Give Me a BREAK: Mom Investigated for Letting 8-Year-Old Walk Dog Alone

The TODAY Show also interviewed Anne Marie Albano, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, on the topic of what age kids can spend small amounts of time unsupervised. She seems to be with Wilden on this one, saying, “The main thing that we have to bear in mind is that we are training our kids from early on to be independent adults. Picking out their own clothes by age 4, walking the dog by age 8 or 9, these are appropriate things for them to do in a safe place around your home or neighborhood.”

I couldn’t agree more! I live on a very busy main street, so if I had a dog, I might wait a little longer to let my kids walk it, but the decision would be based on their maturity and safety acumen as well as age. If I lived in a low-traffic suburban neighborhood like the one I grew up in, age eight would be totally appropriate for dog walking. The bottom line is, parents know what their children can handle, and a child walking a dog leisurely around the block, clearly not in distress, is not something to waste your breath and lots of peoples time reporting to the authorities.

The laws about leaving children unsupervised vary from state to state, but just this past April, Utah passed a “free range parenting” law which prevent parents from being prosecuted for letting their kids roam and play away from home.

They had to pass a law for that?? That’s what we did alllll day, every summer and weekend when I was a kid! Roam around the neighborhood and come home when we were hungry! It’s called “playing.” Yeee-ikes.

Look, I realize that there are an unfortunate number of crappy parents in the world, and I do believe if you see obvious neglect, that you should say something.  However, if you think mom shaming and imposing your parenting opinions on another mom who simply parents differently than you do is helpful, you are very, very wrong.

Let’s all stop the mom shaming and support each other! Just because someone parents differently than you doesn’t mean they are endangering their child—or that they’re even wrong. God made you to be your kids’ mom, and me to be mine. So let’s do the very best we can at knocking that gig out of the park, and at building others up to do so as well!

Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson
Jenny is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor.

Related Posts


Recent Stories