Poll: Do You Let Your Kids Roam Reston?

by Karen Goff April 20, 2015 at 12:30 pm 12 Comments

Pick up soccer in the parkThere was much attention last week on the Meitiv family of Silver Spring, Md., whose children, ages 6 and 10, were picked up by police for walking home from a park unattended.

The Meitivs had a similar brush with authorities last December. They call themselves “Free-Range Parents,” part of a national movement to give children more freedom to explore their world.

The subject has been one of much debate. The most recent Washington Post stories on the Meitivs have hundreds of comments, ranging from “Ok…seriously…since when does any government agency have the right to do this to our children?” to “The parents in question are being irresponsible. …  Prove a point in other ways, but not at the risk of your children. We have ‘free range’ pedophiles as well.”

Meanwhile, Reston is connected by 55 miles of paths, many of which connect schools to village centers, and it is not so unusual to see children walking here without adults. Higher-density housing such as townhomes mean there are dozens of neighborhood and Reston Association playgrounds too.

At what age do you think it is right for children to roam Reston safely? Do you let your kids play at the corner park or head to the village center for ice cream without you? Do you agree with the Silver Spring family or do you think a concerned citizen who called police did the right thing?

Take our poll and answer in the comments.

file photo

  • Ming the Merciless

    Ming does not let his wives roam around in public unescorted, let alone his children. This newfangled “free range husbanding” idea can only lead to trouble.

    • Rodney Dangerfield

      Now THAT is funny!

  • twins5

    my kids (almost 11 years old) are allowed to “roam around Reston” – they wear watches and area expected to check in by a certain time. if they are more than 5 minute late they know they’ll lose the privilege of “roaming” for a week or more. i can’t imagine following my kids at that age around. they need to learn some sense of responsibility. they don’t have boundaries per se but are not supposed to cross any road busier than the main road we live off of.

  • Mary B

    We had a lot of kids– 5, so no one was ever alone, but they walked to school, the pool their friends houses. Yes- they roamed freely.

  • JohnGalt

    What a crazy world we live in now. Back when I was ~10 or so the rule was be home before the street lights came on. We’d ride our bikes for miles, play in the woods, build forts that defied physics and played pick-up games of whatever sport we had the numbers for.

    We all turned out fine. Was there stranger danger? Who knows. But this land of setting up play dates and not giving your child any freedom can’t bode well for those that go to college and it’s their first time away from mommy & daddy.

    • Rodney Dangerfield

      Amen, and love the name!

    • Robert Mowbray

      When I was 6 we lived in Odenton Md., and I walked about a mile to school crossing a major highway. When I was 8, we moved to Baltimore and I took a streetcar to school and, sometimes walked home, about 1 1/2 miles. But the world was different then – the 1940s.
      When we moved to Reston from Jamaica in 1983, our kids (13 and 14) rode their bikes on the Reston trails.

    • east297


    • TheLadyEbony

      When I was in 5th grade I was allowed to go from Fairway Apartments to Lake Anne by myself on my bike. I rode the path there and never had a problem. This was in the 70s, We went out to play all of the time and parents didn’t bat an eye, nor did they come with us. I’m sure there were nuts and pedophiles back then, they didn’t just spring into existence in the 90s, but we were taught not to talk to strangers, don’t go off with them, etc and we came out just fine.

  • Erin

    Mike, get over yourself. This is a parental issue, not a liberal issue. Stop politicizing everything. I’m liberal and I agree that parenting has gone too far. The media (ALL media) fear mongers and plays into this paranoia.

  • Michael P. McHugh

    Everything is policitcal. For example, when you try to tell me what to do, your politics are authoritarian. Just about everyone in Reston is Liberal and raising their kids to fear everything outside their house, the mall, and ther car. Everywhere they see child molesters, rabid racoons, and cigarette smoke!

  • liberal

    Mike. Get over yourself. There are at least as many over-the-top crazy scaredycat conservatives as liberals. The conservative media feed a constant stream of fear about everything. Terrorists. Sex offenders. Immigrants. Blah blah blah. Reston is an extremely safe place for a kid to roam.


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