Parents in the West typically intervene more often to protect children from harm than is typical in small-scale, non-industrial societies, and this protection could have implications for constraining children’s independent spatial exploration. This study used both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods to assess these issues in a subsistence-based economy, the Tsimane of Bolivia. We find that though Tsimane “free-range” parenting is hands-off compared to that found in Western societies, parents nonetheless restrict children’s travel. Freedom to explore farther from home is dependent on children’s development and necessity (e.g., travel requirements for work and subsistence-based tasks) and, with few exceptions, is similar for girls and boys. Parents base those decisions on their experience with the child and the potential risks in the environment, rather than on age-specific standards. Finally, many parents and their children report concerns about environmental risks, but it does not significantly decrease children’s mobility, which is similar for girls and boys.
Davis, H. E., & Cashdan, E. (2020). You don’t have to know where your kids are, just where they aren’t: Exploring free-range parenting in the bolivian amazon. In Parents and Caregivers Across Cultures: Positive Development from Infancy Through Adulthood (pp. 59–74). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-35590-6_5