9 Things Only Free-Range Parents Can Understand

free range kidThese days, there are two basic camps when it comes to raising kids: The uber-involved "helicopter parent," or the more laissez-faire "free-range parent." Not sure where you fall on the parenting-style spectrum? Well, if you've ever let your kid play in the backyard alone, it's probably the latter!


Free-range parents don't hover, and they don't sweat the small stuff, either. That's because they believe that by letting kids go, we let them grow. Sure, not every parent shares this perspective, but anyone can appreciate the benefits of this retro approach to child-rearing. Still, there are certain things only free-range parents can understand, such as:

1. It's best to call emergency room billing departments between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. because that's when they're the least busy. (You know because you've called at least 43 times this year. Hey, more stitches = more bragging rights.)

2. When you lose track of your kid in the grocery store, you've got a better chance of finding him at the candy aisle than you would asking the cashier to page him over the loudspeaker. No big deal; you wanted some candy anyway! 

3. Shells in the scrambled eggs and pancake batter on the floor -- because you let your kid make her own breakfast -- really doesn't ruin the morning meal.

4. The "stress" of taking a kid dressed like a blind clown to the library is really nothing compared to the stress of having to dress him yourself.

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5. Stepping back and allowing your kids to resolve their own disagreements teaches valuable negotiation skills -- and it's way cheaper than Tae Kwon Do classes!

6. Paint drips and scuff marks on your furniture just add character.

7. Ice cream for dinner (not every day but maybe once a week) is something everyone in the family can enjoy without guilt.

8. Constantly nagging kids to wash their hands just prevents them from building up their immune systems. 

9. As long as you can spot your child somewhere under the piles of dirty socks, empty plates, crumpled-up papers, and battered stuffed animals, the bedroom is clean enough.

Still wondering if you qualify as a free ranger? We can tell you this much: If any of the above statements make sense to you, then a helicopter parent you're not!

What kind of parent are you?

Image via © Halfpoint/iStock 

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