Free Range Children?

One of the stories that has been in the news recently is in regards to the Meitiv family from Silver Spring, Maryland.

The children, a 6 year old girl and a 10 year old boy were walking by themselves in their neighborhood. A concerned adult called 911. The children were taken to child protective services and the parents were accused of neglect.

I understand the reasons for the state to step in, but this is ridiculous. Yes, there are pedophiles and sick people out there, but we cannot keep our children on a leash forever. It is detrimental to their emotional health and their ability to grow into confident, emotionally stable adults if a parent keeps their child on an emotional leash for far too long.

When I was growing up in the 1980’s, it was expected that once a child reached a certain age, he or she was given a certain amount of autonomy. I remember walking to and from school by myself many times. Granted, the school was only a few blocks away, but I still walked by myself. I clearly survived the experience, as did many adults of my generation.

Every kid is different. There are some children who need the presence of an adult when they are traveling and there are some who don’t. I’m not advocating, in any stretch of the imagination, letting our children walk alone without an adult every time. But that does mean that the parent has to be with the child every waking moment of their life.

To put it simply, every parent must at (as much as it may go against their nature as a parent) some point, to let their kids be independent. The state is good for many things, but when it steps in needlessly, it is a waste of time and energy for all invovled.

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