hunt gather parent

Hunt, Gather, Parent, Get Chewed Out by The Cops for Letting Your Kid Walk Two Blocks

All hail Michaeleen Doucleff! She’s author of the incredibly great, life-hacking, eye-opening book, “Hunt, Gather, Parent.” She and her daughter Rosy traveled the world to witness the parenting practices that have been working for millennia in traditional societies.

They watched kids happily hunt, gather, clean up, make food, and help their parents every which way, in three far-flung, indignous communities from Africa to Canada. And meantime, here in America, she dropped a note to the nonprofit that grew out of Free-Range Kids, Let Grow:

Dear Let Grow:

I saw your story about the 6-year-old being harassed at the store. It reminded me of what happened last month to Rosy.  I was at my mom’s house outside Albuquerque, New Mexico (a suburb), and Rosy (now 7.5) walked three blocks from my mom’s house alone, just playing. Within minutes a cop came, picked her up and brought her home.

I was like…hmmm. She was three blocks away. The cop told me that “many people were worried and something could have happened.” (Where we live now, in Texas, Rosy rides her bike a mile to school and to the grocery store.)

The rest of the visit, I asked Rosy to stay within TWO blocks of the house, and she was approached by three more people “concerned” about her safety during the week we were there.

Holy smokes! I told my mom, “So Rosy is basically a prisoner in this house.”  Meanwhile…. Many children have absolutely no restrictions on what they look at or engage with online. So porn, suicide, eating disorders, violence — but not playing two/three blocks from a house in a middle-class suburb. I think we are growing more backwards in our thinking.



When I asked Michaeleen if we could run her note on this blog, she said she’d be honored. And then she recalled a time she and Rosy watched a 9-year-old hunt a whale to feed a big part of his village.



Meanwhile, in our “advanced” culture, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, “Children should not be unsupervised pedestrians before 10 years of age, except in limited situations.”

Maybe one of those limited situations is when you have to stop your village from starving.  

Ok: Some practical, snark-free take-aways?

  • Help change the laws that leave parents unsure if they are allowed to let their kids do anything on their own. Click here!
  • Give your kids a “Let Grow” license to carry that says, “I’m not lost or neglected!” Click here!
  • Approach your school about doing the (FREE!) Let Grow Experience, that gets all the kids doing more and more on their own, so competence and independence become second nature again. Students, parents, and teachers ALL WIN. Click here!
  • And send your kid out to kill a whale!*


2 Responses to Hunt, Gather, Parent, Get Chewed Out by The Cops for Letting Your Kid Walk Two Blocks

  1. Mark Headley September 22, 2023 at 11:43 pm #

    My small town in NW NJ, on the State’s biggest lake, had starkly contrary policies. Still does, I gather. A 9:30 curfew, for one. Meaning kids COULD legally be out and about BEFORE 9:30.

    We were expected from kindergarten on to get ourselves to/from school or the local school bus stop. Including in dark, inclement weather. If we didn’t, we, our parents would face charges of truancy.

    Here are the data I see published by the American Committee on Pediatrics:
    2005 Pedestrian Death and 2007 Injury Rates per 100 000 Population

    Age, y Deaths, n Rate Injured, n Rate
    0–4 284 1.40 5274 25.45
    5–9 130 0.66 8595 43.30
    10–14 152 0.73 13716 67.52
    15–19 310 1.47 23518 109.52
    20–55 3307 2.19 91850 61.79
    ≥56 1884 2.97 28924 40.97

    Unreadable I’m afraid, without going to the article linked above. I read this as showing he rates of pedestrian injury, fatality increase by age up to 15-20. I haven’t a clue how these support assertions pedestrians are more in danger the younger they are. Just the opposite. Or am I misreading somehow? I don’t recall bad pedestrian accidents growing up despite the bad conditions. I had none extensive biking, either — including for my extensive paper route often in bad conditions..

  2. Jessica September 23, 2023 at 1:59 pm #

    I am amazed at how many people have a problem with parents teaching their children to be more independent. My almost six year old loves to take a shopping basket and go get something for himself at the store while I am doing my shopping. He gets stopped by people all of the time because they are afraid he’s going to get lost in the store. That he probably knows better than me. I can’t imagine waiting until ten years old to start teaching my son how to interact with the world on his own.