Helicopter Parenting Essay

Overprotective Parenting Ruining Society Parenting techniques or methods of raising children have evolved over history. In the last 30 years the scientific and medical communities have put parenting and its effects under a microscope. Parenting extremes from overprotective to “maladaptive” or neglectful parents represent the opposite ends of the parenting spectrum. Studies reveal that overprotective parenting or as it are more commonly known “helicopter parenting”, are a serious burden on today’s society. This problem has reached an all time high within the last 5-10 years (Gibbs 2).

These hovering parents have been linked to social development problems, psychological illness, and in later life heart problems, criminal behavior, and attempted suicide. Overprotective parenting is detrimental to both the child and society. While not fully understood, this movement of highly sheltered children has some effects the scientific community can predict. Many studies have been conducted that demonstrate the link between how an individual was parented during childhood and challenges they faced later in life.

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Documented studies show a correlation between parenting style and mental health (Lieb2). Criminal behavior, depression, anxiety disorders, and social problems have been linked to parenting style (Hodgins, Bronson, Johnson, Springer, Gibbs). Additionally a correlation between parenting style and health problems, such as heart disease, exist (Springer 1). In Sweden, Doctors Sheilagh Hodgins, Lynn Kratzer, and Thomas McNeil conducted a study trying to see the affects of obstetric complications (1).

Through the course of this study lines were drawn connecting parenting and how it affects whether that child will be violent or show criminal behavior in later life(1). Almost 20% of both men and women that were criminal offenders experienced less than stellar parenting (Hodgins 6). Parenting was directly linked to the risk of offending more than once for a particular person. Men who reported being “inadequately parented” committed not just more crimes, but more violent crimes too. This study concludes that either side of inadequate parenting is tied to criminal behavior.

Doctors and Professors from Columbia University, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the Mount Sinai Medical Center conducted a study where almost 700 families were interviewed in an attempt to establish correlations between childhood issues, parenting, and attempted suicide (Johnson 1). Parenting problems were directly linked to suicide attempts in late adolescence and early adulthood. This is mainly tied to the role that parenting plays in the development of interpersonal problems during the teenage and adolescent years.

These problems were major support beam for the later attempted suicide that happened. There are ties showing that problematic relationships, because of either overprotective or neglectful parenting, with a parent or both parents are the main reason that these interpersonal issues develop (Johnson 7). A study done by doctors and professors from Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, and Yale University School of Medicine, showed that most of the adults with anxiety disorders had parents who were overprotective (Lieb 5).

It was shown that children whose parents are overprotective are much more likely to have trouble with relationships and social interactions because they were not put into many social situations during the stage of development where social skills are learned (Lieb 6). Parenting styles along with family functioning seemed to greatly affect all of the individuals in their likelihood to develop social phobia (Lieb 8). Overprotective parenting was shown to restrict a child’s competence in social situations, because the child was always attached to a parent and not allowed to handle situations on their own (Lieb 7).

According to Dr. Lephuong Ong, of the Orion Health Group, of the one percent of infants born with congenital heart disease those with overprotective parents are severely more likely to experience heart related anxiety when they’re adults (1). Overprotective parenting keeps children from developing coping mechanisms (Springer 1). If the parent focuses on something and fears it such as illness, this is turn influences their child and causes anxiety issues that only elevate as they get older.

Investigating what parenting behavior falls in the over parenting style reveals parents walking their 6th graders up to the schools doors every morning, swings not being on playgrounds anymore because of complaints by parents, and insane “zero tolerance policies” at preschools (Gibbs 5, Bronson 147). At sleep away camps all over the country it has become common to have 1 or 2 extra people on the staff that do nothing more than respond to parent emails, phone calls, and even that occasional parent that drops by, all day everyday for the duration of camp (Kelley 1).

Parents are pushing their children into not following the rules on cell phones and junk food, just to name a few things, and then they’re also contacting the camp on asinine things such as not liking the sound of their child’s voice on the phone the previous day (Kelley 2). These parents are teaching their children to disobey rules, but then taking up the time of people who could actually be helping their child and maybe even teaching them some morals. This world has come to nothing more than parents putting a perfectly paved road in front of their children.

The biggest part of the problem is that parents have so much control and influence over school policies and the amount of homework a teacher gives the students. Schools all over the world have increased the amount of homework they give students purely because of parents’ complaints. Increasing the homework has taken away much of the children’s play time. Studies show that the younger generations are not as good at solving puzzles and remaining positive when they reach adulthood (Gibbs 5).

Caltech’s JPL programs now have a play background requirement for job applicants because of their younger engineers not having enough “problem solving skills,” (Gibbs 5). Schools within the last 15 years have started “zero tolerance policies,” because of parents wanting to protect their children (Bronson 146). Bullying is not okay, but being picked on a little or doing the picking on is just part of growing up. When children are in preschool or even elementary school a little of it is not bad for them, in fact it is good because it’s them exploring who they are.

Bullying is at an extreme in high schools and even some middle schools. Absolutely there should be some harsh punishment for some of the bullying that goes on, but in preschool there is no reason for there to be a no tolerance policy over one child pushing another. This rut that many parents are stuck in where their child has to have their parent solve every problem for them is creating generations of wimpy people that have no problem solving skills what so ever.

Statistics show that fewer children are walking and or riding their bikes to school, parents find it necessary for their 11, 12, or even 13 year old to be dropped off right in front of the building (Gibbs 3). Whatever happened to walking the 4 blocks to school with a group of friends? Parents absolutely have the right to worry about their child getting kidnapped but the odds of that happening with in even 6 or 7 blocks is astronomical (Gibbs 4). Parents can’t protect their children from everything and seem to cause more trouble than good when trying to force the child in the plastic bubble.

The scary thing is that parents don’t affect things like whether their child tries alcohol (Brigham 1). In a new study done by Brigham Young University on teens and alcohol it was discovered that parents have no influence on whether or not their teen tries alcohol (1). According to the co-authors, Stephen Bahr and John Hoffman, though the parents didn’t have a firsthand effect on whether their child tried alcohol, it was determined that parents have an effect on who their child is friends with.

In turn a child’s friends directly impact the child trying alcohol (Brigham 1). No matter how protective a parent is of their child there are some obstacles that are just outside of their control, and when the child hits these obstacles they need to develop skills to recognize and overcome them independently. Parents can encourage and support without shielding their child from developing problem solving skills. All signs point to the affects of overprotective parenting being negative. Overprotective parenting is detrimental to both the child and society.

Helicopter parenting limits a child’s independence and leaves them unequipped to deal with the real world and make positive choices. This problem is snowballing and after a while we will have generations of people with little problem solving skills, that can’t handle life’s up and downs. The question that we should be asking ourselves is: do we really want to see the potential downfall of our society even just a hundred years away because parents did not equip their children for the real world.