“Has politically correct, overprotective parenting created a generation of “cotton wool,” kids so removed from risk and adversity that they are left incapable of dealing with the social and physical demands of adult life? ” The number of socially and physically incapable children in New Zealand society is rapidly growing. The overprotective and politically correct parents of these children have been influenced by the media, through television coverage of the danger in their surrounding communities, and the parenting advice that the media feel they have the right to distribute. Cotton Wool Kids,” that the media have cleverly named these children as, is defined as an act “to protect someone completely from the dangers, difficulties etc of life,” and has been argued over as to whether it is a positive or negative method parenting, which has led to publicised battles between different groups on opposing sides, who all think that they are right. “Cotton-wool kids are having their development hampered. ” The amount of children who are being “protected” from all the dangers in today’s society is growing very fast.
Parents are constantly controlling every aspect of their child’s lives. They are no longer allowing their child to travel to school alone anymore, because of the paranoia they are suffering from 40 years ago things were very different. “In Britain in 1970, 80% of primary school-age children made the journey from home to school on their own. It was what you did. Today the figure is under 9%. Escorting your children is now the norm- often in the back of SUVs. This is terrible.
The “risk of abduction in Britain remains tiny, and half as many children killed every year in road accidents as there were in 1922- despite a more than 25-fold increase in traffic. ” Those statistics match up nearly perfectly with New Zealand’s. There has been no increase in child abductions in New Zealand over the years which makes you question whether all of these precautions parents are taking are necessary. Another aspect of their child’s life that parents are controlling and monitoring is their social lives. Even at kindergarten age, parents have omplete veto power over who their child can and can’t play with. And their reasons are usually pathetic ones like, his cousin’s friend is in the Mongrel Mob or, his father’s a boxer. Both of which are no reasons for their child not to play with a fellow two year old. These parents are harming their child by not allowing them to interact and develop social skills. Professor Judith Dunn of the Institute of Psychiatry and chairs the Good Childhood Inquiry says that, “Children whose early friendships are full of shared imaginative play develop a sensibility by discussing moral dilemmas. Which provides is with expert knowledge and should let parents know that the earliest friendships, ones that are developed over time without interruptions (such as an excuse as to why they shouldn’t play together), lead to the child’s moral development and maturity, which will help them in their future processes of making new friends, Unfortunately for the ‘under-developed,’ they are not as able to make friends. In fact the Children’s Society’s Good Childhood Inquiry says that the “number of teenagers who don’t have a best friends has risen from one in eight 20 years ago to one in five today. This makes life very difficult for these teenagers during their adult life, where they need friends. The activities that their children are allowed to do is also being monitored very closely. A recent study in the UK showed that children were less likely to play outside than their parents were when they were growing up. Half of children 7 to 12 were not allowed to climb a tree without adult supervision. 17% had been banned from playing tag. 1 in 5 had been stopped from playing conkers.
Without an adult present, a third were not allowed to ride a bike to a friend’s house and 42% were not allowed to play at their local park. But 75% were allowed on the internet unsupervised. ” The study consisted of 1000 children and 1032 adults. But that was just the parents protecting the children to an irrational extent. Schools are now getting involved. “One school prohibited pupils from doing backstroke in swimming lessons. ” A school in California banned tag because there’s a “victim” or “it,” which creates a self-esteem issue. “
And the overprotective school rules are just as bad in New Zealand. But there’s plenty of objections over them. A ban on bullrush in New Zealand schools moved one principal to complain that “boys are missing out on crucial ‘rough and tumble’ in a ‘feminised’ school system that des not allow them to let off steam. ” In face, even celebrities are getting involved. Rugby great, Sir Brian Lochore described how his children rode on the back of a motorbike, climbed trees and played in mud while he drank in the pub after a game- all things he said are frowned upon in today’s “politically correct” society.
Lochore urged fathers to let their children take risks but it lay down rules and impose consequences if these rules are broken. The negatives of helicopter parenting, if not already covered, are that parents are undermining their children’s confidence in their own abilities to take care of themselves and get things done. They are instilling fear of failure such thats they are denied the chance to learn how to persevere while standing on their own two feet. The parents are also stunting growth and development.
