Helicopter parenting makes the news again. In case you’ve forgotten about the phenomenon of helicopter parenting, here’s a quick refresher. Basically it is the over involvement of parents in their kids’ lives.

Helicopter parents make important decisions for their children when the kids are completely able to make them. These parents intervene in conflicts and try to solve any and all problems their kids encounter. As a result of the hovering, these kids feel incapable of making decisions on their own. Research has shown that they have the tendency to develop low self-esteem and participate in high-risk behavior.

Why is helicopter parenting in the news again? The simple answer is that there has been more research giving parents increased information. It had been hoped that the negative effects of helicopter parenting could be overcome by deliberately showing the child love and support.  Unfortunately, researchers have concluded that extra love and support don’t neutralize the negative effects of helicopter parenting.

“Overall, stepping in and doing for a child what the child developmentally should be doing for him or herself, is negative,” says Larry Nelson, lead author on the research done at BYU. “Regardless of the form of control, it’s harmful at this time period.”

So should parents employ a strict hands-off strategy? No, there is a difference between control and guidance. The goal is to teach kids the necessary skills for success in life. The key is in the quote by Larry Nelson. Let the child do the things he is “developmentally able to do.”  In fact today’s parents might want to consider helping their children stretch just a little and encourage them to do even more.

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