Lenore Skenazy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lenore Skenazy
Lenore Skenazy, standing hands in pocket.jpg
Alma materYale University
Columbia University
OccupationWriter and reality show host
Known forFree-range parenting
TelevisionWorld's Worst Mom

Lenore Skenazy (/lɪˈnɔːr skəˈnzi/) is an American blogger, columnist, author, and reality show host. A mother who lives in Queens with her husband and two sons, her controversial decision to let her then-9-year-old son take the New York City Subway home alone became a national story and prompted massive media attention. She was dubbed, "America's Worst Mom." In response, Skenazy founded the book, blog, and movement "Free-Range Kids," with the aim of "fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and/or the perils of a non-organic grape."


Skenazy is a 1981 graduate of Yale University. She got her master's degree from Columbia in 1983.

Skenazy spent fourteen years as a columnist for the New York Daily News, but was fired in December 2006.[1] She moved to The New York Sun and wrote there until it shut down in 2008. Skenazy also wrote and reported for NPR and Mad Magazine, and was featured in the second episode of Bravo's series Tabloid Wars.

Lenore Skenazy speaking at PorcFest, New Hampshire Porcupine Freedom Festival

Skenazy's April 1, 2008 column in The New York Sun, "Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone," described her making the controversial decision to let her son take the New York City Subway home alone, which was completed without incident.[2] The piece resulted in a flood of reactions ranging from accusations of child abuse to fond memories of first-time subway trips and childhood freedom. The story was covered on The Today Show, Fox News, NPR,[3] and MSNBC[4] two days after the column appeared, later becoming worldwide news and being featured on Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, The View, Nightline, Good Morning America, CBS News, NBC Nightly News, Anderson Cooper, Dr. Phil, Nancy Grace, The BBC, The CBC, ABC in Australia, etc. In 2015, she was profiled in The New Yorker and The New York Times.[5][6] The popularity of Skenazy's blog led to the creation of the book, Free-Range Kids, published in 2009 by John Wiley & Sons.

On the blog, Lenore proposed May 22, 2010 as the first Take Our Children to the Park & Leave Them There Day as a day for children to learn how to play by themselves without constant supervision.[7] It has been celebrated every year since. Skenazy also became the host of the reality television show World's Worst Mom on Discovery Life. The 13-episode series features Skenazy visiting extremely anxious parents, including the mom of a 10-year-old who still spoon-fed him, the mom of an 8-year-old who bought him a skateboard but only let him "ride" it on the grass, and the mom of a 13-year-old who still took him into the ladies room.[8] With humor, kindness, and some firmness, Skenazy separated the parents from their children and had the children do some tasks on their own, such as running an errand, or learning, at age 10, how to ride a bike. In the end, 12 of the 13 couples relaxed so much, that they became "Free-Range Parents" themselves. Now Skenazy lectures around the world, including speeches at Microsoft, Audi, The Yale Child Study Center, Wellesley, Barnard, and the Sydney Opera House.[citation needed]


  • Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry. John Wiley & Sons. 2009. ISBN 978-0470471944. OCLC 268790698.
  • Who’s the Blonde that Married What’s-His-Name: The Ultimate Tip of the Tongue Test of Everything You Know You Know…But Can’t Remember Right Now (Penguin Books, June 2009)
  • "The Dysfunctional Family Christmas Songbook" (Broadway Books, 2004), with co-author John Boswell.
  • "When Good Parents Get Arrested". Reader's Digest. May 2016.


  1. ^ Kelly, Keith (December 1, 2006). "Happy Holiday News – Hometown Paper Fires Columnist Skenazy". New York Post. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  2. ^ Skenazy, Lenore. "Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone". nysun.com. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "At What Age Should Kids Ride the Subway Alone?". npr.org. April 9, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  4. ^ "Mom lets son, 9, ride subway alone". todayf.com. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  5. ^ "Mother May I?". The New Yorker. February 23, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  6. ^ Jane E. Brody (January 19, 2015). "Parenting Advice From 'America's Worst Mom'". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  7. ^ "It's "Take Our Children to the Park and Leave Them There Day"". Reason.com. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  8. ^ "'World's Worst Mom' goes globe-trotting".

External links[edit]