Cotton wool kids too immature for school. And helicopter parents are to blame.

Helicopter parents are turning out children who are naughty and ill-mannered with no respect, the latest research shows.

The Australian Early Development Census has revealed children are developmentally vulnerable and lacking independence before they start school.

Preschoolers are struggling to cope and show good behaviour, with less children “on track” with their maturity than in previous years.

While communication and general knowledge is growing in kids,  so is anxiety, aggression or impatience, according to the research.

It shows more children struggle with social competence, which may result in bad behaviour, no respect for other people or property and a refusal to follow instructions. The trend is more evident in boys and those from wealthier families.


The census looks at how Australian children have developed by the time they start their first year of full-time school.

It measures the areas of early childhood development – including physical health, social competence, emotional maturity, language, communication and general knowledge – that best predict how the child will develop into a healthy, successful adults. Data for the census has been collected every three years since 2009, with the latest round completed last year. The new data means emerging trends can be tracked for the first time.

Since 2009, the census has included 96 per cent of children in their first year of school, with the three collections gathering data on more than 850,000 children.

Education Minister Sam Birmingham says its important to understand how Australian children are developing and what can be done to assist.

“While the 2015 data shows improvements in areas like literacy and numeracy through languages and communications skills, it also highlights that there is work we all need to do to give young Australians the best possible start,” says Mr Birmingham.

“However, differences in developmental vulnerability across the domains and among children from different demographic profiles, suggests there is more work to be done.”

Mr Birmingham says children with sound physical, social, emotional and communication capabilities are “far more likely” to enjoy school, and succeed.

Preschoolers are sensitive little souls – we covered a recent study that looked at the selective eating patterns of more than 900 children aged between two and six, which discovered that picky eating is associated with anxiety, depression and attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder.

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