There’s free range parenting and then there’s….

Agreed that today’s helicopter parenting is a bit much. And that yes, of course 8 year olds can go to the park on their own. 5 year olds be left in the car for 5 minutes as Mom slips into the 7-11. And then there’s truly free range parenting:

A 4-year-old Pennsylvania girl surprised a driver and passengers when she boarded a public bus alone in the middle of the night on a quest for a sugary slushie, transportation officials said on Sunday.

Surveillance footage shows the pint-sized girl with blonde hair, bundled up in all purple, boarding a Philadelphia bus at 3 a.m. local time on Friday and sitting down by herself as a handful of passengers look curiously toward her.

The girl, who appeared cheerful as she stretched and dangled her boots off of her seat, told bus riders that she wanted to get a slushie, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority spokeswoman Kristin Geiger said.

Police called, girl reunited, parents etc. And no, Mom had not said that this was OK.

But, umm, it was OK, wasn’t it? 4 year old girl, wandering around at 3 am, in search of a slushie….

16 thoughts on “There’s free range parenting and then there’s….”

  1. This is a beautiful example of everything working in the best way possible, and yet most people would think this is a problem.

    We seem to want a world in which 4-year-olds never get on the bus at 3 am because something might happen, when what we really want is a world in which if a 4-year-old gets on a bus at 3 am nothing does happen.

    There’s a difference.

  2. We need Genghis Khan back:

    “A virgin with a bag of gold around her neck could walk naked from one end of my realm to another without being attacked.”

  3. Out of all the advice my parents gave me (and they gave me lots) the stupidest must have been “Never talk to strangers”.

    If your kid was lost in the mall / you were delayed picking them up from school / etc What are their chances of asking for help from a stranger and getting help? Overwhelmingly positive, because most people are not paedos / witch doctors / originating from Rotherham / Orkney Islands / Oxford / Stoke Mandeville / the BBC.

  4. So Much for Subtlety

    Dave Tufte – “We seem to want a world in which 4-year-olds never get on the bus at 3 am because something might happen, when what we really want is a world in which if a 4-year-old gets on a bus at 3 am nothing does happen. There’s a difference.”

    I have never met a parent who wants “something” to happen. I have never even heard of a parent who would not want nothing to happen. Even at 3 a.m.. Even in Philadelphia. Even on a bus.

    The problem is, the less boring that a child is being, the more risk there is that something will happen. No parent wants that. It would be great if we lived in a society where little girls could catch the bus alone, in their pyjamas, at 3 a.m. We don’t. We don’t want something to happen just because we recognise the risk it might.

  5. And the parents were not arrested and put in hand cuffs. And the child seized into state care?
    No? Are you sure .

  6. So Much for Subtlety

    I see someone is criticising a Catholic priest for suggesting a rape victim might have been safer had she been home and not wandering down the street at 3 a.m.

    You know, I think they are right. We have too much victim-blaming around here. Or potential-victim-blaming. Or the parents-of-the-potential-victim-blaming. Or whatever.

    It is time to stand up for the rights of women everywhere. Or rather girls. Four year old girls have a *right* to get on the bus at 3 a.m. Dressed anyway they like. How dare the police imply otherwise?

    I am going to organise a protest. Let’s call it Tyke-walk. I will call on four year old girls everywhere to dress in their best pyjamas and meet me ….. oookaaay. Maybe not. Let’s leave that to Amada Marcotte shall we?

  7. “most people are not … originating from Orkney Islands “: one of the remarkable features of the scandal was that not one of the people involved originated from Orkney – incomers, the lot of ’em.

    I suspect that “originating from Rotheram” could bear a gloss too.

  8. At the age of about 5, I took a wrong turn at my new school and managed to get hopelessly lost.

    A German lady found me, but, following parental advice, I refused to get into her car. She had to walk me all the way back to the Army quarters, about 3 or 4 miles I think.

    My sense of direction is little better now.

  9. So Much for Subtlety

    Jack C – “She had to walk me all the way back to the Army quarters, about 3 or 4 miles I think.”

    Slow I think an odd picture of TW’s readership is building up. Obviously to post here you needed to have hated rugby in school, but watch it now, have lived or are planning to live overseas for some time, and it seems you have to have been an Army brat.

    I wonder why.

    Does it mean the ideal TW post is about how watching Fiji play in the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens brought back memories of growing up with the Gurkhas and by jolly wouldn’t they make good immigrants?

  10. I loved rugby at school. Absolutely loved it. Wasn’t an army brat. Did live abroad and will do again.

    One out of three ain’t bad.

  11. To be fair to the parents, if your 4 old wants to get up at 3am how can you stop her leaving the house?
    (My 6 year old son is happily unable to get up without waking us up).

  12. @BiF:

    On that BBC link you posted, the kid was probably showing some initiative and trying to escape from Grangemouth. Even by Scottish shit-town standards, it’s a really shit town.

    Being a student of Scottish newspaper reporting euphemisms, and how these things usually pan out, I suspect that the parents are alkies or junkies. Hence the “reunited with grandparents”.

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