How overparenting backfired on Americans | Jonathan Haidt


American parenting really changed in the 1990s. When I’m talking about the book I go around
the country, I ask audiences: At what age were you let out? At what age could you go outside and play
with your friends with no adults supervising? And I say, “Only people over 40 what’s your
answer? Call it out.” And it’s: “Five, seven, eight, six, five,
seven!” It’s always five to eight. That’s what we always did — between five
and eight kids could go outside without an adult. They would get in arguments, they would play
games, they would make rules, they were independent; they got years and years of practicing independence. Then I say: “Just people under 25 what year
were you let out?” “12, 14, 13, 16!” Nobody says ten or younger. In the 1990s, as the crime rate was plummeting,
as American life was getting safer and safer, Americans freaked out and thought that if
they take their eyes off their children the children will be abducted. Now this goes back — the fear was stoked
by cable TV in the 1980s, there were a few high profile of abductions, but it’s not until
the 1990s that we really start locking kids up and saying you cannot be outside until
you’re 14 or 15. We took this essential period of childhood,
from about eight to 12, when kids throughout history have practiced independence, have
gotten into adventures, have made rafts and floated down the Mississippi River — we
took that period and said you don’t get to practice independence until it’s too late,
until that period is over. Now, a couple years before you go to college,
now you can go outside. “Okay, go off to college.” And a lot of them are not ready. They’re just not used to being independent. When they get to college they need more help,
they’re asking adults for more help. “Protect me from this. Punish him for saying that. Protect me from that book.” There’s a very sharp change with kids who
were born in 1995 and afterwards — surprisingly sharp. Jean Twenge in her book iGen analyzes surveys
of behavior of time use and beginning with kids born in 1995, they spend a lot less time
going out with friends, they don’t get a drivers license as often, they don’t drink as much,
they don’t go out on dates, they don’t work for money as much. What are they doing? They’re spending a lot more time sitting on
their beds with their devices interacting that way. These are the first kids who got social media
when they were 13, roughly. They were subjected to much more anti-bullying
content in their schools, much more adult supervision, they were raised in the years
after 9/11, they were given much less recess and free play with no child left behind, there
was much more testing pushed down into earlier grades. We don’t know if this is for sure the reason,
but they seem to have more difficulty working out problems on their own. The most common thing I hear is that members
of Gen Z, if they overhear a joke, if they overhear someone say something, they’ll get
offended and then they’ll go straight to HR, they go straight to somebody to file a complaint,
where previous generations would have either just shaken it off or just said “jerk” or
“asshole” or whatever. I think there are a couple of things we can
say. One is you have to take charge of device use
and social media. We don’t know for sure but it looks like a
two-hour limit per day is probably a good idea; keeping kids off of social media as
long as possible is a good idea. It’s very hard to do this as one parent when
your kid’s friends are not limited. So you’ve got to talk to your kid’s friends
and all have a common front, all have a common policy then go to the schools. Schools can solve these problems collectively
in ways that individual parents cannot. Outside of school go to Letgrow.org, an organization,
a wonderful new organization started by Lenore Skenazy who wrote the book Free-range Kids. She became famous as America’s worst mom because
in 2009 she let her nine-year-old son ride the New York City subway. Not only did he survive, he was thrilled. He felt he learned something. He felt he could go out into the world. Give childhood back to kids so that they do
what they most need to do, which is develop the skills of being an independent adult. Remember that the job of a parent is to work
him or herself out of a job.

100 thoughts on “How overparenting backfired on Americans | Jonathan Haidt

  1. Spot on for the most part. Of course, every parent is different but the trend is apparent. Overcoddling is child abuse.

  2. This is only in the west. I’m from Eastern Europe and kids are still very independent and teenagers move out and get jobs as soon as they can. I feel bad for Americans

  3. I’m 14 and I’m not allowed to go out with friends unless I have my phone on me and I text my mom like every fifteen minutes. I live in a small town. Fml

  4. Related to this video, one of the worst problems in America is that parents do not get involved in their child's education. A large percentage of students have no respect for teachers, the school, or even their family. Every problem is blamed on "poor teaching". The student is not responsible for anything.

