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“Free Range” Parents Charged With Child Neglect For Raising Their Kids to be Independent

By: Krystle Crossman

Free-range parenting is a controversial topic. This is when the parents give their young children freedom and independence and let them make mistakes to learn about challenges that can come their way in life. Free-range parenting is different in every family. One family in Silver Springs, Maryland is now under watch by Child Protective Services after police spotted their 10 year old son and their 6 year old daughter walking alone in the city. They were coming back from a park that they visited by themselves constantly. The boy, Rafi, stated that when the police pulled over and gave them a talking to he felt embarrassed because they made him feel like he was doing something wrong. CPS stepped in and is accusing the parents of neglect for letting their children walk the mile it takes to get to the park near their house.

Danielle Meitiv, the mother, stated that they do not plan on changing their parenting style because of this and will be putting in an appeal for the neglect charges. She says that she was raised this way as were almost all of the adults that she knows and she feels that this should be their decision since it is their children they are talking about. Meitiv says that they know what their children are ready for and trust that they will make the right decisions. In the city that they live in you can be charged with neglect if you leave anyone under the age of 18 alone.

This story has sparked debates all over the country about parenting styles and government interference. Some argue that children are too young to deal with certain situations that could come along and should never be left without any kind of adult supervision at that age. Others applaud the Meitivs for their courage to let their children make their own decisions. The other end of the parenting spectrum is helicopter parenting which also brings up debates. This is when the parent never leaves the child alone. They feel that they need to be watching their child every single second no matter where they are or what they are doing. They do not give their child independence and have a hard time letting go as they get older. Most families fall in between these two parenting styles and allow their children freedom while still supervising them in most situations.

Another family in New York City had been criticized for their free-range parenting style when it was discovered that their 9 year old son, Izzy, was riding the NYC subway by himself. They had taught him how to use the card, taught him about the dangers that he could face, and taught him how to use the route maps. They felt that he was capable of doing this on his own. He said when he came home he felt so brave and like he had accomplished something great and felt really good. He is now a teenager, and a well-rounded one at that. His mother, Lenore, stated that right now we are in the safest times that we have ever been in and felt that her child was safe even without her supervising him.

What is your parenting style? Do you feel like you could adopt a free-range style?

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2 thoughts on ““Free Range” Parents Charged With Child Neglect For Raising Their Kids to be Independent

  1. REgina

    This is ridiculous. While growing up, I walked to the park and school by myself. I have older brothers but our school hours were different. I was a latchkey kid, but I knew how to take care of myself.

    The police and CPS have too much time on their hands and are wasting precious resources in dictating how parents should raise their children.

  2. Teri Tyler

    Tens of thousands of Black women and children are missing in the US, predators are released and often fail to report their whereabouts to police. There is no reason for such confidence in modern American society that one lets children wander around without adult supervision. Parents simply do not know who is in their neighborhood, who is or isn’t in wooded areas, in the park, or anywhere else outside their view. Nice to think a child is a small adult, having mature judgment, and the resolve not to do anything risky you tell him/her not to do-don’t get into cars with strangers, etc. But what about with friends of parents, or parents of friends. The extrapolations are endless. What about people and events which occur unforeseen, like kidnappers cruising a neighborhood-looking for a child alone. The free range parent turns child competence, and human beneficence into a philosophy. This is a mistake for which children can pay the ultimate price. Better to have a more secure childhood, than have to parents play dice with their children’s safety.


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