If you’re a single mom, you most likely have faced some time when you needed to have your kids handle something without you — get home from school, run an errand, stay home alone for a bit. If YOU know they’re ready, then…they are!
That’s what the Reasonable Childhood Independence bills say, too.
At this point three states — Texas, Oklahoma and Utah — have passed such bills, with the help of Let Grow. This coming year we will be working in another handful of states, including Colorado, Utah, South Carolina, Idaho and…potentially one or two more.
The bill narrows the definition of neglect. Instead of saying neglect is anytime a parent isn’t providing “proper supervision,” which can be in the eyes of the beholder, it says neglect occurs only when a parent puts their child in obvious danger. So simply letting an 8-year-old walk half a mile to school, or letting a 10- and 6-year-old stay home together while mom runs to the grocery isn’t neglect, if the parent knows her kids are ready for this, and the whole thing is pretty darn safe. I.e., getting to school doesn’t require dashing across an 8-lane highway with no stop light. The apartment is not inside an active volcano. The kids know not to answer the door if they see it’s a trained bear.
So here’s our piece on how more freedom for kids means more freedom for moms, especially those without partners. Here’s a form you can fill out if you’d like to help us work on getting the neglect laws narrowed in your own state (scroll down a bit). And here’s to giving kids some independence and responsibility as soon as WE THE PARENTS know they’re ready.