General Question

ubersiren's avatar

What do you think about "America's Worst Mom?"?

Asked by ubersiren (15044 points ) May 15th, 2009

Here’s an article by the mom that the media dubbed “America’s Worst Mom.” You can also google “America’s Worst Mom” to read what the media has to say about it. I think it’s a little harsh considering all the other stories of abuse and neglect out there, but what do you think?

In summary, this woman let her 9 year old son ride home alone on the NY subway. He had a map, $20 emergency money, and quarters for phone calls. I want to leave this as objective as possible. Discuss.

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88 Answers

_bob's avatar

Pure media hype.

spresto's avatar

I agree. It is not that big of a deal. I have heard of worse. The media projects things so much worse than they actually are. As far as a 9 year old on a subway goes, if the kid is able let him. I walked to school for year alone. Probably a good 1–2 mile walk. So what! Never got attacked.

The world is no more dangerous than it was. We just hear about it more and the current generation having kids are a bunch of sissys.

Supacase's avatar

While I do understand her point and believe she is right that only she knows her child enough to know if he is ready, I would not personally do it. There are other ways to teach independence and responsibility that are I believe are safer and just as effective.

What I really can’t understand is that she was more worried about her cell phone than her child. If she didn’t think he was responsible enough to make it home with the cell phone, how could she think he was responsible enough to pay attention to the things around him to stay safe and make it home?

Knotmyday's avatar

I took a Greyhound to LA when I was 9. That was far scarier than any train I’ve ever ridden, to include the NY subway. The cops pulled a whacko off my bus in San Diego because he was waving a knife around. Never saw that on the train.

By law, 8 year-olds can ride alone in NY.

autumn43's avatar

I think 20 years ago maybe this wouldn’t have been a big problem, but nowadays, putting a 9 year old in a situation where he might have to talk to strangers (they would wonder about the map and talk to him) is irresponsible. I would NEVER have allowed that – I’m not sure even I would want to be put on the subway with a map and $20!

I don’t think she’s the worst Mom ever – just had a huge brain fart thinking it was okay.

willbrawn's avatar

The world is stupid now, when I was younger I would play outside for hours. Now, kids dont go outside. They stay inside get spoiled and get fat from playing video games.

The world is so scared about what happens that everyone has freaked themselves out. I mean kids use to play with metal tonka trucks. And if your kid got hurt they learned a lesson. Nowadays parents wouldnt dream of giving there kid a metal toy.

Now not all parents are scared like this I know. Its just a majority. I say to “Ameraicas worst mom” good for her. She trust’s her child and I am sure he’s a good kid.The media is stupid and will make any news they can bad news.

spresto's avatar

@willbrawn Well said. I agree.

tinyfaery's avatar

I started taking the RTD at about 9. Fear is taking over people’s lives. Fuckin’ media.

spresto's avatar

@tinyfaery Another true statement. People really should stop watching the news. lol.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Bad mom or no, I don’t like this trend of villifying people that today’s popular media is so enthralled with.

spresto's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic Octo-mom is another good example. Also, all the missing children cases that have been brought up lately. Lousy trends.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@spresto I assumed this question was about the Octo-Mom before I opened it!

spresto's avatar

lol. Thats great!

EmpressPixie's avatar

She is absolutely not America’s Worst Mom. At worst, she’s America’s Mom Who Had An Unfortunate Lapse In Judgment That Is Getting Blown Out Of Proportion. And now that I’ve read it, I don’t even think she’s that. She felt her kid was ready. He was. It turned out fine. And now people are fussing.

kenmc's avatar

Like everyone else said…

It’s a far smaller deal than what the media’s making it out to be.

Does anyone remember the episode of South Park about this subject? The parents ended up walling their town off from the rest of the world. And since an abductor could be from their town, they sent the kids out on the other side of the wall…

Metaphor much??

janbb's avatar

I totally agree with what this woman is trying to do. She has written a book called “Free Range Children” about how we coddle children today and keep them in a bubble and don’t let them grow up. She is not saying all 9 year olds should ride alone on the subway, she is saying that in her and her son’s judgment, he was ready. She was saying that she believes that most people in the world are good and helpful. Of course, there are those who aren’t and you want to protect your kid. But how do you do that? By giving them experiences where they have to start using their judgment. There are good strangers and bad strangers just as there as family members who love you and family members who abuse you. I really hate the cocooning we are doing of kids today and am glad someone is speaking out against this trend..

willbrawn's avatar

@janbb i really want to double great answer you!

janbb's avatar

@willbrawn aw shucks!

spresto's avatar

Heck, my dad sent me to the local convenience store when I was 9 so I could buy him a pack of smokes. Never had a problem with getting them, either. lol. I am 27 now to give you a dating range. The point is just because you are a child, does not mean you can’t be responsible and safe. I could have smoke the whole pack on my own, but I did not.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

That’s bad parenting? Sure, there are concerns. But if anyone wants examples of true bad parenting… Let me relate my life story… Haha!

arturodiaz's avatar

I’m mexican and im 17, there is a whole war outside between drug traffickers and the army. Still I use the public transportation system since I was eleven and ride the bike since 8 several blocks to wherever I have to go. I have never been attacked, raped, robbed or whatever. I now people who do but it is moslty because they were showing off stuff such as fancy watches or cellphones at midnight in the middle of a dark street. And even then, they just took the money and go. They did not bother to attack them. My mother tried to protect me a lot. But to be honest I did not cared much. I just went out of the house, did what I had to do and come back. Never anything wrong happened to me. I agree that parents are too protective. I dont know why there is anything wrong in a child riding the subway at 9. If do not get abused in the subway he will in school. And I think there are more probality to be abused in school or even in church than in the NY subway.

I also see kids going out of elementary everyday and they arrive home every day of that im sure. Is not like there is assasins and abusing ninjas all over the city.

cookieman's avatar

My wife worked as a social worker in Lawrence, MA for three years. She physically removed babies and children from crack houses.

Trust me, this lady is far from “America’s Worst Mom”.

stupid media

spresto's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Oh, please indulge us all. Share your vast wisdom.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Not wisdom, just fact. Alcoholic dad, drug addicted mom who abandoned my sister and I, left alone for days at a time at the age of 8 and 10. That’s just some of it. Yep, that’s bad parenting.

reverie's avatar

Hang on a minute…

The woman is the target of the criticism because she potentially “allowed” her child to be adbucted by a third party, right?

