It seems that more frequently than not, a new word or phrase not familiar to me pops into a conversation. Last week it was “free-range parenting.” I have heard of free-range chickens, but not parenting. Possibly because my kids are adults and they don’t have children of their own, that I don’t concentrate on subjects not pertaining to my situation.

While listening to a middle-of-the-night radio talk show, that phrase surfaced again. Free-Range Kids is a movement committed to rolling back the excesses of the helicopter-parent era (another phrase that never surfaced while I was raising my kids).

We all had the freedom in my generation of playing outside, riding bikes to the neighborhood stores and our friend’s house, and most definitely, walking to school without chaperones. We can all agree that the world is changing, but today’s little ones are not experiencing the simple little pleasures we did.

Remember the days when our parents told us to find a policeman if we were lost or needed help? I remember telling my children that same thing when they were growing up. But then things really did change. Cops were being arrested for drugs and various illegal situations which tainted the reputation of the good cops. Who were the ones to be trusted?

So here is the double-edge sword: When do parents let go and how much freedom do they give their children? If they hover too much, their little off springs will grow up not knowing how to protect themselves if and when situations arise. They are also being robbed of experiencing the simple fun things that will give them memories and stories they can pass on to their children.

If you have young children or grandchildren, you have choices. I do not envy you at all.