I’m only learning about this situation with this family in Maryland for the first time yesterday. You’d think that by now, there would little left going on out there in the world that would shock me anymore. This whole thing though? I’m like… Are you? Is this? What the? Is this a joke!?!?
So… Where did this term “free range parenting” even come from? Suddenly we have this one insane case of a couple of kids being taken into custody by Protective Services, FOR WALKING IN THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD A FEW BLOCKS FROM THEIR HOME, more than once now!?!?
I mean, if it had simply happened one time, it would be a crazy story, but you could regard it as a bizarre singular event, a misunderstanding, an overly-concerned neighbor calling the police or whatever. But it’s not some fluke thing anymore, it’s sparked an entire “nationwide debate” about something which I can hardly believe I’m hearing… “Free range parenting”? This is a “thing” now? This is a concept that many parents out there are actually accepting as something that is some kind of truly dangerous, neglectful act?
The thing is, as a parent myself, it’s been a very bizarre thing to realize just how much we ourselves are so much more leery and protective of our kids being out in public “unsupervised” than our own parents ever were about us at the same age. We really do live in an age where people are so much more conscious of real dangers like sex offenders, so it’s not like I’m at ALL the kind of person who feels very comfortable with my kids being out where anyone could just come up and grab them and throw them in a van. But at the same time… Protective Services?? Two blocks away from home??? This is insanity people! The “Nanny State” is truly going too far here. I mean, I just don’t get it… Do people in Maryland not even let their kids walk themselves to school anymore??? Is that considered “neglect” nowadays?
Most people like myself who experienced childhood prior to the mass hysteria of the war-on-terror, everyone-outside-your-door-could-potentially-be-a-terrorist-or-child-molestor era that we live in today, can probably remember being afforded a level of outdoor freedom that would be largely unthinkable in today’s climate. In the summertime, we’d be out riding our bikes around the neighborhood until the sun went down, having “adventures” in the woods, building forts, making little trips to 7-11, playing football at the nearby school, etc. Parents would simply tell you to “go outside and play!”, and so we did. People would’ve laughed their asses off at any sort of term such as “free range parenting”, (particularly in the pejorative sense that it is being applied), as if was even something worthy of debate.
Maybe part of the reason this story is just so bizarre to me, is that the neighborhood I live in currently is a far cry from whatever mindset is apparently the norm now in a place like Silver Springs MD. We actually live right by a park, and so if I were to be calling the police every time I saw kids walking around without parental supervision, I’d be clogging up the entire 9-11 dispatch. It’s almost funny, because whenever we do take our kids to the park, the other kids usually look at us as the weird ones, for being the only parents around. Even though we don’t necessarily feel comfortable ourselves with letting our children “roam free” the way we did as kids, we certainly aren’t going to call CPS on anyone else simply because they’re outside trying to play…
Insanity. Absolute insanity…