Do you remember being a kid and riding your bike to your friend’s house or walking home from school? Well, if you are a parent today, allowing your children to do the same may get you investigated by local authorities, as a couple in Maryland found out.
Sasha and Danielle Meitiv did not think that allowing their children to walk around their neighborhood together or a one mile walk home from the park while unaccompanied by an adult would cause anyone to fuss, but they were in for quite the surprise. The two children were spotted walking alone by two different people, and the police were called. Now, the parents are being investigated for child neglect.
The children had made it almost home when the pair was stopped by the local police. The Meitiv’s son, who is the older of the two children, told the police that he and his sister were not doing anything wrong because their parents allowed them to walk alone. However, this did not sit well with the police, who drove the children home, where they proceeded to lecture the parents on the dangers of allowing their children to walk unsupervised.
“They’re very proud of their independence. They understand that they need to hold hands when they cross the street, they need to look both ways, make sure the light is with them,” Danielle Meitiv explained.
As described by The Washington Post, the Meitivs ascribe to a “free-range” parenting philosophy “that has been a counterpoint to the hyper-vigilance of ‘helicopter’ parenting, with the idea that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to progressively test limits, make choices, and venture out in the world.”
In the state of Maryland, it is against the law for parents to allow children to be unattended under the age of 13. With the oldest Meitiv child being only 10 years of age, allowing the siblings to walk around their neighborhood together without adult supervision is unlawful. Whatever happened to letting the parents be the parents?
While it may be admirable that the parents are attempting to raise their children to be independent and self-reliant, this opens them up to being questioned by law enforcement. Should they be charged for child neglect? The parents knew the whereabouts of their children, and they didn’t seem to be any danger. Why does the state get to decide the magic age when your child is old enough to walk alone? Children don’t all mature at the same pace, some being more responsible than others.