Does Helicopter Parenting Make College Going Teens Depressed?

Are you one of the parents who call their away-from-home teenage kids every night to check if they are safely tucked in bed and not partying with friends? Worry over every exam they take? Call your teens’ college every week to check their progress?  Well, here is some news for you. Researchers have found that over protective parents affect teenagers negatively.  

The attitude of controlling every aspect of your teen’s life is called helicopter parenting. A researcher of University of Mary Washington in Virginia, Holly Schiffrin, found out that helicopter parenting negatively affects the mental health of college students. By hovering over grown kids and being over protective about them, parents undermine their independence and competence. This, often, leads to bouts of mild to extreme depression in teens.

Schiffrin’s study is based on a survey of 297 college students, in which they were asked to describe their parents’ behavior, their level of independence and their satisfaction over it.

Reasons for overprotective behavior

Schiffrin, also a professor of psychology said that the problem arises when parents refuse to give their grown kids the much needed space and independence. Recent economic problems and increase in education debts have  further increased the influence of helicopter parents on college students. Also, growing competition in the job market and the need to score the best grades has fueled parents’ concerns about their teens’ chances of success in the future.

Contacting their teen’s tutors and making schedules for their studies is a common  practice among helicopter parents. This, however, does not leave any chance for the teens to run their lives themselves by making mistakes and learning from them. Instead, it leaves them perpetually dependant on the parents for making all the decisions of their life.

Another reason for undue interference in a grown teen’s life is the increased use of smart phones. What used to be a single phone call at the end of the week has now been replaced with non-stop text messaging and emails.  In some situations, this proves to be useful, but incessant use of technology would strain your relationship with your kids and make them depressed.

In view of growing anxiety among parents and their helicopter parenting technique, colleges have taken the initiative to help parents relax and take a step back. They have started conducting parental orientation days. In these sessions parents are encouraged to give their children the much needed freedom and independence.

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