Lenore Skenazy is an awful mother

You wouldn’t know it by looking at her, but Lenore Skenazy is an awful mother. When she isn’t needlessly risking the life of her 9-year old son, she is a columnist for the New York Sun.

In her latest column, she talks about how she left her 9-year old son at Bloomingdale’s in New York City with a subway map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill, and a fist full of quarters in case he had to make a call.

She points out that she didn’t give him a cell phone because she didn’t want it to get lost.

She seems to care more about her cell phone then she does about her own son. To be fair, maybe she doesn’t like her son, but she really likes her cell phone.

Skenazy goes on to refer to people who protect their children as “wimps”. She even points to crime statistics from the Justice Department that show that the number of children abducted by strangers has been going down.

Gee, I wonder why that is?

Lenore Skenazy. The last time I saw a mullet like this was watching 1990s hockey.

I would argue that this is because parents are being more careful about exposing their kids to unnecessary risks. It’s not because there are fewer child predators. No, it’s because parents have heard the story of Adam Walsh. It’s because parents are being smarter.

Parents not named Lenore Skenazy.

Hopefully, for her next column, she drops in at the local AIDS hospice and has unprotected sex with some of the patients. She can then take an AIDS test and if the results come back negative, she can write another column. She can say that people who think unprotected sex with numerous AIDS patients is dangerous are wimps.

Maybe she is only brave when she is risking someone else’s life.

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Rick Rottman

My name is Rick Rottman and I live in Maryland. This is my blog. If you'd like to know more about me, check out my About page.

31 thoughts on “Lenore Skenazy is an awful mother”

  1. I see the point she’s trying to make, that the world isn’t as lethal as we are often led to believe, that our children don’t need to be sheltered and coddled every moment, but . . . yeah, I have to second Schooly’s question: Is she insane? To abandon your kid in the middle of Manhattan is bad enough; to abandon your kid in the middle of Manhattan so you can write a column about it is grounds for losing custody of the little bastard.

    At least she let the kid off at Bloomingdales and didn’t dump him at the front door of her local library. The number of little kids that wander the stacks of the libraries around here, with no parents or guardians in sight, is alarming. And annoying—I’m not nuts about kids anyway, especially untethered ones.

  2. I think if anything, the world is even more lethal then we think. So lethal that a 9-year old shouldn’t be let loose in the heart of Manhattan. There are some sick people out there.

    I wonder if she has any idea just how many pedophiles can be found on the island of Manhattan.

    The thing that bothered me the most about this woman is that she wouldn’t even trust him with a cell phone. How can he be trusted to travel by himself in NYC, but not trusted with a cell phone? The cell phone could be replaced. They sell them everywhere. Her child cannot be replaced. He’s a one of a kind.

    1. After reading about this “lady,” that is the exact phrase my mind has been trying to find to describe her. Thanks, Ryan. I have a 9-year-old son, and that would devastate him. Are there social workers knocking down her doors? …and if not, then why? The headline should not be her book title, it should read: Mother abandons 9-year-old son at department store in heart of Manhattan. Boom! What is going on, here? Isn’t this the same as the women who smother their babies at the doctors office only to have them revived…for attention? I can’t remember the name for it, but it’s got to be similar. Sick. No amount of attention or money could replace my son. You can have it all. I don’t even care if he’s a bit attached to me and still asks for my advice when he’s 45. Adolescense is when the fight for independence begins, naturally. I’m going to hold on until they fight me off. …and I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty. Someone should compile a list of the supporters of her blog. Might find some correlations down the road. Oh, I get it…I just think it stinks.

  3. Wow. I’m going to pretend that Ryan did not just say what he said.

    I can’t access the article. Any chance you can copy and paste it over to me?

  4. Oh, yes, totally. Because I don’t live in reality at all. Only in Fantasy Rachel Land, where everything is candy and puppies and rainbows.

  5. Cooler heads are running blog postings on this topic with titles like “Kid rides subway alone, isn’t abducted!” (obviously an Onion reader), and “Parents Afraid of the Boogeyman.” And there’s a big grain of truth to these headlines. Kids in NYC ride the subway every day, same for other big cities with mass transit, and the normal reaction is, “so what?”

