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4 Sins Helicopter Parents Commit -- To the Detriment of Their Kids' Futures

From the moment you hold that tiny baby, there's an overriding instinct to protect your child at all costs from the bad things that can happen in life. Sometimes, however, that determination to keep little Sam and Susie constantly content can backfire.
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From the moment you hold that tiny baby, there's an overriding instinct to protect your child at all costs from the bad things that can happen in life.

Sometimes, however, that determination to keep little Sam and Susie constantly content can backfire.

The very things you're doing to ease the way for your child as they're growing up -- albeit with the best of intentions -- could be crippling their ability to find financial and career success in the future.

"The basic parenting instinct is to do a little hovering," says Dr. Richard Rende, Brown University development psychologist and coauthor of "Raising Can-Do Kids." "But it has spun out of control in [today's] helicopter parents."

In fact, studies have shown that kids of helicopter parents are more likely to feel less competent, be less independent, and report lower levels of both self-worth and life satisfaction.

It can also hurt them financially: Research has shown that low self-esteem negatively influences children's future earnings.

From micromanaging their movements to solving every problem for them, we've pinpointed four common overparenting sins that have the potential to hamper your child's financial and career success.

Sin #1: Swooping in to Fix Everything
If you habitually come to the rescue for every little thing, you're not helping teach your child a vital life skill -- self-efficacy.

"Self-efficacy is the belief that 'I can solve my problems and handle whatever life throws at me,' " says Chris Segrin, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist and head of the department of communications at the University of Arizona. "We gain self-efficacy largely by trial and error experiences, so when people always have someone there to take care of problems for them, they never fully develop that skill."

The ability to effectively problem-solve is important in all aspects of life, but it particularly comes into play at work, where you need to be able to quickly assess a situation and navigate toward a solution.

But if a person is unable to solve workplace problems independently, they can often be pigeonholed as the employee who doesn't show initiative or ownership of projects assigned to them -- and that can impact their earning potential.

Sin #2: Making All of the Decisions for Them
Parents may think they're helping their kids by handling the majority of day-to-day decision-making. After all, it's only natural to think, "Why shouldn't my kids benefit from my wisdom?"

But allowing children to be responsible, and make more of their own choices, enables them to practice skills that will come in handy in the boardroom -- like exercising decisiveness and taking initiative.

By deciding everything, "you're depriving your kid of their ability to develop their intrinsic 'What's driving me? What am I passionate about?' motivation, which helps develop personality," Rende says. "Children need to learn how to make their own decisions and test them out -- it's through that testing that you're going to figure out what works for you and makes you happy."

Sound decision-making skills can be particularly handy when it comes to money management.

To be financially secure, you obviously need to make good financial decisions. But you also need to be able to understand what really brings you the most joy, so you can spend -- and save -- your money wisely.

If a child hasn't learned from early trial and error while he's still in a safe environment, he'll be more likely to make serious money mistakes as an adult.

"When your kids have enough money to buy something and make a dumb mistake, you have to let them do it--and suffer or enjoy the consequences of their decision," says Mary Hunt, author of "Raising Financially Confident Kids."

And once they're older and have shown themselves to be responsible, Hunt recommends giving them a budget and letting them make their own decisions about purchasing books or back-to-school clothes.

"It promotes maturity and responsibility to figure out your own decisions and plan ahead," Hunt says.

Sin #3: Micromanaging Down to the Hour
Most children feel more secure having a basic routine in place, but helicopter parents can go overboard, packing every waking hour with a plethora of activities -- from piano and Mandarin lessons to soccer practice and swim classes.

A 2014 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that the more children participated in structured activities, the poorer their self-directed executive functioning was.

Translation: They had a harder time setting and reaching goals independently -- a skill set that can impact future financial and career success.

On the flip side, the research found that kids who spent more time in less structured activities --such as reading books or playing outdoors -- were more skilled at setting and reaching their own goals, without having to rely on adults to nudge them along.

In the long run, being able to effectively set and stick to goals can play a big part in both financial and career success.

So how do you strike the right balance?

According to Rende, it all comes down to fun and games -- specifically, letting kids take the reins at structuring their own playtime, while you respectfully play the part of hands-off observer.

Bottom line: Micromanaging your child's every movement can diminish enthusiasm and confidence, says Rende, and take away what motivates them to achieve excellence -- namely, the joy of discovery and the satisfaction of finding their own meaningful solutions.

Sin #4: Shielding Them From Making Mistakes
No parent wants to see their child fail, but despite how hard it may be to let them knowingly make a mistake, it's important to let them do so from time to time.

"It's not just about failure but about learning," Rende says. "Critical-thinking skills and problem-solving abilities -- that's what successful people know. But if we're depriving kids of those experiences, they aren't developing those skills."

Experiencing failure also teaches resilience, which can help kids overcome adversity in adulthood -- such as being laid off and having to find another job.

By taking a step back as parents, while still providing empathy and support, you're allowing your children to step up, learn valuable lessons, and develop the skills they'll need to successfully navigate life.

And that's the gift that keeps on giving.

This post originally appeared on LearnVest.

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