“Back in my day, I walked fifteen miles to and from school, without
supervision. In my day, kids knew how to fend for themselves.”
If you have grandparents or older friends and family members, you probably
heard a sentiment similar to this. Generations of decades past love reminding
the new generation of how easy they have it. They laud the benefits of
having to depend on their own skills and instincts, of having more common
sense than today’s children. This logic transforms into the fears
of kids spending too much time indoors and not enough time out exploring
Through the debate of the dangers of helicopter parenting emerges a new
technique in how to raise children. But what is helicopter parenting,
you may wonder? It is the term coined by Dr. Haim Ginott in his 1969 book
Parents & Teenagers. It refers to a parent that hovers too closely to their kids and focuses
too much on their activities. They generally overprotect children, preventing
adolescents from developing proper coping and social skills. In response,
more parents are looking towards “free range parenting” to
raise their kids.
What is Free Range Parenting?
“Free range kids” is a movement started by Lenore Skenazy,
where parents treat their children as capable, competent human beings.
This technique gives children more independence and allows them to be
self-sufficient. Parents teach their kids about safety and then trust
them to stay home alone or ride their bikes to school without supervision.
Some supporters of free range parenting say that this method has been around
for ages. Elinor Ochs, anthropologist at UCLA, states,
Free-range parenting' sounds like children are politically correct
chickens. Outside the contemporary middle class U.S., typically developing,
intelligent, school-age children the world over, living in post-industrial
urban environments or small-scale communities, are demonstrably self-reliant
in basic life skills, including finding their way home and running errands.
In addition, they are expected to care for younger siblings and otherwise
help hard-working parents to keep the family and household intact …
What has changed in the U.S. parenting zeitgeist is a shift from what
the late historian Tony Judt called 'the politics of social cohesion'
(trust in a secure and stable social infrastructure) to 'the politics
of fear' (think 'terrorism' on every street corner).
Indeed, it seems more parents are more protective of their children. That
is why there has been such a backlash against children being left on their
own. It led people and news outlets to call Lenore Skenazy “the
world’s worst mom,” In some cases, others will call Child
Protective Services against parent who utilize free range parenting. However,
these worries may be going too far.
California does not have a set age limit in which children can stay home
alone. The states allow the parents to use their best judgement. This
means that the parents get to decide what is best for their kids.
How Does Free Range Parenting Affect Custody Agreement?
Free range parenting is highly debated and can be a divisive topic. While
some parents might agree that allowing children independence will help
them develop, others may disagree. This matter becomes more contentious
when divorced parents must share custody of their children. When one parent
believe in raising free range kids, while the other is more protective,
what does this mean for custody agreements? Under California law, parents
who share custody of their children must work together to decide what
is best for their kids. However, if they cannot come to an agreement,
they will need to go to court. A judge will decide if either parenting
methods endanger the kids and what is in their best interests.
Often, disputes about free range parenting can be quite heated. As a parent,
you have certain rights when deciding how your child is raised. Contact
our Rancho Cucamonga family law specialist to fight protect these rights.
We fight on behalf of parents to ensure you get the custodial rights you
deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!