Have we heard the term "free-range parenting" before? While we often hear "free-range" applied to foods that we should look for in the supermarket, we might not know that this phrase actually applies to parenting, too.
While there are many parenting trends and ways of thinking that are controversial, this is one that actually has been put into law in one state. It's something that moms will definitely be interested in hearing about. What is free-range parenting? Let's take a look at this new and interesting philosophy that some moms will agree with and some probably won't like at all. Here is everything that moms need to know about free-range parenting.
8 It Was Passed In Utah
Free-range parenting has gotten people talking for sure, but it's interesting to note that it's not allowed everywhere. Moms should know that free-range parenting has only been passed in one state so far.
On May, 8, 2018, Utah passed the free-range parenting law, and it essentially means that children can do many activities without the "supervision" of parents, guardians, or adults. This includes heading to school by themselves or going to the playground or park.
While some moms think that this is only logical and that many children are mature enough and at the right age for this, other moms would definitely think that it doesn't sound like the best idea.
7 One Parent Started It
One parent is said to have started the idea of free-range parenting: Lenore Skenazy penned a story called "Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone" which many people read, which prompted the discussion of the parenting philosophy. She has said that she ensured that he had cash and that he knew what was going on. It's interesting to note that this mom wrote the story in 2008 and the law was passed a decade later in Utah in 2018.
Skenanzy also had a book published called Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry).
6 Some Parents Want Other States To Pass It, Too
According to the National Post, parents in Texas and New York would like for the same free-range parenting law to come into effect there, too.
It seems like in the next little while, we might be hearing about more states passing this law, too, since it has been talked about so much and more and more parents are wondering if this is a good idea. Like any other parenting philosophy, though, there are definitely going to be people who love free-range parenting... and people who think that it's not something that they're comfortable with at all. But, of course, even if you live in a state where this is passed, that doesn't mean that you have to let your kids do certain activities on their own. You can still make that decision.
5 There Are Two Main Reasons Why It Was Passed
According to Healthline, there are two main reasons why free-range parenting was passed in Utah. As the publication says, "Lawmakers say the intent of the legislation is twofold: to protect parents who allow their children reasonable independence, like traveling unaccompanied to and from school or recreational activities; and to minimize 'nuisance' calls that stretch authorities thin and prevent them from focusing on cases of actual child neglect."
Free-range parenting is definitely a tricky subject because while many moms would say they want to encourage independence in their children, not everyone is comfortable letting kids do things and go places by themselves.
4 It's A Response To Helicopter Parenting
Moms should also know that free-range parenting seems to be a response to helicopter parenting. The reason why Skenazy put forward this idea is she wanted mothers to move on from helicopter parenting.
While some moms would agree that helicopter parenting is a problem and that kids should be able to do things on their own, there are many moms who say "no way" to that idea. Many moms want to nurture their children and be there for them all the time, and if that means people call them "helicopter parents" then so be it. It's definitely tricky since there are so many parenting belief systems out there.
3 It's Also About Playing Without Signing Up For So Many Activities
There is another part of free-range parenting that moms should know about: it's also about children being able to play and not have so many activities on the calendar at all times.
The question of whether children should have so many activities to go to is another controversial one. Where one mom says that the calendar should be packed every day of the week with art classes and sports and music lessons, the next mom will say that kids need to have tons of free time. This is another parenting area that it doesn't seem that moms will ever agree on.
2 It's Also About Less Screen Time And Getting Outdoors
Moms should also know that free-range parenting is also about less screen time and kids getting outdoors. This is part of the "freedom" aspect of free-range parenting. If you believe in this, then you want your children to be "free" and to be outdoors and to stop playing so many video games and looking at an iPad and iPhone so much.
Even if some parents don't agree with free-range parenting, it seems like they can definitely see how less screen time and getting outdoors more would be a good idea. No one can really argue with this, right? It doesn't seem like it.
1 It's Ultimately A Response To Moms Worrying Too Much
When Lenore Skenazy was interviewed by the Washington Post, she said, "Because every moment we don’t spend with our children is one where we think they are in danger one way or another." She continued, "Either they can’t have any time on their own because we think they’ll be in literal danger, or because we’re wasting valuable teachable moments."
It seems like ultimately, free-range parenting is a response to moms worrying too much. Skenazy mentions how parents are basically concerned for their children 24/7.
Whether you agree with free-range parenting or not, you can probably admit that parents do worry a lot about their kids, so even if you're not sure about free-range parenting in general, there are a few aspects that make a lot of sense.