Last week I became one of ‘those’ people.
Researching genealogy has relied on family stories, written diaries, and documents. Now it has the truth. DNA. DNA doesn’t lie, it just gives you the facts. Unbiased, unwavering, insensitive facts.
People talk about the dangers of using DNA to research genealogy. DNA might reveal that the stories, diaries, and documents sometimes lie. Sometimes, even a birth certificate lies because the people who created it were there for the birth, not the conception.
On 23 January 2017, I became one of those people who found out that the DNA test disproved everything I had been led to believe about who I was, and to what family I belonged. I found out that the man who raised me as his son, was not my father.
Six decades ago, my mother became pregnant with a man known to her and our family. I was born in December of that year. I looked enough like my mother, that it probably wasn’t too difficult to sell the idea that I was the legitimate child of my father. In addition, the man we believe to be my father was tragically killed in an accident when I was five, so I didn’t really have a chance to interact with him as I grew up.
If it were not for the DNA test, I would have never known…until one of my children took a DNA test. Truth can be relentless.
What Do You Say to the Half-Son?
The news was unreal, then surreal, then it got strange. There is no way to describe how it feels to have a fundamental truth about yourself suddenly proven wrong. The displacement of my reality was not a sudden shock, but a creeping wave of unrest and confusion.
Some people might have been hesitant to share this information with others. Those people hate me. I’m not a private or secretive person, and after I realized that I had lived a lie for almost sixty years, I was determined to end the secret as quickly as possible.
Most of the immediate family members of both families have passed away, so other than ‘honor’ of both families, and the memories of the people involved, this was a matter that impacted me and my children. While trying to be sensitive to both families, I posted the news on Facebook.
Mostly, the reaction was stunned silence. I found out later that many people had read the post, but what do you say to someone in my position? I’m willing to bet even Hallmark doesn’t have a card for this situation.
The reaction was typically positive and supportive. There was a suggestion that the DNA test might be wrong, and a couple of people began suggesting that the affair might not have been consensual. I gave a terse response to one of those comments and deleted it.
One of the first questions that occurred to me was, “Who knew, and when did they know it.” It is somewhat of a pointless exercise because most people have passed on, and those still alive who may have known are not likely to implicate themselves in the deception.
I am confident my mother knew, or strongly suspected I was not her husband’s child. Several reactions and responses to questions about my family history seemed indicate she was deliberately vague and at times, almost disruptive to my research.
Among the most obvious oddities was her insistence that my fraternal grandfather was half to three quarters Native American. This was almost always followed by a reference that my coloring, (brown hair, brown eyes, and dark complexion) was Native American. The last time she made this reference, my brother had already proven that as far back to 1803, and beyond there was no Native American blood in the Kiser or Warner family.
The Brutality of Deception
Deception is an insidious malady. The bigger the deception, the more it infects a person’s sense of well being. I can’t imagine what my mother experienced during a lifetime of keeping this deception going, especially when the man who was most likely my real father died. His sudden death, mixed with the probability he was my father, could not have created a more chaotic mix of emotions for my mother.
As I became an adult I tried to analyze my mother and father’s relationship. It was clear that they were not in a positive emotional relationship. To me it felt more like they were performing the expected roles, but not with any emotional connection. It’s possible that was their behavior around me, but I suspect it was noticed by others.
My interactions with my mother were typically civil, but I would never have considered them warm. I don’t think she treated my brothers any different. That was who she was as a mother.
However, now I have to wonder if she saw me as the child that added complications in her life. Did my presence create a psychological conflict within her? Did she fear that other people might have known and were talking behind her back?
I can’t imagine what would have happened if the truth would have come out when I was a child, and perhaps it was best for everyone that it didn’t come out, but the collateral damage of maintaining a deception likely affected my mother’s relationships with my father, with the family, and with me. I am disturbed that she didn’t respect me enough to tell me at some point. To deny me the truth was unfair to me and my children.
The lesson of this is that deception can be as destructive as the truth. My mother may have believed she escaped the consequences of her situation by lying and maintaining that lie, but I don’t believe she did. I think she created a hole in her life, and now a lot of people are falling in that hole.
But now it is time to move forward. It is strange, but my last name feels like I am lying every time I say it. I feel I have to say, “My name is Paul Kiser, but actually I’m not a Kiser by blood.” I don’t think I’ll do that when I go through immigration next week, but still, the impulse is there.
