Thursday, April 30, 2015

PROTECT Executive Director Grier Weeks was quoted today in a news article about "free-range parenting." He released the following brief statement to make his position clear.

"I was quoted today in the Jewish Weekly on the subject of “free-range parenting.” I was asked by the reporter about a situation where a six-year old child was allowed to wander around an urban area without adult supervision. A lot of us were raised this way. It worked out great for some of us — and not so much for others.

"I want to make one thing very clear. The danger of letting very young children wander alone in public is not primarily “stranger-danger.” The likely risk to a young child out in the world without regular adult supervision is not a stranger in a ski mask, it’s a friendly adult who enters the child’s circle of trust gradually to fill a vacuum. But either way, a child alone gets noticed.

"If your definition of “free-range parenting” is teaching kids independence, allowing risk-taking with a safety net and building physical bravery, that’s great. I don’t know the facts of the specific case reported in this story and wouldn’t take a position on a specific case even if I did.

"If, on the other hand, you are so committed to a philosophy of the world as a safe place for children that you use your kids to prove it, that’s just wrong. The world is not a safe place for children, and children rely on adults to be the ones who have that part of the deal covered, so they can be kids."