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This world may be a dangerous place for our children. Young kids are dependent on adult protection to live, which makes a degree of parental protection a necessity for survival. It is so important that there is actually an evolutionary mechanism in human beings which seems to trigger an intense urge to protect children in adults. As children grow older, and they become more practised in dealing with life, the level of supervision usually relaxes, at least in normal circumstances.

Some parents find it challenging to relinquish any degree of protection. They are still blocked by a sense of danger and seem driven by the assumption that without them, their child will be hurt. As a result they continue to exercise full supervision from a very close proximity. This blog is not trying to argue in favour of being less mindful towards the safety of our children. To the contrary, the well being of kids is important. However when the parent becomes too preoccupied and restricts the child’s engagement with the world, there can be important stoppers to his/her development. When mum or dad disallows certain freedoms, like running about or jumping around, they are also impeding the chances of practice. Children use play to explore; explore their bodies; explore their environment; and explore relationships. An inadequate exposure to these opportunities can hinder the social, physical, spatial and cognitive development of a child. Furthermore, in the name of safety, the child is then constantly bombarded with messages of anxiety which are absorbed by his or her mind. The child grows up learning that the world is a harsh place and that he or she cannot exist without mum or dad. Signs of such dependency will continue to show in the future personality of the child, even when transitioned into adulthood.

 

– Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness.  He offers parent coaching and social work sessions.  He can be contacted on steve@willingness.com.mt