Are you a “helicopter parent?” If so, you may be setting your kids up for failure and frustration later in life.
United Press International is reporting on a new study showing that U.S. college students with so-called helicopter parents are more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives
Holly Schiffrin and her colleagues at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia did the research. They found that the over-controlling parenting style of helicopter parents negatively affects students' well-being.
Dr. Schiffrin said the study involved 297 U.S. undergraduate students, between the ages of 18-23. The students answered an online survey that asked to describe their mothers' parenting behaviors. They were also asked to rate their own perceptions of their autonomy, competence and relatedness—in other words, how well they get along with others.
The researchers also assessed the students' overall satisfaction with life, their level of anxiety and whether they suffered symptoms of depression.
The study was published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. It found that overall, young adults who have over-controlling parents appear to be more depressed and report less satisfaction in life.
In addition, helicopter parenting behaviors were associated with lower levels of self-reliance, competence and the ability to relate to others in relationships.
Dr. Shiffrin says "You expect parents with younger kids to be very involved but the problem is that these children are old enough to look after themselves and their parents are not backing off. It does not allow independence and the chance to learn from mistakes."
If you have teens or young adults children and you think YOU might be a helicopter parent, let me recommend an excellent book that I know you’ll find helpful. It’s entitled “Boundaries with Teens,” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.