Parents Who Let Kids Walk Around the Block Accused of Neglect

kids walkingDanielle and Sasha Meitiv have two kids -- 10-year-old Rafi and 6-year-old Dvora. They live in Silver Spring, Maryland, and allow the kids to go for walks together without adult supervision. This landed the family in a bit of trouble and they are now under investigation of Child Protective Services. Helicopter parents, they are not. They are more free-range, but it's clear some of their neighbors thought it was neglect and called the cops on them.


It's not like the Meitivs let the kids live in a separate cottage where these kids are left to fend for themselves. The Meitivs are mindful of their parenting -- they make sure they have quality time together, eat dinner as a family, they have bedtimes and routines, and they make sure the kids don't over-do it on the sweets or TV. They seem like great parents. But because they let their children walk around the neighborhood together, their parenting is being questioned. Mom Danielle said:

I grew up in New York City in the 70s and nobody hesitated to let their kids walk around. The only thing that's changed between then and now is our fear.

She has a great point. I also grew up in NYC in the 70s and was always outside without my parents. My sister and I, along with our friends, would walk several blocks to the park, we'd ride our bikes around the corner, all while our parents were inside the house. And this was at 8, 9, 10-years-old. When I was 7, I forged a note from my mom to tell the teacher I was supposed to meet my mother for lunch. I walked seven blocks, alone, so I could get a cheeseburger from McDonald's. Times have changed, but does sheltering a child help? I think we need kids to learn how to be street smart and safe. They need to learn stranger danger and the best routes to get home in an emergency. Allowing them some freedom to walk around the neighborhood could help them with that.

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We all have the children's safety in mind, but I can't help but feel this case went a little too far. A CPS investigation hardly seems suitable. The law states that a person must be 13-years-old to supervise a child under eight, but should walking a few blocks in your own neighborhood count?

What do you think? Should this family be allowed to let their kids walk around the neighborhood without adult supervision?


Image via Lyn Lomasi/Flickr

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