Surely the target of the criticism, if this had actually happened, should be the abductor?

Of course, one of those awful malevolent “stranger” types, that are apparently multiplying at an alarming rate, didn’t appear in this situation, and I’m guessing it would be a bit of a non-story without someone to point the finger at.

If the kid had been abducted? Yeah, it’s still the abductor’s fault, and they would still deserve 100% of the blame. The fact that the mother’s presence may have prevented an abductor, in this situation, still doesn’t make her the one in the wrong. Many things can be prevented every day – but lives shouldn’t be lived in fear, in anticipation of every possible misfortune.

What about parents who drive their kids places in a car, when they could walk instead? If a drunk driver crashes into the car and kills or maims a child, is it the parents fault, because they needn’t have been in the car and could have therefore prevented the risk of collision? Of course not. Continuing the transport theme, what if you take your kids on holiday and it involves a plane ride, and the plane crashes and your kids die? You didn’t need to take the risk of flight with a holiday, you could prevent the deaths by not doing this, but no-one is going to blame the parent in that situation, for something clearly caused by something or someone external. I honestly fail to see how this is any different.

This woman did not have a “lapse” in judgement – to call it a “lapse” because it differs from your judgement is not right. Judgement wasn’t absent from this situation – just her judgement happened not to be a phobic one, in response to a perceived threat, and she trusted her child to make sensible choices.

ubersiren's avatar

Now that there’s been time for responses- yeah, I agree with most of you that this whole thing is ridiculous. I completely agree with @reverie above. I think that there are so many other venues that her kid has been, is in, and will be in that harbor some sort of danger that trying to prevent all of them would be impossible. I think that’s what the mom writes about in her book. Should we all home school our children for fear of school shootings? That stuff didn’t happen 20 years ago, but we still send our kids to school. And if these “experts” are worried about a kid getting kidnapped on the subway, then maybe they should be informed that some ridiculous number of child kidnappings happen right from their own homes and by someone their family knows. I think the core issue is did the mother put her child in more danger than any other life situation. Hell, I’m willing to bet there has been more child abuse and molestation in churches than there has been in any subway! My freaking youth pastor was arrested for advances on children… yet I have never been in any harm on a subway, or even walking to my car across downtown Baltimore alone at night. You could be in danger anywhere. Why specifically target a venue that doesn’t have a high rate of crime?

phoenyx's avatar

The discussion reminded me of this video: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do.

Confession: I used to carry a pocket knife as a kid.

essieness's avatar

I’m not from NY and have never ridden a subway, so I guess I don’t really know how safe or unsafe his trip potentially was. But, I have to give her props for fostering her kid’s independence. So many parents coddle and baby their kids into adulthood nowadays and they get out there and have no idea how to make it through life. Anyway, she set him up for success and he made it home in one piece. He feels accomplished and probably learned a lot. I don’t see what the big deal is.

Also, mad props for standing up for herself and not giving in to the pressure of the media and that parenting “expert”.

Knotmyday's avatar

confession…I still do

EmpressPixie's avatar

TED TALKS!!!!!! <3!!

Ahem, yes, I carry and have always carried a pocket knife. Since I was about ten, I think.

essieness's avatar

@janbb Dang, I should’ve read through this thread before answering so I wouldn’t have parroted you!

ubersiren's avatar

@phoenyx : Great video!

phoenyx's avatar

(I mentioned this woman and article in a response to this question).

autumn43's avatar

I do know some nine year olds who seem to be more mature than others. I’m just glad it all turned out okay. But what would her story have been if something happened? And there aren’t too many pay phones left out there to use, so not letting him have a cell phone was stupid, IMHO.

Having said that, I agree with others – there are a lot of other things that could happen to him at any given moment. However, this is something she set him up for. The other things are fate.

reverie's avatar

@autumn43

How did she “set him up” for being abducted/killed/whatever? If you sent your kids to school and one day they were murdered in a school shooting, would you have “set them up” for death? If you took your kids on a non-essential car journey and they were killed by a reckless driver, did you “set them up” for that? Having the ability to prevent something does not equate to being in any way blameworthy.

ubersiren's avatar

@autumn43 : What’s the difference if he had quarters for a phone call or a cell phone? Either one could be stolen, and if he was kidnapped and not permitted to get to a payphone, he would probably not be permitted to have his cell phone, either. Plus, pay phones are land lines which are more reliable. I don’t see what’s so stupid about it.

Also about your question of what if it didn’t turn out so nice… what if the kid was 16, at the same maturity level and the kid was stabbed. Would that be the mother’s fault for letting him ride the subway alone?

jrpowell's avatar

My parents let me wander in the woods behind our house for hours. I would throw rocks and climb trees. I was alone. I was only told to be back before dark.

This kid was on a damn subway. He probably knew to scream if anyone did something weird. I would bet being around a hundred people is one of the safest places he could be.

casheroo's avatar

lol, I think it’s ridiculous.

phoenyx's avatar

I think this question is also relevant.

dalepetrie's avatar

For my money, this is an example of worse parenting. Maybe the press ought to talk to that Austrian guy who kept his daughter locked up in a dungeon and kept getting her pregnant if they want to see an example of a bad parent. If someone is going to say there’s a specific age by which people can trust their kids to take certain responsibility, then damnit, someone say what that fucking age is already! The way I see it, each of us should decide when we think our kids are old enough to take on certain responsibilities . My son is 7 1/2, I can’t imagine him taking public transportation in a year and half by himself. But I have met kids his age who I think will definitely be able to do that when they’re 9. Funny thing is, this world isn’t nearly as scary as the media makes it out to be. If you just watched the nightly news, you’d think there was a would be murderer, a would be rapist and a would be kidnapper around every corner. There are 300 million people in this country…what percentage of people who are just minding their own business end up as victims or something unfortunate. Yes, it happens and yes you should be smart and vigilant in your own self protection, but really, what are the odds that when you walk out your door next time you’re going to become a victim? It’s a lot closer to 0% than to 1%, I’ll sure as fuck guarantee you THAT. People need to get a grip and put labels on real problems.

Buttonstc's avatar

Back when I was teaching third grade in a small parochial school in the Bed-Stuy area of Bklyn. many of our students routinely used public trans between home and school with a commute time of 30–45 min. not at all uncommon.

When this whole thing first hit the news I was totally bewildered about why all the fuss. And upon further reflection realize how out of proportion the media blew it.

