Raising Tweens

Can “Helicopter Parenting” Put A Buzz On Your Child’s Emotional Growth?

Girl holding a Superman doll that says "Be Your Own Hero"

Our kids depend so heavily on protective “Superman” parenting for the first decade of their lives that it seems only natural to continue the “I’ll protect you!” routine as they grow up. We all want to “save” our kids from pain and mistakes.

Man opening his shirt like Super Man with S on shirt

The problem with that strategy, is parents have gotten stuck there. How often do you see children walking home alone from the school bus or playing in the neighborhood by themselves anymore? Research which questions that approach is starting to emerge.

“We found that over-controlling parenting at age 2 was associated with poorer emotional and behavioral regulations at age 5,” said Nicole Perry, as reported by CBS News. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development, Perry continued to comment, “at the age of 10, this parenting approach was tied to more child-reported emotional and school problems, fewer teacher reported social skills, and less teacher-reported academic productivity.”

Of course, granting independence for your children and not being a “Helicopter Parent” is all about creating a balance, as well as being heavily age-dependent. Exercising judgment plays a big role in deciding whether or not to help or assist your child.

two little girls walking and holding hands

A helicopter parent is a parent constantly guiding their child in all activities, including telling the child what toy to play with or how to clean up after they are done. It is important, however, to note that the study identifies an association, not a cause-and-effect, but ultimately concluded that young children being exposed to this kind of parenting ended up not being as effective at regulating their own emotions and behavior later on in their childhood. Help kids make kid decisions.

Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at the University of San Diego, suggested that this parenting approach could be a factor affecting why so many teens seem so ill-prepared for the challenges of becoming an adult.

How do you as a parent strike this balance between helping and giving independence?

Till next time,

Stephanie Torre

P.S If you hear another parent struggling with helping their child get independence surrounding “Screentime” share this TECH parenting guide.


Whenever you are ready check out this great article and tips.

5 Tips to help kids develop decision making skills

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