I was just recently thinking about the topic of free-range parenting, comfort-addicted kids, and under-developed gross motor skills, and then today I noticed this news story:
The Maryland parents who believe in ‘free-range parenting’ and were investigated after police picked up their children — ages 6 and 10 — walking home alone from a park in January were reportedly found responsible for ‘unsubstantiated’ child neglect […]
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they will continue to allow their children to walk home together. The legal ramifications are unclear if the children are picked up by police again […]
In January, the Meitiv children were walking home from the park, which is about a mile from their Woodside Park neighborhood, in broad daylight and were stopped by police after someone reported seeing them.
The kids were returned to the home and police reportedly talked to the parents about the dangers of the world […]
CPS reportedly followed up and forced the parents to sign a safety plan acknowledging that they would not let the kids go unsupervised. Alexander told the paper he resisted at first, but CPS threatened that if they refused, the kids would be removed from the home.
Apparently the parents had taught them the way to walk home and the children were familiar with it. I would think six is too young to be a mile from home alone, but what about with an older sibling of ten? And it was daytime, not dark! This seems like it should have been fine. One wonders about the person who reported this to the police.
We all want to keep our children safe, no doubt about it. But children walk home from school all the time; should walking home from the park be considered any more dangerous?