Kids in the five boroughs of N.Y. using buses and subways at young ages just is not that unusual.

Well, less so on the upper East Side than in working class neighborhoods. Perhaps that’s part of the disconnect with common sense. Our families didn’t really have much other choice. The parents worked and couldn’t be there every afternoon at three to drive their kids so public trans was natural.

In all of the years I was there I can not recall a single adverse incident.

This most likely affluent Mom was just giving her kid the same experience as working class kids had on a daily basis and being criticized for it by a bunch of snobs and “parenting experts.”

janbb's avatar

@essieness You can parrot me any time you want! I’m glad to see so many of us are on the same page on this issue – sometimes I feel like the odd one out in seeing this hovering and over-protectiveness as a dangerous trend in American parenting.

jrpowell's avatar

I wonder how many people bitching about her keep a loaded weapon unlocked in the house?

RedPowerLady's avatar

I do not think it was an appropriate thing to do at all. However I don’t think it makes her “America’s Worst Mother”.

I do think this is typical of quite of bit of the mothering I’ve been around lately. Quite frankly it scares me a bit. And to be honest some of these answers scare me a bit as well. Does anyone here have a 9 year old child they would let on the NY subway? Or even a 9 year old niece or nephew?? I’m not saying I agree this mother should be villafied. I am simply saying that I do believe it does not feel appropriate for the age.

@Supacase If she didn’t think he was responsible enough to make it home with the cell phone, how could she think he was responsible enough to pay attention to the things around him to stay safe and make it home?

Great Point!

@johnpowell I think you will find that A LOT more dangerous situations arise on the NY subway than in the woods.

just as a side note I find it a bit odd when people right “discuss” at the bottom of their questions, it almost feels degrading

cookieman's avatar

@RedPowerLady: kind of goes without saying, doesn’t it?

oratio's avatar

I think she seems like a caring mom. I like her attitude. I would have not problem of letting a nine year old do that. At the same time I have no idea about the dangers of american streets. From what you read, sometimes you get the feeling it’s Fallujah over there.

jrpowell's avatar

@RedPowerLady :: I have been on the subways in NYC. Seriously, if a kid screams ten people will look into what is happening. This kid isn’t stumbling home a 4AM after a night at the club. I saw a interview with the kid and his mom. He is a smart kid and knew what he was getting into.

And yeah. I live with my sister and she has twins that are about the same age. This is funny since I have to go pick them up in a few minutes.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@johnpowell So would you send your nieces/nephews on the subway alone?

I was responding particulary to this comment:
I would bet being around a hundred people is one of the safest places he could be.

This is in fact against human nature. There have been several cases of abduction and abuse on the subway (and other public areas) where no one does anything. They have actually coined a term for it although I can’t seem to come up with it, it is on the tip of my tongue. It is dangerous to assume someone else will help out because in too many cases no one does. Not that it happens frequently but it does happen enough that we should be careful when sending our kids out alone. I mean a 9 year old has very little resources to fall back on.

Of course I am speaking in general. I never saw interviews with the kid and the mother. I am thinking of 9 year olds I know and the public bus system where I live (in town with similar population to Sacramento CA).

jrpowell's avatar

@RedPowerLady :: What a scary world you live in. “This is in fact against human nature.” So human nature is to abduct kids? People still work in tall buildings. The media has scared the shit out of you.

phoenyx's avatar

@RedPowerLady
It sounds like you’re referring to the bystander effect.

AstroChuck's avatar

I didn’t see my ex-wife’s name mentioned once in that article.
Weird.

dalepetrie's avatar

@RedPowerLady – “several cases”. What is your threshold for happening “enough” for us to regard it as a realistic threat against which we should take steps to protect ourselves? Problem is, 300 million people in this country go about their day and never come close to being harmed. Most of the child abduction and abuse cases, and I mean the OVERWHELMING majority happen at the hands of people the child knows. I will personally guarantee you that your child statistically has a greater chance of getting hurt badly enough to have to go to the hospital in your own home while in your direct line of vision than he would riding a subway in a big city. Now if your kid doesn’t have the self preservation skills necessary to know what to do if he gets lost or accosted, whether he’s 9 or 19 you want to take extra precautions, but the world isn’t nearly as scary a place as the media seems to have convinced you it is. Look at the actual numbers, not the anecdotes.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@johnpowell What I was saying is that it is against human nature to help out when you are in a public setting. It is a phenomenon. Where everyone assumes that someone else will help out and so no one ends up helping. And this is something I learned about while getting my degree (not from the media).

Also. Would you allow your neices/nephews (the twins) on the NY subway alone?

Edit to add: see the link that @phoenyx posted.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@phoenyx Thanx. Yes that is what I’m talking about. I know it by another name so perhaps what I was read was coined by a different research. But it is the same phenomenon.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dalepetrie

I say anything that puts my child in a high-risk situation is statistically significant. At that point you must weigh the costs vs. the benefits. I say at 9 years old the costs outweigh the benefits.

I would also re-emphasize that getting abducted or abused is not the only possibility that can happen when alone on the subway. As you mentioned getting lost and accosted (which is pretty severe itself) are other possibilities, among others, that someone must face alone on the subway. I would argue that most (if not all, at least by stature alone) 9 year olds do not have the abilities to deal with the numerous situations that could present themselves on the subway. Let’s get real here. A 9 year old doesn’t even know how to solve “word problems” yet in school.

In fact I do not read the newspaper or watch the news (which i’m sure is an interesting and debatable topic itself) so you can rest assured knowing i’m not being influenced by the media.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dalepetrie I also wanted to add:

What is your threshold for happening “enough” for us to regard it as a realistic threat against which we should take steps to protect ourselves?

What about a woman getting accosted on the street? The happens less often than the media portrays. But it does happen. Are you suggesting that since the numbers are low women should not arm themselves with pepper spray or self defense classes.

I would say there are numerous analogies in the same arena.

Or perhaps you are just suggesting that since children aren’t abducted often we shouldn’t regard that as a threat?

Forget about teaching your children your address or yelling “this man isn’t my dad” in case of abduction. It rarely happens. Right?

