Thursday, February 4, 2016

Unattended children 2

The lyrics that are part of a new YouTube video came to Danielle Meitiv a few days after her young children were picked up by police as they walked home alone from a Maryland park.

Meitiv says it was a difficult time last April. The family was the focus of police and child protective services investigations for allowing the children to walk the neighborhood without adult supervision. Her children were scared. The Meitivs — who had by then become nationally known for their beliefs about “free range” parenting — were told by lawyers to keep a low profile.

So the family started making a video for fun, playing off of the song “Let It Go” the wildly popular theme from the 2013 animated Disney film “Frozen” — and an idea that resonated with a family that felt under siege.

“The lyrics helped us,” Meitiv said. “It gave us something else to focus on during a really difficult time. ... It’s a very Jewish approach to try to find humor even in the darkest circumstances. It was for us a way to help the kids smile.”

Danielle was the songwriter. But her two children, Rafi, now 11, and Dvora, now 7, added their own lines and are prominent in the music video, which starts with the family singing as they mope around the house wishing to be outside.

The remade lyrics say:

Don’t let them climb, don’t let them run

Whoever said that childhood was fun?

Protect, direct, why take the chance?

The children added this line:

But we need a chance!

Meitiv says that for her those lyrics stand out: “To me that pretty much describes modern parenting.”

Russell Max Simon, the founder of Empower Kids Maryland, an advocacy group created after the Meitivs’ troubles became public, gave the family professional help in producing the video.

“It’s meant to be commentary on everything that’s happened to Danielle, using a song that almost every parent has listened to over the past year,” said Simon, a marketing professional and local filmmaker...

In October, Meitiv and Simon joined forces to create the national organization aimed at allowing parents to give their children freedom to enjoy their youth.

“Our goal is to push back on CPS actions that criminalize childhood independence and parents who want to give their children that freedom,” Danielle Meitiv said. Meitiv says she also is writing a book about how modern American society harms families by underestimating children and undermining their parents.

The video, which shows children playing in the park and harkens back to days when parents let their children roam their neighborhoods, includes a plea for a return to that way of thinking: “Kids need their freedom, just like in the past!”

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