I was really impressed with this article. It explains the possible long term effects of children that do not learn how to process their own emotions or handle their own problems. I struggle with the term “helicopter parent” as I struggle with any label- but the underlying theme is a good one. Kids need to learn to answer their own questions, lick their own wounds, and get out of bed each morning ready to face what lies ahead- prepared for both success and struggles.
In Why Millennials Can’t Grow Up; Helicopter parenting has caused my psychotherapy clients to crash land, Brooke Donatone describes what she sees as a common trend- “the norm for twenty- to thirtysomethings I see in my office as a psychotherapist. I’ve had at least 100 college and grad students…crying on my couch because breaching adulthood is too overwhelming.”
Here is some excerpts:
“Amy (not her real name) sat in my office and wiped her streaming tears on her sleeve, refusing the scratchy tissues I’d offered. “I’m thinking about just applying for a Ph.D. program after I graduate because I have no idea what I want to do.” Amy had mild depression growing up, and it worsened during freshman year of college when she moved from her parents’ house to her dorm. It became increasingly difficult to balance school, socializing, laundry, and a part-time job. She finally had to dump the part-time job, was still unable to do laundry, and often stayed up until 2 a.m. trying to complete homework because she didn’t know how to manage her time without her parents keeping track of her schedule.”
“The big problem is not that they think too highly of themselves. Their bigger challenge is conflict negotiation, and they often are unable to think for themselves. The overinvolvement of helicopter parents prevents children from learning how to grapple with disappointments on their own. If parents are navigating every minor situation for their kids, kids never learn to deal with conflict on their own. Helicopter parenting has caused these kids to crash land.”
“A 2013 study in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that college students who experienced helicopter-parenting reported higher levels of depression and use of antidepressant medications. The researchers suggest that intrusive parenting interferes with the development of autonomy and competence. So helicopter parenting leads to increased dependence and decreased ability to complete tasks without parental supervision. Amy, like many millennials, was groomed to be an academic overachiever, but she became, in reality, an emotional under-achiever. Amy did not have enough coping skills to navigate normal life stressors—how do I get my laundry and my homework done in the same day; how do I tell my roommate not to watch TV without headphones at 3 a.m.?—without her parents’ constant advice or help.”
Here is the link to the full article