Free-Range Parenting Redux

Exploring the woods at Fairhaven School. En garde!

In the news recently, Utah state legislators passed a “free-range parenting” bill. Here’s an excerpt from the story in the Washington Post:

The measure, sponsored by Utah state Sen. Lincoln Fillmore (R), exempts from the definition of child neglect various activities children can do without supervision, permitting “a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities …”

Those activities include letting children “walk, run or bike to and from school, travel to commercial or recreational facilities, play outside and remain at home unattended.” The law does not say what the “sufficient age” is.

Read the entire article here. While we do not advocate political positions as a school, we applaud any cultural movement towards giving children more responsibility! We wrote about a local “free-range parenting” kerfuffle in this space in 2015 in a post called “Fostering Independence.”

As the years go by, and we see more and more Fairhaven students and alumni embrace independence and responsibility as society takes baby steps in our direction, our bottom line remains the same:

“Here at Fairhaven School, as the cultural debate continues, we will continue to provide a safe, lively place where young people dictate the terms of their own lives, day in and day out. They take risks, they discover limits, and they explore both the outer world and their inner selves. The process is transformative, difficult, and liberating, and we think it is precisely what life should include.”

Mark McCaig


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