(From AP News)
After Utah passed the country’s first law legalizing so-called free-range parenting, groups in states from New York to Texas are pushing for similar steps to bolster the idea that supporters say is an antidote for anxiety-plagued parents and overscheduled kids.
Free-range parenting is the concept that giving kids the freedom to do things alone — like explore a playground or ride a bike to school — makes them healthier, happier and more resilient.
Critics say letting kids strike out on their own can expose them to serious dangers, from criminals to cars. Parents have been investigated by child-welfare authorities in several high-profile cases, including a Maryland couple who allowed their 10- and 6-year-old children to walk home alone from a park in 2015.
But lawmakers and policy groups in several states say the protective pendulum has swung too far, and it’s time to send a message that parents who raise their children in a healthy environment can grant them more freedom.