Fortunately, my children, and the children of the other family are intrigued by the new family history. As offsetting as this is in the old world of hiding shame and embarrassment, the new world doesn’t end when someone’s decades old indiscretions come to light.
And this is where the story begins.
Great Father Sun, you are the origin, the center, the focus, you are the constant. I see you as you cross the sky. I feel your warmth. You make the food grow and all life possible. Without you, we could not see. Without you, there would be no rain. When you light the sky above me, I see your power. At night you shine on our Mother Moon.
Great Mother Earth, you are our source, our foundation, the root of all life on our planet. You give me a home. You give me air to breath, water to drink, and food to eat. You give me all that I need. Without you I would be dust and rock floating in the vast cavity of space.
Mother Moon, you are the giver of life. You are the spark that lit the fire of life on Earth. Your touch tilted the Great Mother Earth and gave us seasons. Your pull creates the tides. Without you, the Great Mother Earth would be uninhabitable.
I pray forgiveness for what we have done. I believe that you sought to have us progress forward, moving from beasts that were motivated by lust and desire, to creatures of intelligence and compassion that sought harmony and grace.
Instead we have devolved back into beasts. We have brought on shame and failure to not only ourselves, but to all life. We have no excuse. We know what is proper, and what is not, but we have chosen to embrace the improper.
Great Father Sun, Great Mother Earth, Mother Moon, I know the seasons are necessary for life, and I know, just as the seasons bring warmth in the summer and cold in the winter, so to the seasons of humanity wax and wane.
This is a season of darkness for humanity, but I pray that you will intercede. The darkness of this season is hurting and killing the innocent, not the weak. Those of money and power seek to destroy, not build, and those who gave them power have failed as human beings and celebrate the destruction.
Intercede for those who need you. Intercede for the honor of life. Intercede because it is the correct thing to do. Intercede because those who have intelligence know the danger of violent aggression and know that it is not the answer to battle the unethical, wicked, and stupid.
Great Father Sun, Great Mother Earth, Mother Moon, it is time to act on our behalf.
But you like to be with my family!
If I had a British pound for every time that was said regarding the annual extended family vacation, I would have less than what I had a month ago…but that’s another story.
The annual extended family vacation. I’m not talking about the vacation where you and your spouse plan to go to a new and different place every year with your children. That activity has its own stresses and issues, but is usually a healthy activity for those involved. What I’m talking about is when one person or one family decides to go to the same place every year, and others are expected to join them.
Often it starts with a family having a traditional summer vacation to the same place with their children, but as the children become adults, they may stop going on the annual vacation.
However, after they marry and begin their own families, they are invited to rejoin the annual family vacation, with an expectation that the spouses will become part of their annual pilgrimage. For a few years it may be a fun event, something to look forward to each summer, but then the event becomes more important than any other vacation that doesn’t involve the extended family. Vacations become determined by bloodlines, not along family lines.
Alternate vacation ideas, or visits to relatives that aren’t of the bloodline of the family of origin become a lower priority. Everyone is expected to preserve and protect the big event. After so many times of going to the same place with another family, or families, one may begin to feel that they’re tagging along on someone else’s vacation. Once in the situation, you can only be the bad person if you refuse to go.
There are always great reasons for extended families to get together occasionally. It is an opportunity to reclaim family ties, and share time together. Going for a week or more on trip with a group of people can be fun; however, committing two or more families to an annual vacation, to the destination determined by one family says something about the nature of the relationship of one family over another.
However, vacations that are determined by one family, or one side of the family, year after year after year, are about control. At some point an adult child has to decide whether their commitment is to their family of origin, or to their own family.
By 1939, both the Barrick and Kiser family had established themselves in Moffat County. The original two families had lived in northwestern Colorado for over two decades and the children born there were now old enough to start their own families. Vernon, the oldest son of the Kiser family and Frances, the eldest daughter of the Barrick family married on October 29, 1939. Both were first generation natives of Moffat County.
To support themselves, Vernon took jobs wherever he could in the 1940’s. He and Frances moved several times around northwestern Colorado to be where the work took them. World War II had little impact on Vernon and Frances as he had broken his arm as a child and it failed to heal properly.
His disqualification to join the military was a blessing as he became a father in 1945. Kenneth Clyde was born on July 10, and by that time Vernon had settled into a career as a heavy equipment operator. In 1949, Vernon began working for Henderson Construction where he would remain for the next 22 years.
