While it’s only natural for parents to want the best for their children, recent reports published in the journal Child Development shows that so called helicopter parenting hinders children’s social development. “Helicopter parents” are those who excessively hover over every aspect of their child’s life.  Those parenting tactics may significantly hinder social connections made by children on their own. They take protecting their children to a whole new level.

Helicopter Parenting Hinders Children's Social DevelopmentResearchers examined teen participants ages 13 to 18, asking them to report the degree that parents exerted psychological control over their lives.  Also assessed were the teens’ autonomy, and their relationships as friends with others their age, including romantic pairings.

The findings showed a relationship between lesser degrees of autonomy and a high amount of parental psychological control. Teens who reported that their parents are highly controlling did not show as much autonomy or closeness in their relationships as teens whose parents were reported to not have so much control.

“These tactics might pressure teens to make decisions in line with their parents’ needs and motivations rather than their own,” said researcher Barbara A. Oudekerk, a statistician with the U.S. Helicopter Parenting Hinders Children's Social DevelopmentDepartment of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, who led the study while a research associate at the University of Virginia, in a news release. “Without opportunities to practice self-directed, independent decision making, teens might give in to their friends’ and partners’ decisions.”

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