What the playborhood’s Mike Lanza gets wrong about ‘helicopter mothers’

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In a backlash against “helicopter parenting” Silicon Valley dad Mike Lanza has created a “playborhood” in his backyard. It’s full of high-risk play equipment where any kid in the neighbourhood can come over and experience physical danger and the law of the jungle.

Lanza says he created the playborhood because he wants his three sons and their mates to have a childhood like the good old days, where kids roamed the streets in gangs without the burden of structured activities and parental supervision.

Highlights of the playborhood include a 12-foot playhouse where kids leap off the roof onto a trampoline and kids even climb onto the roof of his double storey house. The playborhood also has artist-designed literary quotes on mosaics, and yellow signs given to neighbours to warn car drivers to watch out for kids.

Lanza’s vision has also been heavily criticised for being a hyper-masculine, sexist fantasy. Melanie Thernstrom wrote in the New York Times: “In Mike’s worldview, boys today (his focus is on boys) are being deprived of masculine experiences by overprotective moms, who are allowed to dominate passive dads.”

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