Cottonwool Kids

Reporter: Graeme Butler

They're certainly crimes that grab world headlines - and understandably so, when children are hurt, abducted or worse we're outraged... but it's the knock on effect on parenting that has experts like Tim Gill concerned. Tim l is a U-K expert on childhood and risk he believes parents who try to protect kids from everything can do more harm than good - as hard as that might seem. "It's really important for parents to not go down that road of sort of zero risk we can't possibly let our child have the slightest thing happen to them children learn every quickly if they hurt themselves no one likes to see a child hurt and injured but it is part of I think a rich and healthy childhood."

But of course it's a concept easier said than done for many parents - Sharon Keeler has two girls and while she says she's not over protective when it comes to playing at home - Sharon concedes she always errs on the side of extreme caution. Sharon says supervising her kids near roads is a number one concern as well as public places like shopping centres. "You know it only takes seconds for it to happen and you just never know although I haven't' frightened my children with things that can happen I never actually go into that I haven't enlarged up why they have to stay with us just that mummy needs to see you so please hold the side of the shopping trolley or my hand"

There's not much about raising kids Lisa Torrijos hasn't come across - she has five girls and a boy. Lisa says she subscribes to the notion that you should let kids be kids. "If we're in a park I let them go off and do their own thing if we're down the beach they can't go past that gate area that goes down to the beach, if they do they're in trouble but we just let them pretty much just be kids, we're strict but we're not too strict"

Tim Gill says one of the growing problems he sees with parents is over-organising and controlling activities for their children - rather than letting them explore free time for themselves. "One of the messages I want parents to get is you can give your child some freedom and let them have a little bit of autonomy and still be a good parent, that is a good thing for parents to do"

Lisa says the family has a secret password which is part of the plan to keep the kids safe but give them a little bit of independence at the same time. "They've got a codeword we use a code word in our family and only our children know the code word and ourselves, and if anyone approached them unless they knew the codeword they wouldn't be able to go with anybody unless they knew the codeword."

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