Helicopter parenting can violate children’s space

over parented

When is it time to push that little chick out of the nest? A new study shows that college students with over controlling parents are more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives. This so-called “helicopter parenting” negatively impacts students’ well-being. The study shows that such intrusiveness violates a young adult’s need to feel both autonomous and competent.

Feelings of incompetence and co-dependence

In fact, all that parental hovering may lead to negative outcomes in children, including higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Children of overinvolved or over controlling parents feel less competent and less able to independently manage life and its stressors. But, it’s hard to know where to draw the line since other studies show that some parent involvement facilitates healthy emotional and social development.

As children age they need more autonomy in order to become independent adults. Parents need to adjust accordingly, backing out in appropriate amounts until their children are competent enough to lead independent lives.

College students were asked to describe their experience

Holly Schiffrin and colleagues from the University of Mary Washington examined how parenting behaviors affect the psychological well-being of children by looking at college students’’ self-determination. Almost 300 college students were asked to self-describe their parents’ style and to rate their own perception of their independence, competence and relatedness. Satisfaction with life was also rated.

They found intense parental development undermined growth

An inappropriate level of parental behavioral control was associated with negative well-being for the students. Helicopter parenting was related to higher levels of depression and decreased satisfaction with life. The study showed that students who felt the least of these qualities were also the most depressed.

Parents need to consider what is appropriate

Some parents think that intense involvement is an indicator of dedicated, supportive parenting. It is however, perceived as controlling and undermining by young people. “Parents should keep in mind how developmentally appropriate their involvement is and learn to adjust their parenting style when their children feel that they are hovering too closely,” said Schiffrin.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Child and Family Studies


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