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Children are better at managing risk on their own than adults think
Detail: Experts from the University of Warwick and the Research Unit for General Practice in Copenhagen observed children aged 10 to 12 in a Copenhagen suburb over an eight-month period to study how children engaged with risk away from their parents in their everyday life at school and during after-school care.

The findings suggest that children indulge in a great deal of thoughtful and considered risk-taking that is invisible to adults. Children actively decided how much risk to expose themselves to, avoided harmful actions, made assessments of their own bodily capacity and even successfully negotiated levels of risks with other children by setting rules and limits to their games.

Professor Pia Christensen, of Warwick University's Institute of Education, said: "The researchers found many examples of how children actively engage with risk and daily manage situations that involve chance and risk….They actively decided how much risk to expose themselves to, avoided harmful actions, made assessments of their own bodily capacity and gauged risk in accordance with it and even successfully negotiated levels of risks with other children by setting and amending the rules and physical limits to their games and activities."

Christensen said parents who prevent children from taking risks are damaging their development. She added teaching stunts to children at school would be a good way of helping them manage risks. "Stunts should be taught in schools just like first aid…. The study showed children will be very excited about doing something new if they can cope. Children climb up trees almost by nature and are very interested in seeing what their body can do. It is about getting to know themselves and who they are." said Prof Christensen.
Source: January 7, 2008, Monday, Birmingham Post
Date: January 18 2008