Are you ready to do this ball, bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Y'all ready for this? Welcome, welcome.
Welcome to armchair expert. I'm Dan Shepherd. I am joined by Monica Monsoon, Emmy nominated Miniature Mouse.
What is your Starbucks cup say? Is your name poser? When you go to Starbucks, do they ever mess up your name? Oh, sure, yeah, yeah, yeah.
They put Dan and DAB DACs deach dack.
Oh sure. Yeah, yeah. A lot of different ones.
And you know, my move for that is just like whatever they say I go, yep, yeah, yeah. It's just so much quicker.
Imagine having a foreign name like Monica.
Well OK, today we have a gas that we've been wanting to have on now for a couple of years because good old Jonathan Haidt recommended her and we finally made it happen. Lenore Skenazy, she is a journalist. She spent 14 years at the New York Daily News and two years at the New York Sun. Her column, Why I let my nine year old Ride the Subway Alone and book Free Range Kids launched the Anti Helicopter Parenting Movement. Currently, the co founder and president of Let Grow with Jonathan Haidt.
Their mission is to create a new path back for parents and schools to letting kids have some adventures, develop more independence and grow resilient. I dig her message. Did you? Yeah, and it's scary.
You know, I don't have kids, but I could see really having a hard time with this, with giving them independence.
Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, I'm very pro it and I am committed to challenge even myself in this arena.
OK, all right. Please enjoy. Lenore Skenazy, we are supported by Brooklyn in Falls right around the corner.
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I made a Chipotle black beans go. Oh my God, they were so good. I have a little radish and it was very feisty. Would you have.
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OK, now I wrote out your name phonetically, so I'm dyslexic just to give you a precursor, so you know that's on me. That's not a new but I wrote it out and I wonder I don't know how to write phonetically, but I have my own system. But Lenore Skenazy.
I do. I guess it is Lenore Skenazy. And how did you write it? I wrote L.A. Space, A.R.T. Space, České e h. Yeah. And then space in a y, z, y. Wow.
That's pretty good. That's it.
Leonard, do you think I could get a job at Webster breaking down.
I think it's her calling.
I am surprised that you're wasting your time in L.A. So first and foremost, how are you doing? Nervous to be on your show, but in general, pretty good. Oh, wonderful. And why are you nervous to be on our show? I feel like I should be flattered for that.
Yeah, you should both be flattered. Right, OK. Monica's contributions, too. I'm nervous. I'm doing a podcast and last week I think we had five hundred listeners, so I'd say yours is a little bigger and makes me nervous.
OK, but that's all to be credited to my wife. People are very interested. We launched this show with a big fight between us. Some people seem to like that did.
It's a yin yang thing. Where are you from originally? Suburbs of Chicago. Midwest. Your fellow Midwesterner.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And what did your folks do?
My mom was a homemaker. She started out as a social worker. And I think for the same reason I started out as a reporter. I just really wanted to be able to like you, to meet people and find out what's going on in that house, in that house. And my dad had a furniture store and he loved playing tennis. And when I when he was 50, he sold the furniture store and started an indoor tennis club, which was totally fulfilling to him.
And he ran that until he died around age 90.
Did it have the big inflatable domes over or was it all new? I still don't understand what those domes are. It looks like a bouncy house.
Yeah, I think they're much cheaper. You just inflate them with air like the Pontiac Silverdome and then you're good to go. I think that's my understanding of them. Now, you were a good student. Clearly, if you didn't, you got into Yale. Yeah.
And stayed in Portland.
And what was the driving force? Was it just your own interested in achieving things or were you driven by a parent?
You know, it was so long ago that it wasn't a thing to start thinking about college until like junior year of high school. You know, in New York, there was that mom who sued the preschool where her four year old was going to school because the kid was in a class with two year olds. It's like, how is my kid going to get into a good school? And like, if she's being held back by these two year old morons and my kid should be, you know, studying the constitution or something, but back in the day, you sort of just went to school and then eventually you met with your guidance counselor junior year and they said time to start thinking about college.
And you did. It wasn't a long term plan.
I'm in lock step with you on all the free range parenting and your growth foundation. We had Jonathan Haidt on two years ago and he brought you up and then we referenced you without learning any more about you. Just simply what he said. We parroted everywhere. Excellent.
Keep doing it. But I'm also aware of my own. Why I think I'm predisposed to embrace it so much, which is I had a single mother raising three kids who was building a business and I had an inordinate amount of free time and responsibility. And then my mother also was very generous and she let me take road trips at a young age as long as I have a budget in the map and the whole nine. So I just happened to have loved that upbringing.
So I wonder if I'm a little biased in that direction. And then then, of course, I'm curious if you were maybe biased in that direction where your parents abnormally trusting and no, I'm not surprised that you're biased in that direction.
I'd say everybody over thirty or thirty five grew up the way you're talking about. Maybe not on the road trips, maybe not in the Midwest, but the what we now call a free range or elektro childhood was the norm back then. I mean, when I was five in the suburbs of Chicago, I was walking to kindergarten. Right. It was just normal. And it wasn't like my mom was a daredevil or that she was like, you know, I'm going to show the world that my kid is independent.
It was just everybody was walking to school. And the weird thing is when you got to the corner, there was a crossing guard and the crossing guard, you remember just the crossing guard was a kid. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So somehow a fellow kid was trusted with getting you across the street. And what did they have to stop. Traffic was a secesh, you know, weren't dayglo stasch. I'm actually not even sure they had Dayglo back then, but he had a sash and I don't even remember a stop sign.
Well they had him in my neighborhood, but it got increasingly heavier the longer you held it. And most of the time it was employed in their in their duties.
Right, right. Right. It was probably left on the curb or came down from the traffic stop and good that. Yeah. So can I tell you one strange story about me and the crossing guard. Yeah, I would love to hear that I married him. Oh really.
And not then. Not then you know, it wasn't like, OK, let's meet up again. And it wasn't like he was an older man. He was ten. I was five. And I didn't stock him, it wasn't man in a uniform I got to go get him, it was just that we realized actually after we were married years later, that he was like he mentioned that he was a crossing guard. I'm like, where? And he said, the corner of Romona.
And I'm like, you create that was he was me. You got me safely. You kept me alive so you could marry me 20 years later. That's so great.
Well, I tried to explain this to folks in California because most people that are either from California have been there for decades like I have. We have an enormous immigrant population that does most jobs, like busboy, gas station attendant, 7-Eleven employee, blah, blah, blah. I'm always reminded and shocked when I returned to Detroit. The whole city is being run by teenagers. No one wants the total gas station shift after five p.m. So you'll go in there at 2:00 in the morning.
There's a 16 year old Ryan or I'll go to Dairy Queen and there's like three 13 year olds running the whole thing. And then, of course, the grocery baggers are 12 and 13 year olds. I think a lot of people don't have that experience if they live on on either coast, maybe that teenagers are running tons of businesses around the country when there's not a cheap immigrant labor pool.
One of the things we think about, it's not just Jonathan Haidt that started like grow with me. It's also a man named Peter Gray. He's studied the importance of Freeplay in childhood, but he also is a psychology professor and he talks about how kids today, especially teenagers, are often depressed and anxious. And you've probably seen it. You guys are both nodding in unison.
I know I shouldn't say it, but I have love sex, too. Well, that's at least something that they can do that's grown up. But everything else that's grown up is not there for them. They can't have responsibility. They can't drive. They're not expected to do most things other than to be students often. And that's pretty demoralizing when you feel like you're just feeling your oats and you're ready to take on the world and you're told I have to sign your reading logs till I mean, how could you possibly feel empowered when you literally aren't because you can't earn money and you can't get around and your parents don't want you going out by yourselves and the malls don't want you in the malls and pretty soon you're just stuck doing your homework and going online?
That's a demoralizing experience. I was wondering and how did this transition happen? Because my parents are incredibly fearful. And I had a job when I was 14. If they had kids now, they would act so differently. So it's clearly societal because they themselves are fearful. Yes, yes. It really is suicidal. So people always think that Lenore is the anti helicopter parenting person and first of all, in part helicopter like on my mom's side. But I don't blame parents because like you're saying, if they were parents to you when you were seven, now instead of whatever age you are, they would be wondering, oh, I don't know if I can let her walk to school and I'm just going to sit here while she plays to make sure that nothing bad happens.
So gradually society started thinking of all kids is in danger all the time. That's like the shorthand for what I can say. It's like we've come to believe the kids can't do anything on their own safely or successfully. So they're always has to be an adult there to make sure they don't hurt themselves, to make sure that they get the most out of it, to be the teachable moment. And the best example I can give of why I don't blame parents, but I do blame parents, which is parents magazine is an example from Parents magazine, which is that they had this article a couple of years ago on how to throw the perfect play date, which is already where we are.
Is this is already problematic? Yeah, already problematic. You're an anthropologist. Here's an artifact from a culture that says that parents need help doing something as basic and something that actually parents didn't used to do. It was kids who would go outside and find their friends or call them up or go to their house, right?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You were instigating all that, right. So now it's organized by the parents. And the question that a reader asked Parents magazine was, my kid is old enough to stay home alone by herself and often does when I run an errand. But now she's got a play date over. Can I still go to the dry cleaner? And what did Parents magazine say?
Why would be cheating? Because I've watched a lot of your interviews, so I'm going to say I'm going to stay quiet and deal with Monica.
Monica, what magazines say? Said, no, that's so irresponsible, why what could happen if the parent isn't there, drowning, choking, cutting each other's hair to shore?
Oh, that's very creative, right? Yeah. Yeah. Oh, it's much more in name than that, right? It is.
Well, what if they first of all, they came up with the kids could get hurt physically, like you're saying. You know, they gave an example of some kid who once put some macaroni in a microwave and when she took it out, it was too hot and it fell on her and she had to go in to the doctor. And they were so desperate to find an example of a kid being physically hurt that the example they gave was while the mom was still home.
But in this case, the mom had been in the backyard. So already you're hearing that it's not even safe to be in the backyard when your kid is doing anything.
Can I just also add to what you're saying that the notion that among two kids that neither one could dial nine one one? I mean, what is the parent going to do? We're acting like all parents are addicts or first responders or E.R. doctors. Like we do the same thing. The 12 year old pick up the phone, call 911 and have help arrived. Right.
And everybody's got a phone. I think the implication there was that you would have put the macaroni and cheese in the microwave, you would have taken it out. You would have blown on it till it was the exact right temperature or use one of those spoons. If you seen those baby spoons that turn a different color when the food is too hot because you couldn't possibly figure out on your own. Yeah, yeah. Red hot. No kidding. So they could hurt themselves physically.
But then the magazine also said, and what if there's a spark? You want to be able to jump in before anyone's feelings get to hurt. And to me, that's the Rosetta Stone of this culture that we're talking about, because it is implying a couple of things. One is that Ispat is unusual or terrible, too, is that your kid getting hurt is something that should never happen. Three, you should always be intervening. And for what?
If they do get hurt? What is the implication? The implication is that they will be so hurt or so traumatized or this will be such a terrible experience that you will have failed as a parent because who knows how that's going to affect them later on. You should be making sure that their life is a smoothie, you know, nice and cool and no chunks and kind of healthy and kind of yucky. I'm not a smoothie fan. Otherwise your kid is going to be damaged and it's all your fault.
So when you're asking how come your parents, Monica, would be scared today, it's because the Bible of the parenting world and we don't even have our grandparents around to tell us things, we're living in a little atomized homes with the nuclear family. So you're looking to the experts to tell you what to do. And they're giving you this advice that I think they pull out of wherever that just says don't let anything happen. Never. And actually, one of the other things in that same article was your daughter is going to have an overnight at a friend's house.
It turns out that the friend's father is divorced. That's the only guy that's who's going to be home. And Parents magazine says don't do it. Do you have any worries at all? Don't let your kids stay over. And so, once again, all the single men, all those single dads are written as they were only held in check by their wives. And without a wife there, they're going to come and attack the kids. So it's just this scary world filled with flaming cheese and hurt feelings and scary parents.
And that's the diet that we've been fed over and over and over again. When people ask me, like, would you let your kid play outside or walk to school or whatever, I say, yeah. And then they often they bring up an example from, like law and order, you know, or a terrible case that happened 20, 30, 40 years ago. And why aren't you thinking about that first? And it's considered a mark of good parenting and kindness to be going to that worst case scenario first.
