Two Sundays ago, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv of Montgomery County, Md., got a call from Child Protective Services. Police had taken their two children, ages 10 and 6, into custody three hours earlier and were holding them at the crisis center.
Had the children been abused? No. Were they lost? No. So what prompted this extraordinary intervention? A concerned pedestrian had seen the children walking alone and called 911. It was the second time in four months that the Meitivs’ children were reported to authorities as they walked home from parks about a mile away.
OPPOSING VIEW: Allow children to be children
The Meitivs are part of a movement known as “free-range parenting,” a reaction to overinvolved and hovering “helicopter” parenting. Free-range parents believe that allowing their kids more independence will teach them self-sufficiency. The Meitivs have trained 10-year-old Rafi and 6-year-old Dvora to navigate basic routes home by themselves, much as previous generations of kids have done on foot or bike, and have taught them basic safety precautions.