Free-range parenting is the concept of raising children in the spirit of encouraging them to function independently and with limited parental supervision, in accordance of their age of development and with a reasonable acceptance of realistic personal risks. It is seen as the opposite of helicopter parenting. A notable text of the movement is Lenore Skenazy's book Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry (2009).
Hoping to enhance psychoanalysis in the pediatric world, Spock authored a book called The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care. The book, which was released in 1946 and soon became a best seller, encouraged free-range parenting with the hopes of implementing Freudian philosophy into child-rearing. American journalist Lenore Skenazy has written about the problems of overparenting and overprotection of kids with a particular emphasis on allowing kids to have appropriate levels of freedom and responsibility for their age while still keeping them safe. Her book, Free Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had without Going Nuts with Worry: 256 and her related website (April 2008) describe what she sees as the horrors of mainstream schooling, parenting, and organised activities, highlighting the unnecessary protection from risk that limits children's opportunity to mature properly into independent adults, and the unnecessary training, even in using flash cards for preschoolers, thereby limiting their opportunities for personal growth.
The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (March 2017)
In the United States, free-range parenting is limited by laws in many states restricting children's autonomy, such as how old a child must be to walk to school alone. In Massachusetts, such issues are generally addressed on a case-by-case basis. Other states, such as Delaware, or Colorado, based on states' child labor laws, will investigate reports of any child under the age of 12 being left alone, whereas other states, like North Carolina, have firm laws that stipulate a child under 8 should not be left home alone. Only three states specify a minimum age for leaving a child home alone. These include Illinois which requires children to be 14 years old, in Maryland, the minimum age is 8, and in Oregon 10. The perception of what constitutes neglect varies a lot depending on the State Law in place, the age of the children and if an injury occurred or not.
In December 2015, however, new federal law contained an amendment added by Sen. Mike Lee stating that:
There is no legal consensus about when parents can leave their children unsupervised in Canada. However, according to section 218 of the Criminal Code of Canada, a person who "unlawfully abandons or exposes a child who is under the age of ten years, so that its life is or is likely to be endangered or its health is or is likely to be permanently injured" commits a criminal offence. Each province is responsible for its legal framework. Red Cross Canada is offering a training course for children between the age of 9 and 13 (Stay Safe!) to improve their capacity to respond to an emergency case if they stay home alone, suggesting that parents use their own discretion when it comes to their own individual children. The Red Cross babysitting course targets the 11 to 15 years old, suggesting at this age children are able to supervise younger children effectively and safely.
In Ontario, the law is very vague concerning the age at which children might be left alone. Parents are responsible for their children until they are 16 years old but it does not mean that they should be under constant parental supervision. While a staying home age is not specified, parents are not permitted to leave their children unattended in vehicles.
|last2=has generic name (help)