Just a point of information. The last part of the brain to develop is the ability to reason. This occurs well into the late teens. This child has little capacity to predict the consequences of his actions.

oratio's avatar

@RedPowerLady I think this might be a cultural issue. In my country kids take public transportation by themselves or with friends every day, and I am sure it’s not unusual in other culture as well.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@oratio You are probably right about that. I can only speak to my own experience and not another person’s culture.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@JohnPowell: As others have mentioned, despite the mental obviousness of a crowd helping in an emergency, studies have shown time and time again that the bigger the crowd, the less chance you have of getting help. Bystander intervention in an emergency depends on bystanders recognizing the situation as an emergency. With a hundred people, say fifty don’t notice and therefore don’t react to the emergency. The fifty that do notice might not react because no one else is.

Statistically, you are best likely to get help with five or less people around—after six, your chances don’t go up or down very much. People are probably more attuned to children, I want to think they are, but we can’t really test on children, so I don’t think we know.

We do know that people have walked down the street, mid-afternoon, in a busy section of town, and utterly ignored a man being stabbed to death on the sidewalk.

autumn43's avatar

@ubersiren – a 16 year old should be allowed to ride the subway alone. They have a level of maturity and experience that a nine year old does not have. This particular nine year old will be light years ahead of his peers in his experiences though.

ubersiren's avatar

Edit : not worth fighting about. **Hugs**

autumn43's avatar

I wasn’t fighting. I was answering the question and your counterpoint. That’s what makes it so great here – everyone gets to have an opinion. **Hugs** back

rooeytoo's avatar

I can’t believe this made world news!!! It was reported here. Is this the first time a 9 year old has ever ridden the subway alone? I doubt it, probably thousands have done it before with no fanfare. If a 9 year old had been injured or abducted on the subway, I am sure it would have been all over the news so I am guessing it is pretty safe for the most part.

dalepetrie's avatar

@RedPowerLady – Observation. First off, a woman getting accosted on the street…accosted in the vast majority of cases is going to mean someone trying to hit on her. I’ve known hundreds of women, most haven’t carried pepper spray, and the ones who did have never had to use it. But yes, women should know how to protect themselves as a matter of common sense, as should men. But making an analogy between children and women is a little bit like comparing apples and oranges. First of all, let’s say you’re worried about sexual assault…there are far more men who would want to sexually assault a woman than there are who’d want to sexually assault a child. And as I’ve said, most of these types of things happen at the hands of people the child knows, not a stranger. When you get right down to it, sexual assaults and abductions are generally the only types of acts a person might possibly commit against a child. It’s not like someone looking for money is going to rob a child, children generally don’t carry that much money/valuables/credit cards on them…it would be a really stupid crime to commit. So what you’ve got is a couple of excessively rare, yet very vile sna troublesome crimes that theoretically could befall a child. My point is, if you’re going to worry about those things to the point that you won’t let your child have some degree of independence when he demonstrates that he’s ready for it, you might as well not let him do much of ANYTHING. I mean, what about sports…are you not going to let your 9 year old participate in sports if he wants to? I mean, there’s actually a pretty good chance he’ll get hurt if he plays football or soccer, probably several hundred thousand times as great of a chance that he’ll get hurt playing ball as there is of him getting adbucted or raped by a stranger on the subway!

The problem with your logic is then you say something completely off the wall about not teaching him to say “that’s not my dad.” OF COURSE you teach him that, and OF COURSE this kid was taught that….the woman gave him a map, quarters and $20, and waited until he was ready…he ASKED for the freedom and she made sure he could do it….there’s no rational reason to believe he wouldn’t know not to talk to strangers, or take candy from them, or to shout, “you’re not my mom, you’re not my dad” and kick him in the nuts. I mean, c’mon…common sense here.

And as for children not being able to reason until they’re teenagers? My son who is 7 demonstrates logic all the time. I’m not saying you shouldn’t worry about your kids when they’re not with you, but I am saying that the things you should worry about should fall into 2 categories….rational fears and irrational fears. My rational fears are that my son might break an arm at the playground….my irrational fears are that if we’re in a store and he goes into the bathroom, he’ll be raped by some stranger. So, I let him use the rest room without going into the stall with him.

If you worry about every what if, you’ll drive yourself nuts. Because you know what, maybe your kid is walking next to you on the sidewalk, and it just so happens that some piano movers just dropped a piano out of a window by accident that your son just happens to be directly under, and your son gets killed by a falling piano. Has probably happened…do I worry about it…no, I don’t. My whole point is, your worries SHOULD be in proportion to the risks. These highly sensational things do happen every now and again, but they’re basically freak occurrences, they’re akin to getting struck by lightning…sure, it could happen, and hey..I’m not going to go out in a thunderstorm while holding a golf club, but I’m also not going to stay in my house paralyzed by fear whenever it rains. That’s what you’re saying….because it theoretically COULD happen, not only should you worry about it, and take precautions for in case it happens, but don’t even put yourself or your child in a situation where it’s even theoretically possible that a freak accident could occur? Because if you do that, you might as well wrap the child in bubble wrap right now, because there is actually a greater chance of him getting hurt while playing at home, or on the playground, or walking down the street than there is of him not getting home safe on the subway. Sure, you’re welcome to your irrational fears, but calling someone the world’s worst mother because she trusted her son to do something that was statistically safer than things he probably does every single day of his life….that’s just insane.

And from what I know about bystander effect, it’s more about people not wanting to get “involved”, not about them not wanting to do something. A lot of times that’s a matter of some sort of altercation….it’s often a matter people not wanting to get involved in something that isn’t their business. At other times, people aren’t willing to put themselves in danger. But most people, if they perceive real danger to another person will at least call an authority figure, 9–1-1 or something, or they will enlist help. I don’t know of anyone crass enough to let a child be hurt by a stranger without saying or doing something or getting someone to help. Being a child, that makes it far less likely that the so called bystander effect would come into play.

My thoughts are this. First off, for something to happen to the 9 year old, one of the very few people who actually have a reason to want to abduct, assault or harm a child would have to be on that same train at that same time, that person would have to be very brazen and willing to act on his impulses, yet crafty enough to have evaded capture by the police (or just be contemplating doing something like this for the first time and this just happens to be the day he decides to try something), and EVERYONE else on the train would have to be willing to let the screams of a child being accosted go without doing anything. It could happen, but the odds are so infinitely small that to me, it doesn’t seem at ALL inappropriate to let a 9 year old who is responsible, smart, trained to deal with these types of situations as rare as they are, who is ready to take on this responsibility, actually do it. Again, if you’re going to be afraid of the what ifs, then you really have to evaluate it against the other alternatives.

