All About This ‘Free Range Parenting’ Thing

A new law allows “free range parenting,” which will allow children to “experience childhood” without parents being accused of neglect.

By nowproducerdave on March 28, 2018
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

No, it’s not like raising chickens, but it’s being called “free range parenting.” In the most basic terms, it allows parents to let their kids do certain things unsupervised, like playing outside or walking to school alone. It seems that these days, parents are being called “neglectful” when their kid is out playing and hurts themselves, even though it’s just a “childhood experience.”

It’s a new bill introduced to the state of Utah that actually was signed into law. The new law will allow children to “learn the skills of self-reliance and problem-solving they’ll need as adults” without the parents getting into trouble. This means that parents will be able to leave their kids home alone for a bit while going to the store or running other errands, allow children to walk to school alone, and even allow kids to remain in the car while the parent runs into the post office or bank for a couple minutes. Doing any of these things seems to put the parents in hot water these days, and in some cases end up having to defend themselves to social services.

The idea of the bill, like we said earlier, is to allow kids to “experience childhood” without the umbrella and/or supervision of a parent. Take a step back and look back at your childhood. Children were always outside, riding their bikes up and down the road, sitting on the floor of the car (ok, THAT one is stupid, and obviously not allowed still), and running around getting hurt. Parents’ parenting skills were never brought into question when a kid fell off the trampoline and broke his or her arm, and these days it seems that you need a lawyer when your kid gets a skinned knee. Anyway, Senator Lincoln Fillmore said:

As a society, we’ve become too hyper about ‘protecting’ kids and then end up sheltering them from the experiences that we took for granted as we were kids… I sponsored SB65 so that parents wouldn’t be punished for letting their kids experience childhood.

Are you in support of this “free range parenting” bill, or do you think that kids need constant supervision these days for a multitude of other reasons? Were you allowed to “roam” the neighborhood when you were younger, or did your parents prefer an adult around? Can kids even be trusted with this sort of “freedom” these days? Check out some more details on the new law here.

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