02/03/2013 07:44 GMT | Updated 02/03/2013 07:58 GMT

David Cameron's Adviser Says Pushy Parents Are 'Smothering' Their Children

Claire Perry
Claire Perry

Overbearing parents are smothering their children, according to David Cameron's childhood adviser.

Claire Perry said kids' lives were being so tightly controlled by their parents that they're unable to cope when they leave home for university.

The 48-year-old Tory MP for Devizes is the Prime Minister's adviser on the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.

Perry, who took a seven-year break from her career when her children were young, said mothers were often behind youngsters' cosseting because their own careers struggle when they start a family.

Speaking to The Times, she said: "A lot of it is women who, because it is difficult to get on, subjugate their own ambition into their kids.

"That makes it harder when they get to university and realise they haven't got a mother to help them with their homework, watching their every move.

"We've all done it.

"Now, I just can't, so I don't, and I think they're probably better off as a result."

Her comments attracted some criticism on Twitter, with outspoken MP Nadine Dorries - currently suspended from the Tory Party - retweeting someone who called her 'the Nanny McPhee of British politics'.

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Perry has led a campaign against internet porn, calling for an 'opt-in' button.

She has also urged parents to snoop on their children's text messages and emails.

She told The Times that while parents are obsessed with organising activities for their offspring, they ignore what their children get up to online.

"They are living in digital oblivion," she added.

And she hit out at a return to 1950s'-style homemaking which has added to mothers' burdens.

"We fetishise cupcakes..I like baking but I don't want to make that my life's purpose.

"We worship this feminine motherhood thing and I don't think our children have benefited actually.

"They're babied a lot...

"Good parenting isn't just about making sure they come top in maths but all the difficult stuff too.

"If they don't learn the limits from us, who will tell them?"