What Happens in Vegas, Shouldn’t Stay in Vegas, When it Comes to Free-Range Kids


Lovely hdyizseirk
editorial in the Las-Vegas Review-Journal
, which is, of course, weighing in on the Meitiv case in Maryland. Who isn’t? After denouncing the idea of investigating parents who let their kids walk around the neighborhood, the paper adds —

Other questions to ponder: Do parents who never leave their kids’ side have the authority to set standards for your kids?

Do you have the right to decide whether your kids are safe to explore their neighborhoods, or must you defer to the values of adults who’ll call the cops if you do? [LENORE HERE: This should also apply to letting your kids wait in the car during a brief errand.]

How much actual abuse and neglect slips through the system because of our collective preoccupation with nearly nonexistent abduction threats?

Further, considering the number of busybodies who are so concerned with child welfare, would this country have the juvenile obesity problem it has today if it were OK for kids to go out and play, outside the presence of an adult — like they could even 20 years ago? If they were allowed to play on school playgrounds, unsupervised, for more than 20 minutes before classes start?

And might parents be less stressed out if they didn’t face criminal charges for failing to schedule supervision for every minute of their children’s lives? [LENORE AGAIN: Remember, we have also criminalized parents who make a conscious decision to let their kids wait in the car a short time when the conditions are not dangerous.]

All wonderful questions…that we’ve been asking here for a long time. Frankly, most articles and editorials I’m seeing sound downright Free-Range. Which makes sense, since we are supposedly the land of the free, and that includes kids! – L.


Viva this Las Vegas editorial!

Viva this Las Vegas editorial!


14 Responses to What Happens in Vegas, Shouldn’t Stay in Vegas, When it Comes to Free-Range Kids

  1. Havva April 19, 2015 at 11:47 pm #

    “would this country have the juvenile obesity problem it has today if it were OK for kids to go out and play, outside the presence of an adult — like they could even 20 years ago?”

    When I was 6, the 5 year old across the street and I would do about 4 miles on roller skates in a day. Just going round and round the block (unsupervised of course). I am certain that current issues of juvenile diabetes and obesity would be greatly reduced by letting kids just get out there and go, even at moments the parents aren’t able to get out there with them.

  2. Dave B April 20, 2015 at 3:08 am #

    Please be careful with using “juvenile diabetes” for kids with diabetes
    In the medical lingo juvenile diabetes is a different kind of diabetes.

    Juvenile or Type 1 is the kind where you have to inject insulin to regulate your blood sugar.
    It is caused by unknown factors, i.e. could be an infection, wrong auto-immune response,….
    It is not caused by obesity or lack of exercise.
    It isn’t “self-inflicted”.

    I am sorry, but as a type 1/juvenile diabetic i am quite miffed by this


  3. J.T. Wenting April 20, 2015 at 3:20 am #

    And then there’s juvenile crime. Kids are ever more kept under such a tight leash that they’re not taught to be responsible people.
    The moment that control lapses even a tiny bit, they lose all self restraint, simply because they’ve never been taught there is supposed to be such a thing, that they’re NOT supposed to steal, do drugs, rape, torture, etc. etc. if there’s nobody there to tell them what to do…

  4. Katie April 20, 2015 at 6:57 am #

    Perhaps “early diabetes” is a better term for the other type?

  5. Warren April 20, 2015 at 7:07 am #

    Obesity problems have far more contributing factors than just the lack of play, in my opinion. I also do not think it is going to stay a problem for too long.

    We have cycled through eras. One where we had a stay at home parent. With lots of play, home cooked meals and family time.
    Next we went through a time with both parents working, the emerging of videos, video games, computers and so on. Leading to less activity and a substantial increase in the consumption of processed foods.
    No we are in an era, where we are trying to reverse the errors, and increase our activity level, change our eating habits and get back to balance.

  6. Keya April 20, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    Warren makes a good point here about obesity being a more complicated issue. I often wonder if these parents and organizations who want to criminalize “free-range” parents as being neglectful consider parents who consistently DON’T prepare healthy meals for their kids neglectful. You all mentioned the obesity problem and I think that that issue is much more one of parent neglect than letting your kids sit in a car while you run an errand. When we neglect to teach good nutrition habits to our kids and leave them to eat processed frozen food all the time, then we are literally neglecting to care for our kids in a REAL and long lasting way. When we do this we end up with generations of adults who have never been taught how to care for their own basic physical needs and are plagued with chronic diseases. This is a disservice to the whole public health system. That is true neglect!

  7. Arlington Mom April 20, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    Aren’t social workers’ case loads already stupendously to high? There are REAL abuse and neglect situations going on that our systems can barely handle or can’t handle because of wait lists. Why are we adding to this with the frivolous? Why would anyone want to add to this over burdened system? I’m glad there’s a national dialog going on now. These ‘do gooders’ should go down to their local crisis center and help there instead. See the real problems we have.

