Hot Topics: Study says hyper-parents can make college-aged children depressedLONDON – Turbo-charged parents still running their university-aged children’s schedules, laundry and vacations could be doing more harm than good with a study on Wednesday showing these students were more likely to be depressed and dissatisfied with life.
By: Reuters, INFORUM
LONDON – Turbo-charged parents still running their university-aged children’s schedules, laundry and vacations could be doing more harm than good with a study on Wednesday showing these students were more likely to be depressed and dissatisfied with life.
Researcher Holly Schiffrin from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia found so-called helicopter parenting negatively affected college students by undermining their need to feel autonomous and competent.
Her study found students with over-controlling parents were more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives, while the number of hyper-parents was increasing with economic fears fuelling concerns over youngsters’ chances of success.
“You expect parents with younger kids to be very involved, but the problem is that these children are old enough to look after themselves and their parents are not backing off,” Schiffrin, an associate professor of psychology, said.
“To find parents so closely involved with their college lives, contacting their tutors and running their schedules, is something new and on the increase. It does not allow independence and the chance to learn from mistakes.”
Schiffrin’s study, published in Springer’s Journal of Child and Family Studies, was based on an online survey of 297 U.S. undergraduate students in which students described their mothers’ parenting behavior and their own autonomy and researchers assessed their happiness and satisfaction levels.
The study comes as debate rises over how much parents should run their children’s lives to make them succeed.
Schiffrin said the increase in technology had changed the involvement of parents in their children’s college lives as the once-a-week phone call home was replaced with regular texting, emails and messaging.
The competitive marketplace and jostling for top college slots and the best jobs has also boosted the involvement of parents in college lives.
She said to counteract this, rising numbers of universities were starting to run parental orientation days parallel to events for students to help encourage parents to give their children more freedom.