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As children grow, it is important to encourage their independence and individuality. Free-range parenting emerged in the mid-20th century to promote this philosophy and enjoyed a resurgence as a reaction to the 1990s "helicopter parents." People who practice free-range parenting allow natural consequences to discipline their children. Though popular, some people feel this hands-off approach is equivalent to negligence. The pros and cons of this method aside, free-range parenting has had and will continue to have a lasting impact on pediatrics and child psychology.

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1. Before Free-Range

Prior to the free-range philosophy, the prevailing belief was that children’s lives should be regimented and sterile. In the early 1900s, this had practical implications, managing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases. The book Psychological Care of Infant and Child cemented this philosophy, and emphasized the safety and security of boundaries in childhood. Free-range parenting flew in the face of this restrictive style, allowing parents to show affection and letting children roam freely.

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