Lenore Skenazy from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 02 Dec 2020 17:21:10 -0800 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Lenore Skenazy from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/lenore-skenazy-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy 2f276e702ff6e9570fd691009a15ebcf Is It a Crime to Trust Your Kids? for 11/26/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/11/20/is-it-a-crime-to-trust-your-kids Thu, 26 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The South Carolina mom who wants her kids' elementary school to allow them to walk home alone could find herself facing an investigation. Ominously, at the end of an ABC News4 story about her quest, the anchorwoman said, "Social Services could be called if the children are left to walk home on their own."</p> <p>"Left" to walk home. As if the mom is abandoning her kids rather than trusting them. </p> <p>The story, which I chronicled earlier this month on Reason, involves Jessie Thompson, a mom of three children ages 9, 10 and 11, who attend Spann Elementary School in Summerville, South Carolina. They already walk alone in that neighborhood &#8212; and look both ways before crossing &#8212; on their way to their extracurriculars. But the principal has said they can't without an adult &#8212; too dangerous. Thompson must come pick up the kids, or the school will put them on the bus.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 26, 2020</p> edd9fc1da791d2e3188082afd523d5a2 Principal Versus Mom: Who Decides How Kids Get Home? for 11/13/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/11/20/principal-versus-mom-who-decides-how-kids-get-home Fri, 13 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Jessie Thompson's kids, ages 9, 10 and 11, would like to walk home together, but Spann Elementary School in Summerville, South Carolina, won't let them leave without an adult.</p> <p>When Thompson asked if she could sign some sort of waiver, the school said no. If an adult does not pick the kids up, they must take the bus &#8212; even though it takes longer than the 20-minute walk. And especially in a time of COVID-19, being outside would seem to make more sense. </p> <p>While other elementary schools in the area allow kids to walk home, Principal Shane Sanford put his foot down, and the school district backed him up. The Thompsons hired an attorney who implored the district to reverse course. <p>Updated: Fri Nov 13, 2020</p> fd6dbafffba96ed4fe67db3d7145b2c9 Why Is It So Hard to Stop Overprotecting Kids? for 11/05/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/11/20/why-is-it-so-hard-to-stop-overprotecting-kids Thu, 05 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Why are today's kids allowed to do only a fraction of the things their parents did &#8212; and loved? Less than 10% walk to school. Tree forts seem few. A 2018 study (albeit British) found kids play outside just half the time their parents did. What gives, and what is this doing to them?</p> <p>Those are the mysteries examined in a documentary debuting Nov. 11. "Chasing Childhood" follows one family where the parents pressured their daughter to succeed in school and college. It's a cautionary tale. But the film also focuses on Let Grow, the nonprofit promoting childhood independence that I run. One of our (free!) school initiatives is the "Let Grow Project," a homework assignment that boils down to: "Go home, and do something new &#8212; on your own, without your parents." A middle school boy who pushes for the chance to take the train to visit his dad provides the film's emotional peak. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">I'm interviewed in the movie, but now that it's done, I got to turn the tables and interview its co-director/producer, Margaret Loeb:</span><p>Updated: Thu Nov 05, 2020</p> c49010f1203f203a23dbdb26dc77f6de Don't Swallow This New Halloween Fear for 10/29/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/10/20/dont-swallow-this-new-halloween-fear Thu, 29 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Want your brain sucked out by zombies? Yahoo is happy to oblige. Its homepage today screams: "Beware of marijuana edibles in your kids' Halloween stash, police warn: 'Not everything is as it seems.'"</p> <p>"Not everything" includes Yahoo parenting stories based on nothing more than fear and clickbait.</p> <p>Do parents really have to worry about edibles in their kids Halloween stash? Yahoo mentions one 2019 case of two Connecticut kids given a package of gummies who didn't eat them.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 29, 2020</p> 8c504046ff0a141d19ced7788cd074af Would You Label This Man a Sex Offender? for 10/22/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/10/20/would-you-label-this-man-a-sex-offender Thu, 22 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Carol Nesteikis' son Adam is 33. He is developmentally disabled and lives in Illinois with Carol and her husband, both retired, who still have to remind him to brush his teeth and shower. He stopped wetting his bed at age 16. About 10 years ago, when a neighbor (who'd been molesting him) told him to pull down his pants in front of a girl, Adam did. The girl told her parents.