Apr 14, 2015

'Free range' parenting is negligent parenting

Maryland parents Danielle and Sasha Meitiv are under public scrutiny right now because of their unorthodox views on parenting -- and I'm using the word "parenting" very loosely. They've been in the media before for allowing their children to wander freely without adult supervision, even in situations where it would seem completely inappropriate by normal standards. Back in January they were investigated for child neglect for allowing their very young children (ages 10 and 6) walk home, even using subways by their selves. Now they're being accused of the same thing all over again -- to no surprise -- for leaving  the two youngsters alone at a park. Just last month they were both found negligent by Child Protective Services -- yet these kids were not removed from the home. What will happen now?

These two "parents" are incredibly reckless, and have clear disregard for the law surrounding the care of their children, which indicates to me that they care very little about whether or not they remain in their children's lives. After all, Child Protective Services will take your kids away and this is very common knowledge. So to purposely continue the behavior that got them in trouble for neglect -- just a month later -- tells me that they just don't want to be parents.

They call their style of parenting "free range parenting," which is a clear play of words off of the popular "free range chicken" that produces better eggs, apparently. It hurt to even type that sentence, so I imagine that the Meitiv's didn't put very much thought into the concept itself. It's sort of an oppositional form of parenting from "helicopter parenting," but both are very extreme ways to raise children. On one hand, you have parents that never leave their children's sides, inhibiting their ability to full flourish and bloom as social beings among their peers -- and on the other hand you have parents like Danielle and Saha who show their kids that they have to fend for themselves because nobody will be there for them.

With what I do for a living, I can't help but feel horrified at the thought of "free range parenting." Sure, stranger abduction is the rarest form of child abduction, with the majority of crimes against children being committed by adults known to or related to the victims. Nonetheless, children who are unsupervised, are more likely to be targeted by those predators who do commit stranger abductions. Unfortunately, in the majority of those types of abductions, the victim is murdered within three hours. The last time the Meitiv's were in trouble for leaving their children alone at a park, the window of time was two to three hours before Danielle even knew that CPS had taken custody of them. If they had been kidnapped during that time, they would have already been dead and this story would have much more tragic details to highlight.

What do you guys think about all of this?