All 10 children have never been to school, and have no access to running water. So is it neglect, or just “free-range parenting”?
Authorities in the USA have seized 10 children after finding them living in “squalour” in Kentucky, USA.
According to a statement from police, the family “resided in an area with numerous piles of garbage, broken glass and nails” and lived in a makeshift shed that also houses “chickens, dogs and goats.”
None of the 10 children is enrolled in school, and they have no access to running water or septic tank. The property in Breckenridge County, Kentucky, also has two tents that police allege provide only shade, and not enough room for a family of 12 to live.
A neighbour of the family reported the parents, Joe and Nicole Naugler, after the father allegedly threatened him with a gun and knife.
Ms Naugler — who is five months pregnant — has since defended her parenting decisions on Facebook, claiming that she subscribes to a “back to basics” and “free-range” parenting lifestyle.
Free-range parenting proclaims that children should be independent from a very young age, not requiring constant attention and help. The parenting style created controversy in 2008, when a New York mother let her nine-year-old son ride the subway home by himself.
Scroll through gallery to see the conditions the children were living in (post continues after gallery):
Ms Naugler has also posted on Facebook since her arrest that she was “thrown against the cop car,” and that she has been refused legal representation. She also claims that she does not know where her children have been taken.
Many people have sympathised with Nicole’s situation.
“They are industrious people trying to teach their children how to live right,” a friend of the family’s, Pace Ellsworth, writes on a GoFundMe page — which has already earned more than $35,000 in donations, over triple its original target.
“Their ten children are homeschooled on the homestead. They contribute to the success of the family crops and livestock, all while learning about the amazing beauty of life.”
Overnight, Ms Naugler’s Facebook page for her blog promoting her parenting lifestyle has garnered over 6,000 new likes.
One Facebook user posted, “This is so heartbreaking. Your children are likely to turn out 10 times better than most that raise conventionally!!..
“You choose a lifestyle most have forgotten. A lifestyle of basic needs, hard work, morals and serving God…May God give your peace, knowledge and means to get you through this.”
Do you think the parents are neglecting their children? How do you feel about “free-range” parenting?
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