Also known as “helicopter parenting,” over-parenting is especially common among parents of single children.
Why is over-parenting dangerous?
When there are two or more children in the family, it’s much more challenging to closely oversee the activities of each child. However, in single-child families, parents tend to look over the child’s shoulder more consistently. That can have devastating effects on the child’s development.
Over-parenting involves rescuing your children and making decisions for them. When this consistently happens over time, the child learns to rely on you to solve their problems for them. The child grows up without ever learning the coping skills necessary for adulthood.
Poor self-esteem issues
Over-parenting also results in lower self-esteem, because the parent jumps in to keep the child from failing, or making a mistake. Additionally, this can result in an intense fear of failure, because the child is wary of the parent’s disappointment. This usually causes the children to grow up to be overly stressed adults.
Pressure to succeed
Children of helicopter parents also develop an exaggerated sense of perfectionism. They feel driven to succeed at all costs, which can result in the child or teen developing anxiety. Some children of helicopter parents ultimately develop severe cases of depression and, in extreme cases, may consider suicide.
Inability to handle rejection
When children have been shielded from failure by overprotective parents, they develop overly ambitious expectations, coupled with eggshell egos. As a result, they feel especially frustrated when they can’t get their dream jobs right out of school. This is why so many adult children end up moving back home, where they can be shielded from disappointment by their parents.
Inability to function as an adult
In extreme cases, over-parenting can inhibit the individual’s ability to function on a day to day basis. Since their parents did most things for them, they may never learn how to do laundry properly, keep their finances balanced, or cook nutritious meals. In this way, overprotective parents can do more harm than good.
While it may not be your intention, over-parenting can inhibit your child’s development. You can and should worry about your child, but you must also learn restraint. Standing back and allowing your children to fail or succeed on their own can be one of the most important things you do as a parent.