Are overbearing parents setting their kids up for failure?
Children raised by so-called “helicopter parents” are likely to suffer serious mental health setbacks in college, according to a number of recent studies.
When these often overbearing parents take an excessive interest in the life of their child by being too involved in a child’s life, experts say it can hurt a child’s independence and decision-making skills in the long run.
“It’s understandable that parents want to keep their children safe, but they also need to teach them how to make their own decisions – independently,” says Dr. Tahir Sheikh, a psychiatrist at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. “Then trust them to make good decisions. That’s how parents can have a positive impact on their child’s psychological well-being.”
A survey conducted by the American College Health Association in 2013 asked close to 100,000 college students from 153 different schools across the country about their health. When asked about their experiences at some point during the previous 12 months:
- 84.3 percent felt overwhelmed
- 60.5 percent felt very sad
- 57.0 percent felt very lonely
- 51.3 percent felt overwhelming anxiety
- 8.0 percent seriously considered suicide
“The negative effects of helicopter parenting on college students’ well-being were largely explained by the perceived violation of students’ basic psychological needs for autonomy and competence,” study leaders said in the 2013 study of the Journal of Child and Family Studies.
While the helicopter parenting style has long been criticized, these studies are some of the first to empirically prove that young adults who are raised by helicopter parents suffer negative psychological consequences, especially once they go off on their own to college and must begin living independently.
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