Your Helicopter Parents Took Years Off Your Life
Hey, helicopter parents, instead of obsessively hovering over your kid and solving every challenge they’re confronted with, you should let them fall flat on their face instead (metaphorically speaking — it doesn’t do anyone any good to fall on their face for real). That’s because there’s new evidence that having an overprotective father in particular can actually shorten your lifespan (irony alert!).
Past research indicates that helicopter parenting can increase a child’s risk for developing depression and anxiety later in life, but a recent study was among the first to examine the impact of such parental micromanagement as it relates to longevity. Researchers analyzed data from 941 men and women who were enrolled in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging and who had died between the years of 2007 and 2018. The study surveyed these participants on adverse childhood events, including trauma, socioeconomic status, illness and “parental experiences.” Bad parenting was characterized as “low levels of care (negligence) and overprotection (absence of autonomy),” the researchers explained.
The results revealed that men who were raised by overprotective fathers and with little autonomy had a 12 percent higher risk of dying before they reached the age of 80, with the women’s risk elevated even more (22 percent). The researchers suspect this is due to the increased risk of psychological disorders from helicopter parenting (the aforementioned depression and anxiety), which can make it harder to live a long and healthy life.
Score one for permissive parents everywhere.