Helicopter Parenting May Be Harmful to Young People

It goes without saying, most parents only want the best for their children. We want them to grow up and be productive citizens of society.


We want to protect them. We want to protect them from the inevitable difficulties of life, so what do we do – we hover. We are there with a pillow before their sweet little knees hit the pavement. We hover over them, excessively monitoring their moves, behaviors and decisions.

We think we are helping them, but the truth is – we are not. Research has found that hovering parents give children fewer opportunities to learn self-control such as to manage their emotions.


Overprotected teens are less likely to feel confident in making good decisions and subsequently fear making bad ones.

Parents who continue to hover over their teens—Please stop.

Let me tell you why.

College students with hovering parents are more likely to report issues of burnout.

School burnout is a response to ongoing stress, which results in a decreased productivity and a weakened sense of accomplishment.

School burnout can also spawns more mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and/or addiction and consequently lead to more failed academic outcomes.

First-year college students report major roadblocks to their success at school—and they are not academic. Most commonly reported issues are stress, sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression.

Self-regulation is something that is learned and refined as teens navigate their lives. They learn how to regulate their behaviors; impulsive thoughts and emotions. These things don’t just come natural.

Teens that don’t get the experience of making decisions for themselves, never gain the competence that they can do it.

Allowing young people to develop these skills will serve them well, as once they get out into the ‘real-world’, like college, they will be well equipped.

I get it—! It’s a touch pill to swollow, I am guilty myself of being a hovering parent. And, like myself, we can realize it and change our behaviors.

Are you behaving in a counter-productive way in your teen’s life—? If you are a parent who is worried that you might ‘over-involved’ in your teen’s life – Consider doing these 3 things.

Self-reflection through mindfulness has been shown to help parents understand their role in engaging in this counter-productive phenomenon of helicopter parenting.

  1. Take a second to reflect on what is happening – while it is happening
  2. Understand your surroundings and the context
  3. Evaluate your behavior
Posted in
Dr. Leslie Tucker College Consultant