OK, I thought of ten trillion things. I want to ask you what one is. There must be horror corollary between the time invested as as we've evolved societally towards less children, more concentrated effort in more capital being spent on each child.
Those must correlate nicely. But is that causality?
You know, I don't think that's a question we can actually determine. I don't think the parents cared less when they had more kids back when child mortality was much higher. I'm sure they were more resigned to that horrible fact of life. But I don't think they more and less, you know, when you have a few kids, what you have is a lot of resources. And I feel like that's the correlation that I think I can make, which is that if you have two people working and maybe one or two kids, that's a lot more money per kid that you can spend than if you had a dad working and six kids.
And so the marketplace knows where dollars are and dollars are out there to be spent on kids to make sure that they're safe. You know, if you can scare a parent about something happening to them, I mean, there is one thing I hate using the name, so I'll try to come up with a fake name. Let's call it the gopher. OK, there's a little device called the Gopher, which it really isn't called. It's an electronic sock that you put on your baby when they come home healthy and everything fine from the hospital and it measures their pulse, their temperature, their movement level.
And their blood oxygen level. OK. OK, I'm going to ask you guys, what's your blood oxygen level? I hope above ninety seven. I you know, because you're a mister like Santa Monica. Monica, what's your blood alcohol level? And you can't use his number.
By the way, I only know this because of covid. I know when you're supposed to go get yourself some oxygen or something. I have no idea. It's really high though.
That's the other memorable thing about that numbers. It's like anything below like nine before you're in trouble. I would think doing anything 94 percent efficiently, you're going right.
Still in a but actually like you're dead by B plus. Exactly.
So those numbers, I was like, oh wow, you really got to be perfect at this oxygen level thing. I had one other quick question along the investment question.
Do you find variation socioeconomically? And the thing that immediately popped in my head is I just heard this interesting story about how largely white, affluent parents have pulled their children out of football. But you're seeing still lower income minorities at the same rate because, again, the reward is so great for them in that position that they've determined it's worth that risk.
Wow, I hadn't seen that. I have no doubt that there are variations of every stripe among different groups of every stripe. But the statistic that most told me over, I guess, was The New York Times had an article like two years ago. It's not the only paper I read that was on the front page, and it was the pain of intensive parenting. And one of the things it quoted was a study that was done across the economic spectrum.
Right. You know, rich to poor, black to white, you name it. And one of the questions on the survey was you're making dinner and your kid wants you to come draw with her. What do you do? And across the economic spectrum, the the most answered answer was you drop everything and go draw with them because it's so important to support them and show that you care and spend time with them and role model and teachable moment and this and that.
And I thought, you know, a teachable moment is like you draw, you know, I can't wait to see what you draw, but I'm making the spaghetti right. So this internalize thing, this sort of parents magazine model of what it means to be a good parent is to drop everything you're doing. And there are other studies to talk about, like how many more hours parents, especially moms, are putting in today then, Monica, your parents did a generation ago to the point where among college educated moms and I wish I could remember the number four among non college educated moms, but college educated moms are spending nine hours more a week than moms were in the 70s.
I quote that all the time. Oh, you do? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love that. I just said that this female friend of mine who is kind of feeling guilty, I said, I guarantee you you're spending more time as a working mother with your child than any 50s housewife did. Just know that I understand you're probably doing much better than you think. But yeah, this collective guilt and shaming is so toxic.
I'm so happy that you quote that statistic because it sort of has to get out that we're just asking so much of ourselves, particularly of moms. And first of all, there's something lost to the kids when they are constantly under surveillance and constantly helped and assisted and supervised. But Rebecca Traister wrote this book called All the Single Ladies, and it was about how basically a lot of the social movements throughout American history were spearheaded by women who weren't married because they didn't have the husband and they didn't have the kids, they didn't have the kids that they had to take care of.
And the part that struck me as so interesting is that she said that once the industrial revolution came along and there were the first labor saving devices ever for like, you know, a washing machine, an automatic ringer or something like that, or maybe a vacuum cleaner, just when it got a little easier. What happened is all of these books started being published about how to make the perfect home. And one of the things that she thought is like there's more to setting the table than you might think, you know, and the idea you have to, you know, how many forks you have to do and don't forget the placemats and starched the linens and this and that.
And it just felt coincidental that just when women were getting a little bit of free time and maybe could use that to evolve or work or do anything other than housework, housework became more demanding. And to me, I've always been a little suspicious that just as we were talking about the 70s, you know, that's just when women were starting to come into the workplace as women have gotten further and further along and where the majority of people in college now and we're doing better than ever, suddenly the demands of parenting are outrageous.
Better sit through every soccer practice. And if you have three kids, well, you better make sure that they have it on alternating days or else go from 4:00 in the afternoon to 9:00 at night and watch each of them, because it's so important that you're there for everything. It's like, isn't it a little odd that suddenly we're expected to do so much more just when we were getting ahead?
So I have this weird kind of and I wonder what your opinion of it is. So I'm raising two daughters. And so there is a little compass in my head right where I go.
I'm. Basically establishing a relationship that they might try to replicate later down the road with a significant other.
And so if what I'm setting up for them is that I will be endlessly enthralled with whatever they do and then I will want to just stare at them while they doodle in X, Y and Z, I'm setting up an expectation for them and I'm just being, I think, realistic about what's in the marketplace for them.
There's no dude out there that's ever going to stare at them knitting and be thrilled.
Oh, you're ready for another role. Let's see how it goes. Yeah, I don't want to mislead them into thinking they'll be another man out there or woman that's going to be this excited about every little thing they do. I think it would be false advertising and misleading. And I think I'm setting them up to be completely and wholly unsatisfied in any relationship because the relationship should just be the other person's a spectator while you do whatever and then that person cheers.
So when I'm trying to figure out what I should do, I'll go. Well, what I do this in a relationship and I'm like, never now. I would never indulge my wife like this. What do you think about that as a barometer?
I think that's really interesting. I had a friend who once pointed out that we keep talking about parenting, parenting, parenting, but we never talk about Weiping or husband thing. And maybe we should be thinking about our parenting in terms of what does it mean just in terms of a normal relationship? Do you have to high five everything that they do? Do you have to give a gold star? You know, do you have to comment on everything? I was just talking to some genius in the parenting world.
Forgive me, genius. I can't remember who you were who was saying one of the things that driving kids crazy today is the fact that we ask them questions all the time.
Oh, are you drawing now? Is that fellow I love that yellow. Is that the same color as the sun? And the kids are like, can you let me draw, you know, yellow? Because it's the only crayon I have. And there's something where I feel like once again, I don't blame parents because this is some model that came from somewhere that we are all doing that we think is showing the kids that we're paying attention, that we love what they're doing, that we care.
And what is strange idea that they wouldn't think that we cared or loved them unless there was a constant stream of interacting and cheer and fascination with the yellow crayon, which none of us really feel.
Yeah, I agree with you. And then you're also it's very interesting because they're much smarter than you are ever giving them credit for. So they are at some point going to detect well, no one gives a shit about what color someone's so implicit in. It is like, oh, well, that was kind of fake. So part of a relationship or part of interacting is kind of a lie like.
Right, honey, you look great. Yes. So I have a I only have a few rules. And personally for me, which is I don't laugh at my kids unless they were legitimately funny. I think it's because I'm a comedian and I'm like, I don't want to mislead them. I don't want them to think they've got they got material. Yeah. When you're funny, I'll laugh.
I'm not going to just placate you because how on earth are you going to learn to be funny if I'm laughing at every shitty joke you have? You know, I'm not.
I mean, I just you get a laugh when you did something fun. Audience Yeah. Yeah, I don't know.
But I do want to say it's all beautiful. Right at the bottom of all this is we all want so desperately to do the best job we can. And it's very sweet of us. I don't think you or I are casting a judgment to anyone who's listening right now. Going to shit. I just said green.
What a beautiful green color. It's I think it's the most beautifully inspired thing. It's just you got to question what is most effective for turning out an independent, autonomous adult who can self regulate and control.
Yeah. Really. And be perfect at everything they do and have fantastic relationships and never be disappointed. Let's just say here now that we can't do it. First of all, like I was just saying, like parenting, the idea that you can create this perfect creature by doing everything right and by not saying I see you're using yellow, but on the other hand, also letting them know that you approve and not praising them too much, but giving them enough attention, but not so much attention that they get a big hat or so little attention that they, you know, hitchhike it for to go to your uncle's house.
So there's no right way to do it. And I feel like we are in this extraordinarily judgmental time. And I hope I don't sound like that, too, because the whole idea is that none of us know exactly what to do. All I can tell you is that society, this culture has made us extremely conscious of everything that we could be doing wrong and extremely fearful that somehow our kids aren't safe, which has led to this overprotection. And I'm just trying to pull back a second and say, you know, our kids are going to be mostly OK.
And when they're not OK, it's fate or luck. And I talked to I don't know if you want me to go to this whole sidebar on religion.
Oh, I love talking about religion. Go ahead. I know the anthro major. Yeah. Yeah, raging. All right. So let me lay this on you. It's not that religion doesn't exist today. Obviously it does. But it actually this is the theory of Alan Lavinia's is a professor of religion at James Madison. He says that religion still influences our lives in our. Decisions, but an ever shrinking sphere, so it used to be religion would decide what you were wearing and what you were saying and what you were reading and how you were raising your kids and what you were eating.
I mean, it was like it covered everything. And now gradually it's sort of just our spiritual life for many of us. And so that left this whole swath of life's decisions to us. And so we don't actually know what we're supposed to do. Nobody knows exactly what they're supposed to do as a parent. So we read all of these magazines and we listen to the experts and we read the studies. And in a way, science has taken the place of the religion.
Oh, I just read that you can't possibly use a plastic cup. It'll give them this or you can't possibly let their lunch heat up too much. They'll get bacteria or whatever. Everything is a study. And you're whipsawed because the studies come out and you have to do this and you have to do that. And the worst part about it is that if you think that there's God's plan, right, or somebody is watching over you or fate is fickle, then if something bad happens, it's like it wasn't on you.
It was God's plan. And we don't always understand God's plan.
Right. And so there's some sympathy. Right. It's like there. But for the grace of God, literally go. I mean, it's it's not just an expression, but if it's all on you, then if something happens, it's immediately while she wasn't paying enough attention or she you know, it's all her fault. And the other thing that this professor said is that religions are smart enough to say that perfection is just not possible in this existence. Right.
So it's karma will come back later. It's heaven or hell. It's judgment day. But if you think that perfection is yours to create here on Earth while you are stuck trying to make every birthday the best birthday, trying to make every soccer game a winning game, which is why everybody's getting the trophy every car ride, you had a good talk and you really got someplace and every song you sang along with because that's the kind of family you are every day is Disney World.
It's it's impossible. And yet that's what you're supposed to feel. And you worry that if anything goes wrong, you won't have the support of your fellow humans because it will just be judgment.
Well, and there's nothing I have found. There is no topic that is dicier to get involved with than parenting with other parents, because we all immediately feel judge. And I think one thing that's really relevant to recognize, which we've talked about before and here is your children are an extension of your own ego. And it's really, really important, I think, to monitor that.
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I can tell you an experience I had where I caught myself, I took my daughter on a press trip and I had to go to Miami and Philadelphia Sumbawa and she was three and I was doing it all on my own. I didn't have anyone with me. I was just her and I. But I had to do interviews sporadically throughout that period. And I found that when I took her to a news station or whatever, that because people were excited that I'm there because I'm on TV, they were then very excited that she was there.
Right. So she was getting an amount of attention that is is just abnormal for a child to get right. And so her response to it was to talk and baby talk. And for the first two days of the trip, I didn't realize it at the time. I was personally embarrassed that people thought my three year old spoke baby talk. Right. So I kind of I'd be telling her, like, use your normal voice or maybe answer. And I kept trying to encourage her to speak normally.
And then all of a sudden it occurred to me on like day two of this trip, I'm like, oh, this is this is my ego. I'm embarrassed that my kid who represents me speaks baby talk. And I'm afraid all these people think that I've not taught my child how to talk. And then I was like, oh, that's all my baggage. This is a mechanism she's created to help her deal with this abnormal situation. This works for her.
And I just stayed out of it. But it was really hard. And I recognize that that's how frail my ego was.
