Kids of controlling 'helicopter parents' are more naughty at school

19 June 2018, 12:19 | Updated: 19 June 2018, 14:48

naughty children

Parents who mollycoddle their kids are more likely to be misbehaving in the classroom, new research finds.

Helicopter parents who are "constantly guiding" their kid's behaviour could see their children become disruptive at school as they are less likely to be able to deal with the demands of growing up.

New research, published in Developmental Psychology, followed 422 kids over the course of eight years and observed that children who have been controlled by their parents could even struggle to make friends in the playground.

“Our research showed that children with helicopter parents may be less able to deal with the challenging demands of growing up, especially with navigating the complex school environment," lead author Nicole B. Perry, PhD told the APA.

"Children who cannot regulate their emotions and behaviour effectively are more likely to act out in the classroom, to have a harder time making friends and to struggle in school.”

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As part of the research, kids were assessed at ages two, five, and 10, through a series of observed parent-child interactions, reports from teachers, and self-reports from the children at age 10.

During these observations, each child and their parent were asked to play as if they were at home.

“Helicopter parenting behaviour we saw included parents constantly guiding their child by telling him or her what to play with, how to play with a toy, how to clean up after playtime and being too strict or demanding," Perry explained.

"The kids reacted in a variety of ways. Some became defiant, others were apathetic and some showed frustration.” 

The results showed that toddlers who had been controlled at age two were more likely to be disobedient by the time they were aged five.

It also found that if kids had emotional freedom at five they were better equipped when it came to productivity, social skills and emotional problems at the age of 10.

Perry observed: "Our findings underscore the importance of educating often well-intentioned parents about supporting children’s autonomy with handling emotional challenges.”  

While we all want the best for our children, sometimes it's best to let them figure out life for themselves.