If there’s one thing that children of the 70s and 80s have in common, it’s that our childhoods were marked by the freedom to roam. Adults of all stripes were fine with this. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case.
Two months ago, the Meitiv family of Silver Spring, Maryland committed the unthinkable act of letting their children walk home alone from the park (insert sarcasm). This week, county Child Protective Services labeled their case “unsubstantiated child neglect.” So now CPS will keep an open file and an eye on the Meitivs.
Sometimes it feels like the world’s gone mad. At least I’m not alone. Hanging at the car repair waiting room yesterday, a diverse group of strangers came to the same conclusion: let kids be kids. And let parents parent (unless there is true neglect or abuse, which is the opposite of parenting).
On a related note: rather than spending limited taxpayer resources and time on investigating parents who allow their kids some freedom, what if we redirected those resources to to figuring out how to provide affordable childcare to those who want it but can’t afford it? That seems the far more pressing parenting/policy issue.
More of my thoughts in my latest New York Times piece entitled Letting Children Take Risks: When Does it Make You a Risky Parent? Thanks for reading.