Anxious parents confine children

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Most parents are scared to very scared when it comes to children's safety

Many parents are afraid that something bad can happen to the children. The little ones have to wear a bicycle helmet, the tables are provided with edge protection and the obligation to buckle up is omnipresent. Many parents forget their own childhood. Although there were far fewer safety regulations twenty or thirty years ago, they mostly survived childhood well and without major incidents.

Majority of parents anxious
According to a joint survey by the magazine "Eltern" and the insurer "Allianz", a majority of parents in Germany (51 percent) describe themselves as "rather anxious to very anxious". 49 percent of those questioned see it a little more pragmatically and say that they are “rather not or not at all anxious” when it comes to childcare. Fifty-two percent of the parents stated that they would go to the doctor with their child at a temperature of 38.2 degrees Celsius, even if there were no other symptoms such as coughing or abdominal pain.

The editor-in-chief of the magazine "Eltern", Marie-Luise Lewicki, explains the purpose of the study: "We asked ourselves how we could actually survive our own childhood without a bicycle helmet, edge protection and a seat belt." Many pediatricians report that today there are numerous parents Request consultation with their children because of less pronounced symptoms. Because of many alleged complaints, hardly any parents would have consulted a pediatrician at the time. Apparently the topic of "safety" is more firmly anchored in society today. "We have the feeling that parents today have a greater need for security “Says the editor.

The “Society for Innovative Market Research” was commissioned to carry out the study. Around 1,000 parents of different ages took part, but their children were not older than four years. Most parents say they are afraid that something bad can happen to their children, such as an illness or accident.

72 percent of those surveyed said they were afraid their children would die. 67 percent are worried that a serious accident will occur. 50 percent said they were “more or less afraid” that their little ones might get serious illness or disability.

Accordingly, many parents actively pursue their concerns and try to protect their children from everyday dangers. A number of safety tools are used to prevent accidents. 94 percent of parents protect electrical sockets with a protective device. Almost as many (93 percent) believe that children have to wear a helmet on the wheel or bike. 75 percent of parents secure drawers with scissors and knives.

Growing on coping with negative experiences
Educators and developmental psychologists are somewhat more critical of parents' excessive need for security. "Without the experience of falling painfully, children cannot learn to correctly assess the dangers," said Gritli Bertram, social worker from Hanover. "We also have to allow our children to have negative experiences. As they cope with such experiences, they grow," says Dr. Michael Schulte-Markwort from the child and adolescent psychiatry of the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf. "On the other hand, when a child learns from childhood that dangers lurk everywhere, it perceives the world primarily as a threat and not as an exciting area of ​​experience," emphasizes the psychiatrist. Children should also be made aware of the dangers, as the teacher explained , but "Self-experience usually has more cognitive value".

Are parents more anxious today?
The study gives the impression that parents are much more anxious today than in the past. However, the results cannot be compared with older data because there is simply no comparison data. Therefore, the question of whether parents are more anxious these days remains unanswered, as the parent editor said. (sb)

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Image: Rita Köhler /

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