Parents obsession with safety hurts child development and they “fall apart,” says Boston College professor | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

BOSTON – Are over-protective parents hurting their children in the long run? A Boston College professor says evidence shows modern parenting goes too far.

Professor Peter Gray believes increasing rates of teen suicide, anxiety and depression are linked less to screens and more to limitations on kids’ freedom.

“They fall apart”   

“We are so afraid of the kinds of dangers that are actually so rare that we are not allowing our children to prepare themselves for the bumps in the road of life. Then, later on they fall apart,” he told WBZ-TV.

Gray wrote in The Journal of Pediatrics how a hovering obsession over safety from strangers and speeding cars, has caused different harm.

“They are far better off if they have the kinds of experiences in which they learn how to judge danger themselves, how to solve their own problems, develop a certain degree of courage, learn how to deal with the small amounts of fear and anger that naturally arise in play,” Gray said.

Parents at a playground in Waltham agreed they were more independent than they now allow.

“I want him to feel as free as we did when we were younger. Then again, I think it’s different times. I can’t picture myself letting him go to the playground by himself,” one father told WBZ.

“At ten I’m not ready to have her ride off out of my view,” a mother admitted.

Less face-to-face communication   

But educators who work with young students each day say it feels dangerously different since the pandemic, when kids may have been safe to play outside but learned and communicated almost entirely on devices and social media.

“Putting kids in a room together they’re more comfortable messaging each other on their Chromebooks or messaging on their phones than they are turning and talking to their person next to them. It’s incredibly bizarre,” said a mom who works as a school counselor.

“Whether it’s that they’re exhausted because they’re on their phone all night, they’re not getting enough sleep; They come to school and are falling asleep in classes. Group chats happen and those never go well, someone’s feelings get hurt,” she added.

Kids more stressed at school   

Gray argues kids are more stressed at school because of common core standards.

“We’ve taken away a lot of recess, we’ve shortened the lunch hour so kids are gobbling down their food. We’ve increased homework and the pressure of homework. We’ve taken away the more enjoyable aspects of school and the inevitable result of that is school has become anxiety provoking and depressing,” Gray told WBZ.

Researchers, parents and teachers agree something needs to change, if the goal is confident and communicative kids.

“We’re all trying our best, right? But sometimes you can have good intentions and it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to turn out,” a dad said.  


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