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?