As children grow and develop, they need to learn independence and autonomy. Their parents have a critical – and sometimes difficult – role in supporting them to do this.
Many people think that today’s parents are too worried about their children’s safety and aren’t giving their children opportunities for healthy growth and development. Commentators use terms such as ‘helicopter parenting’, ‘cotton-wool kids’ and ‘bubble-wrapping children’ to describe this situation. Overly fearful parenting has been suggested as contributing, among other things, to declining levels of independent physical activity in children and high rates of childhood obesity.
To investigate the role that parental fear plays in shaping children’s independence and physical activity, and find solutions to help parents give their children greater freedom, VicHealth has initiated and funded a three year study (2012 to 2015) into parental fear, the first of its kind in Australia.
The research team has designed this project to increase understanding of the role that parental fear plays in shaping their children’s independent activity factors that help parents give their children greater freedom.