1st in Nation: Utah Passes Free Range Parenting Law

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The state of Utah is the first in the nation to allow parents to be “free range” and not have to hover over and coddle your child’s every movement and thought.

Free-range parenting is 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.

The way the law is worded provides that parents will no longer be charged with neglect for letting their kids play alone at the neighborhood park, ride their bike around, walk to school, sit in the car while Mom runs into the store, or stay at home by themselves for a short time.

Free range parenting is parenting that involves giving gets a level of independence and responsibility.  It is the opposite of helicopter parenting, where parents monitor every second of their kids lives and protect them from danger to an extreme level.

 

The law was sponsored by Republican Lincoln Fillmore.  Fillmore did not want parents being arrested and charged with neglect just for letting their kid walk to the local park.  He rightly stated, “It is not neglect to let your child experience childhood.  The message is you need to protect your kids but we are not doing kids any favors if we shelter them to the point where they are not learning how to function”.

The legislation is not specific as to what age children should be to do these various independent activities.  The brilliant legislators leave it up to the parents, who know their children best, to determine that.  This also recognizes that each child develops and mature at different rates.

  This means that Utah has formally legalized the childhood that you and I both grew up with.

This law was apparently necessary due to busy-body helicopter type parents who did not care for other parents raising their children differently.  The police in Utah had seen calls to police rise rapidly in recent years to report “neglect” that was not neglect.

This trend is not just confined to Utah.  For example, in 2012 in Illinois, there were 26,343 reported cases of inadequate supervision made to the Department of Child and Family Services.  Of those, only twenty-six percent were found to have validity.

There are many examples nationwide of wrongly accussed parents.  Consider Erika Doring of Oregon.  She had to spend a quarter of a year’s salary defending herself from child neglect charges.  She was taking her three-year-old to the lake for some summer fun.  She realized she forgot her daughter’s life jacket and swung by the consignment shop she owns to get it from the back of the store.  She left the air conditioning on in the car and ran into the store to grab the life jacket.  You know the LIFE JACKET she is getting since she is a good and caring parent.  She came out after only a few minutes and found a parking enforcement officer had phoned police.  So began her long legal ordeal of which she was eventually acquitted.

Another case occurred when Danielle and Alexander Meitiv of Maryland let their ten and six year old children walk home from the park.  A concerned citizen called the police.  This set off a six month long investigation that involved Child Protective Service visits, lawyers, and therapists.

All this because the Meitiv’s wanted to raise independent, responsible children.  Alexander said, “What CPS considered neglect, we felt was an essential part of growing up and maturing.  We feel we’re being bullied into a point of view about child rearing that we strongly disagree with.”

People frequently complain that kids these days just are not as responsible or mature as kids in the past.  Perhaps this is because kids are so sheltered and protected they are not given the chance to become  a responsible, self-sufficient adult.

Also, the constant supervision that is provided by helicopter parents does not allow children to be creative and deal with boredom.  It also does not give them as many opportunities to problem solve or work out conflicts with friends.

When I was a child, we rode our bikes all day long in the summer and had the run of the neighborhood.  I remember I would ride my bike 5 miles to the local video store. We would be gone for hours at a time and would come home when we saw my parents turned on the porch lights.  I also frequently sat in the car while my mother ran into the grocery store to get a few items.  And here I am, having lived to tell about it!

These are some of my best memories from childhood.  I am grateful that I had this amazing childhood that seems, sadly, to be a thing of past from most children these days.  You go, Utah!

SOURCE: CNN, Daily Wire

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