  5. Devices aren't the problem, constriction and overprotectiveness is the problem. I'm 23 and i still have the rebellious mindset and i'm figuring out how to live my own life, I'm not going to authority to handle my problems i'm doing it on my own, others should take responsibility for themselves and stop seeking legal action for someone hurting their fucking feelings.

  6. bullshit. bullshit. bullshit.

    this video is propaganda. don’t bother watching it, just give it thumbs down & move along.

    you can see the war on white males very clearly in this. do not watch.

  7. One time my dad was really late for picking me up from a gymnastics class I didnt have my phone on me, so I decided to just walk home, it's about a 5-10 minute walk and my parents almost called the police.

  8. The question is "Why are their so many abductor weirdos in America?" I would be very cautious with my kids in America too . I am from the 3rd world and the reason we were allowed to go out from young without fear is cuz those things that happen in America just never happened. We had a strong sense of community and moral values. However now since the proliferation of materialism and cable tv these kind of crimes are on the rise and we are becoming overprotective too. I think in western culture people are becoming less family oriented and Godly and therefore have less of a moral conscience and practice self reflection less so they do what they want. If there is no God and no life after death then so what if I kill or abuse someone?? Nowadays the term moral values is considered dated and subjective so society is going downhill everywhere. YES LOCK UP YOUR KIDS BUT TEACH THEM THE TRUTH ABOUT LIFE.

  9. There is some major hypocrisy in this video. The original argument is that today’s kids are too sheltered and restricted, and then it goes on to talk about how you need to restrict and shelter kids from social media…

  10. Wait… So the video starts with talking about kids have to much restrictions and ends by saying you should meet with other parents and huperlimit their social media access.

  11. I’m 15, and when I was 10-11 we use to be outside playing manhunt, and all that outside all the time. Especially now in 2018, 10 days from 2019, all my friends from the past just stay inside after school. I’m not complaining, I have my Xbox and my pc, and my phone. But it would be nice to do it once in a while.

  12. I was born in 1998 and I can remember being six or seven and playing in my neighborhood, just running between my friends houses. And I didn't even get a cell phone until high school. I work full time and live in my own apartment now. Maybe I'm an anomaly.

  13. First off, I was born in 1995. I technically am a millennial by some measurements but my boyfriend (who was born in 1993 and is DEFINITELY a Millennial) was almost raised in a totally different way than I was.

    I don't know why parents don't understand that even a small dose of independence is THRILLING for a kid. I wasn't ever alone overnight til I was almost 20. When I was 17, my family went on vacation and I didn't want to go. They made me stay with my grandmother for the week. I was less than 6 months from being an adult and I still wasn't allowed to be home alone overnight. I was also not allowed to hang out with friends alone til I was in my mid-teens. The first time I ever did anything with my friends without parents present was when I was 15. My mom always said 'I trust you, but I don't trust society'. Which, in retrospect, translated to 'I don't trust you to know what to do if someone tries to snatch you or assault you'. Even now I get nervous when I'm out on walks in broad daylight and someone walks past me because it was drilled into me to be overcautious.

    Even now I'm not fully independent and it's partly due to being overparented.

  14. AMEN!! Me and my cousins grew up in the 80s and we knew not to get into strangers cars, not to talk to strangers and to be home (either mine or theirs) when the street lights came on. Teh 3 of us ran all over the neighborhood, played with other kids and didn't worry about shit except when the pit bull, King, got loose. Nowadays, these kids are wussies. Sadly, it was my generation that raised these kids 🙁

  15. I think gen z are showing more signs of independence and are less likely to “tattle”….way more than the millennials…

  16. I had liberal/ hippie parents I went to school on a public Brooklyn NYC bus by myself at 8. I went outside by myself at 5 but I always lived on family community blocks with many kids. That was in the early nineties. Yea I see less kids playing outside n being independent. People are scary, with all this technology n ways to track your kids you would think parents wouldn’t be so over protective

  17. A large majority of gen z is pro-sjw, leftist bs, the others are outcasts pro-right, edgy, don’t believe in political correctness, conservative. I follow the later

  18. I think what makes Gen-Z drastically different from millennials is that gen-z sees millennials as radical puritans and thus want to be the opposite of them.

  19. My brother was born in 1996 and he went outside with me all the time. I remember being 8 or younger and we went outside (I was born in 1993) alone.

