Take a moment to think about all your favorite childhood memories, where you experienced free range parenting at its best.
Think about the stories that you and your siblings would tell one another over and over again. Think about the experiences that defined your childhood and made you into the person you are today.
Maybe it was the time that you and your siblings jumped off a 50-foot cliff without a parachute and into the river.
Or it was the time that you and your sister rode the bikes to your cousin’s place that was half an hour away.
Or maybe the long summer days that you spent in the park where the kids of the entire neighborhood would gather in the afternoon to run around and play for hours on end and even create new games and then go back home every evening after sundown when you get exhilarated and exhausted.
Now stop and think: in how many of these cherished memories of your childhood was there a parental figure standing with you or any other adult guiding and supervising your activity? And the answer is not a single one.
The freedom that most of you enjoyed as kids, such as the freedom to scuffle, improvise, and scrape your knees doesn’t exist anymore.
For numerous reasons, parents today are too worried to let their kids have the experiences that many of us take for granted. Parents of children today are afraid of child predators and bullies, and they are even afraid of sacrificing their kids’ future and opt for cello lessons instead of sending them to the park.
The free range parenting book is a direct response to this fear. Read on if you want to find out what this method is and how to apply it.
What is free range parenting?
Free range parenting is not about being uninvolved or permissive.
But instead, it is about allowing your kids to have the full freedom to experience the natural concern of their behavior; keeping in mind that it is safe to do so. It is also a parenting method that ensures that kids acquire the skills they need in order to become responsible adults.
This concept hit the media in the year 2008 when a New York columnist Lenore Skenanzy wrote an article entitled, “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone.” This story gained attention naturally, and many people gave in their own opinions.
Even though the columnist made it clear that when she allows her son to ride the subway, she provided him with a map and money he will need, but critics still argued that it was close to child neglect.
So let’s find out what difference does free range parents have with neglecting parents.
Free range parenting vs. neglect
There is not always a clear answer about when a child can handle responsibilities maturely, such as riding a subway.
What is considered to be normal in a specific area may be considered neglect in other states and cities. For example, in certain areas of the world, beating a child is not damaging to their personality but instead builds it; however; some states condemn this.
There is a lot of debate over things such as:
- At what age should a kid be able to stay home alone?
- When is your kid old enough to stay at home alone all night long?
- At what age can a child be able to walk the street alone?
- Can a kid play in a park without any adult supervision and attendance?
- At what age should older siblings be able to look after the younger ones?
Now even though one family may allow a six-year old to go to the park alone, another family may hire a babysitter for a 13-year-old.
Even though specific laws do determine how the children must be brought up, free-range parents who are aware of the free range parenting method characteristics may know why this is different from neglect.
Define free range parenting characteristics
Skenazy is very clear that free range parenting is not neglectful parenting but is about allowing your kids the freedom and chance to be kids.
Mentioned below are some characteristics of free range parenting, and this will make the free range parenting definition clearer.
1. Taking part in unstructured play
Rather than rushing kids from cello lessons to soccer practice, free-range parents take part in unstructured play. So, for example, instead of placing a lot of rules on their kids during a baseball game, they will encourage them to enjoy a game with their friends in the neighborhood.
2. Playing in nature is essential
Free-range kids are allowed to play outside instead of making use of electronics.
These parents want their kids to have fun without technology, whether it is playing in the garden or building a fake fort.
3. Kids earn their independence
Free-range parents allow their kids to be independent and provide them with increased freedom and responsibility gradually.
There are, no doubt, different ideas about how much freedom kids should be given, but free-range parents do not act as parents out of fear. While some may feel that times have changed and kids cannot play outside, others find over-parenting as a danger to their child’s development as well.