When "helicopter parenting" goes bad

As the first generation of overparented kids continues to graduate into the world, a slew of studies, including Segrin’s, now show that youngsters whose parents intervene inappropriately — offering advice, removing obstacles and solving problems that kids should tackle themselves — actually wind up as anxious, narcissistic young adults who have trouble coping with the demands of life.

“The paradox of this form of parenting is that, despite seemingly good intentions, the preliminary evidence indicates that it is not associated with adaptive outcomes for young adults and may indeed be linked with traits that could hinder the child’s success,” concludes Segrin’s latest study, set to be published next month in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

Other recent studies also have found that too much help can create undesired outcomes, including a paper by California sociologist Laura T. Hamilton that says that the more money parents spend on their child’s college education, the worse grades the kid gets. Another study by Virginia psychologist Holly H. Schiffrin finds that the more parents are involved in schoolwork and selection of college majors, the less satisfied their kids feel with their college lives.