In fact, studies have shown that these children lack some of the knowledge to negotiate what they need to solve their own problems, stay safe, and interact in close quarters with others. And because of the constant controlling and monitoring that they are the victim of, these children have the inability to launch because they’re unsure of their passion, their own direction, and what to do next, if it means doing it on their own. The fear of failure, that the parents have instilled in their, is raising parental anxiety levels.
Research has shown that parents who consistently judge their own self-worth by their children’s success report feeling more sad and having more negative self image than parents who did not engage in the helicopter parenting behaviour. And then there are the supposed ‘positives’ of “wrapping your kids in cotton wool. ” “A study has shown that parental involvement can be very helpful. Data from 24 colleges and universities in the United States of America gathered for the National Survey of Student Engagement show that students whose parents were very often in contact with them and frequently intervened on their behalf reported higher levels of engagement and more frequent use of deep learning activities, such as after-class discussions with professors, intensive writing exercises and independent research, than students with less-involved parents. ” “Compared with their counterparts, children of helicopter parents were more satisfied with every aspect of their college experience, gained more in such areas as writing and critical thinking, and were more likely to talk with faculty and peers about substantive topics,” survey director George D.
Kuh, an Indiana University professor. This survey suggests that because of their parents hovering, the children became pedigree students. O, are they under extreme pressure from their parents? But first, why are parents so overprotective? Parents are overprotective for different reasons. They feel the need to control in a world that seems more unpredictable and scary than it was when they were growing up. Some parents have the fear of failure and hate to see their children struggle while others have a fear that their children will succeed and no longer need them as much as they did at one time.
Still others feel entitled to check in with or about their children at any given time or they feel empowered by living vicariously through theit sons and daughters who are doing things that the parents might not have been able to do when they were younger. And so, they shelter their children from anything that may get in the way of their ‘happiness. ‘ The protection of their children has even gone to the extent where the parents are protecting their children from themselves. On Wednesday May 16 2007, Green MP Sue Bradford’s controversial child discipline bill was passed by Parliament.
And in 2009, was officially recognised as a law which rules apply to section 59 of the New Zealand Crimes Act. This law was labelled the “Anti-Smacking Law,” which forbids the use of force on children. This was controversial because not only did New Zealand public not completely agree on the law, but a referendum took place, but the results are said to have been ignored as nearly 80% of participants did not believe the law was necessary. But of course, government has the ability to do what ver they wish, and so, the overprotective parents and public won, and New Zealand, supposedly, has been ‘smack free’ since. This entire event was well publicised, just as anything to do with children’s safety is. This leads me to my next point, the media influence over parent’s paranoia. The fear of people attacking or killing children has increased dramatically. Thirty years ago around half of parents would cite stranger danger as a serious fear. Now it is more than 90%. The media may be partially responsible for this.
High-profile pedophile cases, international coverage of horrific murders such as that of Sarah Payne, and instances of children being groomed by sexual predators over the internet are scorched on our consciousness and may account for parents seeing their children more significantly more vulnerable to strangers than they were at their age. The media coverage of four year old Madeleine McCann’s apparent abduction from her bed in Portugal was internationally publicised and led to many articles and documentaries about unsupervised children made.
By covering cases such as Madeleine McCann’s, the media added to the international frenzy over the, now exaggerated, fear that a child can be taken away from ‘right under their parent’s noses. ‘ Although there are quite a few child murders, the numbers have not increased by a large margin. tools such as the internet undeniably introduce new potential risks into children’s lives, but it seems that it is parents’ distorted perception of danger that has increased more dramatically itself.
The children of overprotective and politically correct parents who let themselves be manipulated and worried by the media, I believe, are the ones to blame for their child’s inability to socialise or participate in physical activities. I see the innocent, vulnerable children as the victims of their parent’s parenting regime. The controlling and monitoring is unhealthy, and has been proven to be a reason for any social or physical capabilities that a child may suffer from.
The media needs to back of a little, and provide the news in a way so that parents can understand the situation and whether their family is in danger or not. Mass media coverage of child abductions is usually broadcast without mention of how rare they are. The main reason for this critically examined topic is so that I can get the point across to anyone who will listen, that “Children are wrapped so tightly in cotton-wool that they never learn the independence and streetwise skills they need for life- and ultimately they are placed in real danger. ” Word count: 1896