"The home of the brave has given way to the home of the fearful, the entitled, the risk averse, and the narcissistic," Marano said. "Today's young, at least in the middle class and upper class, are psychologically fragile," Marano said in an interview published in the journal.
Hovering parents, these researchers said, also deprive their children of something else -- joy. One survey found that 89 percent of children preferred outdoor play with friends to watching TV.
"Parents have to remember that childhood is this special time. You only get it once, and you don't want to miss it," LaFreniere said. "Mixing it up with other kids in an unrestrained manner isn't just fun. It isn't a luxury. It's part of nature's plan."
The American Occupational Therapy Association talks about important aspects of play.
SOURCES: Peter Gray, Ph.D., research professor of psychology, Boston College, Boston; Peter LaFreniere, Ph.D., professor of developmental psychology, University of Maine, Orono, Maine; Spring 2011, American Journal of Play
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