Parental fear breeds cotton-wool kids: study
This article was published in The Sydney Morning Herald 6 October 2010
Modern parents are becoming increasingly protective of their kids, but where will it end? Photo: Stephen Baccon
Even though there is no evidence that it is more dangerous for children to go to the park or walk to school without adults, parents are increasingly wrapping their offspring in cotton wool, a Perth study has found.
Children's mental development and health were also being threatened by their parents' fear of strangers, which was often cited as the reason parents did not let children leave the home without supervision.
The research, exploring the role parental fear for their child's security plays in limiting their physical activity and independence, was undertaken by University of Western Australia Assistant Professor Lisa Wood, in conjunction with the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research's Professor Stephen Zubrick.
It found that even though abduction, robbery, assault and homicide statistics had not risen substantially over the past 50 years, parents were more anxious not only about what could happen to their children but also about how other parents perceived them.