‘Free-Range Parenting’ Trend Aims To Make Kids More Resilient

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The “free-range parenting” trend aims to make kids more resilient and parents less anxious, according to The Associated Press’ Tuesday report.

Salt Lake City, Utah, passed a law to make “free-range parenting” legal — children have the freedom to roam around without their parents, according to The Associated Press. This law makes it illegal for state CPSs (child protective services) to take away children going to school by themselves and playing outside without parental supervision, The Washington Post reported. This idea aims to counteract helicopter parenting by making children happier and more resilient while enabling parents to feel less anxious and under pressure to constantly monitor their children.

The idea of free-range parenting initiated when Lenore Skenazy allowed her nine-year-old son to travel around New York City and take the subway by himself, according to a 2008 article she wrote for The New York Sun. “Was I worried? Yes, a tinge. But it didn’t strike me as that daring either. Isn’t New York as safe now as it was in 1963? It’s not like we’re living in downtown Baghdad,” Skenazy wrote.

“We sign our kids up for all these activities — tutoring, different things — to create this perfect resume from a very young age, but it’s really at a detriment to the kid’s mental health,” according to clinical psychologist Bobbi Wegner. She also practices free-range parenting, despite getting flack from a police officer after allowing her three-and-a-half-year-old to talk to other children in their driveway.

New York Democratic state Assemblyman Phil Steck is trying to push for a similar bill, thinking children should be less micromanaged in the 21st century. “When I was a child, you let your dogs and your children out after breakfast and … they had to be home for dinner,” Steck said. “I felt I gained a lot more from just playing on the street than my children did from being in organized sports activities.”

Arkansas tried to pass a similar free-range parenting bill to Utah’s in 2017. However, the bill was dropped over fears of child abduction.

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