Lenore Skenazy is an advocate for “free range kids”–it’s made her both nationally-known and nationally-controversial, but she’s persisted in her take on why independent kids actually makes for less anxiety–for both children and adults. She’s now coming to speak to Wilton parents in a talk presented by Wilton Youth Council’s Free Play Matters Task Force.

The talk, “Anxious Parents, Anxious Kids and the Anxiously Awaited Antidote! (Cannot be taken orally.) (Or the other way, either.)” will be held at Wilton Library next Monday, April 30, 10-11:30 a.m. (the presentation will be recorded and screened–one time only-that evening at 7 p.m. for parents who can’t attend the morning session).

The media labeled Skenazy “America’s Worst Mom” when she let her 9-year-old ride the subway alone. She wore the badge with pride and went on to found Free-Range Kids, the book, blog and movement dedicated to the idea that kids are safer and smarter than our culture gives them credit for. Now she is the head of Let Grow, a non-profit making it easy and normal to give kids back some old-fashioned independence.

In this very funny lecture (she used to write for Mad Magazine) Skenazy addresses what she calls “the twin fears stalking America’s parents”:  “That their children will be kidnapped, raped and murdered–or not get into Harvard.”

Where does this fear come from? What’s it doing to our kids? Skenazy outlines the reasons we’re so afraid and never blames “helicopter parents,” because it is not neurotic to be worried in a culture bent on scaring us.

Then she discusses how we can regain the calming perspective that allows us to trust our kids, our community and our own parenting. When we do, everyone wins. Anxiety levels go down among parents AND children.

The goal is to raise safe, self-reliant, problem-solvers. Or, as the saying goes, “Raise your kids so that when they’re 18 they move out and your spouse doesn’t.”

The event is sponsored by the Miller Driscoll, Cider Mill and Middlebrook PTAs; Wilton Library, Wilton Youth Council and Wilton Youth Services.