Americans are realizing that children need more time for outdoor free play. Lack of play is increasingly tied to a decline in non-cognitive skills and a rise in hyperactivity.
But what happens to the parents who actually provide outdoor playtime for their child?
Some of them are threatened with jail time.
California mother Sonya Hendron is a prime example. Several months ago, Hendron allowed her 4-year-old son to play alone on the playground in their gated apartment complex. Neighbors reported Ms. Hendron’s action to Child Protective Services, causing authorities to arrest her.
According to a local CBS news report,
“The maximum sentence that Hendron can face is 6 months in jail with 3 years of probation. She was offered an alternative deal of just 30 days in jail and 1 year of probation but she has rejected the offer.”
Various indicators show that Hendron is not a mother who neglects her child, but rather one who researches child-rearing practices and chooses those she believes are the most beneficial. If she can be threatened with neglect and arrest, how can other parents have confidence that their parental rights will not be infringed upon?
Does society need to step back from its overcautious mentality and allow parents to once again freely carry out their parental rights and duties?
Image Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.