Let’s say in this case, the kid could have gone home with mom in a car. Well, there’s a FAR greater chance, I mean several thousand times greater chance of him being in a car accident than there is of something happening to him on the subway…so maybe mom is actually making him safer, by letting him do this. All I’m sayin.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dalepetrie You seem to be arguing in extremes. Which, to me, is not practical. This is not an all-or-nothing scenario. Children do get hurt by strangers first off. Secondly, just because you do not let a child ride the Subway at age 9 does not mean you are hindering their independence. Furthermore, independence in children is a societal cultural value and many many cultures do not uphold this value and still raise perfectly capable children. Therefore there is no need to be an extremist and say that children can’t get hurt and that by being concerned about their safety, at age 9, you are hindering their independence. Or even to say that hindering their independence is a “bad” thing at this age.

Not to further your extremes but I do feel the need to say this. Getting hit by a ball or hurt playing sports absolutely does not have the same long-term consequences as being abducted, raped, beat, robbed, lost in the city at age 9, etc… So even though it may be statistically more likely to get hurt by performing normal acts or by an “act of god” (which can’t be prevented and a subway ‘accident’ can) the effects of these types of pain are dramatically different from the types of pain incurred by circumstances stated previously.

But most people, if they perceive real danger to another person will at least call an authority figure, 9–1–1 or something, or they will enlist help. I don’t know of anyone crass enough to let a child be hurt by a stranger without saying or doing something or getting someone to help. Being a child, that makes it far less likely that the so called bystander effect would come into play.

These are your opinions and are not supported by evidence.

it doesn’t seem at ALL inappropriate to let a 9 year old who is responsible, smart, trained to deal with these types of situations as rare as they are, who is ready to take on this responsibility, actually do it

And my argument is that a 9 year old is not ready to take on this responsibility. They don’t even have the cognitive ability to deal with a problem if it should arise.

Again I want to re-emphasize that accidents and “acts of god” are not the same as putting your child in a situation they are not ready for.

I am not arguing the statistics. You are right, the numbers are not in favor of a child being abducted or molested. But it does happen. The fact of the matter is that even when you take out “stranger danger”, a child at 9 years old, is not prepared to be on a city subway by themselves. There is a lot that could go wrong at the hands of the 9 year old. A 9 year old could get themselves in all sorts of trouble by riding the subway alone. They also do not have cognitive reasoning abilities. For example, a child may not think before walking in front of cars, they may just want to run in front of the bus or cross the street outside a crossing walk (just last week a kid ran in front of my car twice to get his ball that rolled into the road). You can go over and over these rules with your children, but the fact of the matter is they can’t reason these things out. Also, they have very small ability for delay of gratification which can cause trouble. It just isn’t developmentally or cognitively appropriate for a 9 year old child, no matter how ‘mature’ they are, to be on the subway alone.

Independence is something that is gained over time. It does not need to be learned at 9 years old. In fact you can find research that backs this up. Being connected with family and having secure attachments as a child actually leads to more independent adulthoods. No subway necessary.

dalepetrie's avatar

@RedPowerLady – you said, “And my argument is that a 9 year old is not ready to take on this responsibility.”

Her 9 year old was. She knows her own kid.

As for arguing in the extremes, exactly…you are saying no one should let their kid do something even if the kid is ready because of the what ifs. I’m saying what ifs are everywhere.

Obviously there is a severity issue, but how many kids have been abducted, raped, murdered from THEIR OWN HOMES? Again, you’re going to worry about something that could happen even though it’s highly improbably, might as well wrap the kid in bubble wrap.

As for a kid who ran into the street to get his ball, perhaps that’s natural selection at work…or poor parenting…if my kid wasn’t smart enough to know not to run into the street to get his ball, I wouldn’t let him play outside.

THIS kid was responsible. THIS kid knew how to read a map. THIS kid knew how to call for hel. THIS kid was prepared by his parents to take on some level of independence. THIS kid asked his mom to let him try to do this thing which in the end is not in any way inherently dangerous. THIS kid had a conversation with his parents, and they all arrived at the conclusion that he was ready to do it. THIS kid had no problems. I doubt he’s the kind of kid who runs in front of cars to get his ball.

Essentially, not that many years ago, kids took mass transit on their own ALL the time. Read the article…the woman talks about how crime rates are lower than they were when it was de rigeur for kids to take mass transit by themselves.

I think you are not giving 9 year olds in general enough credit, and you sure as hell aren’t giving this kid enough credit for his survival skills, or the parents for knowing the capability of their own damn kid!

Like I said, I don’t see my kid taking mass transit by himself at age 9. But he has friends who I’d let do it at age 9 if I were the parent.

You proved my point when you said, “Independence is something that is gained over time.” It’s not as if this woman one day on a whim just said, OK boy, you’re 9 now, find your own way home. This kid GAINED his independence by showing that he was a smart, responsible, resourceful kid who would be able to safely navigate that situation. You say it’s not the same as putting a kid in a situation he’s not ready for, but the whole point is that this kid WAS ready for that responsibility, and it’s not an absolute all or nothing, 9 means not ready, period, end of discussion.

Fact is, I’m not concerned about the extremes, YOU are. I wouldn’t even CONSIDER these extremes, or I would dismiss them as wholly irrational if I felt my child was capable of navigating home on his own, whether that be age 9 or 19. Don’t take my question to you about what are YOU afraid of, when the only risks are at the extreme, and try to turn it into me furthering the extreme arguments. If anyone is talking in extremes, it’s you.

You said, “There have been several cases of abduction and abuse on the subway (and other public areas) where no one does anything.” YOU are the one who expressed a concern about something EXTREME (and extremely unlikely). I asked you what the incidence of this was, and where YOUR threshold is for acceptable risk. I think you’re trying to twist this around to make me seem like the alarmist, when it’s you who express concerns about things that just aren’t going to happen.

RedPowerLady's avatar

As for arguing in the extremes, exactly…you are saying no one should let their kid do something even if the kid is ready because of the what ifs. I’m saying what ifs are everywhere.

What I am saying is that a 9 year old is not ready for certain responsibilities. That is what I am saying. I also believe the “what ifs” are a valid concern.

I think you are not giving 9 year olds in general enough credit

Not giving 9 year olds enough credit?? Are you kidding me? 9 year olds. They’ve been on the earth for 9 whole years. 9.

and you sure as hell aren’t giving this kid enough credit for his survival skills

Children should not be asked to use their survival skills when it is not necessary. They are children.