It's hard not to feel frail when it's your kids, and especially if it's not just a question of being embarrassed for your kids. If you're worried for your kids or sad for your kids, it is a you know, it's impossible not to feel bad. Let's just put it out there. Yeah.
Yeah, it's really hard. I'm wondering, could you walk us through I mean, I thought of a couple, but like, let's let's just first acknowledge the historic role of children. Right. I personally grew up in the Midwest, so I detasseling corn at 12 in the summers. And I remember maybe eight years ago seeing a 60 Minutes piece about how we need to get these agricultural laws to not include children in the way it was presented. And I love 60 Minutes.
I was like, oh, if I had not had the experience where I detest Cornyn wanted to. And it was a rite of passage in my family. And I earned a bunch of money. I could never earn it.
Well, had I not had that experience, I'd be watching this going, what the fuck?
We still have child labor, you know, marching with a sign, you know, and detasseling now, I think for 12 year olds. Right.
I was just kind of shocked with that. I just luckily had an experience with it where I was like, oh, I can't really trust that. But, you know, historically, right, children have held jobs. They've raised children. They were responsible for a ton. Right.
They were an asset. You know, there's the expression now that they are economically worthless and emotionally worth the time. But of course, you would have a lot of kids. First of all, the other thing that's different now is that we choose to have the kids right. It used to be the kids came along, you got married or worse for the woman. You weren't married and along came a kid. And it's not like you were saying. This is you know, this is a stage of my life and I want to have somebody I can share it with and teach.
And it was just along came the kids. And so that was maybe one of the reasons that we weren't so obsessed with parenting because it was inevitable. It wasn't this the life choice? I certainly chose to have my kids. So they were valuable. And as we were discussing earlier, it's not that you wouldn't care if they wouldn't die, but it would have a lot of them and a lot of them wouldn't make it. I was reading Uncle Tom's Cabin finally last summer, and one of the characters, there's a runaway mom with her child who is like three or four years old, and she ends up in a Quaker's house.
And the Quaker mom goes and opens the drawer. And Harriet Beecher Stowe says the drawer that all of us have, the drawer of the clothing of the child who died at a certain age, and this mom, the Quaker mom, gives the clothing for the runaway slave for her three or four year old. But reading that phrase, it's like I didn't realize everybody has a drawer like that 100 or 200 years ago because you knew you were going to experience the worst thing.
And maybe that's what steeled people a little more. Not that it didn't hurt as much, but that we were all going to go through this. And if you want to be a parent or you are a parent, you're in for devastation. And now we hope that we're not in for devastation. I sure hope none of us are in for devastation. I hope your listeners are in for devastation, but some of us are. And now that just seems weird.
And it must have been your fault because the rest of us are not devastated.
Yeah, I think Abraham Lincoln. Right.
I know for sure they were dealing with the death of one child, but I think now for three out of four did not make it to adulthood. And nobody said, wow, what a bad dad. Did you see what Abe is doing? Oh, my God.
Well, I'll count myself in this group. I don't think a modern parent could hold a job. Having lost three of four children, I couldn't go to work. I mean, that's how much it's over. Yeah. There's no way I could be running a war. Right.
I don't know if they're all dead by the time I was running the war, but that changes your level of investment, right?
So if you know that they might not make it or they're there to detasseling corn or whatever, you're you're maybe not thinking, well, I should ask a lot of questions when they're lying so that their brains are like I think a lot of this has to do with science on cognitive ability. Like I think the reason there's all these questions and you've got to be interacting and stuff is because parents feel like that's going to develop their. Rain, and I think there is science on that, although I am just saying that I don't know that for sure, but I feel like they think like if you ask why did you pick yellow, it'll make them start thinking, oh, why did I pick yellow?
And then that will grow. Right, their cognitive ability. So I do think it's investment. It's like I'm going to do everything I can now so that they can have the best future possible, even more than just danger.
I think that's the intention. And then the question is, what's the outcome? Which now there seems to be a lot of data in on the outcome of that, which you know a lot about. Right?
I do. And once again, I want to preface this by saying, like now it's going to sound like this was the right way and this is the wrong way. And once again, there isn't a right way or wrong way. I'm just trying to dial back a little bit of the anxiety. And that doesn't mean that I'm not an anxious parent myself about exactly the right way to do it. And monic, I think you're talking about there was some study that said kids in affluent households here, three million more words by the time they're out of diapers than and then less fortunate kids.
And that's how they get ahead. And so that became this. Oh, my God. I was talking to a lady who ran a daycare center in Oregon, Washington, and she got demerits for some things that the daycare center had. And this is the idea that you can be perfect. And there's a recipe. And one of the reasons she got demerits is because sometimes when her daycare workers were changing the kid's diapers, they weren't monologuing it as they did at.
See, I'm taking off your diaper now. I'm taking the tape. The tape makes it sound. And the other piece of tape makes it sound. They sound the same because it's two sides of the same diaper. Which side? The right side. Right. Begins with our and the left side left begins with la la la l you know, and I thought what could drive a human being crazier? I mean, whether the kid is being driven crazy or the poor daycare worker who has to be a midnight deejay talking you filling the dead air with a two month old the entire time.
And this gets back to the whole idea that, first of all, we're using science instead of any kind of intuition in terms of how we could be raising our kid and that there is a perfect way to raise the kid. And then what I really see happening is that we just don't have any trust in anything except ourselves. Like we don't trust that the kid would be curious on their own or that the kid is absorbed and maybe that's good enough.
Or if the kid is playing with a friend and they have this squabble that they can figure it out, or if she does come home in tears, that the next day she can go back with her friend and they can be playing tag again. It's like nothing happens successfully. Nothing happens at a high enough level unless we're there. And, you know, I told you, Peter Gray is one of the co-founders of Let Go and he talks about the importance of play.
And when kids are playing and adults are organizing it, they're always there cutting to the chase. Like, let's get to the play part already, you know? And my friend had his son at a playground, his 10 year old son, and it was two hours. And the dad said, OK, come on, let's go home. It's been two hours. And the kid said, Dad, they had no, we're just about to start a war.
So two hours had been spent in angry negotiations. We think that's not fair and that's too far. And your team is better. And how come I don't get to wear the green shirt or whatever it is? And if there was an adult there making it a perfect experience, you know, like smoothing it out and getting to the fun already so that you don't waste two hours just angry with your friend and there might be some hurt feelings. Those two hours were the important part of the play because, you know, you're learning how to get along.
Yes, fairness. This isn't working. Let's vote. Is this fair? And I mean, like I really think it's the fundamentals of democracy are learned when you have to make sure that everyone is having a good enough time, that they don't all quit and go home.
They oddly mirror the early hunting and gathering societies and that they're kind of egalitarian because they are operating in a in a realm without status kind of yet. So if one person's Alvina and two other people can bond together and overthrow one alpha, like it keeps it very egalitarian, but we're probably inclined to get in there and make it less with good intentions.
I think that we just don't give credit again to anything that's going on that is just happening between kids. Unless we see that it's building their vocabulary or making the day super fun or making sure everybody feels OK. And it's funny you mentioned the hunter gatherers because you would with your anthropology degree, but that's what Peter Gray has studied the most. Other cultures don't even have the word for play because what kids are doing is they're watching somebody make an arrowhead or somebody make a pot and then maybe they have a little bit of flint next to them and they try to do it.
And play is being engaged in something that's interesting. And usually what kids want to do is have fun with their friends and also try to become a grown up. You know, they want to be big.
So it's usually brought this baby home from the hospital. You're naturally you have some anxiety about keeping this little Subway sandwich healthy. So I can't tell you how many times in my head I replayed this film. He watched while studying Papua New Guinea. Yeah, I remember even then being shocked with like the kids were on their own. And I'm talking there are two year olds attempting to climb a tree and there are three year olds high in the tree. And had I not seen that and saw with my own eyes like, oh, no, those kids didn't die.
That's a crazy percentage. Like, they somehow know how to do that. And I was just constantly when I was trying to propel myself or steel myself into letting Lincoln climb on shit and fall on stuff. I just like just remember that video you saw on all those kids, you know, made it at the same level. But I just want to say, because I think it'd be really helpful for us to kind of maybe dispel some of the things that we fear.
So your list of things which I love is fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creep's kidnapping germs grades, Fleisher's frustration's failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and the perils of a nonorganic grap, which I think is brilliant. I just want to start with one again. I learned it in Anthro, but I had this class on witchcraft and the teacher happened to say, How many people do you think have been poisoned by Halloween candy or received a razor blade or sharp, sharp object?
And now my childhood that was already happening. They were setting up like scanning at the fire department and the school would host silly trick or treat thing, you know, so we're guessing, I don't know, a thousand times. But she said there has never, ever, ever once been a case of a stranger putting poison or a sharp object in Halloween candy. There have been sharp objects and poison put in by parents to injure their own children. There's never been a stranger that blew my mind.
You have other stats like that of like these kind of urban legends we all live in fear of that aren't even real.
Yeah, I do. But first, I want to talk about the poison candy for a second, because there was the one case and it was a father in Texas who had taken out three, not one, not two, but three insurance policies on his son. And he put strychnine in a pixie stick. And sure enough, the kid died. And this was quickly discovered because nobody else is dying from poisoned candy. But what's interesting to me is he like you before you read that statistic, must have thought, oh, there's so many kids getting poisoned every Halloween.
You know, what's one more? You know, just throw it on the fire. It's another little Jimmy. It's too bad he's the one from Texas this year. So really, he himself had ingested, as it were, this urban myth that the kids were dying right and left from MacNab neighbors who gave poison to the kids that they said hi to all the rest of the year and then didn't even have the fun of watching them writhe in pain and die because the kids were back home.
That was always my point. Like who was who commits a crime they can't witness? I don't get it right.
It's also talk about myth that now that there's all the ingestible and gummy bears with Hotton them, that crazy adults are giving this away. It's like, are you kidding? That's expensive. There's no there's no upside to giving this away. Maybe there just isn't. I'm trying to think, would there be an upside knowing that some kid was getting high on a gummy bear someplace far away?
I don't think so, unless you witnessed it. And then they fell in the bathtub and then they you know, if they did something funny, that there was some story.
The cultural capital. Yeah. Yes. There's nothing to profit Tic-Tac. You know, it's sponsored by the neighbor. That's right. Yeah. Other bogeyman, stranger danger is a terrible idea. It's a terrible notion that has colonized our brains. And I think in part it's because it rhymes. You know, there's actually studies done that when things rhyme, they seem more real. And the vast, vast, vast majority of crimes against kids and I don't even like thinking about crimes against kids are perpetrated by people they know.
Right. So the idea of stranger danger is, first of all, pointing you in the wrong direction. And secondly, taking away somebody who could help your kid if, God forbid, you know, your kid is walking down the street and there's that white van, which, by the way, I think white vans must be like 10 percent of all cars out there anyway. So the white van is following him really slowly. And the guy is saying, I've got a puppy, if I can do I've got balloons.
At which point if the kid has been told don't trust any strangers, he's stuck. But if he knows that most people are good and he sees somebody across the street and she's getting her mail from her mailbox, or he even if he because I think most he's our perfectly great to he's raking leaves you run across the street and you stand next to that person and you say there's a creep in this van going by. I'm just going to stand here or it's on the street and you run into a store and say, I'm going to wait here, can I use your phone?
And I don't even like the advice that sometimes given that says look for a safe stranger, because I don't think people turn into unsafe strangers just because a kid says, can I stand here while you could stand here? But now that I have you, I guess I'll kidnap you. I mean, it's unusual to think that it would be weird that the guy raking his leaves is going to murder you.
You know, he's in cahoots with the gentleman in the white van. That's how it's like that.
No, he's listening to Lenore. Right, right. Right. So you freak him out and then he'll come to me and I'll get the rope.
It's like a crow eight step. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I did you say a crow. Yeah, we're obsessed with how smart crows are, oh, my God. I mean, my husband will bring in the crow box. What what's that? Made a crow box and train them with the Cheetos so they start coming home. What? First they could just get the Cheetos easily and then there's a little cover over the Cheetos box and they have to stand in a certain place and that moves back and they get used to the top.
And then finally they have their quarters on the top and they realize like, oh, I kicked in the quarter and that box opened and there's all the Cheetos. And then finally you make them find their own camcorders and bring the quarter like a vending machine. That's my husband's obsession. That's my game.
