How ‘helicopter parenting’ can impact kids

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Mother-daughter team, Nancy and Emily Surak of Tampa will tell you they have a pretty fair relationship.

“They are definitely involved in my life and they support me in the decisions I make, but they don’t monitor my every move,” says high-schooler Emily.

Her mom agrees. “I personally don’t want that level of intense involvement. I want them to be their own individuals and figure out life so they aren’t dependent on my husband and I,” says Nancy.

But, Emily does have friends whose parents, she says, are constantly looking over their shoulder.

“Helicopter Parents” is the term most people use. Dr. Stacie Scheckner, Ph.D of Tampa deals with a lot of them.

“We need to allow them to be who they are instead of controlling them,” she says.

That control comes in many forms. Nancy and Emily see it often.

“I know people who volunteer at the high school, in the classroom all the time. Like three times a week,” says Nancy.

Emily says she has friends whose parents will download tracking apps to monitor their kids. “I think that’s wrong. I think you need to have trust before it’s broken,” says Dr. Scheckner.

Dr. Scheckner says once that trust is broken, then you can and should introduce consequences.

Something else to consider, she says, is how overbearing parenting will affect kids in the long run, especially when mom and dad aren’t around to help when their kids have to make a decision.

“They don’t want them there, but look they’ve been there for so long they feel like they can’t do it themselves. It’s very, very harmful,” she says.

Dr. Scheckner believes a lot of helicopter parenting comes into play especially when kids head off to college, and says that is really the time to back off, as hard as it may be, so their kids can become the adults they were raised to be.

Be sure to watch WFLA News Channel 8 from 4:30 to 7 a.m. during the month of August. Every morning, we’ll bring you a special back-to-school story to help you and your family prepare for the school year.

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