Possible dangers of helicopter parenting
Could extreme levels of parental protection and responsiveness to children be counterproductive?
When did obsessing about kids’ safety and success became the norm? And what happens to students who aren't allowed to suffer through setbacks?
A new study out of Queensland University of Technology examines the concept of “overparenting,” which is characterized as parents' misguided attempt to improve their child's current and future personal and academic success. Other common terms for this parenting style include ‘helicopter parenting’ (hovering closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether their children need them or not) and ‘lawnmower parenting’ (mothers and fathers attempting to smooth out and mow down all obstacles).
More from MSN Living: Crazy dating trends we hope go away
In a recent article in The Atlantic, English, Latin, and writing teacher Jessica Lahey of Lyme, New Hampshire talks about this whole new level of overprotectiveness and the findings of the study. “Parents who raise their children in a state of helplessness and powerlessness, children destined to an anxious adulthood, lacking the emotional resources they will need to cope with inevitable setback and failure,” Lahey writes.
More from MSN Living: The truth behind Seen on TV products
In an attempt to understand such behaviors, the authors of the study surveyed psychologists, guidance counselors, and teachers. One example of overparenting that surfaced included parents who “take their child's perception as truth, regardless of the facts," and are "quick to believe their child over the adult and deny the possibility that their child was at fault or would even do something of that nature."
As a teacher, Lahey encounters most what the authors term "high responsiveness and low demandingness" parents. These parents are highly responsive to the perceived needs and issues of their children, and don't give their children the chance to solve their own problems.
You know the type. The parent who drops everything to deliver forgotten homework or lunch money. They are so overprotective of their children that they never learn to take responsibility (and the natural consequences) of their actions. Yet, given a choice, teachers say, overinvolved parents are preferable to invisible ones.
The challenge is helping parents know when they are crossing the line. A 100 percent safe world is not possible. And every teacher has a story of a student who needed to fail in order to be reassured that the world wouldn't come to an end.
Back in 1918, D.H. Lawrence offered this advice: "How to begin to educate a child. First rule: leave him alone. Second rule: leave him alone. Third rule: leave him alone. That is the whole beginning."
Do you think that overparenting could negatively impact a child’s wellbeing?
Readers: Calling all mom bloggers – we’re looking for fresh voices on MSN Living. Email us your samples and contact info!
Photo: Tetra Images/Getty Images
News, stories, tips and laughs for moms & dads
A thrill-obsessed subculture claimed another life this week.
A few suggested answers for the diciest questions
Must-haves for every mommy on the road
Here's our list of fifteen moms in the food industry that deserve some recognition.
The site gets high marks for its user-friendly interface and excellent and responsive customer service. And the reviews are also pretty accurate. Compare amenities and prices next to a hotel's in the same area, and you're likely to see Airbnb come out on top.
We captured a frame-by-frame look just for you.
Other moms can be ruthless when it comes to picking apart your parenting choices. From dissing your decision to go back to work to criticizing when you started baby on solids, here are the most ridiculous comments moms have heard. Bonus, we’ve got just the right way to respond to the haters! You’re welcome.
Nope, you don’t have to spend the next nine months in black elastic-waist pants and oversize sweaters. And you don’t have to shell out a fortune on your “temporary” wardrobe either. Check out these stylish and affordable maternity clothes.
Because society crumbles without us
Another kid figured out how to get into a claw machine.
As a new mom, you’ve recently discovered there are many things you can live without—sleep and modesty being chief among them. But what can’t you live without? Seasoned moms share their Top 10 list for how to survive the early months of motherhood.
Here are our experts' best tips for how to be a positive role model for your kids so that they grow up healthy, strong and confident about the way they look.