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"Free-range" kids walk home alone: parents investigated for neglect

 
 
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 10:58 am
A Maryland couple who believe in “free-range” parenting say they are under investigation for allowing their children to walk home alone from a Silver Spring park.

The children are 10 and 6, and the walk home was a mile in length, the Washington Post reports. Police picked up the children on Dec. 20 about halfway through their journey. The children that day weren’t carrying their laminated card that reads, “I am not lost. I am a free-range kid.”

The parents, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, say Montgomery County Child Protective Services has launched a neglect investigation. CPS spokesperson Mary Anderson refused comment on the case, but said neglect investigations typically look for guidance to a state law that says children younger than 8 must be left with a reliable person who is at least 13 years old. The law applies to dwellings, enclosures and vehicles.

Danielle, a climate-science consultant, told the Washington Post that her children have proven themselves responsible. “The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had—basically an old-fashioned childhood,” she said. “I think it’s absolutely critical for their development—to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.”

Alexander Meitiv, a physicist at the National Institutes of Health, also objected to the investigation. “We feel we’re being bullied into a point of view about child-rearing that we strongly disagree with,” he said.

Source
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 11:11 am
I walked farther than that as a kid in the first grade. And, I don't see that it matters if they walk a mile or two blocks, the danger factor should be the same.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 11:52 am
This is not neglet - this is bringing up children to be indeependent and not overprotected. What time of the day was it - during daytime or after sunset?
This is not the first time I am glad that I am not a child and my child is grown up.
Poor kids now adays.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 12:08 pm
@joefromchicago,
In most schools, children don't get a free ride on a bus here if they live less than 2 km from home. So most, especially those in rural regions, walk to school.

Parents are advised from kindergarten onwards, to "test" which their children the daily walk to school.
Most here use a bicycle, I think. (They make their the "bicycle licence" in 2nd or 3rd grade, at the age 7 or 8.)
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 12:21 pm
@joefromchicago,
"Only" three US-states seem to have a law regarding the age when a child might be left alone: Illinois law requires children to be 14 years old before being left alone; in Maryland, the minimum age is 8, while in Oregon, children must be 10 before being left home alone.

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 12:32 pm
@joefromchicago,
We obviously have a very different approach to child care here:

From the German Civil Code [BGB]
Quote:
Section 1626
Parental custody, principles
[...]
(2) In the care and upbringing of the child, the parents take account of the growing ability and the growing need of the child for independent responsible action. They discuss questions of parental custody with the child to the extent that, in accordance with the stage of development of the child, it is advisable, and they seek agreement.
[...]


Staying at home alone and walking alone is seen as a need of the child for independent action.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 12:54 pm
@joefromchicago,
Its just dumb. All kids are different some are very independent and mature at younger ages than others. When I was 11 I used to take care of my baby brother each day after school so my mom could work. My older brother who was 3 years older was not responsible enough for this - but I was. Not to mention I would walk home from school since I don't remember how young.

There were two kids together and the parents felt they were mature and responsible enough to walk home together. What is the problem? Were they doing anything wrong - getting into trouble; doing anything dangerous? I love my neighborhood - kids are running around free-range all the time. My only request is they stay together and keep me informed where they will be (so I can find them if I need to).
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 01:00 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

"Only" three US-states seem to have a law regarding the age when a child might be left alone: Illinois law requires children to be 14 years old before being left alone; in Maryland, the minimum age is 8, while in Oregon, children must be 10 before being left home alone.

In our defense, Illinois has had some bad experiences with kids who are left home alone.

http://www.shebudgets.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/11/Home-Alone-2.jpg
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 01:14 pm
@joefromchicago,
Big Noise from Winnetka ...
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 01:50 pm
I thought this was some kind of dystopian fiction when I read it.