  20. My children tell me all the time. Thanks mom for the independence. They are in their 20's and early 30's. They say dang common sense is just not so common. The rule was at 15 we get jobs. When you're ready for a car I"ll match whatever you save. So if you want a $3000 car. I'll match $1500.00. I was a single career mom. I DIDNT have or even want the time to hangout at my kids school. WHEN PTA was having an event I sent them a check. I even had one teacher asked to me meet me to discuss more parental involvement. I went to her meeting. Let her explain how kids are more likely to succeed with more parental involvement. I told her look lady my kid is a B student. He can be an A student whenever HE decides he wants to be. It's not up to you or me of how dedicated he wants to be. Your job is to teach. Whenever you ppl decide to do your job, and stop trying to parent these kids, police these kids, lab rat these kids it will be way better. You guys are calling the police on kids for fighting. Calling CPS on parents bcuz they yelled at the kid. This teacher school mess has gotten way out of hand. Stop pretending you know everything, you're not psychic, you don't know anyones end result. Just teach MATH. My involvement is a $100.00 check. That's it. That's all. I don't need YOU to be INVOLVED at the hospital for me to adequately nurse my patients. No one should be involved for you to teach math 7hrs a dam day. I taught my children Independence and accountability from an young age. By the time my sons were 12 they were taking the bus cross town to get their hair cuts, sorting their own clothes on laundry day by the time they were 9. Darks from the lights. As they got older ppl will call them leaders lol. My daughter told me dang mom.. Im so happy you never coddled me. I said no. I loved you too much to coddle you. You were to important to keep for myself. Keep you dependent. My job is toTeach you to trust yourself. Own up to your mistakes. Apologize with action. Be proud of yourself. Your 1st love should be you. Life is a circle of classes. Whatever lessons you don't learn will just keep coming back around. You will start to feel stuck, no progress. Some ppl are smart and they go on and pay attention. Learn and apply. Others are lazy. Just keep repeating the same pitfalls over n over n over again and say dang Im so unlucky lol. You can't get to the next level until you have completed the current level. Whatever lesson or level you're at. Codependency shouldn't be one you ACE!!

  21. Yeah b/c my mom sheltered me so bad my social skills suck, when it cones to staying connected to ppl. I'd rather be to myself. thankfully I was able to leave home & be independent at 19. But socially I feel like an outsider.

  22. From what I can see this post 1995 generation are generally nicer and less aggressive people, less likely to go out as teenagers and young adults and get blind drunk or engage in antisocial behaviour. I'm a few months older than Haidt and actually quite thankful my own children didn't have the same near death experiences I had, doing all the stupid and dangerous things I did. And before you say well no one died, well actually as young adults, quite a few of my contemporaries have.

  23. Oh yeah, take away social media from the kids who are being restricted from outside interaction. What else are kids supposed to do when being in the care of helecopter parents? Stare at the wall and get lost in their own musings? May as well since they're not allowed to do much else.

    You're not creating a safe and responsible person. You've given your child anxiety.

  24. I feel like each parent should do what they feel is best🤷🏾‍♀️ I’m not going by what other parents think I should do.
    I don’t think every child needs to be raised the same way, just do what you feel is best as a parent but think about it long term.

  25. I almost got kidnapped in the 90s out of my front yard…..I was 5. Thank God my grandma was watching. The world is not safe

  26. Under parenting isn't so hot on the scale either.., not merited any praises., does equal damage as neglect is a passive form of abuse, same as invasive, suppressive control contains in the negative effect. How about for a change, why don't we try balance infused our lifestyles instead of 'extremes' overdone vs. under-done both limiting 'options' scenario not conducive to successful parenting involving child rearing …nor fluctuating betwixt the two doesn't work well in the least indecisively .., let's try leveling the field., when dealing with individuals early-on…shaping personalities composed tendencies, as traits expressed 'responses' due inner plus environmental pressures., what responsibilities handled adequately, release in move onwards the next, ascending slowly over time towards independence, lead by example, follow thru with promises made in kept …forget about being a 'child' or childish once embarking on the journey parenting.. leave behind immaturity in the sense of being responsible ourselves in all areas such demands life makes on us all…cheerfully sojourn the challenges, keeping young in optimistic attitudes life is what we make of it… 'lemons vs lemonade' while rising to difficulties in the way of growing stronger ourselves. As parents recognise danger exist to reduce exposure cast in harms way but not stifle in suffocate and cause unhealthy reliance on others instead of learning self dependance, above all love…admit when your wrong and apologise, teaching we all make mistakes and honesty is crucial character development…be truthful ourselves and with the world around us, don't lie to children, lies aren't worth the air breathed to exhale them…bringing only trouble and doubt, insecurity…the opposite of well being as trust initiates.
    Above all love, encourage, spend time with children…love finds the way thru all life throws at us, family is everything, what matters the case being, if possible salvage relationship with mutual respect given as needed…make every effort prevent cynicism taking hold within ourselves. Remembering always the common bonds we share critical to our persons in every regard.

