Over-involved parents undermine good Intentions

Having supportive parents is all well and good; but when parents become emotionally codependent and lower their child’s self-esteem, they have crossed the line into a non-supportive zone known as ‘Helicopter Parenting’ and need to step back.

In the academic environment, parents can stress about their students learning more than the student does.

“It is the student’s job to learn,” Chemistry teacher Te Ton-Tho said. “It is the teacher’s job to teach, and, yes, the parent’s job to support, but it is the student’s job to learn.”

Research supports this.

“When children aren’t given the space to struggle through things on their own, they don’t learn to problem-solve very well. They don’t learn to be confident in their own abilities, and it can affect their self-esteem. The other problem with never having to struggle is that you never experience failure and can develop an overwhelming fear of failure and of disappointing others,” Chris Meno, a psychologist at  Indiana University said in a 2013 article in The Indiana University Newsroom.  “Both the low self-confidence and the fear of failure can lead to depression or anxiety.”                                                                                        

Some students can’t avoid their parents at school.

“[My mom] doesn’t always want me to come to her for help first,” said sophomore Sunaina Butler, whose mother works at Sequoia. “My mom has been a component of me being my own person.”

Though Butler’s mom is often around,  Butler does not view her as a helicopter parent, because she and her mom maintain open communication.

“I feel pretty comfortable telling [my mother]: ‘mom, that’s not okay, leave’, or saying: ‘actually I need your support right now,’” Butler said.

Outside of the academic environment, it’s common to hear that parents constantly violate kids’ privacy by reading electronic content not intended for them. According to the New York Post in a Nov. 2014 article, 60 percent of parents believe they should have total control over what their kids do online.

Psychologists disagree.

“You create greater danger than what’s out there online when you try to control every single aspect of a teenager’s life—track[ing] where they are and take[ing] their phones and read[ing] their texts,” said Yalda Uhls, a developmental psychologist and media researcher for the University of California, Las Angeles, in a Nov. 2014 article in the New York Post. “It doesn’t build an honest, trustful relationship between the parent and child.”