Oliver and Gillian Schonrock have been in the news for letting their two children, 8 and 5, cycle to school in Dulwich unaccompanied. This caused Social Services to sit up and take notice, and to trot out a threat against such irresponsible parenting.
And yet one has to ask, is this really irresponsible parenting? The writer of the article claims that this action on part of the parents is praiseworthy, and not irresponsible.
Certainly about 30 years ago, letting your 8 year old walk or cycle to school unaccompanied was par for the course; hardly cause for shocked outrage.
The fact that this is now being viewed as irresponsible parenting makes us wonder if we aren’t mollycoddling our children entirely too much? Yes it is in the interests of the children’s safety and well being that we are so protective, but in the bargain do we not make them less self reliant and more depended on others?
It is a valid point that if we shelter them this much as they grow up, we make them more vulnerable when they have to fend for themselves later in life. There is certainly a case for letting kids be more independent, more self reliant and ultimately better able to take care of themselves earlier.