    Skenazy was not “needlessly risking the life of her 9-year-old son.” Take a look at how many kids in that age bracket actually die every year. It’s a tiny number, way below the number of kids who die in accidents, and even below the number who die of cancer. The issue is not the number of whackos per square block, which in NYC is probably matched by the number of cops around, but rather how and when kids are ready to take small risks in order to learn how to think for themselves.

    Letting a boy who mom judged ready go on an adventure where he’d been set up for success is hardly bad judgment. What’d you think the $20 was for, anyway, a stop at the Burger King?

  6. Jeske, the reason the number of kids killed or abducted at that age isn’t high is because most parents (moms not named Lenore Skenazy) don’t allow their kids to take unnecessary risks. The fact that she didn’t trust her kid to hold onto a cell phone during his little jaunt says a lot.

    She just wanted something to write about.

  7. I’m all for parents not over-reacting to normal everyday situations in life. But this crazy bitch risked her son (yes, i know, not much risk was involved here, but there was SOME,) just for the sake of her writing career.

    Putting one’s career before the safety of one’s family MUST be the definition of bad parenting, even if the risk was a small one. There are LOTS of other ways to show how hip of a parent one is without resorting to attention-whoring.

  8. Oh, and Jeske, “cooler heads?” Go fuck yourself.

    And your comment seems to basically say that the number of children lost to psychos who kidnap them is “acceptably” small:

    “Take a look at how many kids in that age bracket actually die every year. It’s a tiny number, way below the number of kids who die in accidents, and even below the number who die of cancer.”

    You’re an asshole.

  9. Jeske wrote:

    Hmm, Jeske’s an asshole… Yep, teaches his kids how to avoid danger, not live in fear, must be an asshole.

    Hey douchebag, teaching your kids to avoid danger is something you are supposed to do. It doesn’t mean you deserve a medal or a slap on the back. It’s the bare minimum expected of any parent. It doesn’t make you any less of an asshole.

  10. You know, Jeske, Russian Roulette isn’t that dangerous, either. There’s only a 1 in 6 chance that a person will bite it. Why not let your kid play with a revolver with 1 bullet in it? A kid shouldn’t live in fear of a bullet in only 1 of the 6 chambers, right?

  11. Just for shits and giggles, I checked out the stats:
    * 797,500 children (younger than 18) were reported missing in a one-year period of time studied resulting in an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day.
    * 203,900 children were the victims of family abductions.
    * 58,200 children were the victims of non-family abductions.
    * 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. (These crimes involve someone the child does not know or someone of slight acquaintance, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.)

    I found it at http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=2810#1

  12. Wow, I never realized what horrible parents I had until reading this blog. I grew up in Los Angeles and rode my bicycle two miles to school everyday. They bought my brother and I bus passes so we could take the bus to the beach in the summer. I never realized that they should have been locked up for child abuse and won the horrible parent of the year award.

  13. metro3480, when you were 9-years old did your mother send you out to ride the New York subway because she wanted something to write about? Have you ever been on a New York subway? I have. I’ve seen some of the creeps and weirdos that ride the subway.

    Which beach in the Los Angeles area did you and your brother ride the bus to? Warning, I grew up in the Los Angeles area and I know a thing or two about the various beaches in the area. Keep that in mind before you just make something up.

  14. I have ridden the subway in NYC many times and have spent a lot of time there. I never rode the subway there when I was 9 because we didn’t live there. I grew up in Inglewood and we would ride the bus to Torrance most of the time, but on ocassion we would go to White’s Point or Royal Palms(my brother would get some crazy fantasy that he was in Morocco). Sometimes we rode the bus down to the Pike. My wife was born and raised in NYC (82nd & Amsterdam) and she rode the subway to school for a good many years. Are her parents horrible as well?

    In essence, I just don’t agree that the woman was a horrible parent. Why the angry reaction when someone doesn’t agree with you?

  15. I’m not angry metro3480. I just think you are an idiot.

    Skenazy didn’t think her 9-year old was responsible enough to be entrusted with a cellphone, but she trusted that he could somehow protect himself from somebody that wanted to do him hard. That, or she just doesn’t care too much for her kid.

