Family Magazine

Free Range Parenting – Are Indian Parents Already Ahead with This Parenting Style?

By Shwetashetye
Free range parenting - Are Indian parents already ahead with this parenting style?

Image courtesy marcolm at

Free range parenting is the new parenting style that has hit the market – market of parenting of course! So, with the morning cup of tea, I relish reading news on my phone and that is when one such news caught my eye. A new documentary series “World’s worst mom”. You know we moms have that peeve where we always are scanning for words like parenting, mom, dad, sale – that is when this gem of an article caught my attention.

This show was inspired by a true life incident that a mom let happen with her 9 year old son. You can read more about it here. So the worst mom here is Lenore Skenazy who helps parents let go of their fear of letting their kids be independent. She is known leaving her son at the BloomingFree range parenting – Are Indian parents already ahead with this parenting style?dale’s handbag section to navigate back home. He was equipped with some cash, change for the subway and couple of handy dandies. He successfully reached home in 45 minutes with great confidence beaming through him.

Now, that made me wonder how free range us Indian kids are. I mean I remember going out to nearby shops starting from 3rd grade to taking a local train to reach my tuition during my boards. I had a set of working parents and they were never paranoid about it. That led to me being extremely cautious, alert, fearless girl traveling alone. With my daughter I am nothing but a parent who is constantly hounded by worries that there are real crazy freaks at every step and I have to protect her CONSTANTLY!

Free range parenting has been in India and still is practiced pretty widely. I want to embrace this style of parenting but in a very staggered stage, starting with letting her travel to a shop while I look over, crossing the road again while i look over, buying stuff from a shop, getting change back correctly, and so on. This is exactly how my free range mom tutored independence to me and I want to be able to pass it on. I cannot guarantee to not be paranoid when she takes her first independent travel, but I hope by then I would have toned it down a notch.

Sometimes, I really wonder how moms of the age, when there were no cellphones to do helicopter parenting, managed to keep their apprehensions in control. Even with a cellphone I am maniacal when my husband isn’t answering. This reminds me that I need to practice meditation!

So, for us i-love-my-child-way-too-much generation, here are some pros and cons of this parenting style.

Why I would free range -

  • Teaching them worldly ways – I am a firm believer that experience is the best teacher and kids need to learn that not everything in this world is as rosy as the picture painted by their parents.
  • Making them independent – By independence I don’t mean send your child away to travel alone to a city and back. But, in simple things of their day to day lives, try to incorporate independence.
  • Learning to let go – As parents, specially the helicopter parents, we find it hard to let go of our children. We want nothing to hurt them EVER!
  • Make them value you! – When I was a child and during my free ranging experiences as a child, I used to be thankful many times for a working parent due to the things I could afford that my friends whose moms were not working couldn’t. So will be the story for a child who has a SAHM and will be envied for all the time they get to spend with their mom. In either cases, the child gets a real world perspective of what they have and to appreciate it.

Why I am wary of free range parenting -

  • Mum in me pops up – The mom is me just doesn’t want to believe in letting young children take their own decision even in their own small world.
  • Independence for young kids is a double-edged sword – The last thing i want is my daughter to be nasty with me on account of independence.

I can’t help but wonder how many parenting styles and options are available to parents now. Analyzing pros and cons of each style and investing time in molding your ideologies around this new parenting style is quite a task for any parent. My parenting style in future as my daughter grows will be simple – Do what is best at that time – if helicopter parenting is essential when she is out with her friends late in the night, so be it.

How do you plan or already parent your child? Any strategies to sure shot success you would want to share


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