what is free range parenting

What is free range parenting? The Good, The Bad, The Scary (2021)

Last Updated on September 2, 2021.

It’s a sunny Saturday morning, and your kids are begging to go outside and play. You’re feeling overwhelmed because you have so much work to do but what they want is what they want! What do you do? Do you let them go out unsupervised into the world? This article will explore what free-range parenting means, the good, the bad, and the scary parts of this philosophy.

What is free-range parenting?

Free-range parenting is a style of child-rearing that allows children the freedom to explore what interests them, set their own boundaries, and play without parental intervention for as long they want.

There’s a spectrum of free-range parenting. On one end, you have parents who let their kids roam the streets with no contact or accountability. On the other end, there are parents who do discretely monitor their children but give them plenty of freedom to do what they want.

It can be the ultimate permissive parenting style.

RELATED: Learn the Pros and Cons of Permissive Parenting

Misconceptions of free-range Parenting

There are many misconceptions about what free-range parenting means. Many people believe that it means letting children roam the streets without supervision and neglecting them in their day-to-day care. However, this isn’t what advocates of this strategy propose at all!

What they do advocate is giving children some space to explore the world around him or her and what interests them.

The scary part of free-range parenting

Free-range parenting is all about letting your kids explore what interests them and set their own boundaries, but what if they wander off? What happens if a stranger approaches them or they get lost? The risks of trying this parenting style are huge.

Kid’s brains are not fully developed until they are about 20 years old. Until then, they have poor impulse control, lack decision-making skills, and struggle with good judgment. And then you add in all the risks and dangers that face children today, it’s a recipe for disaster.

RELATED: How to cheer up a kid with a broken arm!

what is free range parenting
what is free range parenting

Pros & Cons of Free-Range Parenting


  • It is what you make it. It can be as strictly monitored, or not so much, depending on what the parent prefers
  • Kids are able to explore what interests them and learn more about themselves
  • It’s a stimulating, creative environment
  • It teaches kids what independence is like
  • Kids gain confidence and independence


  • It can be dangerous
  • Parents can be accused of neglect
  • Kids will learn what they want and what they don’t like. If a child isn’t interested in the things you do, it can create family conflict
  • Kids are at increased risk of anxiety, depression, and aggression
  • Kids might explore what they shouldn’t.
  • Dealing with misconceptions about your parenting style

RELATED: Why you need a parenting class. 5 No-Brainer Reasons!

The Bottom Line

Free-range parenting is all about giving your children the freedom to explore and learn what they want at their own pace. It’s not a strategy for everyone, but it can be helpful in certain situations.

It may work best with older kids who don’t need as close of supervision. It can be helpful in teaching children to take care of themselves and their belongings. But it’s not the right choice for everyone.

What You Should Do Next…

1. Snag Our Connected Parent Challenge

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2. Join Our Free Online Community

Connect with like-minded moms (and dads!) in our free online community. You’ll find a plethora of resources to help you through your parenting challenges. Plus, you’ll find me there! And I’d love to connect.

3. Take a Free 60-Minute Parenting Webinar

Do you need actionable strategies right now? Register for this free 60-minute webinar titled How to Get Kids to Listen, Without Nagging, Yelling or Losing Control. You’ll walk away with parent-tested tactics to get your kids to listen starting today.

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