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Over-protective parents risk creating a generation of "soft" adults

* Over-protective parents who cocoon their children from danger risk creating a generation of "soft" adults unable to deal with the challenges of the real world, Mrs Lang warned in her presidential speech.

Tragedies such as Dunblane and press reports of child abuse had left them terrified of letting their children out of their sight. Some pupils did not even have coats because they were always ferried by car. But the dangers were greatly exaggerated, Mrs Lang believed.

"We have children who never catch a bus, never have to wait at a wet bus stop, never have to buy a ticket, never have the fun of sitting on top of a double decker in London. They're not learning to be independent," she said.

"My old Tyneside grandmother would call them 'nesh' - soft.''

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