A New Study In The Journal Of Pediatrics Says Maybe It’s Not Social Media, But Helicopter Parenting That’s Making Kids Depressed.
It’s not just social media, but the rise of helicopter parenting, in which kids no longer have spaces to just hang out with each other and be kids that is contributing to mental health issues.. It’s titled: Decline in Independent Activity as a Cause of Decline in Children’s Mental Well-being: Summary of the Evidence.
The research summarises the decline in “independent mobility” for kids over the last few decades.
They also note that they are not claiming (of course) that this is the sole reason for the declines in mental health. Just that there is strong evidence that it is a key component. They explore a few other options that may contribute, including increased pressure at schools and societal changes.
Helicopter parenting, like any parenting style, has its pros and cons:
- Safety: Helicopter parents tend to be very vigilant, which can help protect their children from physical and emotional harm.
- Academic Success: Their involvement can lead to better academic performance, as they often closely monitor their children’s schoolwork.
- Emotional Support: Children of helicopter parents may feel a strong sense of emotional support and security.
- Life Skills: Some level of guidance can help children develop essential life skills.
- Independence: Helicopter parenting can hinder a child’s ability to develop independence and problem-solving skills.
- Stress: Constant hovering and pressure can lead to stress and anxiety in both parents and children.
- Limited Exploration: Children may have limited opportunities to explore and make decisions on their own.
- Overwhelm: Parents can become overwhelmed and exhausted, focusing excessively on their children.
It’s essential to strike a balance between involvement and allowing children to grow and learn from their experiences.
I work with parents to help them learn to let go of over- parenting their kids & I ask them to ponder:
In what specific areas do I need to allow my kids to become more independent of me?
What’s stopping me doing that? Is it because I feel needed, important, relevant in some way?
Is it because I feel guilty about my parenting or my work committments?
Have the recent terrorist attacks made me nervous and over protective – what message are my kids receiving from my actions?
What are the implications for my child, who becomes a young adult, who then becomes a parent, of my mollycoddling them now?
In what way does robbing them of independence serve them?
I check out my Coaching Programmes if you’d like to explore healthy ways to give your kids autonomy and independence.