By and large, American parents today enjoyed lots of freedom to roam around as children, but they'd never dream about letting their own kids do the same. Clemens Wergin, who moved here last year with his own family from Germany, doesn't get it, he writes in a New York Times piece headlined "The Case for Free-Range Parenting." He's met with "polite disbelief" when he tells American friends about how he and his wife, gasp, let their 8-year-old daughter explore their DC neighborhood on her own. She found a park, made some friends, expanded her world—something that too many American kids don't do because they're largely confined to their homes, writes Wergin.
"I know I won’t be around forever to protect my girls from the challenges life holds in store for them, so the earlier they develop the intellectual maturity to navigate the world, the better," he writes. "And by giving kids more control over their lives, they learn to have more confidence in their own capabilities." Of course, given the high-profile arrests of US parents for the high crime of leaving their kids at a park, Wergin and his wife now need to think about reining in their own kids or risk breaking the law. "And we thought we had come to the land of the free." Click for his full column. (CPS found another mom and dad guilty of neglect for letting their kids walk alone between home and the park.)