Helicopter parents may push kids to high risk behaviour

New York, June 2 (IANS) Over-involvement in the lives of children, or what is called helicopter parenting, may result in lower self-worth and higher risk behaviour, such as binge drinking, among youth, says a study.

While lack of warmth makes the negative effects of helicopter parenting worse, extra affection and support cannot neutralise the consequences of parental control, the findings showed.

“From our past work, we thought there might be something positive about helicopter parenting under certain conditions, but we are just not finding it,” said study author Larry Nelson from Brigham Young University in Utah in the US.

Researchers defined helicopter parenting as parents’ over-involvement in the lives of their children. This includes making important decisions for them, solving their problems and intervening in their children’s conflicts.

The researchers examined data from 438 undergraduate students in four universities nationwide. Results showed that the lack of warmth intensifies both the decrease in self-worth and increase in risk behaviours in the young-adult children of helicopter parents.

High levels of parental warmth reduced the negative effects, but did not eliminate them completely. The findings suggest that loving parents cannot justify their helicoptering tendencies — too much control is too much, no matter the parents’ affection and support.

However, the researchers warned that helicopter parents should not overcompensate by removing themselves completely from their children’s lives.

Young adults deserve more autonomy, but still need parental support, noted the study published in the journal Emerging Adulthood.

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