Utah is set to become the first state to sign a free-range parenting bill into law. The idea behind the new law is to allow kids to be more independent in order to develop self-sufficiency.

The law, which goes into effect on May 8, makes it legal for kids to be on their own in certain situations without a parent watching at all times. Examples include walking to and from school and playing outside. The law is clear that kids must age 9 or older and be mature enough to handle any given situation.

“I feel strongly about the issue because we have become so over-the-top when ‘protecting’ children that we are refusing to let them learn the lessons of self-reliance and problem-solving that they will need to be successful as adults,” Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, sponsor of the bill, told Yahoo Lifestyle.

Utah lawmakers were inspired to create the bill because of cases in which parents had been investigated simply for letting their children play outside unattended. The term “free-range parenting” was coined by Lenore Skenazy, when she wrote a 2009 article about her 9-year-old riding the subway alone.

Do you think kids need more independence? Share your thoughts on the bill in the comments.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

RELATED STORIES:

Parenting Style Primer: What Kind of Parent Will You Be?

Why Outdoor Play Matters

Pot Makes for Better Parenting (Says Marijuana Advocates)