OPINION | Barry Richard: Free-Range Parenting Makes Tougher Kids
Remember the good old days when kids could walk home from school alone or play in the park without adult supervision? You know, back before we were making play dates for the kiddos and driving them to the top of the street to wait for the school bus?
It appears as though common sense child rearing is back in vogue. According to The New York Times, it's known these days as free-range parenting and it's now the law in Utah. Under the first of its kind law, it is no longer considered child neglect to let your kids learn responsibility by finding their way around the neighborhood. Parents in Silver Spring, Maryland were actually charged with neglect three years ago for letting their 10 and six-year-old children walk home from the neighborhood park unsupervised. For real.
Most kids today are good kids. They are softer than we were though because their parents do not allow them much freedom or encourage independence. They hover over their kids trying to shield them from pain and disappointment. Kids need to learn how to survive on their own and that begins with teaching them to fend for themselves. How to deal with pain and disappointment. How to be independent.
It's not that our parents loved us less. They knew that if we were to be strong adults and capable of existing without them that they had to give us space and trust us to make the best decisions on our own.
Imagine requiring legislation that allows kids to walk home from school without an adult present? Our parents and grandparents wouldn't recognize the world they've left us.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.