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Driving children to school: A bad idea?

Driving children to school: A bad idea?

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
18.03.2024 12:45

In Poland, almost 50% of male and female students are chauffeured to and from school by their caregivers. Dr. Radosław Kaczan, a developmental psychologist, explained one of the main reasons behind this.

A recent survey conducted by IBRiS for Santander Bank revealed that between 40% and 54% of Polish schoolchildren are driven to school by their parents. The study found that half of the students who are driven to school by car are in grades 4 to 8. The main concern raised by parents who choose to drive their older children to school is safety.

Are caregivers too afraid for their children's safety?

Dr Radosław Kaczan, a developmental psychologist from SWPS University, explained the statistics above in an interview with Polityka.pl. He pointed out that the lack of safe infrastructure could be why parents prefer not to let their children cycle to school through busy neighbourhoods. In smaller towns, the distance to the school and inadequate public transport could also be reasons why parents prefer to drop off their children.

On the other hand, Dr Kaczan worries that most parents are overly protective of their children. He believes that when children enter adolescence, they should be allowed to use a bus or a tram to travel independently.

Older children can cope with difficult situations

A child development expert has compared going to and from school or training classes with other children to the "dangerous" games that are a part of childhood. Activities such as climbing trees or playing football in the park also carry risks such as falling over, scratching elbows and knees, or damaging clothes. Dr Kaczan reminds us that children's helplessness is often not as great as caregivers think.

"For adults, getting lost in a subway or taking the bus too far may be stressful, but for children, such difficulties are an adventure," he believes. The developmental psychologist explains that such challenges help children convince themselves of their own agency or ability to cope with challenges and difficulties. Belief in one's own agency is one of the basic components of everyone's psychological well-being.

Young people need to develop a sense of agency

Caregivers who shield young people from challenges due to their anxieties may impede their ability to develop a sense of agency. Despite their good intentions, they may unintentionally hinder their growth. Dr Kaczan emphasised that being overprotected does not allow young people to accumulate all the valuable experiences that contribute to their development. They miss out on opportunities to discover their own strengths and learn that they can handle difficult situations.

Source: Polityka.pl

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