by Dexter P.
Everywhere we look now a days it seems as though you can see an example of over parenting. Whether it is a parent at the park constantly telling their kid to “be careful”, or a parent constantly being at their kid’s sporting events trying to correct them. Parents doing this to their children could be depriving them of fundamental skills in the principles of youth development. Principles such as developing a wide range of knowledge, skills and behaviors, and developing youth capabilities can all be affected by this.
When children are outside playing it is important for them to be able to take risks and learn their limitations. If a parent is constantly watching them, the child is less likely to take risks that can lead to youth development. In this setting if the child is allowed to freely play, climb and swing, they will learn fundamental skills that require challenge and decision-making. This is something that may be lacking in our youth today and will only get worse if we continue to protect them. I worked with someone a few years back and his mother was the perfect example of a helicopter parent. She would not allow her kid to do anything. I remember when he was 17 everyone from work was going to magic mountain. Even at 17 his mother still wouldn’t let him go because she said it wasn’t safe if she wasn’t there. I still see him every now and then today and it is not hard to tell that he missed out on critical youth development skills.
By parents feeling the need to be around their children all the time, it can lead to increased anxiety and less self esteem for them. This is because when parents are constantly around, the child isn’t so much focused on taking risks and growing as much. Most youth are more focused on disappointing their parents so they will not be focused on the task. The best example of this would be in a sports setting. When the child is finally out in the real world without their parents, they are missing out on crucial aspects of youth development because of the over parenting. Many of these youth simply do not know what to do without their parents when they move out.
Parents: Overprotective Mommies and Daddies. (2007). Technique, 27(8), 7-8.
Baumrind (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behaviour. Child Development, 37, 887–907.