FILED IN: Parenting

Study shows hyper-parenting can depress older children

College students. Photo via Wikipedia.

A new study has found that parents who are too involved in their college-aged children’s lives can make their children depressed.

Holly Schiffrin, an associate professor of psychology and researcher from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, found that over-controlling parents can negatively affect their college-aged children by undermining their independence.  Schiffrin’s study, published in Springer’s Journal of Child and Family Studies, asked 297 United States undergraduates to take an online survey and describe their mothers’ parenting behavior.  The students were also asked to assess their own level of happiness.

“You expect parents with younger kids to be very involved but the problem is that these children are old enough to look after themselves and their parents are not backing off.  To find parents so closely involved with their college lives, contacting their tutors and running their schedules, is something new and on the increase.  It does not allow independence and the chance to learn from mistakes,” Schiffrin told Reuters.

Schiffrin’s study found undergraduates with over-controlling parents were more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives.  She also found that the increase in technology has changed the frequency and level of involvement of parents in their college-aged childrens’ lives.  What used to be a weekly call home is now more regular texting and emails.

In an effort to prevent the hyper-parenting of college-aged children, some universities are offering parental orientation days to help encourage parents to let their children have more independence and control over their own lives while in college.