</p> <p>Both the neighbor and Adam were charged with 19 felonies. Adam took a plea deal and has been on the sex offender registry for seven years. He has three more to go. </p> <p>Nesteikis recounts her story in the current issue of Persuasion. I'd heard her speak a few years ago at a conference in St. Louis organized by Women Against Registry. It is a story that makes clear how cruel and pointless the public sex offense registry is. <p>Updated: Thu Oct 22, 2020</p> f160250372ba093fe958cde45070118d A Nap Derails an Adoption for 10/15/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/10/20/a-nap-derails-an-adoption Thu, 15 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Let your child nap in the car on a cool day while you run into the hardware store and you might have to say goodbye to your dreams of adoption.</p> <p>That's what happened to a Colorado couple we'll call Ted and Jen. (They wish to remain anonymous, but I examined their paperwork.) Last spring, Ted's 3-year-old fell asleep on his way to Ace Hardware. He parked where he could still see her from the store and was gone for just 20 minutes. It was 40 degrees outside.</p> <p>A passerby called the cops because many people believe that any time kids are alone in a car, they are in immediate danger of kidnapping or overheating. The tragic fact is that, every year, some children do die in cars. But the vast majority are young children who got into cars without their parents realizing it and couldn't get out or kids whose parents drove to work and completely forgot about the sleeping child in the back seat. In fact, 4.6 hours is the average time that kids who died in cars were unattended. Children deliberately left in the car for a brief period of time on a temperate day are in very little danger.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 15, 2020</p> 3e99f9171e30655b859d6c78056f3b57 A Halloween Spooked by a Virus for 10/08/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/10/20/a-halloween-spooked-by-a-virus Thu, 08 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Boo? Yes. Boo-hoo? Maybe not. This Halloween is going to be weird, indubitably. But that's just making a whole lot of folks think a little harder about how to make it work.</p> <p>"I've been watching people kind of tossing out what they thought worked in the past. It's unleashed a whole lot of creativity," says Debra Ross, publisher and CEO of Kids Out and About, a website listing kid activities in about 50 cities. <span class="column--highlighted-text">As such, she has a front-row seat to Halloween plans from Berkeley, California, to Bar Harbor, Maine, and she's tickled by ... well, I hope it was by what she's hearing. But maybe it was the ectoplasm?</span></p> <p>In Chaska, Minnesota, kids can thrill to the Haunted Drive Thru. Some of us may feel we've been to plenty of those in our nonholiday lives (Can it possibly be scarier than whatever you're eating when you get 10 nuggets for a dollar?).<p>Updated: Thu Oct 08, 2020</p> d0ac54bb25b51b97daaa6072351c2862 The Latest Way to Shame and Blame Moms for 10/01/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/10/20/the-latest-way-to-shame-and-blame-moms Thu, 01 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should completely avoid caffeine, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal &#8212; and immediately picked apart by skeptics sick of women being warned that almost everything they do other than sip wheatgrass smoothies is a risk to their kids. </p> <p>"I don't think we need to worry about coffee. I think we need to worry about this relentless regulating of pregnant women's choices," says Clare Murphy. Murphy is director for external affairs for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and top signatory of a letter signed by about 20 professors and public health advocates objecting to the piece "Maternal caffeine consumption and pregnancy outcomes: A narrative review with implications for advice to mothers and mothers-to-be."<p>Updated: Thu Oct 01, 2020</p> 252d5fc63893fdf0ae3ef3bae25842d8 The Toddler Toddled Off; the Mom Ended Up in Handcuffs for 09/24/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/09/20/the-toddler-toddled-off-the-mom-ended-up-in-handcuffs Thu, 24 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Vanessa Peoples was at a family picnic in Aurora, Colorado, when her toddler wandered off. She noticed him missing and ran after him, but not before a lady had scooped him up and dialed 911 to report a missing child &#8212; and a bad mom.</p> <p>By the time the fallout from this total nonevent was over, Peoples would be hog-tied by the cops in her own home and carried out, she says, "like a pig upside down." </p> <p>You can read the whole story over at the blog Reason, where it was written by my colleague, Diane Redleaf, a lawyer who has worked for about 35 years to put an end to incidents like these. But it is a story that deserves retelling. Here's what happened &#8212; and why we need to rethink what kind of parenting "incidents" can precipitate a visit from child protective services or the cops. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 24, 2020</p> 56b1a2606413b6021aa74413d73bd588 Pod Regulations to Stop Parents in their Tracks for 09/17/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/09/20/pod-regulations-to-stop-parents-in-their-tracks Thu, 17 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Pennsylvania parents thinking of starting a learning pod for their children should prepare to jump through some hoops. Then jump some more. And keep jumping.