Safeguarding culture is scuppering young people’s creativity, Children’s Laureate says

The Telegraph reports that 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.

“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 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.”

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.”

Read more Safeguarding culture is scuppering young people’s creativity, Children’s Laureate says

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  1. wasateacher

    I think it is not only creativity which may be hindered but a child’s ability to sensibly assess risk and how to react to it. Children need to be exposed to small risks regularly in a controlled way in order to be able to be safe. This was one of the thinkings behind staffed adventure playgrounds and youth clubs – so sadly cut back in my area. Parents who overprotect their children from imaginary risks are putting their children in danger when they really are at risk.

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