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Parenting & Education in Ireland

'Overprotective parenting is damaging kids'


Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 06/03/2015. 'Overprotective parenting is damaging kids'Tags: Parenting


Parents who drive their kids to school and are ‘overprotective’ of their children in public places may be damaging their development, says a new report published today.

A study done by Dr Brendan O’Keeffe, called A Profile and Assessment of Children’s Independent Mobility in Ireland, which collaborated with international research, found that Irish kids are one of the least likely nations to allow their kids to walk to school alone.  The study found that only 13% of Irish children walk to school,with only 37pc of Irish children being allowed to travel home from school alone, as opposed to 90pc in Finland, the highest ranking country. In the survey of 16 countries, Irish kids ranked 12th in their overall mobility scores.

The new research, carried out at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick who surveyed 2,200 children aged 7 to 15yrs in Ireland, north and south, found that children’s biggest fears when walking to school alone was fear of dogs and of kidnapping rather than traffic dangers.  Parents who were surveyed said their biggest fears for their children were of traffic accidents.

The report found that delaying the age where kids are allowed to go out alone could be hampering their development. According to co-author of the report, Allana O’Beirne, who was quoted in the Irish Independent today :

"What we found is that parents are delaying this - but this is also delaying the children's developmental skills, like their social and motor skills, because decision making and problem solving is delayed,”

The researchers suggest that parents should ‘loosen the reins’ and allow kids to walk to school if they have the opportunity to do so, and that the ‘increasing reliance on the car’ should be reduced: "Parents can loosen the reins and give children more independence and mobility. Parents should be role models and cycle with their children or walk to school", Ms O'Beirne said.

Source: Irish Independent


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