Is Helicopter Parenting Doing Children More Harm Than Good?

Helicopter parents could be doing more harm than good on their children’s mental health, a new study suggests.

The research published in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests a lack of unsupervised play has links to rising levels of anxiety and depression.

Whereas children who were given time to be more independent were more likely to report well-being and longer-term abilities to deal with life stresses.

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The study examined different age groups and the type of activities they were no longer doing including children aged five and up no longer walking or riding bikes to school or how 12-year-olds were no longer taking on part time jobs like babysitting and paper runs.

US expert psychologist Dr Peter Gray, one of the study’s authors, said the problem was an “international health crisis” that should be addressed by all governments.

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Australian psychologists agree with the findings, saying children are missing out on independently experiences the world, subsequently stunting their emotional growth.

“Our thesis is that a primary cause of the rise in mental disorders is a decline over decades in opportunities for children and teens to play, roam, and engage in other activities independent of direct oversight and control by adults,” Dr Gray said.

“Such independent activities may promote mental wellbeing through both immediate effects, as a direct source of satisfaction, and long-term effects, by building mental characteristics that provide a foundation for dealing effectively with the stresses of life.

“All in all, the evidence convinces us that the decline in children’s independent activity and, hence, in mental wellbeing is a national and international health crisis and should be treated as such.”

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