Free Range Parents

Free Range Parents January 24, 2015

From CNN:

(CNN)It’s starting to feel a little bit like Groundhog Day when it comes to parents under attack for letting their children do things on their own.

The latest case? A Silver Spring, Maryland, couple is facing a neglect investigation for letting their 10-year-old son and 6-1/2-year-old daughter walk home from a playground, about a mile from their house, by themselves on a Saturday afternoon in late December.

The story immediately brought to mind the South Carolina mom arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play at the park alone while she worked at a McDonald’s and a Florida mom arrested after letting her 7-year-old walk to the park alone.

Is it just me or have things suddenly gotten way out of hand when parents are being arrested — or investigated — for doing what was considered totally normal and appropriate just a few decades ago?

Here are my recollections:

At ten I was a paperboy, got up at 4:30am or so, folded papers and rode my bike through the neighborhood to deliver the papers. I returned home, made bacon and eggs in a cast iron skillet and used bacon drippings as the oil, went to school … and during the summer I rode my bike to the golf course without a lunch (I recall my mom saying I could come home for lunch or I could make myself a lunch) and often didn’t make it home until later in the day. Somedays I got home for lunch and I rode down the street to the pool to swim the rest of the day — sometimes I went back at night.

When we wanted we roamed on our bikes all around the village, and I’d say 90% of the time my mom and dad had no idea where I might be.

Yes, I had free range parents.

We kept a slightly more monitored life on our kids, but Lukas rode across our village to his friends’ home or to the high school for camp or to the middle school for summer school.

But today? Is it worse today than then?

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