free range parenting


This Parenting Style Gives Kids All the Freedom

What type of parenting style do you have? As a parent, you likely fit into one of the many parenting styles that have been created, some of which have been debated amongst parents for a long time.

Authoritative parenting

Authoritative parenting is when parents encourage children to be independent but still place limits on their actions, and will set standards for their behaviour. Parents understand how their children are feeling and teach them how to regulate their feelings, helping them to find appropriate outlets to solve problems. They also expect mature, independent, and age-appropriate behaviour, and will punish for misbehaviour, not arbitrary or violent.

Authoritarian parenting

Authoritarian parenting is demanding without direction, explanation or feedback on the child’s behaviour. Corporal punishment, such as spanking, and shouting are forms of discipline frequently preferred by authoritarian parents. The goal of this style of parenting is to teach the child to behave, and ultimately be prepared to survive and thrive in the real world.

Indulgent parenting

Indulgent parenting, also called permissive, non-directive, lenient or libertarian, is a style of parenting in which parents are very involved with their children but place few demands or controls on them. Parents are nurturing and accepting, and are responsive to the child’s needs and wishes, acting more as a “friend” than a disciplinarian. The expectations of the child are very low, and there is little discipline. Permissive parents also allow children to make their own decisions, giving them advice as a friend would. This type of parenting is very lax, with few punishments or rules.

Freestyle parenting – off grid parenting

There is also another newer style of parenting, even more, lenient than lenient/indulgent parenting perhaps, which is known as free-range, freestyle parenting or “off-grid” parenting. This is a laissez-faire style of parenting and includes ditching traditional concepts like bedtimes, modern medicine, potty-training and even school.

When it comes to education, these parents’ off-grid method involved not even homeschooling, but unschooling, a somewhat newer term in which kids learn things they want to learn and at their own pace. Parents teach these children what they believe is important, opting out of the more traditional curriculum practised in the school system and even homeschooling. Instead of engaging with other children in classrooms, their “freestyle” education has these children choosing their own learning subjects, even if that means painting or playing outside.

The parenting method that lets kids make the decisions all on their own, without any rules or regulations, or input or guidance from their parents. This mother of three Vickie, from Hull, U.K. practices ‘unschooling’ with her children, according to the BBC. She has taken her children out of the school system and allowed them to decide what to learn on their own schedule. Even more, the kids decide what and when to eat, and when to go to bed.

Watch the video to learn more:

What do you think about this style of parenting?


When Should Kids Walk To School or Park Alone?

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv allow their two children, Rafi and Dvora, to play outdoors without adult supervision. They believe in “free-range” parenting, a movement where children learn independence by being allowed to make choices and venture out in the world on their own.

The couple allowed their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter to walk to and from a Maryland park, one mile away, in December. Someone noticed Rafi and Dvora playing alone at the park and called the authorities. Now, the couple is being investigated for neglect.

Neglect – for allowing their kids to have some independence to go to the local park on their own. Is this crazy talk? Was the person who notified authorities justified in making the call?

Oh how I’m glad we grew up when we did…  all the neighbourhood kids would play outside for hours without any parent supervision, only to go home for dinner. We’d play hide and seek until dusk. I remember being in grade one or two and walking a kilometre to go to school and back for lunch – without having someone call the police. Some may say parents back then, in the 1970s and 1980s, were too casual and lax in their parenting style. But we survived and gained a sense of self-reliance.

Today my kids walk to school, which is just across the street, and I let them go on their own while I watch from the window. They play outside without supervision, and sometimes I’ll let them venture to the school to play there. How will they ever learn to cross the street if I’m always there to hold their hand? I feel that giving them a little bit of freedom will test their decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Of course a parent must feel their children are ready for some independence. Not all children have the same readiness at one particular age. But once a parent feels confident that the child understands what to do and who to call if something were to happen, they should be given a little bit of freedom.

Whether you can believe it or not, crime is lower today than it was when we were growing up. Media sensationalism proves otherwise and with social media making news available as it happens, parents can’t help feel more of a need to protect our children.

When is an appropriate age to allow your children to walk to school, or go to the park alone?


Update: The state found the parents responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect, which means CPS will keep a file on the family for at least five years and leaves open the question of what would happen if the Meitiv children get reported again for walking without adult supervision.


What do you think?