For me, bringing up children is like taking off on a plane. It’s that uneasy sensation when the wheels first leave the runway and although your head says it will almost certainly be fine, the pit of your stomach says otherwise. Wrapping my children in cotton wool or rather just keeping them safe has always been uppermost in my thoughts. I consider myself a worrier and have always been risk-averse, but I am fully aware of it and don’t think I have done my children any long-term damage. I also don’t think I am that unusual these days.

So, what has changed us from parents of yesteryear?

Criticised for wrapping our children in cotton wool

As a generation, we are criticised for wrapping our children in cotton wool and not giving them the ‘healthy neglect’ they need.

But on the other hand, we are constantly being bombarded with blow by blow accounts of crimes against children. We hear how the food that we feed them will eventually kill them, one way or another. We face the full detail of every potential danger, seemingly lurking around every corner. Understandably, it is hard to ignore the information when it is staring you in the face.

Keep the bulk of your concerns to yourself

But worry no more and don’t beat yourself up – in fact, pat yourself on the back. The caring, safety conscious attitude to parenting does not kill the spirit of adventure. On the contrary! If we make sure we keep the bulk of the worrying to ourselves and steer our children through, when the water gets choppy, then we instil confidence. We end up with adults who don’t fear but understand that the world is becoming more unpredictable. We are giving them the tools to be safe in it, and the desire to let go knowing they have back up if things go wrong.

Mongol Rally – The Adventurists

wrapped in cotton wool adventure

The spirit of adventure on the Mongol Rally

When my son announced that he was taking part in the Mongol Rally 2017, I felt immensely proud and slightly smug. The organisers of this fund-raising challenge are the epitome of risk-taking and adventure. Everything I was assured my son wouldn’t do.

It is said to be the ‘greatest motoring adventure on the planet where you can take any car, as long as it’s crap.’

The rules state:

if it’s not dangerous and you aren’t lost, you’re not on an adventure

If you have off-spring that fancy a challenge that is a bit different, then have a look at The Adventurists who offer this amongst several other brilliant adventures.

So, I now realise that my semi- cotton wool wrapping approach has not created a risk-averse, safety officer but a cautious, daring young adult – and that was exactly what I wanted right from the word go.

As parents, we not only have to be the nervous flyer but also the pilot and the smiling, reassuring flight attendant

Related Content

Read how George got on driving 10,000 miles halfway across the world to Mongolia. Taking part in one of the last great adventures – The Mongol Rally

If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share feelings and grow.

Alfie Kohn

What do you buy to help you learn how to raise confident children

The Danish Way of Parenting


An emotionally smart, gem of a book. The Danish Way of Parenting offers a shining alternative to high-stress modern parenting, and families from New Delhi to New York will shout with joy

Everyone around the globe can gain something from the valuable wisdom found in this book. Concepts such as reframing and hygge prove useful to families from all cultures. It’s wonderful to see that Danish parenting has so much in common with Positive Parenting! I highly recommend this book! (Rebecca Eanes, author of Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide)

A powerful new method of raising children . . . who are “resilient and emotionally secure” — in other words, exactly what we’re all aiming for (Mother Magazine)

Book Description

A practical parenting guide based on the philosophy that has made Denmark the happiest country in the world.