I want to hang out with your husband. Oh, my goodness. What are the odds of this? They're in the millions to one.
So this is the crow box. That's all right. This is where the Cheetos would go. Oh, and then there's a top across there and the top of the well. And then this is an easy place for them to stand. And then you have to cover the entire ground there with Cheetos. So they get used to coming to the Cheetos area. They think the kids grow their Snickers farm. And then it turned out that where we're spending our summer, you know, we see it pro like once every eight days.
So it's perhaps not the right place. But yes.
Did he fabricate that whole thing or is that a katumbi?
There's some little parts that you get that are made from a 3D printer, but you had to put it.
I mean, it took him like we have we have to grow that seem to be taking up residence at our house. And I love crows. So Monacan, I have been trying to think of what eight step problem problem we could do that actually benefits us. But it seems like your husband's genius figure out how to get rich.
It's actually not his genius. It's our neighbor's genius. So you have to have on your podcast. Next is Josh Klein. Jackline, we call our local genius. You know him? No, no. OK, Google, Josh Klein and Krewe's. All we need.
We are we meet Josh. So we're going to earmark that. We're going to hang with Josh. OK, what were we talking about before the like?
Is there anything besides Krewe's how to raise good self is self-reliant, independent Croz.
I just remember what we were talking about. We're talking about boogyman. Oh right. Yeah. Because I did want to own one of my own that in anticipation of talking to you, I agree with you across the board. But the one thing I thought of is, you know, the numbers for being molested. Again, this is very egocentric in that I was molested. So I have a unique eye for. Right. Sorry. Oh, that's OK.
One in five is the least estimate, you know, and then one in four is another one that there's some consensus around. But let's just say twenty to twenty five percent.
Let's just say far too many. Yeah. Yeah. Like a staggering amount epidemic levels. So that one in anticipation of talking you I was like that one is the one I still am crazy, vigilant and probably overly vigilant about. But I anticipated your retort and I feel like you'll tell me. Yeah, but it's 90 percent of that is people you know or trust. Would that be your response?
It wouldn't be dismissive. It would be. I would give you a tip that I think is really helpful. Please, if I may, you know, all my information is not right out of my brain. It's just from talking to other people. Anyways, there's something called the three hours. And because, yes, the vast majority of crimes against kids, including molestation, will be caused not by a stranger, but by somebody they know. Teaching your kids stranger danger is not going to help them as much as teaching them the three hours which are recognized.
Resist and report. Recognize you, teach your kids. And supposedly you can start this as early as age three, just like you teach kids to stop, drop and roll. It's not going to make them terrified that any second they might catch on fire. Right. It's just good advice. So recognized nobody can touch where your bathing suit covers. Honey, that's it. OK, now resist. Anybody bothers you. You don't have to be nice.
You can kick, run, scream, pull their hair, hit them, resist, because that really will help you in a lot of cases. But then maybe the most important one is report. And by report, I mean tell your kids that if something happens to them that makes them feel bad or sad, they can talk to you about it. And even if somebody says this is our secret, you can tell me and nothing bad will happen to you.
I won't be mad at you. I won't blame you. Just tell me and I'm here to help you. And there's no secrets except for fun secrets. Like there's going to be a party, you know, a surprise party for mom. Yeah. And recognizing like a kid will definitely know then this is wrong and resisting is good. But the reporting idea is so great because it takes away the secrecy that a molester is depending on it's his best asset is like this is our secret.
Don't tell. Your mom will be mad at you. You know, I'll kill you if you tell it. You can always tell me and it'll be OK.
I've stumbled into that. I've said to them, yes, you should never, ever see another adult's genitalium under any circumstance. There's no reason for adult to have their penis or the vagina around you ever. If it happens, I want you to leave that area bubble and then I get to the secrecy part and I go, you know, nobody can kill me. I challenge him. If they say, I'll kill your dad. If you tell, bring it on.
I can't wait.
Like, I'm trying to tell them I can't do it. Please send him my way, right? Yeah, but you're right, you're right, you're not always going to be there into to not give them the tools to navigate the situation seems like probably the most vulnerable you could make your case.
It's not only that you're not always going to be there, it's that you want them to have this power. Right. And you feel less terrified if you've empowered them this way because you've given them a very practical roadmap for how to stay safe. And if, God forbid, that doesn't happen, you're still not going to blame them and you're not going to blame yourself because you've been doing what you can. I mean, the other thing is that parents are so afraid that something bad will happen to their kids that they're with their kids all the time.
You sort of have to recognize that most of the time they're going to be OK and you're going to equip them to rise to certain occasions. Obviously, I'm not blaming anybody for ever being molested.
And I think it's also relevant to bring up so that people have it as a control in their head, which is the chemicals in your body for fear are stronger.
They're stronger chemicals than the reward chemicals. Right. Cortisol and adrenaline. So that is something everyone should be aware of, like, oh, I'm having kind of an outsize reaction to this, and that's by design. So I don't get my elion or eat poisonous berries. Right. You must run everything through, like this little reduction model where you're like, OK, I'm very fearful of this. It's probably worst case scenario, half as bad as I'm fearful it is just minimally probably.
How do you help parents work through that?
First of all, you're totally right about the different chemicals. And also, not only does risk loom larger than reward, but we also have very little sense of how we will be able to recover from anything bad ever happening. We assume that we never will. And actually we're more resilient than that. And so our kids, which is why going back to that parents magazine example, if your kid has a spat with a friend, that's not the end of her relationships with the world or even with that friend, she's going to recover.
But we don't realize that really the fear and the anticipation of misery could be far bigger than what the actual case is. But in terms of poisonous berries and a lion, that's interesting to me because until we had photography, until the modern era, the only dangers that we were exposed to were real dangers in our neighborhood. You know, an immediate threat that Bush dony from that Bush. I saw Harriet from that Bush and he is no more. And lion climbed the tree.
Lions can't climb trees, right. The females can't.
The leopards take their prey up there because the lions camp.
But the point being that until very recently, all the dangers that we were warned about or that imprinted themselves on our brain is terribly scary were local threats that could very well happen to us. Yeah. Now, you know, you're seeing the worst stories from around the country every day. You know, a horrible story that happened in Florida and you're watching it in California. A horrible story from 30 years ago. But now there's a mini series about it.
And so it's back on your screen.
Yeah, there's a frequency distortion, right? Even I succumb to it like I heard some guy rescued his three year old from a mountain lion in Northern California. And I'm literally like, yeah, I got to have my plan of defense because they're mountain lions where we live. Of course, this is like one attack in probably forty years on a child and the child didn't die. But yet, to your point, you're not ever learning the rule. The news doesn't come on and go.
Ninety nine point ninety nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine percent of people didn't die today. Right. That's not the headline. Right? It's that it's the exception to the rule that makes headlines. And it's misleading.
It's very misleading. And the back story for me, as you know, is that I let my nine year old ride the subway alone. And afterwards people would say to me, like, don't you watch Law and Order?
It's really, really relevant. Yeah. Just so in order of events, you, your nine year old, had expressed some interest in doing this and you talked it over with your husband and you guys live in New York and you let them ride the subway and then about a month and a half had gone by. And then in that time, it had come up between parents or whoever else. And people were shocked to the point where you thought, oh, I'm going to write an article about it.
So then you wrote an article five or six weeks later and then it became a big stir. Right.
Right. I mean, nobody my my friends didn't really care, but. Yeah, nine year old very interested in public transportation. That's what we're on all the time because we live in New York City, has an older brother who's eleven who didn't ask to take the subway at age nine. Now he calls himself the control group.
Be snarky anyway. So, yeah, the nine year old was pestering. I would say, you know, this is something I'm ready for. He never said it in those words. Nobody talks that way when they're nine. But he said, you know, I want to do it. Can I do it? And one sunny Sunday, I took him to department store in a nice part of town, New York City, and let him take the subway home to us.
And in the aftermath of that, after I wrote the column about it and was on a lot of talk shows, people would reference things like, well, what about the horrible story of there was this kid? I don't even want to talk about it, but I was a kid who was stolen from a bus stop in nineteen seventy nine and this was two thousand and something. And because what you're talking about, you know, how your brain finds stories, it's the availability heuristic I.
Sure, you've heard of that, it's how easily available a story is to your brain and how vivid it is because there's pictures or there's videos that go along with it in your brain, makes you think it's more frequent. Right. Your brain isn't going like, well, that was seventy nine. I wonder how many children have been born since then, which I actually have done the statistics. And it's a hundred and eighty million children. Thank you.
Since then. So you can't imagine. One hundred and eighty million kids waiting at a bus stop. You can only imagine the one kid whose story you know. And so that becomes your guiding principle like, well, I don't want my kid to be like that. It's like the extreme odds are that that won't happen.
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Will you run, Monica, through the question of if you were to leave your child unattended outside? Oh, sure. My favorite staff, Monica, if for some reason you wanted your theoretical child to be kidnapped by a stranger, how long would you have to keep let's call it a her, OK? How long would you have to keep her outside unattended for this to be statistically likely to happen? How long would you have to keep the kid outside without you watching over her or her to get kidnapped?
Right. Five years.
First of all, I got to say I love you for that because so many people say five minutes wrong. I'm also aware that I'm going to get trapped.
Way to own your bias, DAX. Would you like to give the actual number?
Well, I was hoping you would ask me this because I'm devious. I was wondering if you were going to ask me this and then and I already knew the answer and I was going to go, man, a lot like I guess say like six hundred thousand. I was going to come close. It's six hundred thousand seven hundred seven hundred fifty thousand years.
But I was going to get six hundred thousand to make it look like the girls were really going it. You know that it's only five kids a year and it's like, yeah so.
Wow. Seven hundred. That's insane because it's like how many Powerball tickets would you have to buy to be statistically likely to win a Powerball? But the thing about playing the lottery and the thing about worrying about kids is that we go to you know, we know the picture of the person with the giant check and we know the picture of the missing kids. And it's very hard to square that with reality. And I remember long ago somebody wrote to the blog and said, I don't care if the odds are one in a billion.
That's not a risk I'm going to take. And that is upsetting to me because, first of all, odds of one in a billion aren't odds. I mean, if it's a billion to one, it's just incredibly unlikely that you will be the one. And then there's the assumption that there's an opposite side, like I will take zero risk and there's nothing that's zero risk, you know, unless they're living in a house that's carpeted and one floor and all the food is put through a food processor before your kid drinks it.
And you're making sure that the straw has a, I don't know, a cushioned tip and there's no allergens and there's no stairs to fall down. And there's risk in everyday life, but it's very minimal. And somehow when it's a risk with you sitting there, it's not considered a risk, but it's a risk and you're not there. We're back to this God thing. Why weren't you watching over? It's all your fault. So no matter how much you can't predict something bad happening, if it happens when you're with the kid, you get a pass.
And if it doesn't, if you're not there, you're evil. You're so right.
You know, I think is very consistent with just human thinking in general, which is highly flawed. The thing I always spiral about is if avoiding death is the apex of our concern, which I would argue it should be avoiding death, the notion that we would prioritize three trillion dollars of our resources to fight terrorism, which is something no kill one in, I don't know what it is, two million people versus how many people will certainly die of cancer or heart disease.
It's such a staggering difference that you have to immediately go like, wow. So I guess the way in which we die is heavily biased or our fear of how we're going to die.
Yeah, it's a cognitive hiccup. It's one that needs to be recognized. It's not rooted in anything sane. So when you're pursuing the protecting them from a one in billion odds, but most certainly is happening, is that time you're not preparing them for the thing that is a forty percent odds of that happening to them. Right? Right.
What we were talking about that earlier when we were talking about stranger danger versus teaching them the three hours, three hours, you're preparing for something that is statistically far more likely than a stranger kidnapping your kid off the street. Yeah, it's usually what we're afraid of is dramatic. And once again, we're talking about the availability heuristic, which is such a terrible word for how easy it is to picture. How many times did you see the Twin Towers falling?
I mean, and each time your brain actually registers that as another time, it rationally knows that those two towers were the only two. There weren't thousands of them. But you've seen it so much and it's so easy to think of and you get so angry and there's someone to blame versus heart disease. You know it. Heart disease is a long time from now and it's gradual. And you can't picture all those people of the times didn't put their pictures on the front page and those we have lost.
