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Jan 12, 2023

How to Raise Independent Kids with Lenore Skenazy

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Autonomy, Childhood Independence, Fragility, Parenting, Resilience, Safetyism, Technology


After her newspaper column “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone” created a media firestorm, Lenore Skenazy got the nickname “America’s Worst Mom.” Nice. She went on to write Free-Range Kids, the book-turned-movement. (Second Edition just out!) She has been profiled in The New Yorker and lectured everywhere, from DreamWorks to Microsoft HQ to schools across America. On TV, you may have seen her on The Today Show, The Daily Show or her own reality show, World’s Worst Mom. Now Lenore is co-founder and president of Let Grow, the national nonprofit promoting childhood independence.

I was struck by Lenore’s story, and as I step into fatherhood this year, I knew I had to have her on the podcast. Tune in to learn how parenting has changed over the past few decades, why safety has become a top priority for parents nowadays, and how unsupervised play and letting go a little are key in raising resilient, confident and independent children.


  • Why Lenore let her nine-year-old son ride the subway alone in NYC
  • Why the degree of independence and autonomy parents give their kids has changed drastically over the past couple of decades
  • Safetyism: what it is and how it contributes to fragility in our kids
  • The massive benefits of unsupervised play & tech-free play
  • Why tracking your kids erodes trust and can actually cause more harm than good
  • How to overcome parental anxiety

00:00 Intro

00:31 Parenting then vs. now

03:00 Letting her son ride the subway alone

06:43 Why are we so afraid for our kids?

10:52 The problem with prioritizing safety

24:09 Tech-free play

37:23 Why keeping kids safe has become a top priority

44:00 Is tracking your kids worth it?

51:21 How to overcome parental anxiety