Study Says Extreme Helicopter Parenting Can Leave A Child Unable To Control Emotions

There’s bad news for moms and dads who are helicopter parenting enthusiasts. There’s a new report that suggests parents who hover over their children too much might be doing them more harm than good. In fact, a recent study has concluded that helicopter parenting can leave young children unable to manage their emotions.

In general, a helicopter parent is someone who pays extremely close attention to a child or children’s experiences and problems, and especially at school, at their extra curricular activities, sporting events and so on. These moms and dads are nicknamed helicopter parents because they hover overhead, overseeing every aspect of their child’s life.

Some critics have claimed that many helicopter parents might be hyper-present in their children’s lives, but as a result are often psychologically absent. Dr. Nicole Perry and colleagues in both the United States and Switzerland recently found out that mothers often insert themselves in a child’s life, without any regard to how they may react or their feelings. In fact, the researchers found that children with helicopter parents had higher rates of depression, loneliness and anxiety than those with free-range parents.

Dr. Perry and her team documented their findings in their study for the Developmental Psychology. They found that helicopter parenting is linked to children having less control over their emotions and less control over their impulses by the time they reach the age of 5.

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If that weren’t enough, the study also found that children with overly involved parents were inclined to have more emotional problems and have a poorer attitude at school.

Dr. Perry told The Guardian in an interview, “To foster emotional and behavioral skills parents should allow children to experience a range of emotions and give them space to practice and try managing these emotions independently and then guide and assist children when [or] if the task becomes too great.”

mom and child
Credit: iStock / DragonImages

Many adults of helicopter parents have even stated that having two parents that hovered over them during their childhood was one of the worst aspects of growing up. The lack of emotional resilience might have long-lasting effects for a child that give them many disadvantages by the time they reach adulthood. It might also affect future relationships.

If kids can’t control their emotions now, there’s a strong possibility that they won’t be able to control their emotions later on in life, too. Health experts warn that parents should keep in mind that children are not their property and should give them enough freedom and space to be fully fledged, competent and confident adults.

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