, or the parents for knowing the capability of their own damn kid!

Every 9 year old has limited cognitive capacity and inability to reason effectively
And Delay of Gratification is only 1/2 that of an adult by age 9.
These are scientific facts, as we know them today.

You can believe what you want about your own damn kid but you can’t change these facts.

And of course when I mentioned Extremes I was mentioning your argument whereas you are discussing specific statistical examples. Your argument assumes that it has to be one way or the other. Whereas I am stating it is not that simple.

Look you do not have to agree with me, I’m okay with that.
I’m not asking you to take up my opinion.
What I am saying is that we should acknowledge the facts that have been researched and stated in the scientific community, which state a 9 year old child has limited capabilities.
I believe those limitations apply in this scenario.
Apparently you do not.

It’s kinda pointless to talk anymore about this because we are just stating our opinions and the same facts over. Thus it is becoming an argument instead of an intellectual “debate”.

ubersiren's avatar

@autumn43 : I know- I was about to leap head first into a debate (and actually posted a rebuttal), but decided that it wasn’t important and rescinded all comments.

augustlan's avatar

I have mixed feelings about all of this. Not just riding a subway, but bike helmets, not letting kids roam the neighborhood freely, seat belt use, etc. Freedom and independence vs. safety. It’s a conundrum for me, as a parent. I hate the fact that our children are so much more restricted than we were at their ages… but. As a victim child of an extremely lax mother, I tend to err on the side of safety and I don’t apologize for it.

Things are no more dangerous than they used to be, and some things are far safer. However, in the past we didn’t know about the dangers that exist and now we do. Once you know, it feels like you ought to take steps to prevent as many of the dangers as you can. Thus, I make my children wear bike helmets and seat belts even though I never wore them when I was a kid. Heck, I used to stand up between the two front seats or lay on the package shelf of my mom’s car while we were driving around! That was lots of fun… but pretty damn stupid and dangerous. We used to play on playgrounds built on cement! Does that mean we shouldn’t put mulch under swingsets now?

We give our kids ever increasing freedom in small, incremental steps. At almost 15, my oldest is not allowed to ride a city bus or walk around downtown alone, but she can with a group of friends. At 13, the next oldest can hang out at the mall with a friend, but would not be permitted to go downtown without an adult. At 11, the youngest can walk around the mall with a friend, but only if an adult is also at the mall. I figure that as long as they’re independent by college, we’ve done our job in that regard.

dalepetrie's avatar

@RedPowerLady – Here’s the problem I have with your “opinion”. You are talking in absolutes about what a child can learn or develop in 9 years, and you are just wrong. Yes, a 9 year old does NOT have the same cognitive and reasoning abilities as a full grown adult, but 9 year olds are also not stupid or incapable. And each child is different, and each develops different skills at different times. My child is often asking me for the freedom to do things I know he isn’t ready for. But some times he’ll ask to do something and I’ll realize that I can’t just assume he is incapable. Parenting is a constant process, and you HAVE to balance your desire to keep them safe from every possible thing that could happen with their need to grow and start doing some things by themselves. You must know your child’s limitations, but you must also be on the lookout for his new abilities at all times.

You should not have to feel that a child must develop all the same reasoning capabilities that an adult has before you let him ANY independence. THAT is an extreme position, and it’s one that in my opinion will do more harm than good in the long run. A child who is never trusted to do slightly more mature things for himself will end up feeling incapable of fending for himself when it comes time to face the real world. I can tell you that firsthand. But like I said, it depends on the child…there are thins that my child is ready for that other kids his age aren’t, just like I know kids his age who are ready for things HE isn’t. It boils down to what the mother herself said, “I did it because I know my son the way you know your kids. I knew he was ready, so I let him go.” Sure, my kid wants to use the toaster, my knee jerk reaction is “he could get burned, I’d better help.” But hey, I let him do it, and now he has a new skill.

The point is, there is no rulebook that says at age x, they can be trusted to do this, at age y they can be trusted to do that. And if it was as cut and dried as “9 is too young” there WOULD be such a book. But there’s something called aptitude and a good parent will know what their kids’ aptitudes are. So, I question this part of your assertion:

“Every 9 year old has limited cognitive capacity and inability to reason effectively
And Delay of Gratification is only 1/2 that of an adult by age 9.
These are scientific facts, as we know them today.”

By “limited” you’re in some pretty gray area. THIS is where I think you’re selling 9 year olds short. Yes there are shades of gray a 9 year old can not see, but it doesn’t mean you can’t trust them to think for themselves ever. Just because a kid can’t fully understand all the nuances of human interactions, though it may technically be defined as “limited cognitive capacity”, it’s a mistake to think they’re helpless or incapable of navigating around risk. And as for inability to reason effectively, again, that’s a bit alarmist….kids can certainly reason effectively, some more so than others….no they can’t use reason as well as adults, but that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of using reason effectively. As for ability to defer gratification, that’s also a generality…I know PLENTY of adults who just plain don’t have that skill, and I know some kids who show exceptional self discipline for their age. All depends on the kid…you’re talking in broad generalities about average capabilities, and I’m talking about child to child variations which make it reasonable for one parent to allow leverage to their kid that another parent would not be able to grant. Saying what is known to be the standard for kids at a particular age does not acknowledge the variables in aptitude from child to child.

In each case, you have to look at what skills and abilities the kid is going to need. For a kid to get home from a well lit department store to his home using a well traveled mass transit system, the kid would need to be able to do the following. 1) Does he know how read a transit map and use it to navigate. Well, if the kid is familiar with the subway system, has traveled it with his parents his whole life, and is observant and can demonstrated correctly to his parents that if he wanted to get from point A to point B, this is how he’d do it, then hey, he has this skill. 2) Does he know how to use a payphone to call home…easy enough to assess. 3) Does he know how to find an authority figure to help him if he gets lost or runs into trouble? 4) With that $20 she gave him for emergencies…ask him, what he considers to be an emergency and what he would do about it…if he covers the main concerns and gets those answers right, well, he’s shown the ability to reason. If you’ve taught him about stranger danger, he’s just as safe on a subway train as he is in your house.

