe good for kids to become more independent, but a National Leave Your Kid at the Park day announces to every creep and pedaphile which day they should show up at the park.

    May 23, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  16. candy

    Until laws are stiffer for sex-traffickers and pedophiles I won't feel safe leaving my child alone. I understand what this woman is saying, and in some points I agree. Our children need to play more independantly. In order to make that happen, the powers that be need to make me feel safer in my community with stiffer laws and penalties against today's new surge of sex traffickers. The internet has opened up a whole new world to these creeps, and they mean to make money off the exploitation of children. This didn't exist in the past like it does today. They didn't have a wide open medium like the internet back then.
    No matter what we say to them, statistics also show that children usually get into that car, and are easily lead astray by strangers. Time and time again they just doggedly follow, despite all our warnings.
    I wish my child had the kind of freedom I did growing up, in my tiny community where everyone knew me and I knew them, but I can't do it in today's world. Sure it sucks, but that's reality as I know it.

    May 25, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  17. Glory

    How about also get together and work for the fight of oil spill. This is crytical and is affecting all of us and the entirely world. The spill of oil could be everywhere in the ocean if the oil spill doesn't stop. You know what all our personal problems will go away when we look at eachother and realized that is too late to do something about it. What about technology, What is happening is it too much or is it to little to put up what it takes to fix this huge problem we are facing now.We believe in people who are willing to do something about it,but nothing is happening to fix what it need to be fix.Whether small or little problem must be taking care inmmediately. Now we are the one paying the price for the ones who make a huge mistake or did this to us. Well is time for actions and less nonesence. "WE ARE THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE" WE ARE ONE! Lets get out together and do something about it instead of talking,because "actions speak louder than words"Thank you for your support!G

    May 26, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  18. Doug Kilgus

    Tony, what is our federal government doing to help the welfare of the displaced fishermen and their families during this oil crisis?

    Thank you,
    Doug – North Carolina

    May 26, 2010 at 10:46 am |