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Helicopter Parenting

Would you let your kids, 10 and 6, walk home alone from a park a mile away?


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Visitor Comments: 13

(9) Anonymous, April 13, 2015 12:16 AM

'Have to weight the situation though...

I agree this should be an individual decision among parents and their children. 1 mile = about 12 city blocks. It's really not that great a distance. The type of neighborhood one lives in, traffic, etc. needs to be taken into account too--but this isn't a "one size fits all" decision. For example: as a child living in a small city of 50,000 in WI, I lived over a mile from my elementary school, and it was expected--from kindergarten on--that I would walk there, and back, everyday--snow, rain or shine. Our school day started at about 8:15 AM--so there was never a question of walking in the dark, and there were always other kids from the neighborhood also walking to school.

Now--my own children (ages 9 & 11) are going to school in a city of about 50,000 in GA. The school day here starts at 7:00 AM--when it's still pitch-dark during the winter months. We live about 8 blocks from the school--but there are no sidewalks here. My kids are among only a handful of children in this neighborhood going to this school--so there's not much "kid traffic" (or "safety in numbers"). No way do I allow my kids to go to school in the mornings alone! However, yes, I do often let them walk home after school--with three iron-clad rules in place: they walk together, no dawdling or exploring off the assigned route home-- and they walk on the grassy areas at the sides of the street--not IN the street. I want my children to develop some understanding of self-sufficiency, and I don't want my kids growing up feeling--as so many seem to --that they HAVE to have a car super-glued to their backsides in order to "do anything." Am I always comfortable with it? No. But I also don't want to raise kids who are mentally shrouded in bubble wrap.

Late commenting on this I realize--just watched this video. I always enjoy listening to your "take on life" Rabbi Solomon, even on those rare occasions I don't completely agree with you!

(8) Miriam, January 27, 2015 6:30 PM

Completely normal in Israel

I live in Israel where it is completely normal and accepted for a 10 yr old to walk with a 6 yr old for 20min. Even in London when I grew up kids would walk home from school alone at 10 years old. Isn't this something each parent should be able to decide based on the maturity of their child? There isn't a 'law' about this. How can the social services take children away from their parents b/c of this?! Why don't they concentrate on the real issues out there?

(7) David, January 26, 2015 7:05 AM

I don’t know where this is coming from. Maybe there is something about the neighborhood or the times that I don’t understand. Living in Israel, my daughters took public transportation to elementary and middle schools. When we lived in Houston for three years, they took public buses or rode bicycles to and from school. [Flashback – when I was a kid growing up in Philadelphia, one day (when I was about 10), after classes, I decided to see how far I could travel on a school token. I rode the subways and buses to north, south, and west Philadelphia, and I rode into Camden, NJ and back. My mother was shocked when I arrived home at 7 PM instead of the expected 4 PM, but no one ever suggested that social services should get involved.] My kids flew on El Al as unaccompanied minors between Israel and the US to visit their grandparents. Is this irresponsibility? I think not. Each person and each case is different. You can’t judge every incident by a single measure. Sometimes we may have lapses of judgment, but that is rarely a justification for the heavy hand of government interference.

(6) Rachel, January 26, 2015 4:28 AM

it depends on the kids

I live in this area. I did not let my kids walk that distance alone, but I did expect each of them to walk a couple of blocks home from the school bus stop starting around these ages. Had that been developmentally inappropriate for them, I would have made different arrangements. And many frum children go on their own to shul or to visit friends on Shabbat when they cannot carry cell phones. This is a real family neighborhood where folks look out for each others children, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. And again - this is a decision that can only be made by parents about each individual child.

(5) Simcha, January 26, 2015 12:35 AM

Children Walking Home!!!

I agree with every word of Rabbi Salomon. The parents were wrong in allowing their children to walk such a long distance by themselves but that is NO reason to take the children away from their parents. The parents should be warned not to do it again due to the danger. The parents should also explain to their children the dangers of going with strangers and even someone they know. When I was in elementary school from '66-'72, I walked seven minutes either by myself or with a friend to school except for the first day of first grade when my mother (may she rest in peace) walked me to school. I remember very clearly that my first grade teacher, a lady approximately 60 years old, hugged me in front of the whole class because I was the best reader and speller in the class. These days, the teacher would go to jail for that. Times have certainly changed!!!

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