Chasing Childhood

PRESENTED BY: Meaningful Movies Tacoma
2:00 PM, Wednesday, June 5, 2024 PST

CHASING CHILDHOOD examines a shift in modern parenting toward children’s lives becoming overbooked, highly structured, and constantly supervised by well-intentioned adults, and whether the trend is linked to kids suffering from depression and spiking suicide rates.

In today’s world of structure, stranger danger, and helicopter parenting, free play and independence have virtually disappeared from childhood, giving way to unprecedented anxiety and depression (now compounded by three years of the COVID-19 pandemic). In CHASING CHILDHOOD, psychologists, activists, and leaders of the “free play” movement fight to bring back the untold benefits of a less curated childhood.

In affluent Wilton, CT, we meet Rob and Genevieve Eason, who imagined the perfect life they could give their child, Savannah, if they just did everything right. When Savannah is ultimately hospitalized for depression in her senior year of high school, they are forced to reevaluate not only their values but the culture at large. Recognizing the pervasiveness of her daughter’s struggle, Genevieve becomes a passionate grassroots activist who fights to reframe society’s definition of success and to take back childhood.

Meanwhile, in the working-class district of Patchogue, NY, school superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes struggles to combat epidemic behavioral issues and reduce the level of anxiety in his schools. Both Wilton and Patchogue turn to Lenore Skenazy, founder of the Free Range Kids movement, to bring “Let Grow,” a child-driven independence project to their schools. Skenazy takes us inside a New York City public middle school where we witness these projects in action as kids prove they are capable beyond what they ever imagined.

The film explores how and why helicopter parenting became the norm in many communities across the United States. The film features experts and advocates in the area of free play including Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Stanford Dean and author of How to Raise an Adult, and Peter Gray, biological psychologist.


Special Guests: TBD

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Release Year: 2020

Running Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Director: Margaret Munzer Loeb, Eden Wurmfeld

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