‘Free-range’ parenting vs. ‘helicopter parenting’

WASHINGTON — The parents of 10 – and 6-year-old children who were allowed to walk a mile home from a Silver Spring, Maryland park are being investigated for neglect.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say the county’s Child Protective Services began investigating them after police stopped their son and daughter about half-way through their walk home on Dec. 20. Police say they stopped the children and drove them home after someone reported seeing them.

The Meitivs say they’re responsible parents who are teaching their children self-reliance and responsibility. They say the investigation infringes on their parental rights and invades their privacy.

Child Protective Services declined to confirm whether they’re investigating the Meitivs, but pointed to Maryland law, which defines child neglect as failure to properly care for and supervise a child.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they believe in “free range” parenting, as opposed to “helicopter parenting.”

Alexander Meitiv says he was forced to sign a safety plan with Montgomery County pledging he would not leave his children unsupervised.

 What do you think? How much freedom should parents have to let their kids stay home alone or walk home alone?  Should parents be allowed to make this kind of decision on how much freedom to give their kids? Or does this go too far? What kind of limits need to be in place with young children?

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP and WTOP on Facebook.

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