However, World War II did have an impact on other members of the Kiser and Barrick family. Vernon’s brothers, Loren and Hubert Kiser and, the brother of Frances, George Jr. and two of her brother-in-laws, Lewis Hurlburt and Ed Annon served in the military during the war. All survived the war, but they, and their families, all relocated outside of Moffat County after they returned.
1950-70 The Hahn’s Peak Years
Vernon’s work with Henderson Construction was largely with a small mining company. One of their mining claims was Hahn’s Peak in nearby Routt County. The idea was that because gold had been found in a radius around the extinct volcano, perhaps there were veins of gold in the mountain. For many years Vernon was employed to build and maintain roads on Hahn’s Peak for the mining operations on the mountain. Almost all of the roads on Hahn’s Peak were carved out by Vernon.
Vernon and Frances had three more boys during his tenure with Henderson Construction. Michael Warner was born in 1950, Roy Dean was born in 1953, and Paul Alan was born in 1957.
Because Hahn’s Peak was about an hour and a half from Craig, Vernon lived in a trailer house at the base of the Hahn’s Peak during the week. During the summer when school was out the family would join their Dad and live at the camp for the summer. Once a week Frances and the boys would come into town to wash clothes, shop, and maintain the yard at the house, then head back to Hahn’s Peak.
1960-80 677 Colorado Street
Much of the Barrick family had moved out of Moffat County during the 1940’s and 50’s; however, the Vernon and Frances built a home at 677 Colorado Street in Craig, and From 1958 until 1978, that house was the anchor of the Kiser family. All their boys attended school in Craig, played sports, and graduated from Moffat County High School while living in that house.
Henderson Construction closed it’s doors in 1972, and eventually Vernon took a job at the Moffat County Road Department where he moved up to the Assistant Road Supervisor. By 1976, all of their boys had graduated and left Craig, so Vernon and Frances decided to move to Great Divide and manage one of the county’s remote road maintenance stations.
Of their four boys, Mike Kiser was the only one who returned to northwest Colorado to stay. He was a helicopter mechanic for the Army and was stationed in Germany. After his tour of duty he worked a couple of years as a mechanic for the City of Sandy, Utah. Mike married a woman he met in Utah and they moved back to Craig. In 1975, they had a daughter, Carey.
In Craig, he took a job with the Moffat County Road Department and later became a member of Craig’s volunteer fire department. Unfortunately, while Mike was in his 30’s he was stricken with a hereditary autoimmune disorder that put him in the hospital for weeks at a time and he had to stop working. Eventually, Mike moved out to Maybell where he lived for the rest of his life.
1980’s to 2015-End of an Era
Craig’s story is similar to the story of Radiator Springs in Disney’s fictional town in the animated movie Lightning McQueen, Craig is the town that saw its glory days when U.S. Highway 40 was the best route between Denver and Salt Lake City. Once Interstates 70 and 80 were built, Craig became more isolated even though the two-lane highway is shortest route between the two major cities.
For a person graduating from Moffat County High School, Craig’s career opportunities are limited and the community can’t absorb 100 new job seekers every June. A diploma for many graduates is an order to work for the family business, a signal to scramble to find a local job, or a ticket to pack and leave northwestern Colorado.
Since the Barrick family emigrated to Moffat County in 1913, at least 24 Kiser/Barrick family members lived in northwestern Colorado. By 1990 there were only five members living in the county. The rest left the area for military service, college, better jobs, or just to discover other places.
The family members still living in Moffat County were Vernon and Frances Kiser, Mike Kiser, Virginia Barrick Hurlburt (sister of Frances,) and George Dean Jr. (brother of Frances.) Vernon had retired from the Road Department and he and Frances purchased a small ranch on the Yampa River west of Maybell. Mike Kiser and Frances’ sister, Virginia Hurlbert, also moved out to Maybell. The five survivors of the Kiser/Barrick family were all natives of Moffat County.
For several years Vernon and Frances enjoyed the return to life on a ranch until Vernon began having health problems. Vernon, the first child of the Kiser/Barrick clan to be born in Moffat County, died at Craig Memorial Hospital in 1996. He was 77. Virginia died in Maybell in 2004. She was 76. George Dean Jr. died in Craig two years later. He was 84. Frances, the last of the first generation of homesteader’s children died at her home in Maybell in 2008. She was also 84.
