I'm adding Spiked Online to the links at the right. I get a weekly email from Spiked and there's usually at least one good article in it; this week there are three:
Brendan O'Neill sadly reports that the horrifying story of Josef Fritzl is being used as an excuse to attack Austrian culture and private family life: "As the freed Fritzl children discover the joys of sunlight and take their first steps on the road to recovery, it would be a shame if they grew up in an Austria and a Europe made even more uptight by the one-off horror that they endured."
Nancy McDermott interviews Lenore Skenazy, the New Yorker who let her nine-year-old son ride the subway alone and found herself labeled the "world's worst mom." We try to practice a little free range parenting, too, and find ourselves thwarted at every turn, like when S.'s choir director walked her the block and a half to the YMCA after school despite my note giving her permission to do so by herself.
Frank Furedo reflects on My 1968.
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It's interesting that they date the beginning of the "panic" in NYC to the abduction of Etan Patz. Another hypothesis I've read, especially in the book "The Mommy Myth", is that fear of sexual predators became widespread after enough women had moved into the workforce to make daycare a major social issue. In 1972 both parties had government subsidy for daycare as part of their platforms. In 1980, Reagan ran - and won - in part by convincing Americans that he would return us to the halcyon days of yore when men were men and women stayed home where they belonged. The drumbeat started then and crested in the mid-1980s with the McMartin mess in California.
It's not either-or, I suspect; it's both-and. My daughter collaborated with a friend on a lemonade stand two weeks ago, and the friend walked the two blocks over to our house by himself. Then they walked back and forth together twice and then she walked home alone. I was a bit startled when he showed up without a parent, but by the end of the afternoon I was delighted. I don't think it's a coincidence that both of the friend's parents were born outside the US.
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