More Research Finds Helicopter Parenting Backfires

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, June 3, 2015

More Research Finds Helicopter Parenting Backfires

*The following is excerpted from an online article from the NY Daily News.

Springboarding on its previous study, researchers from Brigham Young University concluded that extra love and support does not neutralize the negative effects of helicopter parenting.

Helicopter parenting is defined as over-involvement in children's lives including making important decisions for them, solving their problems and intervening in their conflicts, say the researchers.

And the consequences of helicopter parenting on offspring can include low self-esteem and high-risk behavior like binge drinking, according to the researchers, whose first study indicated that children of helicopter parents are less engaged in school.

"From our past work, we thought there might be something positive about helicopter parenting under certain conditions, but we're just not finding it," says lead author Larry Nelson.

What's more, a lack of warmth combined with helicopter parenting is particularly detrimental to the well being of young adults, according to the study, published in the journal Emerging Adulthood.

In the study, 438 undergraduate students from four U.S. universities self-reported on their parents' controlling behavior, their sense of self-worth and their risk behaviors and study habits.

Responses from the student participants, whose average age was 19, indicate an association between helicopter parenting with decreasing self-esteem and increasingly risky behavior, according to the study.

Loving parents are incapable of justifying their helicoptering, say the researchers, who say too much control is harmful in every circumstance.

"Overall, stepping in and doing for a child what the child developmentally should be doing for him or herself, is negative," says Nelson. "Regardless of the form of control, it's harmful at this time period."

In his team's first study on helicopter parenting, published in the Journal of Adolesence in 2012, they established that over-involvement in a child or young adult's life deprives them of the skills necessary for success in marriage, careers and adult social interactions.

Source: NY Daily News