Free Range Kids

Free Range Kids Controversy

Growing up in the late 70’s/early 80’s in Iowa, my siblings and I were raised more or less as what you would call “free-range” kids today. We were allowed to go to area parks on our own at a young age. It wasn’t just me and my siblings, it was the norm in our neighborhood, and nearby neighborhoods at the time. I feel a little torn about the issue these days. The structure of the neighborhoods surrounding me now are a lot different from the one I grew up in. Our subdivision is placed near a very busy street with dangerous traffic. Deeper inside the subdivision it is much safer, and children would have to be taught to respect boundaries. But not all neighborhoods are the same. I think there is something lost when children can’t play unsupervised some of the time, but that all depends upon the relative safety of the surroundings. Parents who allow children to play unsupervised in questionable environments, or with expectations that other adults will simply take over supervision duties, are being neglectful. But, if you have created reasonable rules and boundaries to be certain of your child’s safety, you have developed a trusting relationship with your child(ren), and you have good relationships with neighbors who are happy to watch out, then there should be no fear. We have to make reasonable choices on both sides of the issue, no matter where we stand on it regarding our own children.

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