While most parents cannot be slotted strictly into any one type of parent, we all do tend to follow certain broad parenting styles, so that when a particular parenting style is being discussed we can identify with at least some facets of this.
As helicopter parenting becomes more of a trend, with overscheduled, over supervised kids, the equal opposite of this, Free Range Parenting is also gaining popularity, where by contrast, children are just allowed to be!
While free range parenting does invite a lot of criticism (many call it lazy parenting) there are the following good points about it as well:
It is about giving kids the freedom we grew up with
As writer Lenore Skenazy says in her book Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry we champion the need to let chickens roam free and unsupervised so why don’t we give our children the same freedom.
Most of us are parents who grew up in the 70’s or the 80’s and probably enjoyed the freedom to do our own thing with our friends, so long as we made it back home at a particular time each day.
Now however, rightly or wrongly we perceive the world as being more dangerous and deny our kids the same freedoms. Also both parents working means that it is not possible to give kids the kind of freedom that we probably took for granted.
Free range parenting can reduce kids’ reliance on TV, computer games and so on
If a child has reasonably unfettered access to the outdoors, to play with friends and neighbor’s kids and so on, they are less likely to be stuck indoors with the TV, computer and video games.
Kids can go out and form real relationships and grow up in an environment that is more natural and healthy.
Free range parenting is also about teaching kids responsibility and self reliance
When a child is constantly supervised and all of his or her time scheduled this offers little opportunity for the child to become independent and self reliant.
Also when a child is constantly told what to do, when and how, this doesn’t offer much opportunity to develop a sense of responsibility for one’s own actions.
Free range parenting is not about hands-off parenting; rather it is about giving a child freedom and also preparing him or her to act responsibly. How and how much a parent should step back should depend upon the child’s age and maturity, their ability to follow rules and so on.