I find some aspects of free-range parenting very admirable. In many ways, my childhood was a “free-range” childhood: I walked to school with a classmate, walked to stores alone as a teen, hit up my friends’ homes by walking alone within reason, and generally traveled in packs of kids rather than adult-led ways of traveling. Going to the park alone wouldn’t have been a big deal unless I was younger than a certain age. Typically, I played right on my block outside and didn’t go very far anyway.
I think my childhood is far more ideal than the current day and age in which kids rarely play with other kids after school, and if they on a rare occasion do, it’s orchestrated by adults, and rarely do kids get to walk to and from each other’s homes. I had fewer activities to do and less homework and generally had a good schoolwork-fun balance. It helped I was good at school.
But let’s face it: our lives aren’t really free-range anymore in that particular aspect. And while I monitor my parenting to be sure I am not hovering and have made an incredibly independent almost-5-year-old who does many things without help, I have to say: I don’t think I could completely free-range parent. Could I let my kid walk to the bus stop alone like I did? Sure. Could I let my kid walk down the street to see a friend? Yes. Could I let her walk and hang out in a park for hours, alone?
I Am Me, And That’s O.K.!