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What The Heck Is Free Range Parenting?


I can’t keep up. I officially can’t keep up.

It happens a lot these days. I see or hear or read something that makes me go…Huh. Most of the time it will have something to do with technology. Sometimes it will be a new TV show. A lot of times it will have to do with a news story.

Those things that make you just pause for a moment or two and then it comes:


Today I was perusing some information (other people call it drinking coffee and wasting time) when I came across a phrase that’s new to me. A phrase that, for some reason, made me immediately think of the old west, herds of cattle and wide open spaces.

Free Range Parenting.

Now, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of free range cattle. Even free range chickens. But Free Range Parenting? That’s a new one to me.

Upon a little further investigating (more coffee, more looking through junk), I come to find out there are states that are passing so-called ‘Free Range Parenting’ laws. Without getting into all the details, basically these laws deal with how old kids can be to walk alone to school, explore a playground or stay in a car alone.

Say it with me…Huh.

Apparently Utah is the first state to pass this ‘Free Range Parenting’ law, but groups from Texas to New York are pushing for similar steps. I decided to head over to Wikipedia and see what they had to say. And part of what they had to say was: “the concept of raising children in the spirit of encouraging them to function independently and with little parental supervision, in accordance of their age of development and with a reasonable acceptance of realistic personal risks.”


Things like this give me a headache (OK, it might just be too much coffee). Part of me thinks this kind of sounds like parents getting a little lazy. Part of me thinks do we really need laws called ‘Free range Parenting’? Maybe we should pass a law that my folks followed. It was called ‘Common Sense Parenting’.

The Associated Press Contributed To This Article

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