Free-range vs Helicopter Parenting

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We’ve heard of free range eggs, they come from happy chickens who run around the farm at their own liberty. Trends in parenting have taken inspiration from the farm, in regards to a more hands-off approach which we’ve learned to call ‘free-range parenting.’ For some families that means letting your kids walk home alone or allowing them to play outside without supervision. Many parents feel this approach can be dangerous for kids, but others argue it’s an important move to ensure that they learn to fend for themselves and get a break from constant monitoring. 

There are many arguments which support both takes on parenting (free range, and ‘helicopter’). The main lessons that your kids learn from free-range parenting is independence, and the beauty is they learn it while exhibiting it. Like the chickens, by giving your child space and freedom to do and learn things themselves, they can grow up to be healthier and happier, but also they’ll learn to self- sufficient faster in life. However, the the opposing argument to is ‘what if your child can not handle the freedom.’ As much as we all do the best we can to teach our children the differences between right and wrong, their judgement does not always follow your example. We hope that what ever mistakes they make, they learn from immediately, but for some children it takes a lot more practice. 

Many factors in life can determine what kind of parents we are, and what kind of parents we strive to be. Socioeconomic backgrounds can affect your parenting style, and often times in today’s busy world many parents are forced to be more free-range with their kids. If you have two middle-class parents who both have demanding jobs, it is harder provide the means and/or time to constantly watch over their children. If you’re overwhelmed from work and parenting, it is just that much harder to keep track of your kids twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the rest of their lives. 

Ultimately, there is no clear way to parent. We have to draw from all sides and make our own judgements for what is good or bad in regards to our kids. The idea of having balance comes up a lot in any literature on parenting/life/diet/life/fashion/life etc, but essentially its true. At least I think its true. We live in a world with constant changes which be scary at times, so of course we want our children to be protected. Whether we are doing the protecting for them, or they are learning how to do it themselves, I believe that there must be a balance of free-range and helicopter approaches to parenting. As much as I do not agree with helicopter parenting, we all hover at some point in our children’s lives. What I feel may be too over-protective may be the opposite to someone else. It all really depends on the parents and children. In the world today there are so many and perhaps too many influences that affect the way to raise our kids. 

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