    I have no idea how old you are or how old your wife is, nor do I really care. All I know is that in the year 2008 sending a 9-year old to ride the NY subways by himself is stupid. Its needlessly irresponsible. A survey last summer by the Manhattan borough president’s office found that 63 percent of those responding reported they were sexually harassed in some way, whether it was random groping, lewd comments or unwanted advances.

    If your wife’s parents needlessly risked her life when she was a kid just so they get some notoriety — like Skenazy did — then yes, they are horrible parents too.

  16. You are welcome to your opinion. But calling people names or challenging their honesty when they do not agree with you is a sign of anger, a lack of class and civility or emotional immaturity. I’ll let you pick which one fits.

  17. Why are you harping on the cell phone? People-even adults- lose cell phones all the time. Much much more frequently than children are kidnapped by strangers. I would let a 12 year old child play at the park unattended, but I wouldn’t leave my purse unattended on the park bench. It doesn’t mean I care more about my purse than the child. It just means that the risks to my child and to my purse are different.

    As for the statistics mentioned a few comments above, I am certain that the overwhelming majority of people who were subjected to lewd comments and unwanted advances were adult women, not prepubescent boys.

    You don’t seem to see any benefit, only the risk. I’d say for a child living in NYC, being able to navigate the subway is a pretty big benefit. It’s nothing like playing Russian Roulette-there’s no benefit, nothing to be gained.

    1. Why are you harping on the cell phone? People-even adults- lose cell phones all the time. Much much more frequently than children are kidnapped by strangers.

      Kidnapped? Who said anything about kidnapping? I was merely pointing out that she didn’t think her 9-year old was responsible enough to trust with a cell phone, but he was responsible enough to make his way on the New York subway system.

      At least I think that’s what I was doing. I wrote that over a year ago, it’s hard to remember.

  18. I also want to add that it seems not only do liberals advocate slaps on the wrist for scumbag pedophiles they also seem to advocate serving children up on a silver platter to them!

  19. wow she seems terrible, I can’t believe that there are people that like her and agree with her. I also cant believe child protection services haven’t taken her child away yet. When I was a kid my mom did not care weather I got sick or not, when I did get sick she said that it will go away and left. but my dad ruched to get medicine took my temperature talked to me told me stories them we watched movies. it was so nice, I felt he really cared about my health. he wanted me to get better quickly. but my mom let me eat ice cream and put ice in my drinks when i had a temperature. I grew up thinking my mom dosent care about me. children are very impressionable and parents don’t realize children are having negative thoughts towards them usually because the child wont tell the parent. my mom was a grate mom in some aspects like in discipline and safety, even though she did not keep me safe while sick but she kept me safe crossing the road on the playground.

  20. i agree with you rick, im glad you wrote this post.this is a good answer. I think she made the worst desition on this.I never lost my cell phone I’m an adult. I just really care about my phone and pay attention so I wont loose it but i would have lost it as a kid. I did however recently loose something a lot less expensive i lost my watch. kids just dont have any judgment or worth toward a lot of money they think their parents can easily make more. I bought my own phone so I know how hard I have to work to get one, kids dont have this concept. you said “Kidnapped? Who said anything about kidnapping? I was merely pointing out that she didn’t think her 9-year old was responsible enough to trust with a cell phone, but he was responsible enough to make his way on the New York subway system.” I have some questions for you Rick, has any of her children ever got very injured from her lack of parenting? how can she learn her lesson? has three ever been studies that show that free range parents kids get injured more often?

  21. Consider that not all family’s are like the Cleavers of the 1950’s. My mother shot and killed my dad in 1978. She got no jail time for a first degree murder charge. She paid a psychiatrist $80K to testify in court. She spent 3 months in a Psychiatric hospital after which point she was “fine to be back out in society”. She inherited all my Dads insurance money. She sued me for my small $4000 share. She then went on to remarry and abuse the stepdaughters as she had abused me. She was a monster. Still think she deserves kind words? What if she was YOUR mother??

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