I’m saying, for ANYTHING your kid asks to do if you’re not sure he’s ready to do it, you have to think about it and think through all the things that could realistically go wrong, even some of the remote ones. And you have to find ways to have your child demonstrate that he would handle each of these occurrences in a way that would keep him safe. And if he could do that, age is just a number at that point. Anyway, the ONLY thing that is important here is not your opinion or mine, it is that this woman KNOWS her kid, the way I know mine or if you have any, the way I’m sure you know yours. And I think she summed it up brilliantly in these 4 paragraphs:

“I really think I’m a parent who is afraid of some things (bears, cars) and less afraid of others (subways, strangers). But mostly I’m afraid that I, too, have been swept up in the impossible obsession of our era: total safety for our children every second of every day. The idea that we should provide it and actually could provide it. It’s as if we don’t believe in fate anymore, or good luck or bad luck. No, it’s all up to us.

Childhood really has changed since today’s parents were kids, and not just in the United States. Australian children get stared at when they ride the bus alone. Canadian kids stay inside playing video­games. After I started a blog called Free Range Kids, I heard from a dad in Ireland who lets his 11-year-old play in the local park, unsupervised, and now a mom down the street won’t let her son go to their house. She thinks the dad is reckless.

What has changed in the English-speaking world that has made childhood independence taboo? The ground has not gradually gotten harder under the jungle gym. The bus stops have not crept farther from home. Crime is actually lower than it was when most of us were growing up. So there is no reality-based reason that children today should be treated as more helpless and vulnerable than we were when we were young.

If parents all around us are clutching their children close, it’s easy to understand why: It’s what pop culture is telling us to do. Stories of kidnappings swamp the news. Go online, and you can find a map of local sex offenders as easily as the local Victoria’s Secret (possibly in the same place). Meantime, if you do summon the courage to put your kids on a bus or a bench or a bike, other parents keep butting in: An unwatched child is a tragedy waiting to happen.”

There are some things we SHOULD be afraid of, and there are others that we are afraid of because even though they almost never happen, that’s all the media tells us about. I live in a city where there are 2 million people…it’s not New York, but it’s definitely not the small town I grew up in. And maybe once or twice a week I’ll see the top story on the news about someone who was violently assaulted in some way or even killed. And I could look at that and lament how unsafe it is to live here and be afraid to take my son out of the house, or I could realize that less than 100 people out of 2 million are killed every year here, and at least 97 of them were killed by people they know, and most of those involved situations that people if they had two brain cells to rub together would never have put themselves in those situations which ultimately led to their deaths. You deal drugs you might get shot, but maybe once every couple years you hear about someone just minding their business dying for no apparent reason.

Yes, there are child molesters out there, but they’re not around every corner and again, most have assaulted people they knew. The world is just really not all that dangerous a place for those of us who keep our noses clean, and that includes kids. And what I’m saying is, you need to keep your kids safe from risks and danger and threats. But when those risks, dangers and threats are not even all that realistic in the first place, what are you protecting them FROM? And are the long term costs of coddling your child perhaps doing more harm than good? A child simply doesn’t need to have every ability an adult has to navigate risks that are simply not realistic. If the child has the skills necessary to accomplish the task at hand, he should be allowed to try to accomplish THAT task…doesn’t mean you’re going to say he’s ready to get his own apartment, but THIS kid had the skills necessary to navigate the NYC transit system, so why not let him?

Finally, I implore you to look at it this way. In New York, getting around by mass transit is a valuable skill that every person should have. It is wholly plausible that at some point in his childhood, he COULD get separated from his parents in a crowded public place…arguably, that fate is FAR more likely to befall him than is coming to harm at the hands of a stranger. And if that were to happen, he would be far better prepared to deal with it than the kid whose parents didn’t let him test his mettle in this way. Bottom line is, not every kid COULD do that, but despite the fact that they don’t have all the same skills as an adult, as long as they have the skills necessary to deal with the realistic dangers involved in any undertaking, there’s no reason to hold them back if they know they’re ready and YOU know they’re ready. And to judge someone for making that decision for their kid is 100% misguided.

My whole point with you in the first place is that you’ve stated concerns that our out of step with reality…I believe you have been scared by the media into believing the world is much less safe than it actually is. We have simply as a society allowed ourselves to be scared to the point that we no longer allow ourselves to trust our own instincts as to when to give kids more responsibility, and as such we raise them to be scared of things that they should not be scared of, rather than teaching them how to deal with those fears and manage life’s potential pitfalls. In short. I believe the mindset that says “x age is too young for y, period, end of discussion,” is a mindset that sets a child up for failure in the long run. But like you said, we don’t have to disagree, just want you to know that whether you agree with a person’s parenting decisions or not, unless you can demonstrate that the parent is actually putting the child in the way of real harm (as opposed to perceived potential harm that is not in step with the realities of life), that parent has done NOTHING WRONG…yes they did something differently than you would have, but for you to show that she did something wrong would require you to produce some sort of evidence that what she did was in some way dangerous to the child, and what I’m saying is you can’t demonstrate that, because what she did is NOT dangerous in any quantifiable way.

janbb's avatar

Just remembered an incident from my past that is relevant to this discussion. I was in NY with my mother and younger brother. I was somewhere between 8 and 10 years old. We went to get on the subway together and I got distracted and the door shut leaving me out and them in. I thought about what to do and called a great aunt who lived in the city who told me to take a cab to her apartment where my mother eventually found me. I know I didn’t know her phone number so I must have asked adults who helped me find it and call her. Also, I know my mother was“lax” in not setting up a backup plan. Was it scary? A little. Did I cope? Yes. Did I have the cognitave ability to solve the problem? A resounding “Yes.”

Resonantscythe's avatar

Probably gonna sound like I’m full of it but, my parents taught me at an early age to basically maul and call bloody murder anyone who posed a threat to me. I do agree that the kid should definitely have been supervised, but to think someone at nine is absolutely helpless is a bit of a stretch in my opinion.
Front teeth are sharp specifically for rending flesh and a person’s wrist isn’t all that thick.
Many times in my smaller youth i would walk away from my parents in a mall or department store with them knowing full well that i would return to them unharmed. By nine a kid should already have the rules don’t talk to strangers, stay within a safe distance of your parents/guardian, know the safe way home/ don’t go anywhere alone except in extreme circumstances Etc. burned into their mind. In fact, if i recall correctly, many of the news stories of abducted children involve them last being seen with someone they were led to trust.
And besides any realistic person knows you aren’t safe at any age and always have to do what it takes to defend yourself or fight back.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dalepetrie I will just say again that you are talking about someone who has been on the Earth for 9 years.