</p> <p>The state Department of Human Services' Office of Child Development and Early Learning announced on Aug. 26 &#8212; the day some schools were set to begin &#8212; that families with kids attending public school cannot form a learning pod of six or more unrelated students unless the parents do all of the following:<p>Updated: Thu Sep 17, 2020</p> a1cacdd0ea584e22f4d60ef44de84ae2 Lazy Cops Entrap Guys Online Instead of Finding Actual Child Rapists for 09/10/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/09/20/lazy-cops-entrap-guys-online-instead-of-finding-actual-child-rapists Thu, 10 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Want to save kids from rape and molestation? Me, too. Unfortunately, instead of going after actual sexual predators, some police officers have discovered that it's easier to just trick people. These cops go on adult dating sites, pose as grown women, find lonely guys, flirt and then claim they are actually underage. But the photos they send of "themselves" depict real women in their 20s. When the mark arranges a date, the cops arrest him as a predator.</p> <p>These stings are the subject of a remarkable piece in The New York Times Magazine by Michael Winerip. I highly recommend reading the whole thing. But here's a synopsis:</p> <p>Winerip begins by profiling 20-year-old Jace Hambrick, a young man living at home, working in construction and doing a lot of gaming in Vancouver, Washington. When Hambrick found "Gamer Gurl" on Craigslist (which requires users to be 18), he couldn't believe his luck: A woman who professed to love gaming and was looking for a boyfriend. They chatted for a while, and then "Gamer Gurl" said she was actually 13.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 10, 2020</p> 2d75dce1ec8af749e4a7dd86e446b22d Halloween and Congress for 09/03/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/09/20/halloween-and-congress Thu, 03 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>On the one holiday of the year it's traditional to wear masks, Congress is nonetheless asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for coronavirus-era guidelines.</p> <p>A bipartisan group of 30 lawmakers wonder what protocols mini ghosts, goblins, Trumps and Bidens should adhere to when &#8212; and if &#8212; they trick or treat. As The Hill reports:<p>Updated: Thu Sep 03, 2020</p> 201fdb4da861b1dca42349721f58f789 It Should Not Be Standard Operating Procedure to Strip-Search Little Kids for 08/27/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/08/20/it-should-not-be-standard-operating-procedure-to-strip-search-little-kids Thu, 27 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Good news, parents: If you let your kids wait in the car for less than 10 minutes on a cool day &#8212; doors locked and fan on &#8212; a caseworker and sheriff are actually not allowed to come to your home, threaten to take your children away and strip-search the kids.</p> <p>These very basic rights were just vindicated the hard way: by a Kentucky mom in federal court. Holly Curry sued the cop and the caseworker, insisting that, the day she was investigated for child abuse, the two authorities so wildly overstepped their bounds that they should not be afforded qualified immunity. In other words, their behavior was so egregious they had to take responsibility for it. The judge agreed.</p> <p>You may recall the case. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Back in March of 2017, Curry was driving her kids to karate when she stopped to get them some muffins. She was in the cafe for just a few minutes. When she came out, two cops rebuked her for leaving the kids.</span><p>Updated: Thu Aug 27, 2020</p> c428d158902a453dc12b4c3f5ba75791 Do You Want a Bureaucrat, Age 20, Judging Your Parenting? for 08/20/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/08/20/do-you-want-a-bureaucrat-age-20-judging-your-parenting Thu, 20 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A week ago, Tennessee's Department of Education announced it was going to start conducting monthly "child well-being" assessments of every single kid under age 18 in the state. These could be by phone, email or a knock on the door. On home visits, the so-called well-being liaison would be allowed to interview the children privately.</p> <p>Did the state set any standards for what sort of person would be given that kind of access and responsibility? Well, the liaisons had to be at least 20 years old, and they had to pass a background check.</p> <p>That's it.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 20, 2020</p> 5504730a271aa9eb98953d4672bca996 When a Blackout Provides Light for 08/13/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/08/20/when-a-blackout-provides-light Thu, 13 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>What happens when you've got a power outage on top of a pandemic on top of marching in the streets, cancel culture, a crazy election and a boiling August when everyone seems ready to jump out of their skin &#8212; and down your throat?</p> <p>Some unexpected joy. </p> <p>When Tropical Storm Isaias toppled trees across the Northeast last week, plunging 1.7 million people into a blackout (including yours truly), the chaos provided a surprising balm for the soul. Sharing candles, ice and hurry-before-the-meat-goes-bad barbecues gave us all an excuse to work together and make things better. It's a feeling we'd been longing for. