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Helicopter Parents May Breed Depression, Incompetence in Their Children

February 24, 2013|Counseling & Psychotherapy

Interesting new research shows that "helicopter" parents are not only not helping their children but they may be contributing to depression and incompetence in their children.

Counseling and psychotherapy often can help children learn to feel better about themselves and also can help parents learn to help their children more by helping them less.

Excerpt from article;

Helicopter parents, stop hovering: it’s officially not good for your kids — especially if they’re already grown.

A new study in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that being overly involved in your grown-up kids’ lives can do more harm than good. The research was conducted by the same scientists who showed last year that intensive parenting — constantly stimulating your children — can make moms more depressed.

You may think you’re helping out by phoning your kids’ college professors to haggle over the difference between a B+ and an A-, but that interference may be undermining young adults’ ability to problem-solve and fend for themselves. Constantly texting adult children and friending them on Facebook — letting them fly the coop but still demanding daily check-ins — is not exactly building a generation of confident and resilient grown-ups. And the problem only snowballs. “Parents are sending an unintentional message to their children that they are not competent,” says Holly Schiffrin, lead author and an associate professor of psychology at University of Mary Washington. “When adult children don’t get to practice problem-solving skills, they can’t solve these problems in the future.”

To reach this conclusion, Schiffrin and colleagues surveyed 297 college-age children about their parents, asking a barrage of questions: are your parents involved in selecting classes? Do they contact your professors about your grades Schiffrin herself has been on the receiving end of such calls more than once? Do they intervene if you have a roommate issue?

The students also reported on how satisfied they were with their lives, as well as their feelings of depression and anxiety. And they were questioned about the “self-determination theory,” which holds that every person has three basic needs in order to be happy: they must feel autonomous, competent and connected to other people.

Their answers showed that helicopter parenting decreased adult children’s feelings of autonomy, competence and connection. In turn, feeling incompetent led to increased reports of feeling depressed and dissatisfied. “These parents have the best intentions,” says Schiffrin. “They are being involved to help their child be successful. But as we know from the previous study, that high level of involvement is stressful for parents and it is not benefiting the kids.

It’s actually harming them.”

via Hover No More: Helicopter Parents May Breed Depression and Incompetence in Their Children | TIME.com.

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