2018-05-11 / Commentary

Free Range Parenting

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation

The state of Utah, having solved all other existing problems, recently passed a bill approving Free Range Parenting. If you are unfamiliar with the term, you’re probably older than 50. Think of regular, old fashioned parenting; that’s what this is.

As you may be aware, there has been a stunning reversal in how children are raised in the last four decades. Corporal punishment is out; actually, any punishment is out.

Children are treated like royalty. Worshiped for doing incredible things like learning to walk, talk, and visit the bathroom; and awarded for accomplishments that were expected a few lifetimes back. It’s as if each new parent considers their child the first to ever face such challenges.

My siblings and I were taught life lessons like tell the truth, do your best, and keep a safe distance from dad when he first got home from work. He wasn’t much different from other dads, and I tried to emulate him when my kids came along. My siblings and I turned out fine, as did my children.

Not sure why everything needed changing. The overriding problem is that parenting requires a cool head, forethought, and a plan for everything. No one has that. Not then; not now.

A few days after the Utah legislature took such a bold and innovative step, the internet savaged a young mother for daring to allow her child to eat a peanut butter sandwich at Target.

For some reason, peanut allergies are especially worrisome to the parents of the internet. I’m not smart enough to know why. I understand a toxic reaction to ingesting peanuts can have dire consequences. I also am pretty sure anyone with an allergic child is already taking precautions concerning any possible food exposure.

So I’m siding with the folks who consider this attack on the mother an overreaction. Others were more distressed by the idea of allowing a child to consume food without boiling the immediate area first. Were they raised in a barn?

The irony of overreaching parenting is that bathing one’s offspring in Purell likely does more harm that good. Our bodies are a petri dish filled with bacteria that in most cases is good for us. After three decades of wiping kids clean after each incident where they actually peered outside, young people have no resistance to things once developed by eating everything they found on the ground or floor.

The worst problem associated with icky things like germs, bacteria, and viruses is the most recent craze sweeping the nation; refusing to get one’s children vaccinated against life threatening diseases.

I’ve always been fascinated by herd mentality. Today’s adult rejects group-thought where an authority is involved; government, medical establishment, etc…, but will follow to disaster any quack expert, TV celebrity, or Playboy Playmate where their kids are involved, as long as that expert has a snappy Twitter page.

Guys like Copernicus, Galileo, Darwin, and Newton worked out the math centuries ago for how everything on Earth works; yet, we as a group keep rejecting those ideas in favor of really stupid stuff.

You’d think we would eventually learn who to listen to.

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