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Controversial parenting style ‘free-range parenting’ is now legal in the US state of Utah sparking fears for children’s safety.

The idea of free-range parenting sparks fear in the hearts of many parents.

The idea behind the method is that children are free to do more things on their own.

Kids are allowed to walk to and from school or the local playground unaccompanied, without it being considered ‘neglect’ on the part of their parents.

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Free-range parenting wants to see children grow up with limited parental supervision with the goal of instilling independence.

Utah senator, Lincoln Fillmore, said “we have become so over-the-top when ‘protecting’ children that we are refusing to let them learn the lessons of self-reliance and problem-solving that they will need to be successful as adults.”

Advocate and author Lenore Skenazy says it’s about “raising kids in a sort of old-fashioned way.”

“It is the belief that our kids are not in constant danger, so we don’t have to parent them as if they are,” she tells Huffington Post.

People against the idea of free-range parenting say the method is a wild and discipline free way of raising children, while others are simply concerned about how safe their local neighbourhoods are.

Pros: Children learn to use their freedom, be autonomous and manage themselves. They may also be better able to handle mistakes, be more resilient and take responsibility for their actions. It’s also said to lead to happier adults.

Cons: Problems with this style centre on the legal aspects of the approach. In Queensland, it is illegal to leave your child alone for an “unreasonable” time while, in other states, parents must reasonably ensure their child is properly looked after. Queensland’s law does not define “unreasonable” time, but the parent will receive a misdemeanour (up to three years in jail) if they breach the code.

Australia law

In some states of Australia it is actually illegal to let your child walk to school alone. Find more info on that HERE.

There is also no particular law in Australia that says at what age you can or can’t leave your child home alone. It is very much decided in each state depending on the circumstances. Read more info here.

Do you think kids need more freedom to grow and learn?

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  • NO, I’ve a 5yr old who is an escapist and was last year found on the middle of a 4lane road at 5pm in the arvo (our lock went faulty) ! My heart stopped beating, seriously. Our backyard is fenced and we have the front door locked always.
    Her sister is 9yr old and has a reactive attachment disorder and severe kleptomania. Last week she climbed the backyard fence and ran of with a bag to steal by Woolworths when she thought I was asleep.
    Supervision is needed always by these two.

    Reply

  • Um, NO. Don’t like this idea at all. We are supposed to protect our children and this is by not letting them be “free range”.

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  • I think it’s the parents decision


    • True. It will also depend on your children and the safety of the neighborhood you live in.

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  • Well Utah is the meth capital of the United States so I’m not too surprised this law was passed there.

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  • I believe it can be dangerous as there are even more predators out there today. There was still a lot when I was a child, but their exposure didn’t seem to be as much as it is today. I walked to school on my own and to church and a lot of places as a child. I as a mother never let that take place with my own children for I cared about their safety. I suppose parents didn’t see the dangers then as much as they do now. I don’t advocate being a helicopter parent but I still believe their safety is tantamount.

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  • I could never do it as their safety is all I’m concerned with

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  • I think it is quite irresponsible.

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  • I had no idea what was illegal here. I think different rules for different states and it’s all very confusing.

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  • I totally agree with this style. These days our children are mollycoddled – they can’t climb trees, they can’t do this or that anymore as it is dangerous. Part of childhood was getting bumps and grazed knees. It also taught independence and social skills. Let children be children and enjoying themselves instead of bringing up screen dependent kids.

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  • I use to walk to school myself, how times has changed

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  • No I do not think they need more freedom, a child under 12 cannot make quick decisions under pressure, and if they were approached by a pedo they would be at huge risk. If you have your own farm and they know the dangers then maybe they could roam a little more, we were allowed to do this when I was a kid, mainly because my parents were too busy running the farm.

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  • Never heard of this

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  • Not my thing but each to their own.

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  • It’s hard to tell now.We are living in completely different world from what we have grown.

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  • I do feel we are a generation of over protective parents but it is not the same environment as when we grew up. I grew up 12kms out of town and that is a completely different situation then where I’m raising my children.

    Reply

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