  8. Fritz Menzl April 20, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    Openminded children, will get openminded adults, openmindet adults should be openminded citicens, openminded citicens – bad for the systhem, bad for safety industries.

    Keep them infantil consumers and rule … see: http://www.amazon.de/Consumed-Markets-Children-Infantilize-Citizens/dp/0393330893

  9. Jeni April 20, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    As a teacher, I have seen horrible things that people do to their own children. Of course abuse ranks at the top. But making children inept and dysfunctional also has very serious long term consequences. It bewilders me how Maryland CPS and police have time to deal with anything other than serious cases of abuse and neglect. Texas is swamped with the most potentially fatal cases as it is…no time to worry with kids at their neighborhood park.

  10. John April 20, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    @Warren and @Keya…….you two bring up some very good points on the many reasons for childhood obesity. But let me add here that another reason is that western society seems to believe that any structured exercise program a 10-year-old child might want to partake in would be considered “child abuse” (as is everything else). That is an absolutely crazy mindset considering most western children nowadays don’t get enough exercise!

    A while back, I sent Lenore an article about a 10-year-old boy in Ireland who idoled a certain bodybuilder (can’t think of his name) so much that the kid would read exercise and nutritional tips from this person and then worked hard to emulate it all. Now how many kids nowadays would do that? The kid stayed away from sweets and junk food and would eat lots of lean meats and vegetables because he wanted to be as strong and as fit as his idol. In addition, the kid exercised on a regular basis by doing a LITTLE bit of weightlifting but mostly calisthenics such as lots of push-ups and sit-ups and pull-ups. He also did a lot of running.

    Well, it all definitely paid off for him because the kid had a very defined physique and an 8-pack worth of abdominal muscles. He was just what the doctor ordered! Considering I was a smooth and skinny kid when I was 10 who couldn’t even do a pull-up, if I had a physique on me back then like this kid does, my self-esteem would have been at an all time high and I NEVER would have worn my shirt (At least not in Summer)! Believe you me young boys LOVE having muscles!

    But what I’m getting at here is below this article you would not believe the idiotic comments in the blog section. Probably 9 out of 10 comments were negative with people calling it “abuse”. Many bloggers said that the kid’s parents needed to have their heads examined for allowing their child to eat so bad (Who knew that eating all their vegetables was bad for kids?) and exercise so hard. Some of the bloggers said that the kid’s growth would be stunted (That’s a myth) and that he’d be a cripple when he became an adult (Talk about worst-first thinking). I mean, the kid did all of this BY CHOICE! But yet if this kid’s parents took him to KFC and McDonalds 4 times per week these same bloggers would think nothing of that.

    But we’re just as stupid here in America. In an article I saw a while back about a physically fit 12-year-old kid who loved doing exercise videos and giving out fitness tips (on youtube), the verbiage next to the headline read “Is this Child too fit too soon?” Goodness, what an idiotic question!!!

    So in certain ways, we almost discourage children from getting exercise.

  11. Papilio April 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    “If they were allowed to play on school playgrounds, unsupervised, for more than 20 minutes before classes start?”
    If they could/were allowed to walk/cycle there (/bus stop) instead of being driven?
    That Safe Routes to School thing could play a far bigger role in enabling active travel…

  12. Jessica C April 20, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    @John, reminds me of my oldest boy’s one-year well-child check up. He had started walking at about 10 months (and running shortly after), so between his nine-month and one-year appointments, he lost a pound. We, as his parents, were not concerned since he was still eating and had just started walking. Of course he’s going to slim down once he goes from mainly sedentary to up and running (his crawling stage was barely a week before he walked. He mostly scooted before then) but to hear the doctor’s tell it, our boy was on the verge of death. That was about the time we stopped caring about percentiles. The docs would always rave about how healthy our kid was, then look at the chart and start to freak.

  13. ShortWoman April 20, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    Las Vegas resident here.

    CPS has better things to do than decide a kid playing at the park is endangered. Recently, we had the trial of parents who beat their child to death for lying about a Bible verse. Sadly, school officials reported “possible abuse” just hours before the child’s death.

    A trial was delayed yesterday for a woman who kidnapped and murdered a child — but that child was her ex-boyfriend’s daughter and *not* a stranger.

    Another current news story, a 17 year old who was impregnated by her step-father and then left to care for her baby and her 3 year old special needs half sister, alone.

    I could relate several more local news stories from the last few months, but it adds up to one thing: these people who say “won’t somebody think of the children” are pointing the wrong direction. Every time the cops or CPS get called on a kid who *might* get hurt is time they can’t spend dealing with things that actually *do* hurt children.

  14. sexhysteria April 21, 2015 at 3:06 am #

    That’s a useful perspective: not What’s Right and What’s Wrong, but WHO decides: the child’s parents or somebody else?