'Free Range Parenting' promotes unsupervised play

September 12, 2012 1:58:04 PM PDT
"Free Range Parenting" is a new controversial form of parenting.

One New York mom who promotes it wants parents to leave their children as young as 8 years old alone in the park to play.

It's unsupervised play time, and this mom is not just promoting the idea she's also charging for it.

A New York mother of two says parents hover so much it robs children of their freedom.

Lenore Skenazy claims parents fear of danger has them overwhelming their kids with supervision.

She has written a book "Free Range Kids", it's something she did with her children.

A few years ago she was called the worst mom in America for allowing her then 9 year old ride the subway alone, claiming now at 14, that he not only survived but has thrived.

Lenore's plan is to offer this parenting style in New York City.

Lenore's Free Range program for New York City parents is $350.

That's for nine 90-minute sessions where you basically drop your child off in Central Park while Lenore is a few blocks away in a coffee shop.

Parents have to sign a waiver.

"I wouldn't. I wouldn't not with my children. I don't think they should be responsible at such a young age," said Sonja Abromavage, a parent.

"I wouldn't want to pay for something like that," another parent said.

Every parent Eyewitness News spoke with said they would not participate.

But, several agreed that children need to play independently.

4 and 7 year old girls Melanie Chisholm grew up in New York City taking the subway.

Lenore says the over-scheduling has happened because of fears of kidnappings and other dangers, but she argues threats against children are much lower today than they were when she was growing up.

An Upper West Side parent of three, Christina Elwell says that it's a child by child decision how much supervision they need.

"No matter where you are you have to keep a watchful eye," Elwell said.

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