After his mother’s death, Mike Kiser remained at the home west of Maybell. He had been married twice, but he had been single for most of the last half of his life. Although he lived with chronic pain, he had been feeling healthier lately. Local people had seen him taking long walks near his home on Highway 318. He had been out on Thursday, November 19, 2015, but no one had seen him since. His brother, Roy, tried to call him on the weekend and when he couldn’t get ahold of Mike he asked the Moffat County Sheriff’s Department to check up on him. They found him dead of a heart attack in his home.
Mike’s passing ended a century of the Kiser/Barrick family in Moffat County. The Kisers and the Barricks that were born and raised in northwestern Colorado weren’t really noteworthy. None of them ran for political office, none of them were high-profile citizens, and rarely did you see their names in the local papers. They attended the local schools, worked at local jobs, were involved in sports in high school, and they quietly raised families.
This July the Kiser and Barrick families will come together at Hahn’s Peak to say goodbye to Mike, and say goodbye to our home in northwestern Colorado.
ALSO: Part I – Pre-Homesteading
ALSO: Part II – Two Family’s Destiny Unfolds
On or about November 20, 2015, Michael Warner Kiser died in his home of a heart attack. He was 65. His death marked the end of a century of Kiser/Barrick family history in Moffat County. This is the story of those families.
Early Northwestern Colorado
To understand northwestern Colorado it is important to know the context of the political and cultural history that shaped its destiny. Until 1847, northwestern Colorado was part of northeastern Mexico. In that year the Mexican Government signed the Treaty of Hidalgo Guadalupe at gunpoint after losing the Mexican American War. Colorado did not become a State until 1876 and Moffat County did not exist until 1911.
While Native Americans, primarily the Ute Indians thrived in northwestern Colorado, the opinions of early European explorers in the late 1700’s and 1800’s about the value of the area were not kind. In 1844, John C. Fremont said the country was nearly worthless. In 1869, John Wesley Powell came to the same conclusion, holding out that with massive irrigation the area might produce crops, but there wasn’t enough water.
In the 1860’s gold had been discovered in the mountain creeks west of Denver and men fanned out into the Rockies. In 1865, a group of men found small quantities of gold around an extinct volcano in northwestern Colorado. The primary discoverer, Joseph Hahn was apparently betrayed by one of his partners who left him and another man in the field while he allegedly was off to get supplies. He never returned and Hahn died in an attempt to reach civilization in April of 1867. The extinct volcano was named Hahn’s Peak in honor of him.
Mining continued to expand in the late 1860’s in northwestern Colorado, but the lack of significant ore deposits and lack of access to and from the area brought an end to the fickle growth created by prospectors.
Farther west in the high desert of northwestern Colorado, Native Americans, primarily the Utes, maintained their traditional nomadic lifestyle; however, some western Europeans sought to retrain the indigenous people and make them adopt the western culture. The effort created conflict between the Native Americans and the caucasian invaders. In 1879, a minor incident of shoving an agent, Nathan Meeker, led to him requesting troops be sent to the area. Ultimately, both sides lost control of the situation and a U.S. Army detachment was attacked resulting in 50 men wounded or killed. An outcry for ‘justice’ led to the 1881 relocation of all Ute Indians from their Colorado lands into Utah. This opened the door for Congress to declare the vacated lands open to homesteading in 1882.
As the Utes were moved out, the cattle ranchers moved in. This created a pressing need for better transportation to the area to ship cattle to Denver; however, a centralized gathering point had to be established to move cattle in and out of the area and many of the existing towns lacked the geographic qualifications needed as a cattle and transportation center.
In the late 1880’s, the founding of Steamboat Springs created a target for those who sought to create a transportation link to northwestern Colorado. It also had the benefit of being near the Oak Creek area where new coal deposits were discovered.
Almost simultaneously, the inflow of homesteaders coming from the Denver side of the Rocky Mountains created the need to build roads and rail lines over the high altitudes and steep terrain of the Continental Divide, but the challenges would take years.
It would not be until 1909, that the railroad would reach to Steamboat Springs, and almost overnight Steamboat Springs became the largest cattle transportation center in the country. Had the railroad ended in Steamboat Springs, the town might have become twice as large and hindered the growth of any other communities in northwestern Colorado, but the plan for the railroad had never been to end in a community just on the other side of the Rocky Mountains.
Knowing the railroad was coming farther west, William H. Tucker established a townsite about 40 miles west of Steamboat Springs. One of his primary financial backers was Reverend William Bayard Craig, and so he named the town Craig. The first census of Craig in 1910 was only 392 people; however, with the completion of the railroad to Craig in 1913, the town would triple in size by the 1920 census to 1,297 citizens.
