And what is a ‘free range’ parent, you ask? Apparently, it is just a parent who believes that children who are mature enough to exercise common sense don’t need to be supervised by an adult literally every second of their lives. Prior to the advent of the cult of helicopter parenting about 25 years ago, what is now called ‘free range’ was the view of parenting held by virtually every parent in the history of the human race. Those parenting practices that date from time immemorial are now apparently illegal.
The Maryland parents investigated for letting their young children walk home by themselves from a park were found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect in a decision that has not fully resolved their clash with authorities over questions of parenting and children’s safety.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv hoped the nationally debated case — which has lit up social media and brought a dozen television film crews to their Silver Spring home — would be dismissed after a two-month investigation by Montgomery County Child Protective Services.
But the finding of unsubstantiated child neglect 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.
The parents say they will continue to allow their son, Rafi, 10, and daughter Dvora, 6, to play or walk together, and won’t be swayed by the CPS finding.
“We don’t feel it was appropriate for an investigation to start, much less conclude that we are responsible for some form of child neglect,” said Danielle Meitiv, who said she and her husband plan to appeal and worry about being investigated again by CPS.
The parents “plan to appeal” a finding of “unsubstantiated child neglect”? If the charge is unsubstantiated, what is there to appeal? How can anyone be guilty if the state has not substantiated the charge? George Orwell, call your office.
Here’s a thought: if the CPS bureaucrats can’t substantiate a charge, then they should STFU and STFD. And instead of the bureaucrats keeping a file on citizens, the citizens should be keeping a file on the bureaucrats.
The case dates to Dec. 20, when police picked up the two Meitiv children walking in Silver Spring on a Saturday afternoon after someone reported them. The parents said that they gradually let the pair take walks on their own and that their children knew the area, which is along busy Georgia Avenue.
The Meitivs said they would not have allowed the one-mile outing from Woodside Park to their home if they did not feel their children were up to it. The siblings made it halfway before police stopped them.
Here’s another idea. The police, instead of busying themselves taking kids off the streets should focus on…wait for it…taking criminals off the streets. That way, we’d all be able to safely walk the streets.
Come to think of it, when the state says that the streets aren’t safe for a 10 year old, isn’t that an admission of utter failure? The state’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of citizens. If the streets aren’t safe, then the state has failed in its primary responsibility. Ironically, if the state is correct in asserting that a 10 year old cannot safely walk the streets, that’s an indictment not of the parents, but of the state itself.
The Meitivs, both scientists by training, embrace a “free-range” philosophy of parenting, believing that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to make choices, build independence and progressively experience the world on their own.
Both scientists? Pffft. What do they know? The CPS bureaucrats are the experts. They know better. In fact, maybe all parents should give up their children at birth to be raised by government bureaucrats. Isn’t that how it worked in Huxley’s Brave New World?
Though children have played unsupervised for generations, the so-called “free-range” movement goes back to 2008, when New York journalist Lenore Skenazy wrote a piece titled “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone.”
Skenazy, who developed a following for pushing back against what many see as a culture of helicopter parenting, said Monday that the Meitiv case follows others that raise similar issues but that it became the “walk heard round the world.”
“I think it has shifted the national narrative,” she said, suggesting that people have reacted with more concern about government intrusion and less focus on predator danger.
“The go-to narrative in the last 20 or 30 years for parents was, ‘Take your eyes off your kid for even a second and he’ll be snatched.’ What the Meitiv case did was pivot the story to: ‘Give your kid one second of freedom and the government will arrest you.’
The ABC News video report included some choice comments from soi-disant ‘parenting expert’ Stacy Kaiser.
As parents our role is to teach our children and give them the tools along the way, while giving them just enough space to try things out on their own. These parents are giving their children too much space.
But if that is true, then parents since the dawn of time have usually given their children too much space. When our dad was a kid, he often played unsupervised in Brooklawn Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts. One time, a tree in the park had been partially knocked down by the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. Our dad climbed up on that tree, fell off, and broke his arm. He was seven years old. We can only imagine how much trouble our grandparents would have gotten into if that had happened today instead of in 1938.
File under: We Hardly Recognize this Country Anymore.