Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis
Yesterday, the state of Utah passed the United States' first-ever free-range parenting law, which essentially states that it's not a crime for parents to allow their young kids to do certain day-to-day things, like walk to school or play outside, without parental supervision. As HuffPost reports, the controversial child-rearing tactic "encourages the fostering of self-sufficiency in children from a young age." What's more, the age limit was purposely left open-ended, so that "police and prosecutors can work on a case-by-case basis if abuse or neglect is suspected." Considering the controversial nature of the new law, we reached out to our community of moms to gain some much-needed perspective on the situation. Read their enlightening thoughts on the new law below.
"Kids need to learn independence and responsibility. Think of the baby boomers and the 'latchkey kids'; they literally had to let themselves into their homes because both parents were working. We are coddling the newer generations, and it's going to lead to 'no winning or losing,' no healthy competition, and no drive for excellence because everything will have to be politically correct and 'fair.' No one gave me anything, no one coddled me, and I have built what I have." — Corey Ann of @whatcoreycovets
"In Slovenia, I still see kids walk to school alone and play outside without serious supervision, at least once they're 10-plus years old. Not everyone, of course, but I see it around the neighborhood. I realize the United States are different, though." — Alice K. of Sugar Salted, who specified that she is not yet a parent
"I think this is a much-needed change, and I applaud the move. It compels us as a community to watch out for our kids and create an environment where they feel safe and supported. I loved my independence as a child and being trusted to go to the store on my own to buy milk and bread or ride to school by myself. I agree that this helps to raise self-aware children who can think for themselves and have the skillset to navigate life without needing their hand held and progress into adulthood with a fearless attitude and confidence that can't be taught." — Sacha Strebe, editorial director of MyDomaine
"I too think it's a positive change. Terribly bad things do happen, but we can't live our lives in fear. As parents, we have the responsibility to give our kids guidelines and expectations, and I would hope this law would allow parents to put those guidelines in place while their kids are still under their roof. Once kids leave the house they need to have a few life lessons under their belt to know how to make good decisions, probably including a few mistakes. This law leaves room for the parents to decide when their children are responsible enough to be on their own. I liked how it also gives room for discretion in age since every circumstance is different." — Angela Willett, Facebook user and member of MyDomaine Moms
Head over to HuffPost for more on the new law.