In 1911, the State legislature created Moffat County by carving out the western two-thirds of Routt County and made the three year-old town of Craig the new county seat. Growth in Steamboat Springs flatlined for decades after Craig and Moffat County were established and even with the development of one of the nation’s premier ski areas in 1963, Steamboat Springs remained Craig’s junior until the late 1990’s.
Two years after Moffat County was established, the Barrick family came to homestead. Five years after that the first Kiser family would follow them. That would begin a century of intertwining history of these two families that would end with the death of Michael Kiser in 2015.
NEXT: Part II – Two Family’s Destiny Unfolds
ALSO: Part III – Another Radiator Springs
- The idea or suggestion lacked thought or had no basis in fact. (e.g.; Would Donald Trump be a good President?)
- The idea or suggestion has obvious flaws. (e.g.; Should we let a gun be in a room with a bunch of 2nd grade children?)
- Is a matter of personal opinion or seeks personal approval. (e.g.; Would you go out with me?)
But when an idea or suggestion doesn’t fall under any of these categories, the “no” answer becomes a potential weapon of personal destruction for the person saying it, and a beautiful opportunity for the person on the receiving end.
Being the youngest of four boys, my brothers and parents became accustomed to telling me ‘no.’ I was constantly asking questions and making suggestions, and the ‘yes’ answer was likely to encourage me. In those situations where I actually had a good idea, it was enough that as the youngest member of the family, a ‘no’ answer was valid.
As an adult, I never had any expectations that my ideas and suggestions would be better received, so hearing ‘no’ was an irritation, but I accepted it as part of life.
However, I as grew older I noticed that some people seemed to enjoy telling other people ‘no.’ Often these people were in leadership positions and their tactic was to dominate and/or intimidate others. In some cases people would act as a dictator within the organization, silencing the ideas and opinions of others with a type of ‘no’ answer that implied dire consequences if the person didn’t drop the subject, or the idea was treated so lightly as if the person was unintelligent for making the suggestion. For years I thought that part of being a good manager was to have the privilege and responsibility to tell others, “NO!”
Then several years ago I joined a service club and became very involved in the organization. I served on several Boards and committees. I discovered that I could manipulate some people because I always knew their response to whatever I suggested would be, ‘no.’
It was then I realized that when someone says ‘no,’ it is a gift. The “No-ee” has done all they are required by making the suggestion or asking the question. The “No-er” has put their reputation and respectability on the line. The ‘no’ answer gives them all the responsibility, and, as a situation plays out, their failure to consider someone else’s idea or suggestion may be the fatal decision that brings them down.
I still find enjoyment of sometimes asking a perfectly legitimate question of someone I know will give me a ‘no’ answer. It is even more interesting to do this when I have more information about the issue or situation than they do and they can’t help but give me an answer that will eventually haunt them.
Still, I have learned that organizations and relationships with ‘no’ people are typically doomed. There’s a time to experience the joy of ‘no,’ and then there are times it’s best to walk away and shake the dust off your sandals.
I have had a few instances of being told I was right. These typically come years after the fact when the acknowledgement is almost meaningless regarding the original idea, issue, or choice. The irony is that the issue discussed years ago is irrelevant, but how the person responded to my idea or concern established the quality of our relationship.
Years of interactions with people through work, social, and personal experiences has taught me that relationships are defined by the quality of respect the two people have for each other. Communication is about sharing information and being correct or not about an issue is secondary to the quality of the relationship. We are not taught that in school, but it is something learned as patterns develop with the people in our social circles.
The way a person responds to our ideas and concerns defines the quality of respect they have for who we are as a person, and that defines the relationship.
A dismissive response is the lowest form of respect to a person. Adults often are dismissive of children, and that is a valid description of the relationship between two adults when one is dismissive or condescending to another person. The classic, “Let’s just agree to disagree” is a great example of a dismissive response. If this is happening in a work relationship it means that your value to that person is nonexistent and that you should be seeking a different work environment.
In a personal relationship it means that you are a pet or child to the person and you should take action to get them out of your life. Once a person treats you as an inferior, others will model that and everyone around you will devalue your relationship with them.
The next lowest form of respect is when someone is deflective or derogatory to you when you express concern about an issue. This behavior can be recognized by responses that begin with or include the following:
“You’ve always disliked. ..” or “You don’t know for sure that…” or “Here you go again…”
The point here is that the person is not responding to your concern, just devaluing you and anything you have to say. It is a close cousin to a dismissive response, but the person feels a need to answer your concern, even though the answer is actually an insult to your intelligence.