So we really get this very skewed picture. And what we've gotten a really skewed picture of lately is that our kids are in danger whenever they're at the bus stop, whenever they're walking to school, whenever they're at the park. And so that has changed childhood to the point where there always has to be somebody with them. And if you ask about what are the other facts of this, what are the unintended consequences, then we get back to the idea that kids are kind of depressed and kind of passive and kind of anxious because they haven't realized that they could deal with the mean dog or gotten lost and found their way back or fallen off their bike and had to come home limping.
And if you don't know that, you can handle anything because there's always somebody there. Intervening and helping you, that is a disempowering, distressing, demoralizing way to live. Right.
So I want to make a quick analogy maybe that I find helpful, which is the amount of fear and thought and energy put into imagining a kidnapping or molesting or this or that. Right. None of that thought. None of that thought goes into how am I going to drive the car today to school? Now, driving the car to school today will be the most dangerous thing your kid does in probably its entire childhood. And no one, no one lives in fear of driving their car.
So the question is why? And I believe the answer is because it's a necessity. They've gone you know what? Whatever that statistic is, I got a fucking drive my kid to school. Right? So once it becomes I have to I think you. Right. The fear of the outcome. You're shaking your head.
No, I'm shaking my head. I'm interested in that. First of all, often it's not a necessity. Often people are living so close to the school that the kid could walk two blocks. There's a school in Kansas. The superintendent, Moscow, Kansas, got in touch with me. He wanted the kids to start his students to start doing things on their own because he said from his office in the school in the town of four hundred, he could see the kids houses and yet the parents were driving them to school.
So that's not a necessity, certainly. So that's a little misconception. But why are they worrying about kidnapping and not driving? And I think it gets back to what we were talking about earlier with the expectations for moms and stuff, is that if your child is kidnapped, it's because you weren't there. So you get no sympathy. You should have been there. Why weren't you there? It's all your fault if you're in a car and you run into a light pole or you're t boned by a drunk driver, at least you were there.
One thing feels avoidable and one thing feels unavoidable as far as like how much guilt you're going to take on in shame.
Right. But part of the guilt is because were you present or not, and you're supposed to be so present in your kid's lives that nothing could happen to them. If something happened, then while you're present, well, at least you were doing what you're supposed to do, right? So you were with the kid. It's just too bad that there was a car accident, but you were doing your job as a mom by not letting your kid walk the two blocks in Moscow, Kansas, to your school.
Yeah, that place I was going to try to end that thought was just simply everyone go even if they do have to drive to work. OK, let's say it's a society that they drive to work. So they're not worried at all about driving to work, but they're very worried about terrorism. Right. And the explanation, I believe, is what I have to drive to work. Once I've decided that it's inevitable, I'll be driving a car. Worrying about it is a waste of time because I'm going to have to do it right.
Your brain recognizes that that that would be a waste of your fear because you're going to have to do it regardless whether you want to or not. Now, I think if we were to recognize the necessity of our kids learning the skills that will help them navigate the world without you, if we saw that as a foregone conclusion that they have to have these skills, they have to learn to navigate, they have to learn to talk to people. They have to learn to get over heartbreak, bad grades.
Not getting into here, if we saw that is inevitable. I think we could build on it in the same way that we build on that, relegating our fear of driving to the stratosphere.
I totally love that framing. So let it grow. We have a slogan. We have a bunch of slogans. One of them is when adults step back, kids step up. But really our tagline or whatever is independence is a critical part of childhood. We've thrown it out the window because it seems so much less important than being with them all the time, either to just say the three million words or to encourage them or to make sure that they're safe.
And independence is this enormous building block of who you become. And to ignore it because we're more afraid of the equivalent of terrorists, which is, you know, the kidnapper or a bully or something untoward happening to your kid. It's like not feeding them. It's like not giving them air. I mean, it was always a part of childhood. Like when you were talking about the hunter gatherers, the two year old shimmying up the tree trying to follow the three year olds.
There was always an expectation that kids could do some things on their own. They were going to get into scrapes. They were going to have some disappointments and betrayals and frustrations. And that was to the good not something horrible happen to them, not a real trauma, but the give and take of learning to get along in the world. I was going to read you one seventh grade teacher on Long Island did the liberal project where kids are sent home to do something on their own, and that's to push the parents to let them go and do something.
But I wanted to read you what these seventh graders, which are 12 and 13 year olds, wrote on a little sheet of paper when she asked them, is there anything that you were hesitant to do? So 12 or 13 year olds? I wasn't comfortable going into a crowded store with a bunch of strangers without my mom. I was hesitant to use a sharp knife as my parents had never let me. I was hesitant to try walking my dog alone because I was scared he would get loose from the leash.
I was afraid to climb a tree. These are different kids. I was afraid to try doing a weekly on my bike because I was scared I might hurt myself. I was afraid to try and cook because there's an open flame and I could get hurt. So these are parents who have kept their. Kids safe, right, safe from they haven't been kidnapped, they haven't been taken in a terrorist attack but did not know how to use a sharp knife, must feel pretty damn bad if you're 12 or 13 years old and you're looking at, wow, these adults can use sharp knives, but not me.
What I hear in that list is these kids feel so vulnerable, they're afraid to go into a store. They're afraid to do this. And that whole point was safety. It's the opposite. They feel incredibly vulnerable.
Well, I think that's the same truth with when you talk about, you know, psychologists use a technique called exposure. If you have a phobia of something, you know, like you're afraid of spiders and then they you know, now you're in the same room as a spider.
I've been pitching immersion therapy for Monika's snake fear. Well, you don't want to hear the details, but there. But, yes. Emerge immersion therapy anyway.
Yes. So what you've done is you've created kids who are safe but who don't know that they're safe from anything. I mean, they're afraid. One kid said he wasn't. This was an affluent suburban part of Long Island. And the way I describe it is the French bakery is across the street from the olive oil store.
So, you know, so but one kid wasn't willing to walk to there because he had to cross over the train tracks. And it's like the idea that you couldn't look both ways and listen, you know, and be aware enough to keep yourself from walking in front of a moving train, which only comes there once an hour is distressing to me because what the parents have done is crippled their kid. They have removed like Jenga, all the bravery, the curiosity, the courage, the will to try something new.
And it's this rickety structure that's left that thinks, well, I can't use a knife, I could get hurt. Why have we done that? And you asked at the beginning, how did we get this point? You know, we've really been taking all of parents playing upon their fears, whether it's because we want to run an article that will make you buy the magazine like, you know, these things are going to kill your kids or you want parents to buy the baby kneepads, which are a real thing, or the thud guards which you put on your kid when they're learning to toddle.
Oh, we had a big war at my house. I didn't want to order. But pads when they were learning roller skate, I was like, no, no, that your butt is a pad. It's been designed as a Barbeito person to be your pad. You know, we don't need an auxiliary pad.
I didn't actually know about butt pads. So this is an informative conversation for me.
Well, OK, I have a personal, selfish thing I want your opinion on, and this is to persuade my wife. I noticed this pattern early on where all of a sudden she enjoyed kicking the soccer ball. Right. And she wanted to do it with me in the driveway all the time. And I loved it and she loved it. We were doing it every night. And then all of a sudden it was, oh, she likes soccer.
We got to sign up for a soccer team. Right. So we signed her up and then she doesn't enjoy it. Right. For any number of reasons. Then it becomes this big ethical dilemma of, well, now we got to teach her, you know, if she's committed to something, she must follow through. But there's a whole other secondary thing. And then she likes gymnastics. She's doing cartwheels about we got to get in gym. And I've started to favor the opinion of like, is it OK to just like the fucking thing and not get an expert involved and not achieve some strata of accomplishment and then accompany it with a trophy like, don't we turn these things that they like into this really weird architecture of attainment?
I don't love it. What are your thoughts on that?
I think you just articulated everything that I think the idea that something taught to a child by an expert is better than something that a kid just likes to do and practices and does is false.
Unless you think your kids are Olympe Olympics bound, which I don't.
One reason that sometimes we put kids in things is because there's no kids left to play with. I mean, she wants to play soccer, she's playing with you or nobody because everybody else is in their soccer league. But I was listening to your interview with I can't remember was Jessica Lahey or Jonathan Haidt. And one of the other of them was talking about intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. And what you're talking about with your daughter is that she was in love with a soccer ball and she likes tumbling and she likes doing cartwheels and she's doing them because it's fun and she's practicing because she likes getting better.
And that's intrinsic and extrinsic is, oh, it's Thursday for her. And get in the car. We got to go get to Olympics or whatever, gymnastics. And then there's somebody saying, you know, we have to start out with 15 jumping jacks and it becomes a class. It becomes something so external. And once again, Peter Great cites a study where they asked kindergartners who were given a day of their was circle time when everybody shared something and there was reading when the teacher read aloud a book and there was finger painting when everybody got to finger paint and there was recess and they asked the kids at the end of the day what was work and what was play and play was recess and everything else was work because an adult said, now we're going to be in a circle.
An adult chose the book and adults decided when it started and when it finished. And now you have to fingerpaint whether you like the fingerpaint or not. So what you're taking is play and you're turning it into nobody would call it work, but there's an adult there. You're sort of getting grade, you're micromanaged. You know, you're expected to attend. They don't. Of agency anymore agency exists on the playground, right, right, so to me, you know, some of childhood can remain childhood without it being taught to them.
And one of the things that's interesting me lately, and I'm going to ask both of you this question, and I don't have a total theory yet, but I feel like if you have enough free time in childhood, you discover something that you like to do that you might still be doing as an adult, if you're lucky, if you get to pursue it. Is there something you did as a kid that you still sort of see yourself doing some activity that turned you on our Monaca go first acting?
I started when I was in ninth grade. I guess I wasn't one big kid necessarily.
No, no, no. But that counts, right? Like 13, 14. So that's still happening.
Almost everything I like. Yeah. In elementary, I still do like I raced BMX bikes, but now it's motorcycles and all my hobbies are virtually whatever. Adding horsepower to that fifth grade thing was. Yeah, literally. Yeah.
But can I play devil's advocate on this. Yeah. I think you're wrong. I disagree. I really disagree with this because I think it's really you know, we had just had Angela Duckworth on on grit. I really agree with her on you should be having challenges that are just above your level so that you will attain those with hard work and then you will feel the reward of hard work. And I think that is so crucial and it doesn't mean you're going to be doing gymnastics forever.
Like. That's right, bull. It's the goal of just achieving the next step. And what does it feel like to achieve the next step? And what in that for me is empowerment. It's like, oh, I wanted something and I worked hard and I got it.
But that's not in opposition to what I'm saying. And I don't think what she's saying, which is agree, my BMX bike, there was just a field and there were many jumps. And my goal was to get over to do a double and then do a triple and then to get higher and then to learn to spin the bike. But there was no adult saying, OK, the next step is this. It's like I still was setting goals for myself, but they were my goals and I was accomplishing them.
But it depends on what you're doing, right? As someone who was a cheerleader, I would not feel comfortable being like, go learn how to do a back handspring on your own. Like, that's not a good idea.
Right. But the question was, did you drive it? Did you express an interest in learning that back and then go to an expert that could you or did your mom say no? Now you oh, you like rolling around, you're going to learn it in the back handspring. That's how you accomplish in this person's going to do it and then they're in charge. You're done thinking. Yeah, I agree.
It should come from the kid for sure. But I also think it shouldn't be like go on your own and challenge yourself or I'll be the teacher today for you that will help you with your back handspring. Like outsource that to a teacher if they're interested. But yeah, I agree. Don't just throw them in on any old thing.
Right. And there could be things that kids do want to do with teachers. Maybe they you know, they like drawing and they want to take a painting class. I'm not saying don't enrich kids lives and ignore all their interests, but you don't have to take any interest and turn it into a thing that is supervised and structured by an adult that's not necessary.
And when you think about the history of the world, my favorite sites, do you know what Albert Einstein did as a kid for fun tennis biznews probably did both of those.
But what he spent a lot of his time on, according to Wikipedia, is building houses out of cards, cars, houses, which you can't. First of all, they didn't throw them into card house school, which is probably good. But secondly, it looks like a stupid waste of time. Right. Why is this kid you seem smart or maybe he seems dumb. He's just there in the corner with a deck of cards. He's not even playing cards.
