‘Free range’ parenting ideology sparks debates

‘Free range’ parenting ideology sparks debates

‘Free range’ parenting has gathered a lot of attention recently. In the modern world, kids left to play or walk home alone without adult supervision can come under scrutiny, however, the ‘free range’ parenting style differs in its views.

The parenting style, which results in letting children walk home alone, play outside unsupervised and generally go about their days without the constant parental eye following them once they reach a certain age, is adopted by parents who say they wish to instil independence in their children.

The term was coined several years ago when a journalist in New York allowed her then-8-year-old son to find his way home on the subway in New York City. She wrote an essay about her decision and her parenting quickly came under scrutiny.

The term came into conversation again last December as it was reported that parents in America allowed their six and ten year old children to walk home alone from a park about a mile away. A passer by reported seeing the children walking unsupervised and informed the police, who then picked the children up and took them home. The parents in question found themselves under investigation for neglect by their local Child Protective Services agency, and an intense debate about children’s boundaries and supervision ensued.

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When questioned, the parents stated that they believed in “free range” parenting, and wished to teach  independence and self-reliance to their children.

The case has since started a world-wind of debates regarding how much supervision children of certain ages need, at what age is it okay to let your child be alone and how to strike a balance between independence and safety in the safest way possible.

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