Many parents setting up their child to not

Many parents have the best intentions
when raising a child. More often than not, parental involvement is seen as
beneficial for child outcomes. However, research suggests that intense and
intrusive styles of parenting are detrimental to said outcomes.
There is a reason for the mental health predicament that psychologists are seeing on college
campuses – where successful students are miserable because they cannot cope
with normal life challenges. There is a reason why psychologists are seeing a
record number of students who are depressed and don’t know why, because
they claim they had ideal childhoods, their parents were their “biggest fans”, and they never
experienced anything more than superficial disappointment. Blogger Kari
Kubiszyn Kampakis exclaims that “while love is irrefutably the most
important gift to give our kids, true love wants what’s best for a person
long-term” (Kampakis, 2016). This “true love” that Kampakis is
referencing resides in parents setting up their child to not need them. Most
parents have 18 years to equip their child with the tools to be functional
adults; 18 years to “prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.”

            Over the past
decade, a phenomenon known as helicopter parenting has received considerable
attention. Helicopter parenting is a term used to describe the growing number
of parents – obsessed with their children’s
success and safety – who vigilantly hover over them, sheltering them from
mistakes, disappointment, and/or risks (Vinson, 2013). Negative developmental
outcomes associated with this style of parenting include a reduced maturation
and decreased self-confidence, higher levels of child anxiety and depression,
damaged autonomy
coupled with underdeveloped coping skills, and decreased social competence
(Schiffrin et al., 2014; Segrin et al., 2013a; Segrin, Woszidlo, Givertz &
Montgomery, 2013b). This directed parental regard
can restrict the experiences of children, as the outcomes undermine
self-efficacy and the ability for one to survive on their own (Schiffrin, Liss,
Miles­McLean, Geary, Erchull & Tasher, 2013; Segrin et al., 2013a). Coupled
with the inability to experience failure, these missed opportunities make
children less able to solve their own problems, be autonomous, develop in-depth
relationships, and cope independently (Schiffrin et al., 2014).

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            According to Hara Estroff Marano and
her article “A Nation of Wimps,” these shortcomings are largely
due to the fact that we live in an age where we overindulge children. Parents concentrate too much on creating
“magical
memories”
and removing obstacles to keep their kids happy. As a result, they often fail
to cultivate qualities like character, perseverance, patience, and the
determination to be successful adults (Marano, 2009). Maladaptive behaviors
displayed by the parent, such as completing tasks for the child, can lead to a
diminished sense of competence combined with shame and guilt. This can happen
when a child fails at mastering certain tasks, or is unable to do them at all.
The result is a lack of academic and personal coping skills, and when combined
with frustration the child can foster resentment towards the parent.
Subsequently, the child produces a psychological decrease in life satisfaction,
self-esteem,
and increase in anxiety (Shiffrin et al., 2013; Segrin et al., 2013b). In short, parents
who fail to modulate their behavior in context with the development of their
child will find that they become over-involved, reject the notion of failure in
their child, and can damage the healthy parent­-child relationship
that they are attempting to nurture (Schiffrin et al., 2014; Segrin et al.,
2013b).

When
a parent makes all the decisions on behalf of the child, this can undermine the
autonomy and self-direction for that child, as their ability to meet the
developmental milestones needed for optimum development is hindered (Segrin,
Woszidlo, Givertz, Bauer & Murphy, 2012). This may affect the child’s
relatedness and ability to form peer attachments, which can decrease their
social competence and confidence (Shiffrin et al., 2014; LeMoyne &
Buchanan, 2011). Internalizing these issues may then lead to anxiety and
depression (Ingen et al., 2013).