Over-Scheduled, Over-Protected Children May Need to Break Out on Their Own

Tim Holt:

Madeline Levine is a Marin psychologist who in her private practice sees a steady stream of overprotected suburban teenagers. (They’re the subject of her best-selling book, “The Price Of Privilege.”) Because of parents’ exaggerated fears, the explorations of these suburban teens are often restricted to a short distance from home, according to Levine. Given this narrow experience, these kids tend to adopt their parents’ fearful view of the world outside their home. As a result, she notes, “they are often denied a sense of real pleasure in exploring and enjoying the world around them.”
Not so for the 60 city kids I interviewed for this article. Urban parents seem to take a different approach from those in the suburbs. With very few exceptions, the high-school-age kids I spoke with seemed to enjoy a great deal of freedom to explore their city. As Phil Halperin, the father of one free-roaming teenage boy, put it, “With all its diversity, San Francisco is a wonderful place for kids to learn how the world really works.”