When does ‘free range’ parenting become neglect?

People who practice free-range parenting say it makes kids more independent, but others see it as neglect. State and local laws don’t specify what children are allowed to do on their own. iStockphoto

“Parents have made news recently after being detained for purposefully leaving children on their own, prompting renewed debate about so-called ‘free-range parenting,’ writes NPR’s Jennifer Ludden.

That includes Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, a Silver Spring, Md., couple who are being investigated after they let their children, ages 10 and 6, walk home from a park last month by themselves.

Moms and dads who practice this parenting style say it promotes independent, even fearless kids. But what is considered free-range by some can look like neglect to others. As for what’s against the law, child welfare experts say there’s no easy answer.

Today’s Question: When does ‘free range’ parenting become neglect?