Helicopter Parents Crash
Helicopter parenting may be just as unhealthy for parents as for kids.
Critics of the get-involved-with-every-aspect-of-my-child’s-life approach to parenting maintain that the children of parents who are too involved in their children’s lives will lack maturity, self-reliance and self-esteem. A recent study of 300 college freshmen found that students with helicopter parents were more dependent, more neurotic and less open than other students. Another report found a connection between how frequently college students communicate with their parents and how dependent they are on their parents.
Helicopter parenting consumes more time than other parenting styles. According to Margaret K. Nelson, professor of sociology at Middlebury College and the author of Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times, the intense focus on overseeing children’s TV and computer habits, friendships, extracurricular activities and more is not only exhausting, but takes time from parents’ other relationships and can even weaken those relationships. “Working a demanding job while paying painstaking attention to one’s children leaves little time for maintaining a marriage,” she notes. According to sociologists Suzanne Bianchi, John Robinson and Melissa Milkie, adults in 2000 spent less time with their spouses than adults did in 1975, as they spent more time at work and more time with their children. The time married parents spend visiting with friends and relatives has also declined dramatically: Married mothers spent almost a third less time socializing in 2000 than they did in 1965.
Are you a helicopter parent? Why? Does it impact your relationships with your spouse and friends?