Not all children of the same age are at the same level of development; each child has unique character traits. Watch this video for advice on how to help a child with their personal developmental growth.
There are many reasons why treating a daughter as a friend can be damaging. Perhaps the critical one is the effect it can have on your children's sexual relationships. One of the most surprising phenomena I've seen in my practice is the permissiveness with which parents approach their daughters' sexuality. One mother whom I was treating talked about her 19-year-old daughter's sexual escapades as if she had just been accepted into an elite college. "The last guy who slept over was hot, hot, hot," she said, practically salivating. She failed to see how inappropriate it was for a 43-year-old women to be viewing her 19-year-old daughter as a friend, rather than a child who needs to learn moderation and responsibility around sex. I think this approach is endemic among parents of millennials. They are raising a generation of self-absorbed children who do not have an appreciation for true intimacy and authentic connection with another human being.
How can helicopter parenting damage a child?
Helicopter parenting is the term given to mothers and fathers who hover around their children and intervene in their lives at a level that is inappropriate to a child’s level of development. Helicopter parenting -- whether it is doing a child’s homework, becoming overly involved in his or her social conflicts or even, in the case of young adults, interceding with college professors or employers at the first sign of trouble -- tends to evoke two types of responses from children, explains Frederick Frankel, PhD, co-director of the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Program, an outpatient clinic of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Some may simply accept their parents’ over-involvement and grow up feeling stifled and lacking confidence in their self-efficacy. Others rebel by the time they reach their teen years, creating a potentially unhealthy distance.
"Sometimes kids don’t know what they’re getting into, and it’s nice to have the parent as a consultant," says Dr. Frankel. "But if the parent is 'hovering,' teens often close the channels of communication." Dr. Frankel acknowledges that it can be extremely difficult for parents to see their teens going down paths that might not be best for them, whether it’s not living up to their academic potential or choosing the wrong friends.
Parents can offer advice and warn their teens about consequences, but at some point, they have to allow the children to make their own choices, within reason. "Parents who don’t allow their children enough room obviously care a great deal, or they wouldn’t be so involved," says Dr. Frankel. "In a sense, though, this is a developmental issue for them -- they have to grow up with their children and learn to forge a different relationship for the child’s benefit."
To make sure your kids have everything they need for a successful school year, use the health and safety checklist below.