A couple in Montgomery County, MD is once again in hot water after they committed the unspeakable crime of letting their two children play in a park without parental supervision.
To make matters worse, the children were actually taken into a patrol car for two and a half hours while their parents searched for them. Their children had been instructed to come home at six, and when 6:30 rolled around they began to panic. CPS did not contact the parents until 8 and the children were not returned to their parents until 10:30 p.m.
The parents then had to sign a "safety plan" saying that they would not leave their children alone.
When I was 10, I was babysitting and mother's helper-ing, which is apparently illegal under Maryland law. I also would spend hours on end with my friends, by ourselves, biking and exploring the marsh area near my house. Heck, we'd even go sledding alone during the winter. It is absolutely absurd that what used to be known as "parenting" is now called "free-range" parenting. Children aren't chickens. Their natural setting should be "free-range." Until the last century children as young as 13 were working dangerous jobs in factories, but now they're too delicate to walk to the park alone?
Despite the plethora of 24-hour news coverage of kidnappings, the world today is substantially safer than it has ever been. Violent crime rates are at their lowest in decades, but public perception is the complete opposite. This is a problem. Americans need to wake up, realize they cannot raise their children in a bubble, and some independence is a good thing. Parents should be able to determine whether or not their children are responsible to play at the park by themselves. The police department shouldn't be wasting time on two children who clearly aren't being neglected.