He's not multiplying the numbers of the cards. He's just trying to build something. And then you think like, well, what was he doing? He was learning a little bit of physics, patience, frustration, tolerance. They always fall, right? So kids can, like, meander to weird interests, things that seem pointless, things that might seem a little dangerous, not terribly dangerous, but a little risky climbing the tree. And they will keep pushing themselves because that's what interest kids, right?
It's no fun to keep doing the same thing. That's why we all hate playing go fish. You know, it's boring. We know how to do it already. So I wouldn't worry that a kid who likes flipping is going to level out because they don't have a teacher. But if they want a teacher and they want to go to the next step and you can afford a teacher, go ahead.
I think that's my thing is just letting them drive that. I think the better move would have been to let my daughter play soccer as long as she wanted. And if she said, I want to join a team because my girlfriend's on one, then now my only pushback on all this is and I actually don't think it's what you're saying, but I think for someone that might interpret it this way, I want to call it out, which is I hate all parenting advice, because to me, what I hate about it is I have two daughters.
Holy shit, are they different? The first one, what she would learn to ride a motorcycle at three years old. The second one, I was nervous if she just crossed the living room. You know, she had this big. Old had and not as coordinated. She had stitches before she was to the other one, I still have yet to see fall off anything in seven. So they're just dramatically different. And clearly, I need to have two different game plans for these two kids, but I don't think yours ignores that.
But just addressed I don't ignore that.
But I actually think they have the same game plan, which is see what the kid is like. Right. And roll with that. So that doesn't strike me as two different game plans. It's just like, OK, she needs a little more supervision or, you know, yeah. Whatever you're going to do, you don't have to do the same thing with both of them. And I think that actually recognizing how different your kids are is a way of relaxing a little bit as a parent, too, because you can see that it's not your parenting that made her coordinated or uncoordinated, right or left, soccer or hate, soccer or cheerleading or not.
I mean, it's just they come with a lot of parts installed already. Yeah.
OK, so now let Grow is the foundation that you have with a few other folks and there's a different components of it. Right. So first, I don't know if you'd call it a curriculum, but you have advice for schools who want to get involved with what grow.
Yeah, right. We have a couple of school initiatives. Yeah. And they're free. One is Elektro Project is the teachers send the kids home with the homework assignment, do something on your own. And it really is to make sure that parents finally let their kid use a knife or walk to town or make dinner or something like that. Because I guess ten years before I started like Grou, I had started Free-Range Kids and I lectured around the country talking about why have we gotten to the point where we don't trust our kids to do anything on their own and everybody would not along and nothing changed, you know, because it's really hard to be the one to send your kid to the park when you're worried that, you know, your neighbor is going to say that's wrong and somebody might call nine one one and your kid won't find anyone there to play with.
So if everybody at a school, all the kids from kindergarten up through fifth grade or even up through eighth grade, like with this middle school, are sending their kids to do some things on their own. You're not crazy. In fact, you have to do it to fit in. And in towns that have done this, we've heard great stories about like kids now being outside on their own again, like riding their bikes and skateboards and roller skates.
You can see them in the park and they're not all in a uniform. So when a school or a classroom or better still an entire district does the Lego project free, free, free, it really changes the kids, the parents, the neighborhood. So we recommend that because how are you going to get culture change without changing behavior if you're an administrator and you happen to be listening to the show, or would people go to get involved?
Oh, why, thank you, DAX. Here you go. I go to let Grow Dog, and then you could look up in the school section and the other Let Grow initiative for schools that we have is the Electroplate Club, which is the school staying open for free play before after school, mixed age kids, a bunch of junk around and call it loose parts, but it's really just junk. There's balls, there's jump ropes, there's cardboard boxes, there's old lawnmowers, whatever, probably lawn mowers, bad idea.
And kids can just play with them. And what's really great is that mix stage play turns out to be something else that we've taken out of kids lives. Right. If your kid is going to gymnastics, she's not going to the five through fifteen year old gymnastics. She's going to the five and six year old gymnastics. And I'll tell you, this study that was done at a school that was doing the electroplate club before school, all these ages would mix together.
First of all, we went in, interviewed the kids, and one kid said the most poignant thing to me, which, as I said, how is you know, what do you like about the play club? And he said, well, now I have friends.
Oh, I think that's a really big thing.
And one of the reasons is that if you are the awkward nine year old at school, but you're the one who comes to play club and you give the five year old piggyback rides and then you come to school the next day, and it's like they're just going to give you a ride to see you at recess so it can really change your entire you know, there's a lot of kids who hate school, and this is a way to make some of them like it.
And I wanted to say something actually about the lacrosse project, too, which is that kids who might not be doing well in school, we did this at a Title one school. A title one is when there's a lot of low income kids at a school. And one kid came in every week and he was working on his amphibious vehicle, which was taking yeah, he was a really adorable and he was ambitious. Yeah. So anyway, he was taking this little tykes wagon and trying to figure out if he adds noodles to it, will it sink?
And then it was listening to this way and the kids would hang on. Is stories every week like how is it going this week. It's like, well it got out but then it started to sink and I had to wade in and get it. And this kid is not necessarily, you know, Mr. Math, Mr. Spelling Bee champion, but he had a way to be doing something that his classmates and his teacher recognized as education, as learning, as succeeding.
And so this was a way that all the kids could succeed, even the ones who might be really struggling with the worksheets. And it was so transformative because school is really narrow. What it's teaching is academic, but kids are really wide and they like their BMX bikes and they like doing their gymnastics. And there's sort of no way to credit that in a normal course of the day and in the grades and in the report card, but so this just this is just a way of engaging the kids and celebrating the fact that they're quirky.
My God, we did a study just now of what all the weird new things that kids were learning during covid because they had no school or they had limited school. Know, I learned to braid hair, 3D printing, how to dress SpongeBob, how to clean the toilet. One of the girls that I learned my sister had a boyfriend. You know, dogs are colorblind. I made noodles. I mean, kids are a lot more than reading, writing and arithmetic.
And it's really hard to see through the traditional curriculum. So the Negro project is just a simple way for the parents to get away from the kids, for the kids to find their new interests, for the school to see the kid as a whole person, and for them to go off on their quirky thing like you with BMX bikes and now you're a motorcycle guy. You know, you have to have time to figure out who you are and a little bit of thumbs up.
Yeah, the only thing I was really interested in was making kids laugh and raunch. And I'm literally doing that's my full time focus still. Yeah.
I think it's important for for me to say one more thing in defense of the moms, I think the reason they want to put the butt pat on so often is because they know that when the kid falls and cries and runs to mom, mom has to deal with it. So I think for so many moms, it's like I just want to prevent this so that I can have an hour where I don't get run to every I mean, I know this is a cycle.
I was going to say, by the way, I was going to say my argument to that is don't placate it. Don't entertain it. You know, when your kids hurt, hurt and when your kid's not hurt, I think we can delineate when there's a real issue and when there's not. And if you give very limited attention, in my opinion, and their little social creatures, they want approval. If you don't indulge it, it diminishes quickly.
OK, I'm going to be the peacemaker here because I'd say you're both right. And Monica, certainly when they're that little that they're wearing a butt pad and let's hope it stops at some point. You know, you probably are around them and it probably is a total pain to deal with crying. There was just an article in the paper today about how we're hardwired to like for the crying to really just light up every neuron in our brain. So one of the things that the liberal project and me just talking about childhood independence is doing is like you have to be away from them part of the time, because when you're with them, you will be running.
When you see them hurt and you will be saying, oh, I see you're using the yellow crayon and you will be saying you're having fun. Let me play with you now, too, by the way, great advice for parents that I heard recently that I love, which is don't try to make a happy kid happier. Love them.
Isn't that great?
Oh, the addict in me tries that all the time. OK, how can we turn this up a little bit? Yeah. Yeah, right, right, right.
It's already fun. And now I'm going to put you on my shoulders so it'll be even more fun.
Yeah, it's the craving cycle we introduce them to.
My kids are in their early twenties now so they shouldn't turn it off. If you're listening to this podcast kid, because when I'm crossing the street with them, they are twenty two and twenty four and I see them like looking down at their phone. It drives me crazy because like you should be watching, you know, look both ways. And I treat them like their three year olds learning how to, you know, what is a car. And it's because I'm with them and I know that when I'm not with them, I God forbid I hope that when I'm not with them, they're not looking at their phone crossing the street because they have to take responsibility.
So if I'm not with them, I'm not worried. And, you know, they somehow cross the street for all these years and I haven't been with them all the time. So as long as you're spending so much time with them and we just talked earlier about how nine more hours a week, that's an entire workday with your kids all the time, it's more time for you to be worried and harassed and sad and put upon ad covid into the mix where I'm now with them 24/7 for five months straight.
I mean, that's so abnormal.
That's why you're talking to me. Yeah. Oh yeah, that's right. We're all enjoying this break. Yeah. But I think what happens when you're a parent, Monaca, and you've witnessed it too, because you've been around my kids as much as I have, you get a glimpse into their real life. Often you look out the window and the two are playing and we're nowhere to be found. Right. Maybe they think we're still asleep or something.
And I watch them navigate situations over and over again that they would not do if I was president or my wife was president. Well, in increasing order less if I'm president because they know I just don't go down that road a lot. But by God, they work shit out. In fact, I'd argue they get along a lot better when we're not around. You see it all the time. You'll catch them up the window, you'll see them on the roller skates, eat shit, fall, get up.
And there's no crying because we're not there. It's like once you've observed that, you have to recognize the many dynamics that are going on.
Yes. Kids are always going to vie for your attention, or at least that's what I've seen in my own life. So it is easier if you're not there and it is giving them the chance to develop those skills as opposed to outsourcing the argument to you. Bring us back to the parents magazine that said you should always be there to intervene. That's this crazy culture. So I was talking to a professor of education once who took 12 grad's. It's over to Scotland and they were watching the kids on the playground once again, it was mixed age during recess and afterwards they told her it was so extraordinary what they saw.
And she said, well, what do you see? She said, well, I saw a kid fall down and none of the teachers went to the kid and the kid just got up and kept playing.
And I mean, the fact that that's become an extraordinary like a weird sight, like a blue whale or like an antelope walking down Rodeo Drive, you know, it's like, wow, I haven't seen that before.
It's like, well, there used to be a lot of antelopes there before we paved the place. But in any event, there's something to be said for when adults stand back, kids step up.
I love it now and quickly because one element of this that is serious, which is and you ran into this yourself, which is you are you are allowing your kid to further explore the mass transit system is getting better and better. And that the only real stumbling block was a train conductor refused to drive the train because he was on without a parent. And then instead of calling you, he called the police. Now the police are calling you. And then that's happened twice.
So there's even been crazier examples of people being arrested and or assigned work release and all these weird things for basically just letting their kids act like I acted in nineteen eighty three. So what on the legislative side do you how do you guys provide help like there's a Utah law. Yeah.
I'll tell you about the Utah law, which is so fantastic. It is called the Free Range Parenting Law and it says that giving your kid some independence, letting them walk to school, come home with a latchkey play in the park, can't be mistaken for neglect. If you want your kid to be doing that and your kid isn't the three year old, if it's reasonable and statistically safe, like once again, it's not that nothing could ever happen, but it's extremely safe nonetheless to let your two kids go play in the park.
That should be a parental choice. And then as I studied this issue more, I found out some really awful statistics in terms of intervention, which is that 37 percent of American kids will be visited or reported to CPS at some point, which is just excessive. And it's because people don't know when to call. And by the way, if you're African-American, that's 53 percent oh. Fifty three percent. And a lot of times it's because of mistaking poverty for neglect.
Yeah, kid, your eight year old is home with the five year old for two hours after school because you're working two jobs. Is that neglect or is that you having your kids rise to the occasion, do something a little old fashioned, which is the older kid watching the younger kid while you work so you can put food on the table? So we've been trying to pass a similar law, which we now call the reasonable childhood independence law in other states.
And we we were so close in Colorado, we had bipartisan support. It was literally a Republican and Democrat sponsoring this law. It sailed through unanimously through the House in Colorado. It was a week away from passage in the Senate when covid shut things down and similarly in South Carolina had passed unanimously in the Senate and it was about to go to the House. So we're hoping that when everything resumes that those two states will pass it. And then we've had interest in a bunch of other states, too.
