Free Range Children: Good Or Bad Idea?
There’s been a debate over whether it’s best to keep a hawk-eye view of your children or whether they should be allowed to play freely, unsupervised. I don’t believe in extremes. There’s a common ground.
So Your Kids Are ‘Good’?
Even if your children are generally well behaved and rarely get into any trouble, they are still children and don’t understand many things that are dangerous. Stumbling across a bee hive, for example, may seem perfectly harmless to them – even poking at it with a stick – but it’s not harmless. Disturbing a bee hive could get them in serious trouble and could result in a trip to the hospital.
The same applies to coming across an abandoned home or building. I remember when I was a child, it was normal for my peers to climb through an open window of a vacant place, without any concern that it could be unsafe. The only concern was hoping our parents wouldn’t find out.
Whether a child is typically a “good kid” or not makes little difference when it comes to letting him or her be free range. Even if your child is known for making good judgments and is skilled in keeping out of trouble, you just don’t know what others might do. I hate to say this, but it’s true: there are kidnappers and pedophiles in the world, and we don’t know who they are and where they live. It’s more than just knowing your child can make the right decisions, but being protective of your child so certain things don’t just happen out of nowhere, things that your child had no control over.
So I Should Be My Child’s ‘Shadow’? How Is That A Good Idea?
By now you’re probably wondering if that’s what I’m implying. I’m not suggesting you be your older child’s shadow, but definitely if you have small children, be their shadow. Times have changed, and things weren’t entirely safe decades ago, and it’s even worse now. You can’t totally trust that nothing could possibly go wrong, regardless of whether other people are involved or not.
From bad weather to freak accidents, when children are permitted to run off and do whatever they want, there’s no certainty that they will be out of harm’s way.
Of course, you have a life and things to do. I’m not saying everything should revolve around monitoring every detail of your child’s life, but when it comes to letting them run off and do whatever they want, that’s a different story.
Better To Be Safe Than Sorry
It’s totally up to you what you choose for your child, but I highly recommend considering your location and your child’s whereabouts before choosing the free range option. There are many cases of children being abducted or ending up hurt in some way due to not having parental supervision.
It may seem like an inconvenience, but hey, you’re a parent! That’s all a part of being a mom or dad, and it’s not a unique situation to you or anyone else. We all have to make choices for our children, and it’s best that we make the right choices, not what seems more convenient at the time.
Just think about it.