A Bird's Eye View of the Hazards of Helicopter Parenting
Photo courtesy of Mr. Chuckles/Shutterstock.com
“Can I go out?”
“Yeah sure. Just let me grab my purse really quick.”
Is this a typical conversation with your child? There are two main types of parenting styles: helicopter parenting and lenient parenting. Helicopter parents are overly involved in their child’s life. Lenient parents allow their children to make mistakes. Being more lenient with your child can actually do more good than harm (Schiffrin et al., 2013). Although societal views of lenient parenting are mostly negative versus those of helicopter parenting, lenient parenting is the way to go. At the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, researchers conducted a study where they asked a series of questions to students who grew up in more lenient homes versus those who grew up in more overbearing homes (Schiffrin et al., 2013). Results from the questionnaire proved that children with more lenient parents were more contented with life. Growing up without the stress of helicopter parenting gave them more freedom and independence, allowing them to have a happier, carefree life.
Helicopter parenting may be viewed as the better parenting style, but it can cause many psychological issues for a child. Students answered questions regarding depression, anxiety, and happiness while partaking in the study (Schiffrin et al., 2013). Results showed helicopter parents could cause their child to develop depression and anxiety (Schiffrin et al., 2013). Other researchers found that helicopter parenting created a sense of entitlement for college students and also hindered their ability to cope with emotional setbacks (“Helicopter Parenting & College Students’ Increased Neediness,” 2015). It also revealed that these students were also more likely to abuse pain medications (“Helicopter Parenting & College Students’ Increased Neediness,” 2015); (LeMoyne & Buchanan, 2011).
A friend of mine has helicopter parents, and they don’t allow her to have freedom and independence. Honestly, the only time she has any freedom is walking to and from the bus stop. Because her window of freedom is so limited she takes advantage of it whenever she can. If her parents won’t be home until late, she will not go straight home after school. Instead, she’ll go to friends’ houses and anywhere else that is not home. She’ll even sneak out if they’re gone during the night. She has even stated that she couldn’t wait to leave for college so she could have freedom and independence because she felt being at home suffocated her.
These studies will help parents realize they are not helping their child by being over protective. No parents want to be the cause of their child’s pain and suffering, but this proves that they can be, even when they are not doing so intentionally. For some parents, this may be a harsh reality they will have to face. Loosening the reigns they have on their child can be very scary especially in society today, but this is something they will have to learn how to do for the wellbeing of their child. No one can actually tell a parent how to raise their child but the next time they decide to deny their children from experiencing life, maybe they should consider the effects it may bring in their future.
Jamaela Green is a participant of Uplift Plus at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a program that seeks out high-achieving high school students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. Her editorial — written for her freshman English class this summer — is among the first in a series of posts by other Uplift Plus students to be published by Carolina Parent. The editorials, assigned by UNC English teacher Moira Marquis, asked students to research a contemporary social issue for young adults and share their findings.