Free-Range Kids

This 'Free-Range Mom' Is Running for Local Office

"Absent actual abuse, the parent has the right to decide what's best for their children."

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Danielle Meitiv

You know the old saying: When life hands you a Child Protective Services investigation (or two), make lemonade. That's what Danielle Meitiv of Silver Spring, Maryland, is doing. The famously Free-Range mom is running for the position of member at large on the Montgomery County Council, she told us, "to make this county the best place it could possibly be for kids." The election is next year.

Meitiv rose to national prominence in 2014 when her kids, age 10 and 6 at the time, were picked up by cops for walking home from a park together without an accompanying adult. The cops came to the Meitivs' home, Child Protective Services proceeded to investigate, and eventually the parents were found guilty of "unsubstantiated neglect," a charge so absurd that the general public took note. When the kids were scooped up yet again by the cops for walking home alone a few months later, and this time taken to an emergency center as if they were runaways or abandoned children, the Meitiv name became synonymous with zealous government overreach into everyday parenting decisions.

Since then, Meitiv says, she has been fighting for the right of parents to raise their kids as they see fit. "Absent actual abuse, the parent has the right to decide what's best for their children," she insists.

What's more, she said, allowing kids some independence is good for everyone. After all, children "are the future workers, voters, business builders. [They] need to understand the world around them, and analyze it with courage, not fear."

When adults are around, kids remain simply kids. They know that someone bigger and more powerful is there to take over if they need it (or even if they don't). But when adults are absent, the kids become the adults, making decisions, working out disputes, coming up with new ideas. They rise to the occasion. Meitiv wants to make sure kids have this opportunity when their parents think they're ready for it, without anyone fearing arrest. And she has a record of accomplishment on this front. Her family's recent ordeal prompted a change in the Maryland laws as to what can prompt a child welfare investigation. Simply granting kids some freedom is no longer enough "reason" to suspect the parents of abuse or neglect.

A community where kids are free to have an old-fashioned childhood is a healthy community, where neighbors get to know each other. Rebuilding that trust, says Meitiv, "is better than locking our kids up."

In the end, she says, trust is what her campaign is all about: Trusting kids, trusting the community, and trusting parents. "I am not running on a 'How to Raise Your Kids' platform," Meitiv says, "but I think we can all agree it's not a role for police and it's not a role for child welfare."

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  1. …this time taken to an emergency center as if they were runaways or abandoned children…

    You know that was definitely done as a form of bureaucratic punishment.

  2. It seems obvious to me that someone in a city far far away knows best how I should rear my children.

  3. “Absent actual abuse, the parent has the right to decide what’s best for their children.”

    But I think the modern definition of abuse includes “neglect”, and neglect is one of those progressively squishy words.

    1. They don’t need to resort to “neglect”, inasmuch as the modern definition of “abuse” likely includes things like teaching children non-approved values.

  4. Son of a bitch. Do I have to go register to vote now? Damn it.

    1. That’s how they get you.

    2. I’m sure that she could use financial support, even if you can’t vote. Her campaign site is easy to find.

      Interestingly, when you search her name, you’ll come up with a bunch of other hits, one if which is on HuffPost and is the absolutely most sicken progie garbage excoriating the Meitiv’s for trying to raise human beings (as opposed to mindless robots, or worse). If you can stomach it, it’s worth the read to get inside the skull of the Safety-First crowd.

      1. Saw the HuffPo story about Ms. Meitiv. Check out some of the writer’s other work:
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/bonnie-fuller

        It seems that Ms. Fuller, who now appears to be suffering from acute TDS, simply doesn’t like free-range parenting because , her, parenting should be the government’s responsibility. I know the HuffPo puts out lots of proggie douchebaggery, but this lady is out there even by their standards.

        1. Ugh. I need a shower.

          Also, terrible articles.

      2. Interestingly, when you search her name, you’ll come up with a bunch of other hits, one if which is on HuffPost and is the absolutely most sicken progie garbage excoriating the Meitiv’s for trying to raise human beings (as opposed to mindless robots, or worse).

        These are the same asshole who think your kids belong to the government.

        1. Giving the devil her due, when you listen to the ad as opposed to reading the text, there is a sense that she’s calling for concern about all kids. But the words themselves are right out of Marx, or Massachusetts.

          “Your kids” don’t belong to anyone, except themselves, and certainly not the community or the government. Hopefully their parents are helping them to become responsible, self-sufficient adults.

    3. Do you live in Maryland? Because if so, then you definitely should. Move out of Maryland.

  5. Good luck to her! MoCo is a proggie/statist bastion, so she will need it. Not that political affiliation necessarily correlates with helicopter parenting, but I heard from a coworker who lives there that it is not unheard of for MoCo parents to literally follow their kids to college and rent apartments next to the campus.

    1. That’s not restricted to just one county. I see it a lot- parents I’ve known have bought condos or houses for their college kids to live that they can also stay when “visiting”.

      My daughter is a counselor for a college. Parents will call up and want info, to change their kids’ classes or some other crap but she can’t help them because the kids going to the school are adults. Parents will pull the “but I’m paying for the school” but it doesn’t matter. People get extremely angry and often threaten to have her fired.

  6. I will bet your next paycheck that these kids will not whine for a safe space if they are silly enough to go to college before the revolution.

    1. I am hoping that there will be a new education model that comes along and destroys the notion that you must have a 4-yr bachelor’s degree from a residential college before my kids finish high school in the next 15 years or so, but I am not optimistic. Unless you go to one of the elite schools and make the right connections, its pretty useless for most, and does nothing but saddle young adults with debt.

  7. I’ll vote for her.

  8. I went to lunch with the grandkids today at fast food restaurant that had a play place. Youngest one came out and said that someone kept saying she was two and she kept telling him that she was three. I walked into the play place with her because she wanted me to. As soon as I walked in the playing stopped. Everyone stood there still as can be. I know they were expecting me to handle everything like an adult play place circuit judge. But I just sat there silently.

    Within a minute or so my grandson asked a kid his name. He said “Beau” and then Beau said, “Do you want to play tag?” And they were off. I know they were just waiting to see who was in trouble according to the adult and then told how to behave but when I just sat there, I think they were kind of scared. Anyway, kids played the rest of the time happily and I realized that these play places are about the only place I see adults actually leave kids alone. They are the last adult-free area that kids have in our culture.

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