20 Signs You're a Free Range Parent

LOL 31

I first realized I might be a free-range parent when I lost my kid at the playground -- don't worry, it was just for five seconds -- then found her at the tippy top of the jungle gym, grinning, while other kids' mothers hovered nearby saying "Jimmy, be careful." As with any parenting strategy, free-range parenting may have its flaws and catch some flack, but I think it sure beats helicoptering any day!

In case you're curious where you stand on the free-range scale, check these clues below and see if they ring a bell. If so, you're free-range all the way!

1. The word "playdate" makes you break out in hives.

2. You have to calm down other parents and say "he's okay" when your kid falls down.

3. Your kids can walk around barefoot or play in the mud, and that's okay.

4. Your child will NEVER have a cellphone.

5. You have never considered microchipping your kid ... or even your dog for that matter.

6. You have to go outside to find your kids for dinner, and you don't flip if they're five minutes late.

7. A friends of yours comes over and asks, "So, where are your kids?"

8. Your kids know more of your neighbors than you do.

9. When your kids are fighting, you and your spouse make bets on which one will win.

10. The mention of joining the PTA makes you nauseated.

More from The Stir: 20 Signs You're a Helicopter Parent

11. Your kids are covered head to toe in bruises and scrapes, but you have no idea where they came from, nor do you really care.

12. The older kids can help you shop by grabbing the one item you need out of a crowded aisle and meet you at the end of the next.

13. You can say "I'm going to take a shower," and then actually go take a shower, even if the kids are awake. Maybe even spend the extra time shaving your legs and doing your makeup without feeling like you have to check on them that second.

14. Your kid sees you making a sandwich and says she wants one too, and your reply is to hand her the knife and say, "Knock yourself out."

15. You send your boy into the men's room at the store instead of making your preteen weird everybody out in the women's room and have zero concern or guilt about doing so.

16. You're excited -- as opposed to terrified -- the first time your little kid climbs a tree.

17. Your children don't ask for snacks. There is no kid shelf. There are no pre-portioned baggies of chopped fruit or veggies. Your kids know when they're hungry, and if the food is there, they can eat it.

18. You want to back-hand the parents who talk about how anti-contact sports they are.

19. Your kids can use the first-aid kit themselves, and you don't even know they're injured 'til you follow the blood trail to the Band-Aid debris.

20. The kids don't eat dinner until 9 at night and only because it got too dark to stay outside.

How do you know you're a free-range parent?


Image via Alison Henry/Flickr

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P.She... P.Sherman

I dont think im a free range but im not overprotective either. My friend flipped out the other day because my son wasn't wearing a helmet while using his pogo stick. She also doesnt allow her kids to climb trees or ride there bikes over ramps. She monitors how high they jump on our trampoline or how high they swing on the swingset. I have boundries but my son has some bumps and bruises. Hes an active 7 year old boy and allow him to be. He wears shoes outside and I know where he is all the time, but he can still have fun. I think being too overprotective is just as bad as being too free range.

Einyn Einyn

Amen. This is how I do it.

cecil... cecillesmommy

I'm like P. Sherman, there's a balance

adamat34 adamat34

Same here there is a balance I still fix my kids meals cause I love them and love doing it. We live in the country so it's no big deal to build a fort or climb trees here, same way with mud hose them off and leave the shoes on the porch. This whole article is just kids being allowed to be kids in my opinion.

Angel Alcorn

I would just like to know if P. Sherman lives at 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney? If not you should totally move there, lol

Amber... Amber5151

I do every single one of these

Brenda Kalmbach

My parents allowed us to be free-range kids.  I am a bit more strict with my kids but I am still pretty easy-going with them.  That is not to say we don't have rules or don't follow a routine because we do, but as long as I feel they are in safe environment, I will let my oldest out of my sight.  He is 3 and he knows to check in with me periodically.  My youngest is 1 and doesn't yet walk so he is always with me.  In general they are pretty happy, easy-going, laid-back kiddos who know their boundaries. 

nonmember avatar Bea

I am cracking up at Angel's comment. I was thinking the same thing

SandyWT6 SandyWT6

I am about 80% free range. I want my boys to climb trees, but tell them to be careful and sou or check footing while climbing down. I am totally guilty of most of the things above. I want my kids to go out and explore our 10 acres with no neighbors without having me around, it makes their imaginations better too.

Robin Bras

according to this list i am a "free range" parent. although i dont like calling it like that because it makes me think that they are chickens. lol. I love my kids but i dont feel the need to hover over them all the time. theyr'e kids, they're going to make mistakes. just like i did and continue to do.

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