The debate over parenting styles is as old as time; an agreement has never reached. One parenting style that often creates two distinct sides, is known as ‘helicopter parenting’. Micromanaging a child to such an extent that the parent is seen to be permanently ‘helicopter hovering’. However, research carried out by the University of Minnesota has suggested that this parenting style could be the one reason for poor classroom behaviour.
Room to Breathe
The issue, according to one of the leading researchers, Dr. Nicole Perry, is that children who parent in this way become insecure rather than confident. It might come as quite a shock to followers of the method, who apparently believe they are giving their children the best start in life. The research offered quite a damning picture of independence. When observed, it was noted that the parents made so many decisions, the child was quite literally not able to do anything without parental guidance.
‘Helicopter parenting observations showed parents continually guiding their child by telling him/her what to play with, how to play with a toy, how to clean up after playtime and being too strict or demanding,” said Dr. Perry.
Emotional Deficiencies Lead to Inability to Cope
The conclusion that was drawn from these observations was that children who lack in social skills come unstuck in a classroom situation, where the parent is not on hand to control their behaviour. Instead of seeing any evidence that the parenting style instils confidence and positive skills in decision making, the opposite was clearly shown. Children were found to be emotionally and socially stunted.
By the age of just two years, children in this ‘helicopter’ category were already demonstrating bad behaviour in the classroom. By five their emotional well-being was found to be poor when compared with their peers. The study which focused on 422 children over eight years, found that the children who had helicopter parents struggled with all aspects of school life. Making friends, learning the rules of social interaction and other daily school relationships were delayed or missing in many cases. It seemed to show that children who couldn’t cope responded in a variety of ways with some becoming withdrawn and sullen, while others became aggressive and frustrated. Its conclusion, parents need to be aware of the impact parenting choices can have on their children and the importance of supporting their emotional development rather than repressing it.