Every parent wants to make sure their child is safe and successful. Yet so many parents are taking it a step too far. Over-bearing, or “helicopter”, parents actually have a negative impact on child’s development.
More Harm than Good
Often time parents are eager to jump in and fix every problem. They want to make sure everything is perfect for their child. However, this exact behavior thwarts your child’s ability to problem solve. Without this, your child will be less self-reliant and will not be able to interact with his peers or even control his own emotions the same way the other kids can. Your child can even become disruptive in school and disciplinary actions will be needed.
Setting Your Child Back
Researchers from the University of Michigan have recently published a study that followed toddlers over the span of 8 years. They were interviewed and studied at ages 2, 5 and 10. The study included 422 toddlers and their parents. The researchers observed how the parents reacted to various situations. They saw evidence of helicopter parenting in the way the parents constantly told their child what to play with or how to play with it as well as how to put away their toys. The children would either become frustrated, apathetic or defiant. By the time the children were at age 5 they were displaying bad behavior and poor emotional health. On the other hand, children who did not have helicopter parents had stronger social skills and were more productive in school.
Dr. Nicole Perry, the lead author of the study said, “our research showed that children with helicopter parents may be less able to deal with the challenging demands of growing up, especially with navigating the complex school environment. Children who cannot regulate their emotions and behavior effectively are more likely to act out in the classroom, to have a harder time making friends and to struggle in school.”
What You Should be Doing
Helicopter parents are all well-intentioned. But when you take away your child’s autonomy you send the wrong message. Your child will think he is not able to do things on his own. He will get frustrated that other kids can do what he thinks he can’t because someone else always did it for him. Instead of taking care of every little problem your child has, teaching him problem solving skills is a much healthier and longer lasting solution.