Learning and play is essential to children’s development. This article on The Telegraph discusses the effects of ‘micromanaging’ children and how this can limit their experiences, and dampen their creativity and imagination. Continue reading for the full article.
Pushy parents who micromanage their children’s lives and the pervasive “safeguarding” culture are scuppering young people’s creativity, the Children’s Laureate has said.
Nervous mothers and fathers are passing their “infectious” and unfounded anxieties about safety onto their children, according to Lauren Child, the bestselling author and illustrator.
Children’s ability to take risks is also being eroded by social media, which makes them feel under constant scrutiny, she said.
“We have got very hooked into that mentality of safeguarding and keeping people safe as possible,” Child told The Sunday Telegraph.
“But life is about risk taking. You can’t live without taking risks. Everything is a risk, walking out of your front door is a risk but we have to live our lives.”
Child, creator of the Charlie and Lola series for pre-schoolers and the Ruby Redfort detective novels for older readers, spoke of the dangers of parents “transferring” their angst on to their children.
“I am very aware of the mood of people being wary of things a lot, and I think that is quite infectious,” she said.
“That fear that something bad is going to happen, and children pick up on that. The most likely terrible thing is to get struck by car, that is the biggest risk for children actually, and yet we are worrying about things that are very unlikely to happen. We want to be careful of transferring that sort of terror [to children].”
But life is about risk taking. You can’t live without taking risks.
Child also criticised the tendency of parents to “micromanage” their children’s lives, which is yet another dampener on their ability to experiment with new hobbies or pursuits.
“I think there’s a danger of micromanaging everything and only doing things if they are worth doing,” she said. “Worth doing means if you are going to be any good at it, or if it will get you into a certain school or university.
“Looking at the end result is a mistake. We can’t possibly discover who we are if we are always thinking about the end, rather than just doing it.”
Child has previously revealed that BBC executives tried to ban a fictional characters from performing a forward roll from the televised adaptation of her best-selling Charlie and Lola stories.
The corporation was concerned that young viewers may be encouraged to follow suit and injure themselves in the process.
“We almost had a problem with Lola doing forward rolls,” Child said at the time. “The BBC got terribly worried she could have a dreadful accident and break her neck.
“It doesn’t matter that she and Charlie are fictional, and they’re made of paper. The designers had to draw a very squishy mattress for her to do her forward roll on.”
You have to fail before you can succeed, you have to dare to take a chance.
Child told The Sunday Telegraph that another reason why youngsters are shying away from risk-taking is the constant glare of social media.
“Children feel so judged because we are assessed all the time,” she said. “People are looking over our shoulders all the time, whether it’s on the internet through social media or in the classroom we feel very observed.
“It is very difficult to try things without worrying about failure. And failure is what teaches us how to do something. You have to fail before you can succeed, you have to dare to take a chance.”
Children’s imagination is also being dampened by schools, Child said, as teachers are forced to follow so many regulations they have less time to foster creativity among youngsters.
“I think things are very tough for teachers, they’ve got a really hard job. There are a lot of directives and things they have to do,” said Child, whose parents were teachers.
“When I was at school [teachers] were allowed to work with the children in the way they felt would most help those children. It is much more structured now. There is less time for experimental creativity, it is much more lesson planned.”
Child, who is a judge for the Premier League’s Writing Stars poetry competition for primary school children, said she is always inspired by how many children feel drawn to writing.
“It’s especially wonderful that children want to express themselves by creating poems, since poetry can be such a powerful way to connect with the world and to better understand oneself,” she said.
The first children’s laureate was Quentin Blake in 1999, and he was followed by Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson and Malorie Blackman.
This article was found on The Telegraph