Free Range Parents: Take Care of Your Kids!

Rant 42

Free Range ParentingEvery day after school, I try to get my kids to burn some energy and play outside. Because my kids range in age from eight down to two, I'm right there with them. But without a doubt, they're always joined by the three neighbor kids whose free range parents let them roam our subdivision unattended.

And as much as I love the idea of free range parenting, I'm getting pretty annoyed that I'm basically in charge of these kids while they're out playing. And I have to wonder who will be responsible for these kids when they get hurt.

Personally, I think they're still too young (10, 5, and 3) to be left to their own devices, perhaps because they generally ride their bikes around in the middle of the street or the older kids come careening down the hill on roller skates holding the toddler. And as someone who cares about the welfare of all kids, not just my own, I feel that I do need to tell them to get out of street or perhaps not come down an extremely steep hill while holding a baby, not just for their own safety but because they're setting a bad example for my kids who are not allowed to cross the street without permission. 

However, I've got enough to worry about chasing my own children around, so I decided that I just can't be responsible for them as well. But now I'm worried about what will happen if they injure themselves while they're outside with my kids. It's not like we had a playdate set up or formal arrangement with their parents. Even if I'm not legally responsible, I think I'd still feel a bit guilty if I just let them do whatever they wanted without saying anything.

This isn't just a problem in my subdivision; try playgrounds when parents just let their older kids run wild. Am I supposed to keep an eye on them when they're harrassing my kids, trampling over my toddlers, or worse, doing stupid stuff that's going to get them hurt?

Sure, kids will be kids, but who are they going to blame when they fall flat on their face right in front of me?

I'm all for giving kids more freedom and independence, but not when it's an inconvenience for or a burden on another parent. It's too bad not everyone seems to feel the same way.

What do you do when parents just let their kids run wild?


photo via Flickr/chefranden

elementary school


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Venae Venae

Jessica Ridgeway.  Cut into pieces and left in a field.  Just walking 3 blocks to meet friends for school.  Yet there are parents like the above who could care less where their children are.  I just don't get it.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

It doesn't matter how safe your neighborhood is, there is always someone who is up to no good. 

MamaD... MamaDV1012

There is a group of these kids in every neighborhood unfortunately.  I focus on the things I can control, how MY kids are raised. 

cmjaz cmjaz

I live in an apartment complex where the same group of boys from about 8 to 3 years old climb the huge dumpster in our parking lot. I'm sitting there looking around for the parents and there are none. The kids do it every weekend for about an hour and not once have I seen a parent. I've told them to get down before they break their necks a few times but its not my responsibility. However, the parents obviously don't think its their resonsibility either. It makes me angry. Anyone could snatch those cuties up and parents wouldn't figure it out for hours. Just disgusting.

peanu... peanutsmommy1

Kids are no less safe playing outside today then when we were kids, we just didnt have the internet to spread it. I refuse to raise my child in a bubble. Yes I supervise him when necessary, but he also has the autonomy to play unsupervised when appropriate

Anna Potts

one i live right by where that girl disapeared from to soon and very tactless. two parent your own kids bad influences are just bad excusses for you not controling your own kids. if you are so dam worried about your little ones then take them else where.


amazz... amazzonia

No you are not in charge of those kids, sorry but I can't stand parents like you,one thing is if you see a kid running in the middle of the street, but running wild in a playground?!? That's what they are for, so kids can run around and have fun. I trust my kids and I know what their limits are, I have an 18 month old that loves to climb, most parents freek out when they see her, but why should you freek out if I don't? I love her and I don't want her to get hurt, but I know what she can and can't do, and if I have to worry about every bruse and scrape she could get playing I wold just be denying her the freedom to be happy! Bumps happen is part of life, she will learn from those falls, if i'm always there to catch her she will never learn to improve herself

tyrel... tyrelsmom

Mind your own business and you wouldn't have a problem. But you can't be content with hovering over your own kids, you need to hover over someone else's too?

Jespren Jespren

If she wanted you to take care of her kids she would have asked you. You're only so 'burdened' because you are apparently too neurotic to let kids play. An 8 year old who can't cross a street without your express permission? Go ahead and coddle and hover your own kids all you want. Just leave the kids who are happily playing, as kids do and have done all over the world throughout time, alone. If mom is comfortable enough to let them go play, she's not looking to hold a stray neighbor legally responsible if someone scrapes a knee, we'll leave that kind of insanity to the helicopter parents.

jhslove jhslove

As long as their behavior isn't impacting me or my child's safety, I leave it alone. It's not my responsibility to police someone else's kids.

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