Are You A Hovering Helicopter Parent?

Helicopter parenting is a term coined for the type of parents who constantly ‘hover’ over their children, controlling their movements and watching them at all times. It is associated with an over-involved, overbearing kind of parent, and helicopter parents are often looked down on by other parents.

Whilst these ‘helicopter parents’ often have nothing but good intentions, they may not be aware that their actions are actually detrimental to family wellness. A new study has revealed that this parenting style may in fact have a very negative effect on children’s wellbeing and even lead to depression.

Researchers from the US have found that parents who are overbearing may be causing their children to be anxious or depressed, due to the feeling that they have no autonomy. Whilst parents may be trying to be helpful by being involved in their children’s lives at all times, they are actually taking away their child’s opportunities to be independent and to learn things for themselves, which can adversely affect their self-confidence and mental wellness. Having a parent around all the time can also have a negative effect on children’s social skills, as that parent both literally and metaphorically gets in the way of normal social interactions between children.

This research was carried out via an online study, conducted by the University of Mary Washington, which asked participants in the research to score their parents’ behaviour and also to rate their own confidence, competence and social ability. Part of the study also investigated depressive symptoms and asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their lives.

The results showed conclusively that when a child believed their parents’ behaviour to be controlling, they were less confident and more depressed and this seems to show a direct link between controlling parenting and children’s confidence and mental health.


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