President Roosevelt famously said, “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.” To me, it seems fear is rampant in America. Parents are afraid to let their kids play outside. They lock them indoors, feed them a diet of video games and sugary snacks, and America’s children are now fat and incapable of dealing with life. I’m proud of Utah for passing the nation’s first “Free-Range Parenting” law.
Utah has legalized this controversial child-rearing method known as “free-range parenting” that encourages the fostering of self-sufficiency in children from a young age, and is believed to be the first legislation of its kind in the United States. The law also affirms common activities like letting your kid walk to school or leaving them in the car while you duck into a shop are not neglect or child abuse.
Sad, isn’t it? Teaching our children to be self-sufficient should be a priority for parents. Utah Republian Gov. Gary Herbert had to sign legislation to encourage parents not to be so afraid and trust that their children are safe in their communities. Arkansas failed to pass a similar free-range kids bill last year after opposition from critics who said it was too dangerous to leave children unsupervised.
The law states children must be mature enough to handle each situation, though it does not specify an age. The new law takes effect May 8th.
The Child Neglect Amendments specify it is not a crime for parents to allow kids who display maturity and good judgment to do things like walk to school alone or play outside without supervision. Some parents had their children temporarily removed when people reported seeing kids playing basketball in their yards, for example. Thankfully our family and neighbors trusted us to make mature decisions.
Utah leaders felt legislation was needed after confusion from other states where parents were investigated or arrested for allowing their kids to do things alone. A Maryland couple made headlines in 2015 after they were accused of neglect for letting their two children ― aged 10 and 6 ― walk home without adult supervision.
Sen. Lincoln Filmore (R), the Utah bill’s chief sponsor, introduced the legislation to encourage more self-reliance among children. “I feel strongly about the issue because we have become so over-the-top when ‘protecting’ children that we are refusing to let them learn the lessons of self-reliance and problem-solving that they will need to be successful as adults.”
Jonathan Haidt wrote, “This is wonderful news; could be a turning point in America’s long slide into oversupervision of kids… let them walk to school, play in parks, without putting parents at risk of being charged with neglect.”
Anything can happen. But I hate the idea that imagination becomes the basis of law.
Lenore Skenazy coined the term free-range parenting about a decade ago believes, “We live in a fear-infused culture in which we’ve lost perspective on safety. Common activities like leaving a child in a car are often presented as though they pose enormous threats to our safety. Yes, anything can happen. But I hate the idea that imagination becomes the basis of law.”
Leave your fears behind
There is risk in our world and life. Teach your kids to have common sense. Know your neighbors. Strengthen your community. Don’t give in to fear! What do you think? Please leave your comments below and be sure to FOLLOW ClearHeath Life Strategies. We provide News of the News You Wish You Knew.