“Helicopter” parents is a relatively new term coined to point fingers at those moms and dads out there that hover and supervise their child’s every move; regardless of age.
Whatever happened to the idea of allowing kids to be kids; letting them run around the playground, play in dirt, and ride their bikes to their heart’s content; sometimes under their parents’ eye, but age-appropriate kids should also be given a little independence.
CNN recently advised that while helicopter parents might snub their noses at the techniques of child-rearing by free-range parents, the state of Utah is standing up to support this idea. Governor Gary Herbert recently signed a bill that would make it okay for parents to let their kids do simple things like the above, without parental supervision. This is said to be the first state within America to allow such a law to go through.
Essentially, the state changed the way it viewed the legal definition of neglect. This means that parents won’t get the book thrown at them if they let their kiddos do partake in activities like walking to the store or school by themselves, playing in front of the house on their own, or staying home alone; as long as they have hit the age to be able to do these types of tasks on their lonesome.
Republican state Senator Lincoln Fillmore, the lawmaker sponsoring the legislation, stated the goal of the bill was to keep state agencies and officials from arresting caregivers and parents when it came to the above type situations. He chimed in stating allowing your kid to experience childhood is not neglect. He went further to state that parents do need to protect children; however, we aren’t doing them any favors when they are sheltered to the extent that they cannot learn to function.
It’s important to note, the bill does not outline what exact age children are allowed to be on their own.
The free-ranging parenting movement built momentum in and around 2008 when Lenore Skenazy, mom living in New York, author and TV host published the book Free-Range Kids. Skenazy was dubbed the ‘worst mom’ on earth after she wrote a story about why she allowed her son to hop on the subway on his own at the age of nine.
All families are different; all kids are different; all parenting styles are different. As long as children aren’t being neglected, mentally or physically abused, and they are thriving, we should allow children to be children and parents the ability to parent.