Modern-day parenting pressures are making children less developed well-rounded, study reveals

In today’s society, children are given less time to play independently and assess risk for themselves

The ‘Outnumbered’ panel discussed the alarming incident and the need for greater ‘accountability’ as concerns continue to swirl surrounding youth crime.

The expectations of modern day parenting are putting pressure and expectations on parents, which is limiting opportunities for children to enjoy “spontaneous play,” according to a new study from the University of Essex.

“Until around the 1990s, parents were not expected to endlessly entertain and monitor their children in the same way they are today, so children had greater freedom to play independently,” study’s author Dr. John Day said. “But since those children have become parents themselves, society has changed so there is a heightened feeling of responsibility for their children’s development.”

“One aspect of the problem is increased fears around stranger danger and more traffic on the roads which means opportunities for children to be physically active through spontaneous play have become limited,” he added.

Parents have always felt responsibility for their children’s development, but the study points to a heightened intensity of parenting in recent years with parents expected to spend more time “watching, noticing and responding to their children’s desires and behaviors,” according to a news release about the study.

As a result, children have less time to play independently and learn for themselves the risks and dangers of outdoor play. In addition, children are more sedentary, spending more time using technology and less time playing among each other.

The study, published in the journal Sociology of Health & Illness, has parents worried that without “spontaneous play,” their children won’t be as developed and well-rounded as they could be.

“Parents are encouraged to spend more time with their children while simultaneously judged on how independent their children are,” Dr. Day said. “But most of the learning about independence takes place when children take risks of their own choosing and these opportunities are becoming lost in childhood.”

Dr. Day said most learning takes place when children take risks of their own without pressure from their parents.

Dr. Day, who works at Essex’s School of Health and Social Care, conducted in-depth interviews with 28 UK residents born between 1950 and 1994. He asked about their physical activity history and how family members influenced these experiences.

Many parents born after the late 1960s, who started parenting in the early 1990s, felt pressure to make sure their children were active amid concerns about their health, which left less time for spontaneous forms of play. He found that the rise in structured physical activity for children happened in tandem with the decline in children playing spontaneously.

“Society today positions parents as the sole engineers in their children’s development which represents an unrealistic burden that brings with it unjust pressure and expectation,” Dr. Day said, according to the news release.

The doctor who authored the study said children in today’s society need to be able to learn about the risks of physical activity away from the presence of their parents. (iStock)

He said there needs to be a culture shift to provide opportunities for children to learn about the risks of physical activity and play on their own.

“Parenting is no longer simply an aspect of who someone is but a role one is expected to extensively perform,” he said. “Parents and their children are trapped together in this scenario and so we need policymakers to recognise this and work with parents and children to change this for future generations.”

Fox News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *