Parents, there's a fine line between being supportive and being just a little too "hands-on." In fact, a new study says the latter could actually affect your child's health.
You might have heard of a certain term for parents who hover too close.
“Helicopter parents are parents who are overly involved,” Florida State University doctoral candidate Kayla Reed says of her new study, published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. “They mean everything with good intentions, but it often goes beyond supportive to intervening in the decisions of emerging adults.”
What you might see as simply a demonstration of parental love might actually be doing more harm than good if your child is about to set out on their own.
Reed and her co-author, Mallory Lucier-Greer, a professor at FSU, surveyed around 460 college students, aged 18 to 25, to see the real outcome of helicopter parenting.
After asking participants about how their mothers would respond in hypothetical situations -- and then asking them to evaluate various aspects of their health -- the researchers found a striking difference between kids given more independence and those who were heavily under their parents' influence.
More independent adults were more satisfied with life as a whole and reported better health and confidence in managing their own affairs. The children of helicopter parents, however, were more likely to express feelings of anxiety, depression, and were less sure of their ability to handle tough situations.
“If parents are simply being supportive, they are saying things like ‘you can manage your finances, you can pick out your classes.’ It changes if they are doing that all for you," Lucier-Greer said. "At the end of the day you need to foster your child’s development.”
Other studies of college-aged young adults have also found that those with helicopter parents are less likely to be academically engaged and more likely to indulge in risky behaviors.
Time to loosen that grip, parents.