And that we are not coming to any kind of middle ground so I don’t feel the urge to discuss the topic any further with you. As you are just re-stating points and I was as well thus not furthering either of our intellect on the subject.

I would also like to re-state that I do not watch the news or read the daily paper and thus you can rest assured that I have not been influenced by the media.

And that you seem overly concerned I am judging this woman’s or any parent’s parenting skills. I said I do not believe she should be villafied. I also believe it is not appropriate. As this is America I have a right to my beliefs. I am not judging this woman from this incident alone so you can rest assured knowing that. There are parents in my own life that have put their kids repeatedly in situations inappropriate for their age and the kids have got hurt from that. So I absolutely do judge their parenting skills. And I make no apologies for that.

dalepetrie's avatar

@RedPowerLady – yes, you’ve got every right to your beliefs. And maybe the media hasn’t scared you, maybe it’s something else. Clearly we’re not going to agree, and I’m well aware about them having only been on the earth for 9 years (still 12% of their entire expected lifespan though), and I appreciate that you didn’t vilify the mother the way the press did, I just wanted to make it abundantly clear that you would seem to base appropriateness on fear while I would base it on logic, and that it appears wholly irrational and unfair to characterize those of us who don’t live in fear of the sensational but unlikely as recklessly endagering our children in some way, or even just doing something “inappropriate”. Bottom line for me, and I’ll shut up about it after this is that not that long ago (when I was a kid in fact), the world was NOT as safe as it is today, yet people gave their kids MORE freedom to express their independence than they do today…the main reason seems to be fear of things which have no grounding in the real world in which we live, but only in the sensational illusory world we’ve been taught to fear. I only harp on it because I see too much of this irrational fear in our culture, regardless of where it comes from for any individual. And it’s so easy to bury our heads in the sand and convince ourselves there aren’t any consequences. The problem with this fear is it can so easily be exploited to our own detriment.

Take 9/11 for example. There are still people living in daily fear of another terrorist attack, but in the aftermath, everyone was scared. But when you look at it, every year up until 2001, a person’s odds of dying in a terrorist attack on US soil were 0.00%. In every year since 2001, a person’s odds of dying in a terrorist attack on US soil were 0.00%. And even in 2001, a person’s odds of dying in a terrorist attack on US soil were 0.00%....in reality they were 0.00001% or actually slightly under that given that less than 3,000 people died out of more than 300,000,000 in this country. But people remained afraid…what if they miniaturized nukes and brought them to a ball game in a briefcase? It has become quite clear that our government was hell bent on invading Iraq from day one and needed a justification, and they told the American people that the smoking gun that Iraq had WMDs could come in the form of a mushroom cloud, and behind closed doors they convinced lawmakers already had miniaturized nukes…now more Americans have died in that war than on 9/11, as many as 1 million Iraqi civilians have died, and 10s of thousands of young men who were kept safe by their moms for the first 18 years of their lives, now only 9 years removed from being 9 year olds themselves, they are paralyzed, missing limbs, have committed suicide or basically have found their lives now to be a living hell.

In short, if we react to fear, we automatically over-react if the fear is not based in fact, and the consequences of doing so are not only self defeating, but at times far more destructive than that which we are seeking to avoid. My opinion, I know you will leave it, but perhaps someone else will take it and be better for it. As for you and I, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Judi's avatar

My dad sent me to the store when I was 4 with a note to buy him a pack of bull durham and some rolling papers. I got lost. Today he would be thrown in jail. It is a funny story in our family. I did know my phone number.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dalepetrie I think your last post made your opinion a bit more clear. And I agree with the general idea. I still do not think it is appropriate to put a 9 year old on the NYC Subway but apparently we will have to disagree somewhat on that. I say somewhat because you said yourself you wouldn’t let your own 9 year old on the subway. I appreciate these last comments and think you have a good point.

yet people gave their kids MORE freedom to express their independence than they do today

I disagree with this in some ways. Perhaps not completely but I do think that children today have a lot of ways they can express their independence that weren’t available in the past. It is almost a give and take. I would consider it a bit of a wash.

dalepetrie's avatar

@RedPowerLady – I can agree with that last statement that kids do some ways express more independence. I just tend to think that’s often kids making decisions that their parents aren’t even always aware of. I guess here’s how I see it….back 30 years ago, an 8 year old might even be left to babysit himself, but by age 15, if he wanted to hang out with friends, there would be a chaperon. Nowdays the kid might not be trusted to have ANY freedom until say age 12 or 13, but then they’re allowed to hang out at the mall with their friends with no adult supervision. Problem is, they’re not always at the mall. Which is exactly why I say it’s more prudent to know your kid and know what he or she is ready to take on than it is to assign a specific age for a specific activity. That might mean some kids are doing things that don’t seem appropriate to everyone at an early age, and it might mean that some kids aren’t allowed to do thing their friends are allowed to do. Yes, we won’t agree on everything, but I don’t think we’re on different planets.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dalepetrie Well it is nice to know we can agree on several points and are both on Earth :) I agree with most of what you have just said as well. And you have made several good points. I do feel there is a general guideline regardless of how mature a kid seems to be or how well you know your child but of course that guideline can never be determined exactly so I guess that is where the question comes in. But I also agree with most of what you have said in the last couple posts. So there we have it. There is still a bit of a difference but it is not as big as it first seemed. LOL. Thank you for the kind and intellectual discussion.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i think the title is better given to ‘octo-mom’.

justus2's avatar

There is so much worse than that that parents do, like beat their children, may not have been the best idea but im sure there were people on there to help him if he needed it in getting where he needed to safely, anyway my answer is there are many many way worse parents than that.

_fonzo's avatar

There are much worse things, even being NYC such a “dangerous famed” city, lol.

SundayKittens's avatar

not impressed. most NYC 9 year olds can probably handle way more than that!!!!

Nullo's avatar

I wouldn’t say that this makes her “the worst mom in America.” A tad irresponsible, perhaps, but hardly the worst.
It’s not like she were an abusive alcoholic or anything

seazen's avatar

I walked several blocks to school in grade 1. When I was 9, I took the train for many hours to visit family – waiting for me. Flew solo overseas at 9.

Hype.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

That she should be forced to get her tubes tied and not have any more children!

Shippy's avatar

Media will do anything to sell media.

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