When I was 7, I was one several kids my age who walked home from school.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 02:09 pm
@Kolyo,
When I started school with 6 years, all (about 30 in my class) went or cycled to school - a few up to 6 km.
And at high school ("Gymnasium"), I visited my friend with a bicycle in the afternoon (and vis-versa): 18 kilometres, aged 10 years.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 02:30 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
I've just read the online version of tomorrow's local paper
Quote:
Selbstbehauptung für Kids
GESEKE - Ein Selbstbehauptungskurs für Kinder von sechs bis neun Jahren findet am Samstag, 31. Januar, ab 10 Uhr im Familienzentrum Senfkorn statt. (Bitte die Kinder allein kommen lassen!) Anmeldung unter Tel. (02942) xxx oder xxx.

Assertiveness for Kids: a cours in advertiveness für children between six and nine years is offered ... at the family centre Mustard Seed ... (Please let the children come on their own.)
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 03:03 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
I lived in the country most all of my life and Ive been a "free range kid". The wonders of the world need to be experienced without some douche bag adult hanging around directing your every minute.

I would often avoid taking the schoolbus home and my buddies Joel, Irv, and Jimmy would walk home by the Conestoga Creek. Irvhad a trap line and hed check his traps on our way home.
By the time we made it home in winter time, it would be dark.
I guess my parents woulda been up against the wall if that were today.

Course, we were allowed to carry our shotguns to school ND KEEP THEM IN THE lockup box on the school bus or , if we walked, the teachers lounge till the day was over and we could get off early and go hunting.(Pa had the largest number of hunters per capita till
ALaska joined up).

I suppose we will never go bak to that time. When my son was small the "hunting rules were dumped in the wastecan and the NO GUNS IN SCHOOL RULES BEGAN"
My son walked home a lot but mostly cause he was on detention (doin the jug)

0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 03:15 pm
I agreed with the article, read it this morning.

It would, I guess, depend on the neighborhood street culture, the ability of the child, and so on, but in most situations I'd be for the walks.

I lived near my schools, so walking to them was easy, but in our Chicago suburb in the fifties, we used to roam far and wide in daytime, one or two of us, or a group. Or roller skate, or bicycle.

My bro in law taught my niece when she was quite young how to cross the Los Angeles area by bus. That is a hugh area! I was sort of amazed at the time. He taught her a lot of self reliance stuff and she has grown up to be quite a capable woman.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  3  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 04:58 pm
For me, this is totally unreal and unbelievable. "Free range" kids? I'd never considered the possibility of any other kind. From about age 6 on, I walked everywhere and anywhere I wished. I don't recall that anyone ever took me to school. Elementary school was always within walking distance and I took a city bus to high school with special student vouchers. This is bizarre.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 05:00 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
weren't you sad on the day when all the dinosaurs died? Wink
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 05:03 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

weren't you sad on the day when all the dinosaurs died? Wink


Hadn't been paying them that much attention. But I still miss the pterodactyls.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 06:52 pm
When i was a child, especially on Saturday afternoons, i doubt if half the parents in town had any idea where their children were, or what they were doing. Of course, if it were summer and the child in question were 13 or older, they were probably working--baling hay, picking fruit, cutting corn out of the beans or cutting beans out the corn, and a lot of other less pleasant forms of farm labor.

On one occasion, my brothers were playing football, and my oldest brother was tackled, falling on a broken coke bottle in the tall grass. It slit open his thigh, but the worst part was that it tore his new levis. My other brother got old rags to make a pressure dressing on the cut, and they set me to wash and sew up the jeans, since i was the best hand with a needle of the three of us. By the time my grandmother noticed the patched jeans, they were no long brand new, and my brother lied with a straight-face about an accident with a baling hook.

Had there been a child protective services on vigilant watch at the time, i supposed we'd have been put in foster homes, and my grandparents locked up for the rest of their unnatural lives.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 07:22 pm
The limits to letting kids run free are evident to most of us. I did know one man who opened the door for his three or four year old kid and let him run free as long as he wished and never thought it necessary to check on him. That bothered me. Generally we know when to let them run without some agency interfering.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  4  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2015 08:02 pm
"Be back by dark" was about all the supervision I had growing up. Getting lost in the woods and wandering for miles before I found a trail or road I knew is what taught me how not to get lost in the woods. I never felt the need to tell anybody I'd spent half the day lost. Those were good times...
 

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