Helicopter parents who still run their university-aged children's schedules, laundry and vacations could be doing more harm than good with a new study showing these students were more likely to be depressed and dissatisfied with life.
Researcher Holly Schiffrin from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia found so-called helicopter parenting negatively affected college students by undermining their need to feel autonomous and competent.
Her study found students with over-controlling parents were more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives while the number of hyper-parents was increasing with economic fears fueling concerns over youngsters' chances of success.
"You expect parents with younger kids to be very involved but the problem is that these children are old enough to look after themselves and their parents are not backing off," Schiffrin, an associate professor of psychology, told Reuters.
"To find parents so closely involved with their college lives, contacting their tutors and running their schedules, is something new and on the increase. It does not allow independence and the chance to learn from mistakes."
Schiffrin said the increase in technology had changed the involvement of parents in their children's college lives as the once-a-week phone call home was replaced with regular texting, emails and messaging.
The study was published in Springer's Journal of Child and Family Studies.
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About Jim Liebelt
Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
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