Parents possess natural instincts to keep their kids out of harm’s way. Keeping children safe and healthy is the number job of a parent. Some parents are afraid that without their constant worry and watchful eye their offspring will display injurious behaviors. This style of parenting is called “helicopter parenting” and is defined by hovering of their child of any age because of the uneasiness they feel when they are not in complete control. A study was conducted by the American Psychological Association that was published in the journal, Developmental Psychology, that found that overcontrolling parents can in fact negatively affect a child’s ability to maintain their personal emotions and behaviors. Children, especially in their teenage years, need space to learn and grow on their own behalf. If a parent is constantly making a teenager conform to them, they could be in risk of being unable to think for themselves. Leading author, Nicole B. Perry, PhD, from the University of Minnesota, and other researchers, gathered 422 children and monitored them over a course of 8 years to see how they reacted to an overbearing parent at the ages of 2, 5, and 10 years of age. The data collected was from observations from parent-child interactions, self-reports once the subjects turned 10, and perceptions from the teachers of the child. Most concluded that the parents who were consistently telling the kid what toy to play with, how they should play with it, and being too demanding or strict during these times were affecting their child’s emotional stability. Children at the age of 2 who were controlled by their parents, showed lowered regulation of their emotions and behaviors at the age of 5 which effected how they behaved by the age of 10. If parents allowed their 2-year old to navigate their own way, by 5 they were emotionally more stable to show better impulse control that helped them to experience less emotional and behavior problems by the age of 10. According to Perry, “Children who developed the ability to effectively calm themselves during distressing situations and to conduct themselves appropriately had an easier time adjusting to the increasingly difficult demands of preadolescent school environments. Our findings underscore the importance of educating often well-intentioned parents about supporting children’s autonomy with handling emotional challenges,” Perry said. Some children can be difficult and unruly, but this study presents that parents should help them learn to regulate themselves instead of the parents trying to control them. A child will need to learn independence throughout their years to help them once they get in the real world.
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