Melbourne, Oct 19 : Parents who constantly try to bubble-wrap their children to keep them safe might be putting them at an increased risk of behavioural problems in adolescence, warns an expert.
Michael Ungar, a visiting family therapist and writer said that this so-called "marshmallow generation" are too safe for their own good as their lives are stripped of risk and responsibility.
"This constant security and lack of risk is often linked to troubling behaviours like drug abuse, early sexual activity, violence and truancy," the Courier Mail quoted Ungar, as saying.
The expert added: "And more affluent, middle-class parents seem to be the most likely to bubble-wrap.
"On the whole, the more affluence we have, the more risk-averse we become. So well-off parents try to control and make safe all of their children's lives, unknowingly setting them up for trouble."
Ungar, who has been a family therapist for 20 years, now working with troubled youth says that there is a strong link between affluence and drugs.
"Often it is in middle and upper-class communities where we find the dark and hidden realities of youth who are ignored," he said.
"And money doesn't help. It can make the problem worse. As a group, this population is more likely to use drugs than the poor kids who are the dealers," he added.
Scientific evidence have shown that affluent kids report higher levels of anxiety and depression.
Ungar said that today's children are safer than at any other time in history.
The expert said: "Fewer children than ever before are injured riding bicycles. We vaccinate more, and sanitise their play places. Children are less in danger. Yet parents' perception is the world is a dangerous place because they read about one child being abducted in Portugal."
He urged the parents to think about what kind of adult they want their child to be. Then look at ways of working towards that, whether it is getting a part-time job or showing them how to save up and travel.
"We've taken all the steel playground wheels (roundabouts) from parks. We've banned playing tag in schools. We've chopped down the trees kids might climb and injure themselves on. We've made it all so safe. So where will they turn to find their thrills?" he said.