Are You A Free-Range Parent?

How 'hands-off' is your parenting style?
18 November 2015

If you haven't yet heard of free-range parenting, you soon will. Apparently it's the latest approach to raising kids, and the idea is that by being more hands-off as mums and dads we'll do our kids a favour when it comes to fostering their confidence and independence.

The theory seems to be that allowing your kids greater freedom to do things like walk to school or play in the park - all with minimal parental supervision - will better equip them for adulthood.

The Mail descrives 'free-range parenting' as the belief that "freedom to play outdoors and travel alone fosters independence" and quotes a mum who allows her ten-year-old daughter to "go with friends to the woods near where she lives in North London and take her eight-year-old brother Jacob with her, provided they are back home at an agreed time, usually within the hour".

Interestingly, the mum mentioned in the piece says she was "allowed to walk the ten minutes to her school bus stop alone, crossing two minor roads and one main road without any parental supervision" at the age of seven.

Another mum in the same article reportedly allows her 11-year-old son to choose his own bedtime and when to do his homework, as part of her free-range approach to parenting.

Call me a control-freak or a helicopter parent, but I can't see myself signing up to this model of parenting any time soon. And when I do begin to allow my kids a little more freedom, you'll likely find me furtively shadowing them from a safe distance - disguised in dark glasses and a headscarf so they don't spot me checking up on them.

But that's just me. Free-range parenting just isn't for me, and I feel no guilt about restricting my kids' freedom until they're of an age where I deem them ready to walk to the shops or hang out with their pals without me present. (I'm thinking 18 might be just about ok?)

I jest, of course, but we'd love to hear your views on this story. Do you think free-range parenting has its benefits? And how will you determine when your child is ready for a litte more freedom? At what age will you allow your child to walk to school or to the sweet shop alone? Come and share your thoughts over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parents

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