Child riding a bike and children jumping; text reads #LetThem (Our History)

The History of Let Grow

In 2009, Let Grow co-founder Lenore Skenazy published the book, Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children Without Going Nuts with Worry. In part, this came from her famous article in the New York Sun“Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone.” 

A mom of two, she herself was a worrier, but she knew that one of our jobs, as parents, is to swallow some fear and listen to our kids. When they’re ready for some independence, it’s up to us to prepare them, hug them, and let them spread their wings. The alternative is raising kids who don’t get to see how competent and capable they really are. 

As Lenore likes to say: All the worry in the world doesn’t prevent death. It prevents life.

This message resonated with many parents sick of the culture of fear and skeptical of the helicopter parenting model. In 2017, our history truly began when three like-minded souls—businessman Daniel Shuchman, NYU Prof. Jonathan Haidt, and Boston College Prof. Peter Gray—proposed starting a nonprofit together to promote childhood independence and resilience. (They’re still part of our board, and you can read about them here.) They wanted to make it easy, normal, and legal to give kids back some freedom. They wanted to make sure kids could think and do things for themselves, from kindergarten right on through high school. And they wanted a name that summed up their mission to press the reset button a culture bent on overestimating danger and underestimating kids. 

Thus was born Let Grow.

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The movement to promote childhood independence needs you. Join Let Grow to access free resources for families and educators. Help us spread awareness to keep our mission moving forward.