Skip to comments.Utah’s 'free range' law necessary in today's punitive parenting culture
Posted on 03/31/2018 3:33:48 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
This week, parents in one state can breathe a sigh of relief. Utah Governor Gary Herbert has made parenting a lot easier by signing a bill that legalizes free-range parenting.
Free-range parenting allows children to play without the constant and close supervision of their parents or another adult. Devotees believe children benefit from more freedom and learn vital decision making skills while playing at parks, walking to school, or wandering the neighborhood, without a parent hovering over them.
The bills sponsor, Utah state Senator Lincoln Fillmore recognized the benefits of free-range parenting saying, kids need to wonder about the world, explore and play in it, and by doing so learn the skills of self-reliance and problem-solving theyll need as adults," adding that society has become too hyper about protecting kids and then end up sheltering them from the experiences that we took for granted as we were kids.
While all parents should cheer the bills passage, they should also ponder why this bill was even needed. A generation ago, free-range parenting was simply known as parenting. Why now is the state required to allow people to make certain, and until very recently, normal parenting choices?
The sad answer to that question is that these laws are desperately needed. As Lenore Skenazy, founder of the Free Range Kids movement and head of the nonprofit Let Grow Organization, has documented for decades, many practitioners of free-range parenting have faced criminal charges and even prosecution for allowing their children the freedom to roam unattended by an adult.
Consider what happened to the Meitiv family. These parents from Maryland allowed their two children (ages 10 and 6) to walk to and play at a park less than a mile from their Silver Spring home. In 2015, as the children were walking home, police picked them up and handed them over to Child Protective Services, where they were held for more than five hours without notifying the Meitiv parents. CPS later opened a neglect investigation against them and although the Meitivs werent charged, this was a chilling example of the state disapproving of a parents personal decisions.
Or, consider what happened to Connecticut mom Maria Hasankolli. When her son missed his bus and began walking to school, the police were called about an unaccompanied child. Hasankolli was placed in handcuffs for allowing her child to walk to school and later charged with risk of injury to a child.
Similarly, Sonya Hendren from Sacramento, Calif, was arrested, when she let her four-year-old child play alone at a playground that was 120 feet from her home (thats roughly two bowling lanes long, or going from home plate to second base). Again, her actions were deemed negligent and potentially dangerous to her child.
And just this week, a Missouri mom is facing charges for leaving her children in a car when she went into the gas station to pay for the gas because, according to that states law, its illegal to leave your child in a car unattended even for the five minutes it takes to swipe your credit card at the cashier station.
Today, sitting in judgment of the way people choose to raise kids has become a very sad, unnecessary, and commonplace reality. Yet, its one thing to disagree with or even mock a parents style of raising kids and quite another to take punitive action against these same parents.
As a conservative, I tend to believe fewer laws are better and I generally resist the idea that we need legislative action to fix societys problems. Yet, as a parent trying to raise kids in an increasingly judgmental and caution-loving culture, laws protecting parents who want to make their own parenting decisions even unpopular ones are clearly needed.
Contrary to what popular culture tells us, there simply is no right way to parent. Utah seems to understand this. Other states should follow.
So GLAD I grew up when and where I did. Granted, we lived in Milwaukeestan, but unless we were in school, all of us neighborhood kids would run out the door after breakfast and wouldn't be home until dark.
Of course, EVERY Mom and Dad on the block was allowed to discipline you as needed. I guess it DOES take a 'village' but not the way Hillary! and her locksetp Socialist ilk desire! ;)
This is where the gov’t needs to be told to MYBO. If it wasn’t necessary to do twenty years ago, then it isn’t necessary for them to be bothered with now.
If the parents treat their kids lives and safety so carelessly, I guess they can move to Utah. It will be blood and guilt on their hands should something happen to their kids. Kids are not “free range” animals. If you have kids, be responsible for them.
But does being responsible mean you have to have them in sight 24/7, to be supervising everything they do 24/7? I think that’s what the so called free range thing is about, not about treating them like free range animals.
I think we all know that society has changed, for the worse, in some ways over the decades. I don’t know if there are more child molesters and others doing harm to children nowadays, but, there certainly seems to be more publicity and discussion. So then, many parents are afraid to let their kids out of their sight.
And then social norms have changed, so that cops on a beat see school age children alone, and immediately assume this a case of parental neglect.
When parents send/let their 6 year go on own to park a mile away, that is irresponsible. And putting the supervision burden on a 10 year old sibling is equally wrong and no substitute for the parent.
we wandered about in Annapolis MD as young kids running all over the place, by ourselves, while visiting grandparents, who lived one block from the State Capitol on a red brick street...we had a blast...
>> “all of us neighborhood kids would run out the door after breakfast and wouldn’t be home until dark.” <<
Yep, and we learned all kinds of things in places that would have given our parents a heart attack had they known we were there!
This law is to protect us GOOD Parents from Mother Government’s overreaching CLAWS.
Sadly, in this day it’s needed. Government is out of control.
“And just this week, a Missouri mom is facing charges for leaving her children in a car when she went into the gas station to pay for the gas because, according to that states law, its illegal to leave your child in a car unattended even for the five minutes it takes to swipe your credit card at the cashier station.”
I probably could’ve been arrested for letting my boys camp all weekend (without us - Thank Gawd for the BREAK from them, LOL!) in our Back Forty back in the day.
I rode my bicycle to school and the park over a mile away starting at age 6 in Torrance Ca.
And would you let your kid, grand kid, or great-grand kid to that today? I recall what my parents let me do back in the 60s and 70s but wouldn’t let my kids do it. It is a very different world today.
Ponder the idea that what the state grants it can remove
The busy bodies who started reporting parents to police because they didn’t like children being children ought to check themselves
My child was allowed the same freedom I had. Also the same responsibilities
Since when do you give over to nosy busy bodies the authority to tell you how to parent
I was free range, and so were my cousins. We knew to recognize a threat, and let an adult know. We weren’t eating laundry detergent either.
Mom said “go out and play” and we did. Mom always said, “when the street-lights turn on, you better be back in the house.”
Good system of governance, back when children listened to their parents.
So carelessly as what?
And when we’d hear the dreaded first name and middle name drifting down the street, we knew we had seconds to respond and skedaddle. The Best of Times!
I mean really....blood and guilt because one teaches their child to ride a bus? Or allows their child to play at the local park or even on the front lawn?
Those are the kinds of activities that have been reported to authorities.
Oh man....I don’t want to be your child
Did your parents supervise you every hour of the day?
Yeah... I grew up in the hills of Appalachia during the 50's... In the summer time from the age of 6 years on we could be found in the streams and woods many miles from home.. As long as we made it home for supper that's all that counts... :)
Nowadays if you tried that in say Chicago, you'd probably find your kid down on the corner on somebodies spit....
Yes I would
You are overly paranoid
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