Helicopter Parents; Volume 2: 4 Consequences of Being Overprotective

This article is Part 2 of a series on Helicopter Parenting. Part 1, “Why are they so overprotective” can be found here.

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What are the negative effects of helicopter parenting?

By Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

While overprotective parents want the very best for their children, in the long run, they might be doing more harm than good. After all, childhood is supposed to be a time to make mistakes, learn from them and grow to be independent and self reliant. Without this training ground, adulthood can be a very rude awakening.

Harmful effects of helicopter parenting include the following:

(1) Undermining children’s confidence: No one can argue that confidence is one of the most important predictors of success. It is the foundation of self reliance and lays the groundwork for commitment, perseverance, goal achievement, and courage. When parents take the reins, they do not allow their children to learn how to take charge of their own lives. The repercussions can be long lasting.

(2) Instilling fear of failure: If a child is learning that success is always dependent on the help of Mommy and Daddy, he can become fearful that failure is imminent if he tries to go it alone. Clearly no parent wants to see their child fail. However, if a child is continually shielded from disappointment and inadequacy, he is being denied the chance to learn how to persevere.

(3) Stunting growth and development: Since helicopter parents are essentially “babying” their children, it’s not surprising that kids of smothering mothers can be less mature than their self reliant counterparts. Studies have shown that these children lack some of the knowledge to negotiate what they need, solve their own problems, stay safe, and interact in close quarters with others.

(4) Raising anxiety levels: Research has shown that parents who consistently judge their own self worth by their children’s success report feeling more sad and having a more negative self image than parents who did not engage in this behavior. Interestingly, parents’ anxiety levels and dissatisfaction with life has shown a marked increase during the past twenty years as parents have become increasingly involved in their children’s lives.

As you know, it’s self reliance month for Powerful Words schools. While we all want parents to have a healthy and positive interest in their children and their education, it’s important to help parents understand that too much participation can be a detriment to their children’s development of self reliance and self confidence.

Parents and educators need to partner with each other for the good of the children– and this, inevitably, will allow our students to become thriving, self-assured leaders in life.

Until next time…Have a Powerful Month!

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