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 13, 2020</p> 336ba759d92295dbaeae191419d0008a Back to School-Pocalypse Shopping for 08/06/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/08/20/back-to-school-pocalypse-shopping Thu, 06 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If you look at Target's back-to-school ads, you might not notice anything different in the chipper array of Post-its, backpacks and pencils, except for one new item in the lineup: face masks. Still, the whole thing looks like business as usual.</p> <p>The parents shopping for those supplies are anything but.</p> <p>"My 11-year-old just asked me, 'Can I please get a new backpack?' And I just looked at her like, 'What's the point?'" says Vanessa Elias, a parent coach in Wilton, Connecticut. "I think they'll be back (at school) for a very short amount of time." Her district has stated it will only stay open if the local COVID-19 case rate is less than 25 per 100,000. (If it's 10-25 per 100,000, the schools will be open on a hybrid schedule).<p>Updated: Thu Aug 06, 2020</p> 2d21d62ac7a20eae4ab67860a24a2712 In Pods They Trust for 07/30/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/07/20/in-pods-they-trust Thu, 30 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"It's a big mess," says Hollie Gesaman, a mother of two young children in Streetsboro, Ohio. </p> <p>She was talking about the upcoming school year, of course. Her local school has drawn up "potential plans," she said, "but the bottom line is that there's really not a 100% good choice." Send the kids to school? There's a health risk. Keep them home, and what about socialization? Home school? Unschool? Let them watch cartoons and learn the entire Acme product line? "There's a negative consequence for each possibility," Gesaman sighs. "Just pick a punch in the face."</p> <p>The punch suddenly getting the most play is the "pandemic pod." <p>Updated: Thu Jul 30, 2020</p> 911ac82355f6dedc7654eb8c8c10c34c S'More Screen Time for 07/23/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/07/20/smore-screen-time Thu, 23 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>What's up with camp this summer? For hiking, substitute sitting. For a campfire, substitute a chat box. And for fun, substitute &#8212; well, here's the thing: Some kids don't like the online camps COVID-19 has foisted upon them. But plenty are having a good enough time, and some kids are loving their virtual camps. And if kids are busy and happy even for a short (blessed!) portion of the day, their parents are happy campers, too.</p> <p>The American Camp Association doesn't have an exact number of camps that have gone online for the summer, but they know of at least 230. That's out of the 3,000 camps that are members. It's possible that many hundreds more are giving it a try without notifying the association.</p> <p>Elina Furman, an author and digital marketer in Connecticut, has her 7-year-old son attending one. By the time Furman realized that some in-person camps were going to be open this summer, most of the slots had been filled. She managed to secure a place for her older son, but for her younger son, she found an online "toy-inventor" camp. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 23, 2020</p> 8400b935ba9fa57884bad504a71c1a83 Dad Can't Be Penalized for Raising Competent Kids for 07/16/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/07/20/dad-cant-be-penalized-for-raising-competent-kids Thu, 16 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A Canadian dad has won the right to let his kids ride the city bus on their own.</p> <p>Vancouver techie Adrian Crook allowed his four oldest children, then aged 7-11, to ride the city buses to and from school in 2017. It was going fine until someone called child protective services to report unsupervised kids on public transit. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 17, 2020</p> 46f12811fc4557c8eafb407829482453 Summer Songs Never Die for 07/09/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/lenore-skenazy/07/20/summer-songs-never-die Thu, 09 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There's something about a summer song that means every time you hear it &#8212; 10, 20, even (ahem) many more years later &#8212; it all comes flooding back. The sun. The sprinklers. The bikinis (yours or someone else's). Often there's a camp in the background, or a beach, or a car &#8212; and with any luck, the top is down. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Basically, you can take the year you were born and fast-forward 12-18 years, and that's the summer your special song came out. </span></p> <p>When I asked people on Facebook to tell me the song that always means summer to them, I yelped when a few folks voted for "In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry. Yes! That song is more powerful than a whiff of Coppertone! If you don't know it (because you're not about 97 years old), go directly to YouTube, and start grooving out: "In the summertime, when the weather is hot, / You can stretch right up and touch the sky." (Reading it now, I realize IT DOESN'T EVEN RHYME! What a lazy writer!)<p>Updated: Thu Jul 09, 2020</p>