  27. My son is three and I let him play outside in the front when I’m cleaning the kitchen and living room because I keep the Windows open and the door . But I lock the gates so he can’t get out (he doesn’t even bother unless the neighborhood kids call him over) but once I left the gates unlocked and the UPS guy tried to get in thinking it was okay cause my door was open. Well my dog ran from where she was hiding and blocked the gates while barking. I know my son is safe. She also had followed him to the neighbor’s house next door to play with the kids. I was watching him from a distance to know he’s alright. I do get scared but I don’t leave him unsupervised though he thinks I’m not there or I’m not watching.

  28. huh this wasn't my experience. i lived in a neighborhood with a park in it, so maybe that's why, but i remember being able to go out on my own from the time i was very young. we weren't allowed to walk to school, though, which was only about ten blocks away due to kidnappings. i'm only 17. when we moved to a smaller town and to a house in a more rural area is when i was restricted a bit more, when i was 8, but if i went to other people's houses we always had free roam. it is important to note though that if this is a common experience amongst people in my generation, then the collective behavior of kids my age would have likely influenced my behavior in some way growing up past that point in my life.
    however, the thing about the bullying/jokes and HR is very true, but i don't know if that's inherently a bad thing, while it may have its downfalls.

  29. Think that this is mostly an American thing. I went to Taiwan last month and was surprised to see a 5-6 year old step off of a bus and start walking home

  30. People think they’re keeping their kids safe by keeping them inside, but the creeps looking to grab kids aren’t hanging around outside the playground anymore, they are going after the kids online now.

  31. Even though my town is often voted one of the best places to live in the US, as a 15 year old, I'm not allowed to leave the house without a parent home or allowed to leave my block without parental supervision. The same seems to be for most of the population of the neighborhood, the only people that are ever outside anymore are walking home from school or taking a pet for a walk (but it's mostly adults doing that job). My parents wonder why I never go outside or why I act like a social recluse outside of planned activities, I don't have the freedom to do normal activities, that's why.

  32. 17…. I turned 17 this year and that was the first time I was allowed to go out with friends. I'm going to college next August and I DO NOT FEEL READY. I don't know what to do in the outside world! Im terrified!!! I have no clue what I will do but… I'm going to have ro figure it out ):

  33. I won’t be able to let my kid outside without me at the same age I was because some idiot will call the cops and claim child neglect 🤦‍♀️ I’ve already had my fair share of idiots!

    Example: I had to install the bigger car seat so instead of leaving my then 9month old unattended in my apartment I placed her in the stroller next to the parked car with all the doors wide open and she was on the same side as me…. PD pulls up while I’m finishing the install and realized that I’m not only trying to properly secure the safety seat I’m in my EMT shirt! He offered to help instead of question me because common sense was clearly present.

  34. I agree with these points, but as a parent, I’m more worried about someone calling CPS bc my kids are playing outside, even in our back yard.

