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How Freerange Parenting Can Boost Your Family

parenting Feb 25, 2023
freerange parenting

What Is Freerange Parenting? A Definition

Freerange parenting is a parenting philosophy that emphasizes giving children a high degree of independence and autonomy, often with limited parental supervision. The concept is based on the idea that children are naturally curious and capable, and that they should be allowed to explore and learn on their own without excessive adult intervention.

Free-range parenting is all about encouraging children to take risks and make mistakes, which advocates argue are important for building resilience and developing self-confidence. Parents who practice free-range parenting may allow their children to walk to school or the park alone, to play unsupervised with other children, and to make decisions about their own activities and interests.

If you want to know if you're a Freerange Parent - take our free parenting style quiz here

The Freerange Parent philosophy is a movement that Lenor Skinnazi inadvertently kickstarted in 2008 after an article she wrote in the New York Sun went viral. In this article, she described her decision to allow her nine-year-old child to ride the subway home alone in New York City. In the article, she talked about this decision being made as part of her approach to free-range parenting.

But this led to her being named the world's worst mum later that year and prompted many people to start exploring what the negative reaction was, as well as the pros and cons of free-range parenting. 


Why is it important to give children the freedom to explore and learn independently?

A British survey from 2021 found that today's parents were allowed to play outside unsupervised from the average age of nine. Now it's age eleven. So this is a giant step in just one generation and we're not letting kids play outside by themselves until puberty. And of course, all of this was exacerbated by the pandemic, which was literally it was unsafe to play outside. So this fear is important to consider. Unstructured time is a very important aspect of free-range parenting which promotes unstructured play and exploration. Children are given the space and freedom to follow their own interests and curiosity without being overly scheduled or over-supervised. This really helps children develop creativity and independence. Self-motivation.

There was a survey of eight to 13-year-olds in the first two months of lockdown and they reported themselves to be more likely to be happy than sad. 71% said that it was because their parents were letting them do more things on their own. And 72% reported that they enjoyed finding and trying new things to do to fill their time. And what's super cute is when they were asked what sort of things that they were doing is the things that I take for granted, like playing in the garden, playing with bugs and finally being able to play with my brother. But these are really cute, traditional things, but are coming back.

Giving children the freedom to explore and learn independently is an important part of their development. It allows them to gain confidence and develop their problem-solving skills, creativity, and resourcefulness a function of development that is very much needed. It also encourages them to use their own initiative and discover their passions. By giving children the freedom to explore and learn in their own way, parents can give them the confidence to take risks and try new things, which can help them develop into successful, independent adults.

What are the benefits of free-range parenting?

There are definitely some benefits of free-range parenting, including helping children develop self-resilience, independence, and problem-solving skills. And if done properly, there are even benefits around parents teaching the importance of personal responsibility and safety

Because there's an emphasis on personal choice, the role that parents play in the limits and boundaries that they do set for their children are much more clear and defined. Free-range parenting stands in opposition of the everyday fear, which is the fear that parents often feel today about the safety and well-being of their children.

Freerange parenting offers a range of benefits for both kids and their parents. For kids, it encourages independent thinking and exploration, allowing them to develop their problem-solving skills and creativity. It also helps them gain confidence and resilience, as well as learn to trust their own judgment. For parents, it gives them a sense of comfort in knowing their child is developing important skills while still being safe. It also gives parents the chance to bond with their child in ways that traditional parenting methods don't allow.

Free-range parenting is an approach to raising children that emphasizes giving them the freedom to explore and learn independently. Unlike more traditional parenting approaches which focus on controlling kids and teaching them strict rules and regulations, freerange parenting allows children to develop at their own pace and learn from the natural consequences of their actions.

Freerange parenting can offer a range of benefits for both kids and their parents. Here are just a few of the advantages of this parenting style:

• Freerange parenting gives kids the opportunity to learn and grow on their own, helping them to develop skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and independence.

• Freerange parenting allows parents to spend quality time with their children without having to be constantly directing or disciplining them. This can lead to a more positive and supportive family environment.

• Freerange parenting encourages kids to be curious and creative, and can help them to develop a lifelong love of learning.

• Freerange parenting teaches kids to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions, which can help them become more resilient and independent when they become adults.

Things to Consider With Freerange Parenting

As with any approach to parenting, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and challenges associated with free-range parenting.

There are definitely some challenges of free-range parenting, including the fear and criticism that come from other parents and the wider community. And I think the media has begun to report a steady stream of legal actions taken against parents who opt for this sort of long-leash parenting style. Parents have been charged with neglect and endangerment for allowing their kids to engage in various activities, like walking to school or cycling in the streets or playing in the park without close supervision. Yet all of those activities were part of a normal childhood experience only one generation ago. So parents who defy the new parenting orthodoxy risk serious legal consequences, ranging from having their children taken away to criminal prosecution. 

Free-range parenting, then, isn't for everyone, and it's important to find the right parenting style that works for you and your family. But if you're interested in learning more about free-range parenting, there are plenty of resources out there, including books and blogs, and online communities. 


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