Over-Parenting Can Lead to Depression in College-Aged Kids

02/14/2013

If you call your child on a daily basis to check up on how they’re doing – stop! It’s not helping them in the long term.

A recent study published in the online Journal of Child and Family Studies discusses the effect of what is called helicopter parenting on young adults. Helicopter parenting is defined as hovering over one’s child and micromanaging their educational, personal and social lives.

Photo Credit: Robert Marmion/Veer
Keeping your child happy can sometimes mean a little tough love...

Researchers and experts involved in the study said that this type of parenting style hurts a child’s sense of autonomy and independence and often results in greater instances of depression as the child gets older.

Taking on Stressful Life Scenarios

The study hypothesized that because kids of helicopter parents hadn’t been exposed to some of life’s stressors, they may panic when faced with a task that requires independence, such as going to college, for example.

The study was conducted using 297 undergraduate students in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 23 years old. The students were given an online survey and asked to explain their mother’s parenting style, to rate their autonomy, competence and their ability to get along with others. They were then assessed by the researchers on their overall satisfaction with life, their levels of anxiety and whether or not they exhibited symptoms of depression.

The study overwhelmingly indicated that participants whose parents utilized overprotective or hovering parenting styles were more likely to be less satisfied with their lives and to demonstrate greater symptoms of anxiety and depression.

We All Just Want What’s Best for Our Children

It’s a harsh reality when you realize that you have to step away from your kid – but in the end it will make them stronger. A persistent issue with the millennial generation is difficulty in the workforce, handling interpersonal struggles and relationships. These troubles may lead to a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Sometimes a little tough love is in order, even if it hurts you, the parent, more than the child. But it’s a safe bet to say that most parents just want their children to grow up to be happy and healthy – and if tough love will help get them there, than tough love it is!

By: Jennifer Wolfe

For More on Parenting Techniques:

Top 10 Bad Parenting Habits

Healthy Co-Parenting Guidelines

How to Raise Happy Kids


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