  35. I grew up in a relatively rural area in early 2000's North NJ/PA area, and was one of two kids in the household, I have a younger brother of similar age
    My mother (a stay at home mom) was an incredibly overprotective mother
    -She would pre-watch any movie or tv show episode before letting me watch it as a toddler (she wouldn't let me watch shows like "Curious George", and only certain "Thomas the Train Engine" episodes because they were "too scary")
    -I went straight into 1st grade with no preschool or kindergarten, and even then she wanted to homeschool me but my dad insisted that I go to a real school
    -She never let me play any of the sports I wanted to play like gymnastics, martial arts, soccer, and wouldn't let me play basketball till 5th Grade, instead she forced me to take ballet, flute piano for 10 years, even though I hated it. She still won't let me join a swim team or lift heavy weights (both of which I love) because she doesn't want me to become "masculine" looking
    -I would do my homework, then she would make me erase it and rewrite the assignment with her own words (I talking 2nd Grade work book with a three line open ended question, she would write me a 12 sentence script)
    -I wasn't allowed outside in my own yard (3 acre property surrounded by forests) alone until I was at least 12-13, and even then she would keep a close eye from the window, and forget going over to friends houses she would stay the entire time to supervise.
    -She wouldn't let me go on those "big scary" roller coasters that everyone else was going on until I was 13-14
    -I faced serious depression and anxiety in my early teens (probably from never being allowed to have friends my own age because they are "bad influences" and having in independence or individuality) and she refused to have me treated for anything because "so many kids are diagnosed with all these fake psychiatric conditions that don't even exist put on powerful medications that lead to drug addictions.
    -When I was 15 I wanted to have a facial at a spa, and she surprisingly let me go, but then as I was going into the room she insisted on being their or else she would leave, so I had to deal with her asking "what are you doing now" every thirty seconds over powering the relaxing experience and music.
    -I shared a room with my parents until I was 15 and that took months of begging (even though there was a spare bedroom) because she didn't want me to be away from her
    -I now work in the summer (high school student), and it took me months to convince her to let me work till 10pm at a restaurant because "It's too late"
    -I am now looking to buy a car and my mother insists that I pay for the car with 100% of my own money + car insurance + gas, and that she gets to keep the keys at all times unless I ask her and give her a good reason to let me go
    -I was considering joining the military after high school, but my mother was on her hands and knees begging me not to join, because she didn't want me to die, or be injured (to which I pretty stupidly on my part said "no mother wants to lose her child, but you know what things happen people die, whether in the line of fire, in a car accident, or of a freak illness, and of those dying to save another person is definitely the best way", ya, she went ballistic for the next few months about that comment)
    -As you can probably imagine I want to go out of state far away to college and she is completely heart broken, insisting that she will miss me too much, and that they have nothing saved for me so the only viable option in community college (which by the way she pounds into my head every waking moment "you know I went to community college", "you know you can go to community college for two years, then transfer to "unnamed college 15 minutes away, live at home the entire time and graduate with very little debt"

    If I ever complain about any of this, game over for me, I will never stop hearing about how ungrateful I am, and how the world is a dangerous place, and how she is so underappreciated in this house and how she should move to another country for a year so that was can find out just how much we need her.

    All of this has led me to live on my laptop (which I had to beg for and promised I would only ever use if for school work)

    I vow that if I ever do have kids, I will never, ever, under circumstance allow myself to become the parents that my mother has been to me

    Needless to say, I plan to move away from this toxic home as soon as I can

  36. I remember in the mid 90s a sharp uptake of pedophile news. That’s when we started finding out where they lived in our neighbors and it was blasted everywhere. No wonder parents started keeping their kids in.

  37. Do americans not have local playgrounds in walking distance?
    Because i was allowed unsupervised at my local playground when i was six.

  38. Idk, I was running around outside by myself when I was 5, had a lot of independence growing up and still struggled with adulthood…

  39. Okay I agree with everything you said and I myself (I'm almost 21 now) was allowed to play outside ever since I was like 4 or 5 with my cousins who lived nearby with no adult supervision. I would love to let my children in the future lead the same lifestyle but I TRULY am afraid of predators, kidnapping, pedos etc. I cannot fathom losing my baby like that. Just the thought terrifies me and I don't even have any children yet but I can't wait to be a mom which should happen 6-7 years from now. I'm living in america now but was born and raised in India in a place that was relatively safe up until the late 2000s and I know if I was a kid during then my parents would never let me out on my own. I plan on marrying and having a family here in the states. Any suggestion on which is the safest family friendly state here where in I wouldn't have to worry about my child's safety in this day and age? I've always wanted to live in NYC but that is no place for a childhood so that's out. All comments, opinions and suggestions are welcome. I'm not a snowflake and I don't care if you say something mean as long as it's useful

  40. Lousy parents raise lousy kids!!!!
    ……
    And today, 90% of kids are from broken homes!!
    …….
    They have ZERO discipline and ZERO respect for others!!!!di
    ……
    Their paranoid soccer mommies do EVERYTHING for them and furnish them smart phones so they can be braunwashed by all the perversion and lies on the web!!.

