It’s good to be reminded now and then that common sense is not completely dead --- on life support maybe, but it still has a heartbeat.
For example, Utah has passed the nation’s first “free-range parenting” law. The law means children in Utah will be allowed to do radical things like play outside unattended, maybe even in a park without their parents.
“Free-range parenting” is a fancy label for the regular parenting that occurred in America for over two centuries, until around the 1990s. That’s when progressives really stepped up their game in telling you how to parent your children. Remember? "It takes a village."
This is how far we’ve come --- we have to pass a law to allow kids to be kids. But at least Utah is officially protecting that right.
Most parents can figure this out without government guidelines.
Under the new law, children may “walk, run or bike to and from school, travel to commercial or recreational facilities, play outside and remain at home unattended,” as long as children’s basic needs are met, and if they’re old enough to “avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm.” The law does not specify a sufficient child age for this free-range activity, but most parents can figure this out without government guidelines.
In Utah at least, child-welfare agents will not be allowed to take children from their parents if the children are found playing alone at a park, for example. That’s what almost happened to a Maryland couple in 2015 when they were charged with child neglect for letting their ten-year-old son and six-year-old daughter walk home alone from a park where they’d asked their parents to let them play. Child Protective Services opened an investigation on the family, but the parents were cleared of all charges.
A New York City mom coined the phrase “free-range parenting” in 2008. Her nine-year-old son asked her to let him use a map and a metro pass to try riding the subway home by himself. She finally let him one day and she wrote about the experience in her column for the New York Sun. Some called her “America’s worst mom,” but others were glad to finally hear someone speak up in favor of “free-range parenting.”
That Free-Range Mom’s nine-year-old survived his subway adventure and made it home safe and sound. Kids are resilient like that.
Independence, common sense and freedom are pretty great things. Progressives should try those sometime.