“Free-Range” Parenting

by Bob Doman

Utah just passed the first “free-range” parenting law in the country. Hurray, Utah! As many of you parents are aware, it has become increasingly more difficult to raise our children without interference. The new law redefines “child neglect,” allowing parents to use common sense.

The new law redefines neglect so that you now can now permit a child, (without fear of child protective services coming after you) whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity, to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, or to engage in independent activities, including:

  • Traveling to and from school, including by walking, running, or bicycling
  • Traveling to and from nearby commercial or recreational facilities
  • Engaging in outdoor play
  • Remaining in a vehicle unattended, except under appropriately defined circumstances
  • Remaining at home unattended; or engaging in a similar independent activity

Teaching children to be independent and responsible is a cornerstone to helping them develop into capable adults. More and more children are being “raised” under a protective umbrella and are not being given the opportunity to learn independence and responsibility and to think for themselves.

All of you parents living outside of Utah, beware you may get arrested and prosecuted for using your common sense and your understanding of your child when making decisions regarding their independence and safety.

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