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Series 4 - 4. Egypt - Silence and Waiting
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Butting Out and Letting Go

Bringing Up Britain, Series 4 Episode 4 of 4

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 04 January 2012

In the first few months parents control their children's lives but even weaning and potty training could be said to be the first steps towards independence. From then on the debates about when a child can cycle to school go to a sleep-over or play out with friends are a daily occurrence. But, a failure to foster true independence even in young children is key to debates being had now about whether young people are coping at university and work and with life in general.

Are we raising a generation unable to deal practically and emotionally with adult life after years of parental indulgence and funding? As a parent, getting involved in playground disputes, obsessively supervising play and, later, University and careers can sometimes seem the responsible and caring thing to do, but is it really?

The recession and rising house prices might mean that adult children increasingly come back home or never leave. So, how do parents and adult children live together and what might we lose or gain if living with Mum and Dad becomes inevitable?

With Dr Terri Apter, author of 'The Myth of Maturity', the Guardian journalist Deborah Orr who writes about the family and society, Dr Helene Guldberg, author of 'Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear' and Matt Whyman, who offers advice to young people about how to manage their parents via the advice web-site TheSite.org.

Producer: Erin Riley.

  • Reading Suggestions

    The recommended reading mentioned in the programme were:

    'Is It Legal? A families' guide to the law' 4th edition which is available from the Family and Parenting Institute

    And, the NSPCC brochures about keeping children safe are available from


Find out more about Bringing Up Britain partners The Open University

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Find out more about Bringing Up Britain partners The Open University

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