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'Helicopter Parenting' May Negatively Affect Children's Emotional Well-Being And Behavior

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A new study suggests that "helicopter parenting" may not be healthy for young children. The study suggested that children who are subject to this type of parenting will have a harder time regulating their emotions in school.

Parents Need To Stop Hovering

The research, which was published in the journal Developmental Psychology discovered that children whose parents have an overcontrolling parenting style can affect the child's ability to manage their emotions and behavior.

The lead author of the study, Nicole B. Perry, Ph.D., claimed that children who have "helicopter parents" are less likely to be able to deal with the challenges of growing up and navigating in a complex school environment. Berry continued that children who cannot control emotions will have a harder time making friends in school. Perry elaborated that children relied on their caregivers for guidance on how to handle their emotions.

Perry continued that children need parents that are sensitive to their needs and can guide them to handle emotional situations properly. By doing this, it will help the children grow mentally, physically, academically, and socially.

The study followed over 400 children for eight years that were the ages of 2, 5, and 10. Majority of the children in the study were White or African-American and from different economic backgrounds. The data that was obtained from the research was given by teacher-reported responses, self-reports from10-year-olds, and observations of parent-child interactions.

The researchers from the study asked the parents and children to play as if they were home for their observations.

Children's Emotional Well-Being

Perry and her team noted that the "helicopter parents" would constantly tell their children what toy to play with or how to play with the toy. The researchers also saw that the parents would show the kids how to clean-up after they were done playing and were too strict or demanding.

"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," Perry stated.

The researchers found that 2-year-old children who had controlling parents were associated with poor behavioral and emotional regulation. For children who were 5 years old, the researchers saw that those who had a greater emotional regulation, the less likely they will have problems emotionally or socially and will be more productive in school at the age of 10.

Perry continued that parents can help their children by talking to them about their feelings and explaining where their behaviors may come from. She elaborated that parents can also offer alternatives for children to handle their emotions in a positive way, such as deep breathing or retreating to a quiet space.

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