New research shows that controlling parents can have a detrimental effect on their children. Helicopter parenting, the act of hovering over our children to monitor all that they do, may lead to poor behavior at home and struggles at school.
Most of us parents would admit to controlling aspects of our children’s lives at times, after all we do want the best for our brood. However, we need to assess the long-term impacts of how we are influencing our children’s mental wellbeing.
The research into helicopter parenting, carried out by the University of Minnesota, indicated that the more we rescue our children from difficult situations, the less resilient they will be in later years. The study involved observing over 400 children and parents during play, with typical helicopter parents choosing toys for their children and telling them how to play with them. By interfering with natural play and always being there to pick up the pieces, there was a distinct lack of social skills development.
Problems at school
With a lack of emotional maturity, it is more likely that children who are raised through helicopter parenting will act out at school. Unable to navigate complicated situations and develop strong relationships we may be letting our children down at one of the most important periods of their life.
If you are reading this and panic is setting in, fear not, as there is still time to begin helping your children regulate their emotions. By taking a step back and offering your child more independence, you will allow them to make decisions for themselves, both now and in the future.
The thought of letting go can be scary and the study does not say that you have to stop doing what is best for your child, it is all about taking a small step back. Rules about bedtimes, homework, and dinnertime manners, for example, are all important but we need to make our children a part of the decision making process.
Communication is key
If we look at what we can do to instill positivity within our children, then it all comes down to good communication. If our children have a strong bond with us and are able to talk to us openly about their feelings, they have an attachment that will give them lifelong security. So, if we tell our children how we observed them playing nicely, how they tried their best at football, or how proud we are at the way they handled an argument with a friend, we can give them skills for life. Exploring new things that our children choose themselves will help them understand what they like, what they are good at, and what they want out of life.
Lots of positive reinforcement will lead to an understanding that they cannot be good at everything but can be great at some things. In later life, this positivity will result in the ability to be resourceful when faced with challenges, where they will focus on what they can do rather than what they are not good at.
Parenting is very hard at times and by taking a step back and allowing us to hover over our own thoughts and actions we may just find things out about ourselves too!