Brain and Behavior, Mental Health

Helicopter Parenting Can Lead To Poor Self-regulation in Children

Parents of young children in America today are increasingly pressured to be uber-involved, and the influence of social media only exacerbates this trend. Moms and dads alike are expected to attend every soccer game, make cupcakes for school, and ensure that Junior’s science project is over-the-top. This kind of helicopter parenting is all the rage…but at what cost to children?

The Journal of Family Psychology recently published evidence that parental over-engagement is correlated with decreased self-regulation skills and executive function in kindergartners. Scientists worked with 102 parent-child duos and found this to be true regardless of parent age, financial status or level of education. While the authors did not offer specific solutions, they did assert, “This study contributes to the discussion of how parents can support the development of self-regulation during the transition to elementary school.”

While uninvolved or neglectful parenting is the opposite extreme of helicopter parenting, moms and dads can strive for a healthy balance of involvement. Perhaps it is time we stop hovering, ignore the unrealistic standards set by social media, and create a new flight plan. For more insight on the science of over-parenting check out the Brainy Moms podcast, Helicopter Parenting: The Good, The Bad, & The Alternate Flight Plans.

Terissa Michele Miller, MS Psy

Check out the original research:

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