Out: Overprotective Parenting

Posted on January 8, 2016 by Havas PR

Overprotective creativecommons.org:Russ

This is the fifth of Havas PR’s “11 Trends for 2016.”

It’s no wonder why parents have gotten so protective. The world is a lot more dangerous than pre-9/11. Every news cycle brings more stories of deranged gunmen, unexpected health risks from food and play, the prospect of psychological trauma from bullying online or off, and the specter of a ruinous lawsuit lurking behind every newly identified risk. To name only a few dangers.

Add to that the feeling from today’s moms and dads—who are having smaller families and are older first-time parents—that they have a lot riding on their kids. Each child represents a big investment not only of love but also of time and money. Education lasts longer than it used to and costs a lot more, with uncertain work prospects in a highly competitive job market waiting at the end. Protective parents (many say overprotective or helicopter parents, which is certainly an American phenomenon but by no means confined to the United States) are doing their utmost to keep their kids safe the world over.

Questioning overprotection is set to grow. There’s already increasing concern that kids who are brought up shielded from all risks are less tough and more vulnerable when they eventually make it into adulthood. The kids themselves might not worry, but many adults are getting nostalgic for their (maybe imagined) childhood of climbing trees, getting skinned knees and enjoying carefree rough-and-tumble play.

Watch out for social media shares of kids who shrug off fears and laugh off demons.

People don’t want either this thing or that thing, they want both this thing and that thing: small and powerful, good-quality and affordable, light and strong, exciting and low-risk. They don’t like having to make uncomfortable tradeoffs, especially when it comes to their offspring. They want their children to grow up resilient and able to handle what life throws at them, and they also want their children to be safe. Expect lots of angst as parents try to reconcile the circle of safety with the square of real-life challenges, seeking activities that are designed to toughen up kids but within a reassuring margin of safety. And expect lots of organizations to devise ways to help parents toughen up their kids safely, backed by scientific studies to reassure everybody.

 [photo: creativecommons.org/Russ]

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