And we can't handle every state at once because it's us. It's let grow providing information and testimony and contacts. But we are hoping to pass it in another six or seven states this year. And I think, you know, it's still wrong to neglect your kids and it doesn't take that away from Child Protective Services. It allows them to concentrate on actual cases of neglect and not some mom who let her kids walk home from the park or play in the park on a sunny day while she was working her job.
Hopefully we will pass these laws in all 50 states that say neglect is neglect. Things happen sometimes and you're a parent and it's happening on the fly. And to think that every moment has to be perfect, that you would always have everything in control is unrealistic. And here I'll tell you a story. So there was a guy in England and he and his wife were at a pub and the wife left and then he left. And then his daughter, who was, I think nine or ten, came out of the bathroom and said, where is everybody now?
You could say that these were neglectful parents, but actually it was the prime minister of Britain. Oh, the prime minister. Right before this one. I can't remember liars. Tony Blair. Yes, it was Tony Blair, OK? It was Tony Blair. And, you know, they both thought that the kid had gone with one or the other of them so you could arrest him and say he left his child in a pub. That's an unsafe thing.
There's alcohol there. Strangers. They were in a bathroom, God knows what. Or you could say these things happened. So I really want us to have a system that might get a call. There was a kid in the pub. It's like, well, what happened? And you find out the story, you go, that's not a story. That's not neglect. There are kids sometimes who get out at night, you know, a three year old.
You don't realize they suddenly have learned how to turn the door knob and out they go and they're wandering. That's not neglect. That's like things happen. Be a good Samaritan and bring the kid back. Don't call nine one one and say, you know, put my neighbor in jail. That doesn't make any sense.
Virtually a year ago right now, we were in a similar situation where we have. These two families we pod with and we always travel together, and, yeah, a two year old just left one of the houses and walked down this very, very long driveway. And this was in our house, like trying to wake people up and stuff. It was on his own for, I don't know, maybe two hours. He had gotten up at 5:00 in the morning and then the rest of they were just like, oh, my God, he was into the house, you know, like, yeah, no neglect happening.
Just like some shit that happens, right?
Well, I feel like the public is on such high alert with this same fear that we have that, oh, anytime a kid is out, you know, by themselves, they could be kidnapped or whatever. And so judgmental that it turns into a nine one one call. Also, people are told if you see something, say something. And nobody's ever told what something is. You know, if you see a two year old. Yes, I would try to figure out who's kid it was.
But if I didn't know, I would call the cops. But I would not want the cops to think, oh, well, I can't wait to arrest that mom. It's always the mom, I think. Yeah. Let's find who this kid belongs to and let's help her install a lock.
Well, even then, Tony Blair's story, it's so rife with all the different status issues. So, yeah, because it's Tony Blair, it's kind of a charming, funny story that people right now is a low income couple. They would be delinquent parents who are addicts and pieces of shit.
And imagine if it's a single mom, right? Yeah. Well, Lenore, what a party it was. Yeah.
And I think everyone should it should petition their school districts to implement the legro policies. I think that would be a great idea.
It's not just for schools. You can go to let Growbag and click on the Independence Project, the let grow independence kit. I mean, it's basically modified for home use and so many kids are home at this point. It's just another thing of like why independence is important in how you can step back. And here's some ideas for what your kids can do. And if you want to share pictures or stories, please do. But it's free again, six electoral independence kit.
And the best part is I watched the outcome of many of the episodes of your TV show. Everyone on my TV show, girl, I do my homework, listen, and not not real time, but in my preparation of talking to you. Yes, but all the parents are they're happier. The kids are happy. Everyone wins. Yeah.
I want to add that I'm shocked that you could find them. I mean, I can't find my episodes from my TV show.
I'm crafty with the Google search. I enjoy the rest of your quarantine. We love talking to you. And I hope we speak to you again and all the people you've recommended.
OK, great. I'll send you a list. OK, so much. And thank you, Monica. Take care.
And now my favorite part of the show, the fact check with my soul mate Monica Padman. I told Dr. Ryan that I've been out of my sling a lot at home, and he said no problem. That's great.
Yeah, I thought it was going to be in trouble. You thought you're breaking the rules? Yeah, I had a mission to make.
And he said no promises. Don't you know, don't be a knucklehead about it. Try to bench press or anything. Did you. I haven't done that. No, I did bang out some squats yesterday, but that was very conservative. That's OK. That's allowed.
I got to say, that's the worst part of this whole thing is being out of my exercise routine. You go on walks. Yeah, I need to do that. It's been so hot on your treadmill.
Oh, speaking of which, you know, your treadmill's on my porch. It is.
Yeah. Right. Yeah. Oh, my goodness.
Should we set it up in here so you can be on it while you're doing the fact check.
Yeah. That sounds like an audio freak. I wonder how loud it is.
I bet it's whisper quiet. Yeah, but it's small. It was. I spent upwards of forty five dollars on it.
Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. I really went for it.
Oh my gosh. It's too much you know. Wow.
You really go over the top if you want to Venmo me five dollars I. Well ok well it was much cheaper than the white Mercedes I'm trying to buy, you know. Do you think if I say white Mercedes on here enough times that they will just contact us and give you one?
Well, I cut it out the last time you said, oh, you did, why me? Made you sound spoiled or snooty. I forget why.
Well, we lose perspective sometimes. We're kind of bad. Are we back?
I don't know. I don't want to be bad. We just got to live your life, you know, let me extend.
Well, like, I was always like, well, this is a thing. People will complain about something in their life and then someone else will go like you could have heart disease. You know, there's always something worse, you know, and like shaming people for having problems that are not as significant as other problems. Right.
You know, people are just people put them on a paradise on an island. They're going to find something to ruminate on. It's just the nature of humans.
Sure, that's true. But it is still important to have perspective. Yes.
You're complaining or feeling low, but the human condition, it's not actually I don't think it's objectively related all the time to your actual situation.
It's just human nature. Yeah. You know, to spiral about things, obsess about things, to make a big deal out of nothing. Yeah. There's people sitting around worried about getting attacked by a bear.
It's not even going to happen to me. Do you worry about it?
And I think about it about two times a week. Oh, you do? No, I never. But you do think of other things like that.
No, not like that. Not a bear, but a human. You'll think. Oh, you mean murder. Yeah.
Human murder or kidnapper taking you. I used to think about that a lot. I don't really I don't think that much about murders anymore.
Is that since you got your black belt in jujitsu, is that why. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I do feel capable now. I would love to have a black belt in jujitsu. You'd be great at it. Thanks. Yeah. Yeah, I had a lot of aggression.
You know why you'd be great at it is it's of all the martial arts. It's the most brain heavy one. Oh it is. Yeah. It's more of a mental discipline staying well it's all about not exerting energy and letting your opponent get tired and just weathering their barrage of aggression and learning to do that while keeping your breathing low and maintaining your energy. So there's a whole mental aspect to it that, you know, it's the thinking man's martial arts, I think, in woman's.
Yeah, I like that.
And it's all about like it's not about strength, it's about leverage, you know, and using their weight against them and stuff.
It's very tactical. Tennyson's physics related, which I'm not good at. You never have to use a calculator during it.
I'll look into it. Remember that trig calculator people would get like the size of a microwave oven. I guess you were probably that was probably just in my area. I'm a graphic calculator.
I don't really know what I'm talking about. I just know that at a certain level of math in high school, I had to get some calculus. It was about the size of your laptop and it had so many weird symbols on it. It reminded me of trying to learn how to read music, which, you know, how I feel about that. Sure.
Stupidest system ever. Yeah, that's stupid fence with a bunch of hieroglyphics on your shoes.
ABCDE listen, that's called a graph thing. Calculator is a graphing or graphic I think. Graphing. Yeah. Graphing calculator. Griffing Mine was not as big as my laptop. It looks like this.
They're newer now you know. Yeah.
They're smaller and newer now but there's still like there's like this big. Yeah they're really enormous. I loved it. Oh you did. Yeah. I feel kind of cool having that calculator.
Sure. Like you had a real nice piece of hardware. Yeah. Yeah. To me, you know, I dropped out of video games when there became more than two, but. So I loved Super Nintendo and had a EMB and then up at a joystick, up, down, left, right, to have a joystick. No, no, it just had a thumb, you know, arrows. OK. Yeah, up, down, left, right, left, right.
Abha, I think, was the code to get unlimited lives in control. Anyways, I loved it. And then the new one came out and then there was a pair of buttons on both sides at the top and then now maybe four buttons and then just a joystick.
Yeah, that was my era and too much for me, OK.
I was like, this is too many buttons to keep track of. And then I fell off and I'm kind of grateful that that happened.
This is surprising because you like gadgets. Yeah, it's weird. I have a very small threshold for too many things. Just IEEE that calculator. It's way too many buttons.
OK, ok. All right. You have a lot of gear out. I got an axe to grind today. My goodness.
Lenore, Lenore. What an interesting person she is. Yeah. She truly is.
And whether you agree with her or not, one must respect the bravery of being so against the grain and having the confidence to stick by that opinion.
I think there was so much societal pressure against her.
I know it's funny, though, because it's against the grain, but just 20 years ago it was not OK and it was totally normal. Commonplace, commonplace.
Yeah, it is weird, but I think especially when she was on the news and the headline always said, like world's worst parent and stuff like that. Yeah. That's the name of her show.
Yes. Yes. Well actually it's called this is a fact actually. It's called World's Worst Mom. World's Worst Mom.
Cineplex produced series that aired on Slice TV and syndicated by TLC International based in Toronto. The show features extremely overprotective parents and their families. And then she works with the parents to help get them outside their boundaries and conquer their fears.
She seemed Scandinavian to me really well.
I have this stereotype about Scandinavians that they are not afraid to do something that is unpopular if they think it's going to have a good result. They seem pretty fearless. Such interesting stereotypes.
Well, you just like the highest opinion you could possibly have of any culture you have with Scandinavian culture.
Well, they always, always win the happiest place on earth to win. So there's like data.
Hmm, right. I have a friend, Jess, who lived in Sweden for quite a long time, and he says, yeah, there's a lot of wonderful things about it.
But it's also it's like very bland.
Hmm. And that we wouldn't really like it.
Well, I've been there and I liked it quite a bit. And also, he's got so much a company, internal battles going. It's not like he was on vacation there. It was like, you know, he was separated from his mother being there. And he's he was an outsider, you know.
Yeah. So there's I don't know if he's the best person to evaluate.
Yeah, I guess. But he was just like, yeah, there's not movies. I don't know, he just he he said that he thinks if we live there we would find it fairly vanilla. OK, now. All right. I accept his challenge. OK, I'm going to move there. OK, have fun. You don't want to come.
We'll look the the weather is very often volatile. Yeah. Yeah. I mean the fact that it's it's dark all winter.
Yeah. No thanks. I'm already out. You're out. Yeah. Yeah.
But the fjords boy they're beautiful. You set your sights on those fjords boy. There's no looking back.
OK, so her father ran a tennis club and you asked if it had inflatable domes. Oh uh huh. What are those domes for. They are for weather.
Speaking of weather, Tionne, I need to have a sound effect for Tionne.
You should we should have sound effects. This is something I was suggesting about two years ago.
I want to get a little pad pad and I'll I'll use it for anything. That's not going to be the one. It needs to be quick.
OK, ok. OK. Yeah.
So that you don't have to rely on weather conditions. You can play tennis whenever you like. Sure.
So she talks about when she was in kindergarten and she walked to school and the crossing guard was wearing a dayglo mass and then she married him which is so exciting, so cute.
I hope I marry my crossing guard. Do you remember who it was? No, of course not.
But it'll come out over time that he he crossed guarded on my street.
Well, if you are the crossing guard and you have a memory of young Monica Flatman, just so we little creature.
I was small. Yeah, of my age. God damn, I would kill to meet that little girl, because I'm sure you were still super opinionated and bossy, I guess depends on what grade you got me.
Like, if you were the crossing guard when I was in first grade, you probably have a low opinion of me. That was my rough year when I stole Sandahl and Cookie. All right.
You are kind of you're an outlaw that year.
I think that was the year or maybe it was kindergarten that I was really mean to. The boys sat next to me. Oh. But then his dad visited and he was really cute. The dad was. Yeah. Oh. And so then I was being nice to him that day. Because you like the dad.
Yeah. Oh my God. I know you're so interesting.
Was he 40 years older than you probably know. It was if I was in kindergarten, he was probably like truly at that. He's probably in his 20s. Yeah.
Like a young Ryan handsome. You look like Ryan. Handsome. No, he was black. Mm hmm. And Ryan is not black. Not that I know. And he had, I believe, like a mustache.
I liked a lot. I think. I think if I can remember.
Oh, my gosh. Yeah. A mustache kindergartner likes a mustache.
I did it show cat one. He's had one before.
OK, I don't think he had one at that time.
Maybe you missed your dad's mustache. He had had it and he shaved it off. So no one time we went over to my dad's house on the weekend and he had shaved his whole beard off. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, thank you. I did not like it.
That's like when you did yours and started crying, you said you don't look like my daddy.
Yeah, I was in the parking lot of mires 350 acres in Michigan.
Got you shaved in the parking lot.
Yeah. Went into Mires Thrifty Acres, and I bought a battery powered shaver. And then I went outside and I stood outside the car and I looked at my reflection on the passenger window and I just shaved it all off. And then I got in the car and I turned and look in the backseat and Delta looked at me and she started crying.
That is a shock. I mean, I thought you just, like, did it in the hotel room and she was there. No, no, I did it did it right in the parking lot.
I bet if you were watching that, you might think, oh, that guy murdered someone and now he's trying to, like, change his appearance.
I find it very odd that you did that in a parking lot. Oh, really? I was in a hurry to get that thing off my face.
Clearly, I do that well where everything is just hunky dory. And then I wake up in my oh, my God, I go get rid of, you know, it's like an impulsive. OK, yeah.
OK, well, back to the dayglo, OK. She didn't she was saying did it exist back then. The color dayglo dayglo like you know dayglo yellow. Yeah. Dayglo orange. Dayglo color corporation. Oh it's a corporation. Yeah it's a corp. And it was founded in nineteen forty six so it did exist at that time. OK, so she mentioned a New York Times article called something like the Pain of Intensive Parenting, but she couldn't remember the exact title.
It's called The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting.
And feel free to look that up and in that article tie in thing. But the survey found that college educated moms are spending nine hours more a week with their kids than a generation ago. That's what Lenore said. And then she mentioned she couldn't remember the number of hours for non college educated moms. So in the article, it says the time parents spend in the presence of their children has not changed much. But parents today spend more of it doing hands on child care, time spent on activities like reading to children, doing crafts, taking them to lessons, attending recitals and games and helping with homework has increased the most today.
Mothers spend nearly five hours a week on that, compared with one hour forty five minutes in nineteen seventy five. And they worry it's not enough. Yeah, parents leisure time, like exercising or socializing, is much more likely to be spent with their children than it used to be. While fathers have recently increased their time spent with children, mother stroke five minutes a week to eleven minutes a week.
Yeah it does.
Mothers still spend significantly more.
But I looked in the article and I didn't see numbers for non college educated moms in that article. OK, ok. She said three out of Abraham Lincoln's four kids didn't make it to adulthood, but she wasn't sure if they died while he was fighting in the Civil War. So the civil war was when do you know?
I think the civil war. I'm just I'm guessing here.
I think I want to say eighteen sixty four, 1861 to 1865. Oh, OK. So that was one. Yes. OK, yeah. Good job. Thank you.
So his first son lived a long life. The second son Edward was born in eighteen forty six and died in. Fifty four years old and what is believed to be tuberculosis of the third son, William, nicknamed Willie, was born less than a year after Edwards death and died at age 11 while the Lincolns resided in the White House.
Oh, my gosh. So that would be at the beginning of the Civil War, right. So if it was less than a year after Edwards death, it would have been in 1850 or 1851, then 11 years in the civil war in 1861. OK, so that that was then their youngest son, Thomas, known as Tad. Eighteen fifty three. He outlived his father by six years. Oh, he died at 18. Oh my God, guys.
Poor Robert. Robert. All his brothers died and then his dad died. Oh, my God.
It's a it's a miracle that Abe Lincoln was able to do anything because he had. We have a disease you think he had or, you know, the he had it.
Everyone there's consensus on that.
But remember, we looked it up and we couldn't. There was no.
That was a fact. Yeah, no, no. He had it anyhow. He had terrible depression. He had humdingers disease.
What is it called now? It starts with an M o Marfan's.
Yeah. He had Marfan's. Three of his children died in his wife. She had horrendous depression as well.
I mean, what is seen there in the White House, it's it's unfathomable what they went through.
So, OK, based on Lincoln's unusual physical appearance, Dr Abraham Gordon proposed in 1962 that Lincoln had Marfan syndrome testing. Lincoln's DNA for Marfan syndrome was contemplated in the nineteen nineties, but such a test was not performed.
Mm. OK. OK, OK, OK, boys, tons of depression, lots of children dying and then ultimately assassinated while watching a play.
I mean, what God, my goodness, that was his reward.
Think about the legacy. He still was able to do that. Speaking of horrible sadnesses, Chadwick Boseman. Oh, my God. Oh, yeah.
Colon cancer isn't what it was. Yeah. And he had it for four years and no one knew. And he was doing all of these projects. He knew though.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. He knew. He was like in between treatments doing projects and.
Oh my gosh. Do they have one of those in the can. Do you know. And I don't know. It was enormous.
Black Panther was such a hit they clearly were making more. I wonder if they already made one.
They had announced another. Mm hmm. But I don't know that they shot it yet.
Oh, it's so, so sad.
Is admirable. I mean, just like pushing through and that kind of way, like Obama posted about him and just ended basically by saying what a powerful use of his years. Yeah, I always urge that it's not a popular opinion, but, you know, evaluating the life not by its longevity, but by its. Yeah. Potency. Yeah, the ride. Yeah.
There's a ton of lives that ended in their forties that I would prefer to have over many, many lives.
I went to one hundred. Yeah I know.
That's that's not to say that it's not heartbreaking. I mean I want to add a weird aspect. This might sound insensitive, but it's incredible that he was battling that and was also in the physical shape he was in.
I mean, he was so fit, except I think there was something about he did an award show or something and he was really like gone.
And everyone was like commenting on it, which also just goes to show, like, everyone just wants to riff on other people. They don't even know he has cancer.
Right, right. Right. OK, so so she has to have lines, can climb trees. And you said the female ones can you have seen them. OK, so the lion is able to climb trees but is limited to the lower branches. A line is large and bulky. Gravity gives these cats a much harder time. By and large, lions prefer to sleep on the ground, although a couple of prides throughout Africa have proved that they are fully capable of climbing up.
But I couldn't find any gender I looked at.
A lot of the reason they can only go to the lower branches is because they weigh so much. They weigh the females weigh three hundred pounds and then the males weigh four hundred and fifty pounds. So I think that they're similarly orangutans. The males live on the ground and all the females live up in the canopy. Some males are just too heavy and aggressive. I love orangutans, but those males are naughty.
They are. Oh yeah. Don't they like throw poop at people. Well, no, they rape. There's a lot of rape high among orangutans. And what's really interesting, they've tried to study the female can still select which male they get pregnant by, which is this great mystery. But then they get raped.
They get raped. Yeah. Yeah.
They pretty much just stay away from those big Dingess is down on the ground. But the the female orangutans are so fucking cute and smart and capable.
Wow. There's that's all too familiar.
There is a orangutan orphanage in either Borneo or Sumatra. That's where they live.
Those two islands, they have chores and then when they complete their chores, they get to select from one of their hobbies. So they have to wash clothes. So there's all this footage of them washing clothes. What? Yes. And then the one I watched, the two orangutans favorite activity was canoeing.
Oh, my gosh. When they got done washing their clothes, they got to go canoeing and then they just canoed out into the middle of this lake and then just started hitting each other with the oars.
Oh, oh, oh, they're great. Oh, that's really cute.
Do you ever see the Julia Roberts documentary about orangutans? She was at that orphanage and she went there was a big male and they're fucking big. They're above three hundred pounds as well. And she got close to one and she was just sitting and everything looked peaceful. And then he just grabbed me by the neck. It was so fucking scared. Oh, my God.
And then the dudes ran in and started beating him around to get him to release her.
But it was. Oh yeah. It was quite scary. Oh, yeah.
You don't want to mess with those, do you think those boys. I do think they would, yeah.
You know. Oh my God. That's horrifying. OK, OK, moving on.
This is kind of a dark episode between Abe Lincoln and then the Orangutan Channel and Chadwick.
Yeah, OK. You said I think there's a woman in the Netherlands that has a video where she gives you a drug. After you've been exposed to something scary and then you're not afraid afterwards, this was in relation to immersion therapy, maybe she said it.
I think she did. That doesn't sound familiar to me at all. OK, so Meryl Kint, it's pronounced marijuana.
No, Meryl Kim, OK is a professor and researcher at the University of Amsterdam, and she's developed what she calls the Memorex method for phobias sufferers. This method is based on a premise from McGill University researcher Karim Nader that our brains receive memories and that these memories are malleable. So Kint explains how our method works. First, we trigger the fear memory by exposing people to a situation or stimulus that they fear.
In your case, snakes. Yeah, can then add something new to the experience, such as challenging a patient afraid of heights not to close his or her eyes. This is a signal to the brain to update the memory. She says the memory trace is temporarily in a destabilised state. Usually that fear memory would be received in the brain overnight as the patient sleeps. But Kint has found that if the patient takes a single dose of a beta blocker. Propranolol, sure.
Propranolol called propranolol.
Oh my God, it's so hard to call propranolol.
Oh my God. You. I'm just saying preprogram Demerol.
Do you think you're getting closer to it further away?
The clothes are pretty cool. Program, Demerol, propranolol.
I did it. OK, so anyway, single dose of a beta blocker called propranolol. After the memory is triggered, it disrupts the risk saving process.
Propranolol was originally developed to treat angina, not vaginalis.
That's a heart condition. Yep. Yeah, but it has since been used to treat many health conditions, including tremors, cardiac arrhythmias. And since it lowers heart rate and blood pressure anxiety, if the treatment is successful, the memory is altered as the patient sleeps and a strong fear response will no longer be triggered.
Is the results? Is that this is a work, a theory or does it work?
She thinks it works. OK, even with the snake in your bottom, we'll have to test it out. You have to test it. Yeah. Go to Amsterdam. The University of Amsterdam. Yep. You know, Arizona State has a reputation of being a party school, but wouldn't you imagine the Amsterdam University being the ultimate party school?
Yeah, but they're just used to it. They're so they're not going crazy.
They really are not. It's only the American dingess is over there that are like falling about the streets and stuff. Yeah, yeah. I was one of them at one point.
Neetu, did you get shitty when you were there? Did you. Oh yeah. Oh you did. Cause you marijuana and stuff.
No, just drinking. Oh just drink you. Yeah. OK, well you can do that here. You know speaking of tomorrow's your sobriety birthday.
Oh it is. And I quit tipping tomorrow.
You can do it. I'm going to do it. I know you can do it. I do it. Not excited about it I guess. Yeah. There's a free range parenting law in Utah Lenore talked about and that was enacted in May 2018.
They tie in on. It really wasn't a tie in and just wanted it to be. Yeah, I'm going to get better at times.
You do a great job. Thank you. And that's all for Lenore. Oh, it is.
Oh, I took a screenshot of it and then I meant to send it to you, but now I'll just read it out loud that with the personal get credit for it because it was a very funny joke. Oh OK. You ready.
Yeah, it's about you. OK, I'm scared. Gary Howard.
Twenty seven on Instagram. Fantastic episode. Jason Bateman is a legend. Congrats on sixteen years. Bah bah bah bah. When Monika's baby gets in trouble, does she say you're in trouble.
Oh you're in trouble. Oh that's great.
That's really good. Gary. Gary, really good job. Thank you. Yeah.
There's a lot of people out there that could write and film and television. Yeah. Agreed. That's it. That's the upside of the Internet there.
You're in trouble is definitely the upside of that is for sure. That's really good. OK, great. Well I love you and happy sobriety birthday. Happy sobriety. Birthday to you.
Are you going to try to not drink tomorrow on my birthday I'm supposed to wean off.
Oh right. You're going to slowly do it. So maybe just like five or six tomorrow.
Yeah. OK, great. I'll do half. OK, you go down to six. Yeah. OK. I love you. I love.