Cotton Wool Kids

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"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 complete 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...
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