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There is a lot a truth in this. When I was a kid, we ran unsupervised just about everywhere. Parents laid down some basic groundrules (come home before dark), but then we took off. And what wonderful days those were. This is not to say there were no consequences if we got into trouble, but I certainly agree, too many parents smother and coddle their kids, and are turning them into cream puffs (intellectually and physically).

Isn't this how most things ought to run? A few basic ground rules we agree on, then go!

Maybe those statistics show that overparenting is working. I must admit I am a new parent and new to this controversy, but if parents are over protective of their children and forbid them from talking to strangers and then you show me a statistics that say children aren't very likely to be kidnapped by strangers, then instead of saying "see, parents are overprotective" perhaps the statistics shows that being overprotective in this area is working. If all parents let their children go where ever they want, then those kidnapping statistics would go up.

Tom: Those data long pre-date the more recent romance with hyper-parenting. And no one is suggesting that children go "wherever they want." What is being argued is that people know which dangers are real and which are not, and how real the dangers are, and act accordingly. Over-protecting your kids does damage and as economists all know: there are no solutions, only trade-offs.

Over-parenting your kids is like arguing the speed limit should be 30 MPH everywhere in order to avoid "needless" accidents and deaths.

Steve,

I get the point that there are no solutions only trade-offs. Thomas Sowell has made this point many times before and I agree with this. But the article quoted doesn't discuss the trade- offs. Is the trade-off of not letting your child go to the store alone is to then let him visit relatives or ride in a car? I don’t think that is the relevant trade-off. Surely there could be some benefit of letting your child go to the store alone, but kidnapping is not the only bad outcome that could come of letting your child ride the subway or go to the store alone. And perhaps parents know their own local conditions better than someone from a far making judgements on parental decisions. The article does a poor job of demonstrating what the trade-offs are. And wouldn’t a lot of these trade-offs be subjective not open to objective evaluation?

Statistics have been cited in the media that 36,000 die from the flu each year, therefore it is irresponsible to not vaccinate your child. Are vaccinations then a solution? Where is the discusion in the article of the trade-off between the supposed benefits of vaccination verses the costs in terms of potential debilitating effects of a bad dose of the vaccine? Also, the government is telling nearly everyone to get vaccinated and is threatening to mandate vaccinations for healthcare workers. Isn’t this the ultimate form of overprotection? In addition, is the flu statistic correct or perhaps the public is being misled? The government tells us 36,000 die each year, but others have said that those actually die from the flu is much much less. Perhaps the statistics are misleading or don’t capture all of the potential effects of a decision. Parents may know something that a simple statistic cannot reveal.

I think the point Tom is simply that parents will make better decisions if they know the real risks and are not unreasonably fearful of things that aren't that much of a danger. It's okay to let kids walk to school, for example, because the risks are low and there are benefits to it. Letting your kids roam the neighborhood and learn how to deal with spontaneous forms of play and the unexpected conflict involves is not only not particularly dangerous, it's good for them.

Overparenting and overprogramming kids is just bad for them. And let's not forget it's bad for parents too. I don't agree with everything Bryan Caplan has to say about kids, but he's dead right that these sorts of parenting strategies are not only not helpful, they add stress and worry to PARENTS' lives. I see too many of my peers who are totally stressed out, mostly because they don't have a second to breathe thanks in large part to decisions they've made as parents. No thank you. It's not worth making yourself miserable for no real gain to your kids.

Knowing the facts about the real dangers and deciding carefully about them makes both kids and parents better off.

Overparenting seems like more of an American (and British) thing to me. Back home children, myself and people my age included, seem to have far more freedom from their parents than they do either in the US or in Britain.

And judging from the time I lived in US and my experiences at a UK university it seems to work out a whole lot better when children are exposed to the "real world" at a younger age.

Where are you from, Giles? I always thought you were english. Anyway this just reinforces my intuition that America is stupid.

My dad always was(and is) rather lax when it came to certain sets of rules. I usually have enjoyed the benefits of a very very long leash. I've never gotten into trouble when I'm out in Chicago.

The Trade-offs vs. Solutions paradigm may resonate more with parents once this line of thinking permeates psychiatry, psychiatry, and social work - the professions charged with the responsibility of working with families.
These professionals think, almost exclusively, in terms of solutions.

This is failing the smell test. What does resistance to giving your kid some untested government vaccine have to do with babying your kids? Who is this Skenazy woman, apart from someone for whom Steve Horwitz has an ideological affinty?

Another related aspect to the hyper-parenting also seems to be young people living at home longer and longer. Something is wrong when a 30-year old is still living at home and mom is doing laundry and cooking meals for her little darling. Part of good parenting is knowing when to nudge (or kick some tail) the kids out of nest so they learn how to fly on their own. More and more parents seem to be constantly bailing their kids (teenagers to young 20's) out of trouble, but of course it is always the fault of the coach or teacher who has wronged little sweet Johnny.

Parents must understand that the world is a dangerous place, but the bigger danger may be raising a spolied, whiny, worthless creampuff of a human being who is not able or willing to care for himself. Good parenting is good teaching, and good teaching often involves on the job training and independent research.

I follow Kenneth Boulding's approach to raising kids: creative neglect.

If some parents are doing hyper parenting, I think there is a big reason behind it.

why does the snow is grey , i think it is white.

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