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Can I Be A Free-Range Parent in Texas?


In an age where ideas can get really out-of-the box and radically different, it’s very hard to question if some of these ideas actually make sense or are just plain silly. And while sometimes these new ideas may actually be sound, there is a lot of room for misunderstanding and a need for people to adjust to it. This can apply to almost everything, even parenting. One perfect example would be the concept of “free-range parenting”.

Free-Range Parenting

No, it has nothing to do with letting your children just roam free in a pasture. But it does have to do with allowing your children to have a little more freedom to do things. By adopting this kind of parenting style, you allow your child to learn how to be a little more independent. This can allow them to make mistakes and learning on their own. This doesn’t mean that you leave them all on their own, though with absolutely no supervision. You just watch over them a little less, the opposite of what a “helicopter parent” would do. 

Is It Legal?

Free-range parenting is a rather new idea and its legality is still being discussed by each state. Since the parenting style allows you to give your kids more control and pushes for them to be independent, there are some instances where what you may do may be seen as neglect or putting your child in danger. One such example would be allowing your child to go to school and back on their own. States without and laws on free-range parenting such as Texas may see something like this as neglect on the part of the parents. And while this may not have been your intention, it may be hard to argue.

It would be best to adjust your free-range parenting style based on what state you live in. It might be best to find ways to let your children learn independence that may not be mistaken as neglect.

Every parent has their own unique method of parenting their children. And while no one parenting style is right, it’s still good to make sure that you aren’t neglecting your children or causing any harm to them. In the case of free-range parenting, while it may seem like a good idea to you to raise your children this way, it’s still good to make sure you practice it in accordance with your state’s laws. By doing so, you at least avoid any misunderstandings or trouble that could come up.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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