Children who have intrusive parents or “helicopter parent” grow up to become hyper critical of themselves. They in turn develop anxiety and depression as they age.
“When parents become intrusive in their children’s lives, it may signal to the children that what they do is never good enough,” said study leader Ryan Hong, an assistant professor in the department of psychology at the National University of Singapore.
The National University of Singapore conducted a five year study on primary school children and their parents. The parents who acted intrusively had high expectations of their academic performance and overreacted when their child made a mistake. This in turn made the child become overly critical over themselves and strove for perfection.
Helicopter Parents have been around for only a few generations and this study shows the effects it has on their children. It is obvious that that type of parenting is not the healthiest but the impact it has on the children is dramatic.
The term “Helicopter Parent” was coined in the 1990s and started to gain popularity in the early 2000s when the Millenials started reaching college age. Baby Boomer Parents started to advocate for their children late into their children’s adult life. They wake them up for school, argue with their teachers and even arguing with their bosses.
Generational demographer, Neil Howe states “Boomer parents of Millennials who sometimes are helpful, sometimes annoying, yet always hovering over their children and making noise.” Baby Boomers always cared about the high moral and education to help create a more ethical and socially conscious community. This was because of the America was going through in the 60s.
Things are a little different in Singapore. Their society strives for academic excellence and they become very competitive in nature. This causes the parents to push their children towards unrealistically high expectations of success.
The trial that they conducted involved puzzles that the children had to complete with the parents help. They tracked the results by watching how often the parents intervened with the child’s problem solving and if they took over. The result of this, is the child became afraid of making any mistake or even asking for help. If they did, they would blame themselves for not being perfect.
The children who were highly self critical became highly anxious and depressed. Even though the study wasn’t able to prove the direct correlation, the connect is clear. In the US, there is a new style of parenting by Gen-X parents called “Stealth fighter Parents.”
Gen-X Parents don’t hover. They have a line and when it is crossed, they attack. If it is below that line, they leave it alone. If it crosses that line, they will strike, quick, hard and no warning.
Culture and society helps dictate the way parents teach their children. Each generation learning and evolving from the last. Hopefully it won’t leave lasting negative impressions.