Do you hover around your children in everything they do and guide them? Beware, it can negatively affect your kid’s ability to manage his or her emotions and behaviour later, and may also affect his or her academics, according to researchers. Children whose parents showed “helicopter parenting behaviour”, which means constantly guiding children by telling him or her what to play with, how to play with a toy, how to clean up after playtime and being too strict or demanding, became defiant, others were apathetic and some showed frustration.
These children also struggled to adjust in school and social environments, the findings showed.
“Our research showed that children with helicopter parents may be less able to deal with the challenging demands of growing up, especially with navigating the complex school environment,” said lead author Nicole B. Perry from the University of Minnesota.
“Children who cannot regulate their emotions and behaviour effectively are more likely to act out in the classroom, to have a harder time making friends and to struggle in school,” Perry added.
For the study, published in the journal Developmental Psychology, the team followed 422 children over the course of eight years and assessed them at ages two, five and 10.
Overcontrolling parenting at the age of two led to poorer emotional and behavioural regulation at the age of five.
Conversely, the greater a child’s emotional regulation at age five, the less likely he or she is to have emotional problems and the more likely he or she is to have better social skills and be more productive in school at the age of 10.
Similarly, by age 10, children with better impulse control were less likely to experience emotional and social problems and were more likely to do better in school.
“Our findings underscore the importance of educating often well-intentioned parents about supporting children’s autonomy with handling emotional challenges,” Perry said.
Managing emotions and behaviour are fundamental skills that all children need to learn and overcontrolling parenting can limit those opportunities, she noted.