What is Free Range Parenting? And is it legal in Virginia?

Recently, a Silver Spring, Maryland couple has been informed that they are being investigated by CPS for allowing their children (10 years old & 6 years old) to walk to a nearby park unsupervised. Check out the article here. The couple, one a physicist for NIH and the other a climate-science consultant, have defended their actions and assert that they were “free range parenting.”

What is Free Range Parenting?

As opposed to the commonly known term of “helicopter parenting,” free range parents, allow their children the freedom to make important decisions to develop self-reliance. The couple here point out that parenting is an exercise in “risk management.” In their view, a child is much more likely to die from a car accident than to be abducted because they are unsupervised.  And the benefits that come with self-reliance outweigh the risks. 

For you Northern Virginia parents, this case is certainly one to watch. As I’ve stated in my Child Abuse and Neglect Article, many child abuse charges stem from leaving children unsupervised. This case will give you some good guidance on how the prosecutions proceed. 

In Fairfax, the County provides guidelines on how long you should leave children supervised. You can check those guildelines out here

What do you think? Are these parents wrong? Or is the government overreaching?  

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