  41. Without a doubt, we in FACT have a PARENTING crisis!!!!!
    …….
    100% of all of the problems in society today is a DIRECT result
    of bad parents!!!!

  42. I've seen what overparentinghelicopter parenting does to a child for myself and it's ugly. A lady that used to work for me had a 9 year-old daughter who doesn't know how to make a simple peanut butter sandwich. I went on a school trip to the zoo with lady because she just had to accompany her daughter on the trip. Every time her daughter had a spat with her classmates on the trip she would automatically run to her mother. She doesn't know how to solve a spat on her own because her mother's always right there to help her. Her mother said during the trip, " I don't want to ever let her out of my sight." She'd panic when she couldn't see her. I remember thinking, "Geez, lady, are you afraid she's going to be abducted by a tree or something?? Get a grip". I really had to bite my tongue. It was pathetic watching the whole fiasco. Kids can't have everything done for them, every problem solved for them and then magically know how to do it as adults.

  43. I wasn't allowed to have friends or go outside unless it was for school until I was in like Grade 11. Pretty sure that ruined my life. I'm now 39 and it pisses me off. I can't relate to people on certain levels. Women are impossible to date. It's been a disaster.
    But what I did, unlike other people I knew, I moved out the second I found a job. Which meant I was too busy working to pay for rent than to pay for school.

  44. Just more proof on how stupid Americans really are. Black or white, college educated or not. Americans are just blatantly dumb as a rock.

  45. I'm so lucky my parents let me go out and play at 5. I'm better at being independent than most people I know. My parents trust me and treat me like an adult at 17 and have for years. I wish more people had parents like mine, and I hope new parents are realizing this and work to make their children well functioning adults.

  46. I wasnt allowed out until i was 12. When i finally was out, i went wild. But im pretty much autistic now too.

  47. As a Korean American now back to living in Korea I cannot completely blame the American parents; even I do still believe they are one of the worst among the developed worlds, because America is such a dangerous country full of child molesters, rapists, murderers, and the list goes on. If you lived here in Korea where it's super safe than it would be ok to give your kids more freedom but if I was a parent in America I don't think I could let them be that free in fear of their safety. Americans don't know how dangerous their country is until they actually live in a safe country, as I experienced it.

  48. Every parent's nightmare .. their kid goes outside alone …
    Pennywise : Georgie , you want a balloon ? 😄

  49. I was Born in 95, I was allowed to Play Outside Unsupervised at 6. I Got my A$$ Kicked on a Regular basis and the Other Kids Got Away with it because Parents didn't want to admit that they were $hitty parents. I turned out Okay.

  50. This could be go much worse now these refugees enter our western lands. Deeply inside we all having problems in trusting them because they're from another culture/land. Why would we let our children be exposed to such stressed out problems with agression, rape, disrespect and misunderstanding??

  51. just go outside anyway and be good kids. what are they gonna do take your phone away… good. get over the addiction of social media and go play outside yungns. locked your door? crawl out the window. wont buy you candy? make some. maybe terrible advice but im old an did what i wanted to anyway.

  52. Man in 2008 my parents would let me and my brother play outside without supervision the ages? My brother when he was 6 and me seven.

  53. Thank God I was born in the 80s. Free range wasn’t even consider a thing because we were all free range! I’ve been letting both my kids play outside since they were about 4 1/2 years old. Luckily the parents in my neighborhood are similar to me so my kids have tons of friends to play with

  54. I'm 28 and born in 91 and when I was a kid I had free range and also knew my butt better not run off somewhere far or my butt was gonna be sore…. 😂 People tell me I'm such gentle man and I thank my parents for the consistent discipline that alot of 90s parents enforced at the time because majority of us who were knew not be disrespectful to our elders or run off too far. Now I'm not gonna say my time was much better like our parents and granparents do 🤣🤣🤣 , ill wait 20 more years for all that but I will say things are much different than 20+ years ago somethings good and somethings not so good,such as technology which is good and has helped us but the not so good is parents are afraid to discipline their kids now a days in fear of being called a child abuser. There is a difference between discipline and child abuse and if you can't distinguish the two apart just don't bother having any kids for everyones sake.

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