Share your experiences: Are we bubble-wrapping our children?

Tell us if overprotective parenting is harming young people’s mental health and social skills

Are we damaging our children’s mental health by bubble-wrapping them? Is stopping them playing the way we used to, and even from running in playgrounds, harming them?

That was the warning the Oireachtas heard yesterday from the head of the Catholic Primary School Managers' Association, which provides advice to about 2,800 Irish schools.

Seamus Mulconry said that being overprotective when children are young stops them "getting access to the kind of experiences that test their limits: to run or be a bit reckless and find out what works or doesn't work". He gave the example of a school that recently stopped children running in the playground after a complaint from a parent whose child had fallen. "You know, children will fall," he said. "If we stop them falling, it's not actually good for them. They need to learn their limits."

He also said that children have less time for unstructured play outside school compared with previous generations, who often developed social and coping skills with others by having the “corners rubbed off” them.


Is he right? Are parents at fault? Do we need to let our children play in a more natural way, and not worry about scrapes and bruises? What can we do to help children grow up as healthily as possible?

You can share your experiences of these issues by submitting the form on this page. We'll publish a selection of your responses on and in The Irish Times. (if you are reading this in the app, click here).