Another close relative of the Dismissive Response is the Illogical Response. It is the type of response that has the appearance of a discussion of two people who mutually respect each other; however, the response is often a desperate attempt to suggest Point A is negated by Point B, but in reality Point A has nothing to do with Point B.
An example of this is if Ryan is saying that a school’s quality is on the decline because some of the best teachers in a school are leaving and Barbara counters by saying the school has a great reputation for the quality of education. Barbara’s argument is based on past performance, but Evan’s argument is talking about current and future performance.
The hallmark of any valid discussion is the respect the people involved have for each other. When both people respect each other every attempt will be made to reach a reasonable solution because the relationship is more important than the argument.
Finally, when someone comes back to you years after a discussion and tells you that you were correct, it really is about admitting the lack of respect they had for you, and they are attempting to recognize their error. Never assume that they have found a new respect for you because respect is not a quality that returns once it has been lost.
Because it’s there.
- Blogging is not a path to fame or fortune. If you think people are going to hang on your every blog post, you will likely be disappointed. If you think your blog is going to change the world, you will likely be disappointed. If you think people are going to pay you to write, you will likely be disappointed.
- Blogging is the opportunity to write. Like dance, or acting, or painting, blogging is a creative art. The more you write, the better your skills. The more skilled, the more satisfying.
- Blogging is expression. It is a public diary that exposes who you are and what you think. If you try to be someone you’re not, you likely will be embarrassed.
- Blogging is long term. If your measure of success is the number of readers who read yesterday’s blog, you probably shouldn’t blog. The Internet is a library and Google is the librarian. Five years from now someone may search for information and discover your blog is exactly what they needed. That is success. Remember, your blog is one among billions, but time is without measure.
- Blogging is about legacy. Your children’s children will have the opportunity to get to know you through your blog. It will expose them to your mind and your passions. Somewhere down the ancestry line will be a grandchild or great-grandchild who thinks exactly like you, and they will treasure the opportunity to get to know themselves through your writing.
- Blogging is about finding yourself. Writing down our internal discussions can be revealing. We may not fully understand our values and who we are until it comes back to us in our own words.
Most people cannot fathom why anyone would blog, but if you blog, you are not ‘most people.’ That alone should reassure you of the value of blogging.
The parent always correct. That is the basis of free-range parenting. The idea that a parent should be allowed to do whatever they want, including nothing, with their children.
I grew up in rural northwestern Colorado. The idea of ‘free-range’ is common in farming communities where it refers to animals. It means the rancher allows his animals to roam on open land, usually federal land and expends minimal personal resources on the care and maintenance of his or her livestock until it’s time to round them up for sale. The expectation is that some of the animals will be lost to predators, but the money saved by not feeding and watering them is worth the risk.
In parenting, ‘free-range’ is applied to the children of the mother and father. The concept is that children of almost any age will mature faster as unsupervised survivalists than under the care and monitoring of an adult. It is as stupid as it sounds.
This idea gained national awareness when Rafi, a ten-year-old boy, and Dvora his six-year-old sister were picked up by law enforcement when they were reported to be unsupervised about a mile from home. They are children of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv who believe that their children should be allowed to roam free on streets and in parks in order to learn the lessons that life offers. The parents have been charged with child neglect.
The real issue with free-range parenting is not one of parenting style. Parenting style requires that you actually take the responsibility to be a parent, which free-range parents don’t. Free-range parenting can be compared to having something of infinite value entrusted to someone, for which they go to the back door and throw it as far away has possible.
The critical issue with free-range parenting is assuming that children are born with an automatic sense of right and wrong. They are not. Children learn good behavior and they learn it from the human examples around them. Left on their own, many children experiment with cruelty and seek to satisfy baser desires, especially when one child is older and/or stronger than another child.
Parents have to constantly guide children to understand the concepts of boundaries, respect, kindness, responsibility, and humility. Often children battle against parents when told that certain behaviors and/or actions are not acceptable, but as a child matures they begin to understand that parents are acting out of love in teaching proper social behavior. They understand this, often because they see other people around them who lacked proper parental supervision and who are social failures as an adult.
A free-range parent is also setting themselves up for failure. The child will soon discover that the more they stay away from the parents, the less hassle they will experience, so the detach themselves emotionally from the parent. Once a child has found the parent to be irrelevant the opportunity for the parent to offer advice and guidance is lost forever.