Pushy Parenting Could Be Harmful

Pushy Parenting Could Be HarmfulPushy Parenting Could Be Harmful

A five-year study found that the negative effects of being a pushy parent are high self-criticism and even increased depression and anxiety among children.

The study revealed the effects of perfectionism and pushiness on children with many developing depression and high self-critical tendencies as a result.

Conducted by researchers at the National University of Singapore, it involved kids of primary school age and found that parents who were more intrusive – pushing for higher grades, performance or overreacted at a child’s mistake – had children who were more prone to becoming over self-critical themselves. They were also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

 “When parents become intrusive in their children’s lives, it may signal to the children that what they do is never good enough,” said study leader Ryan Hong, an assistant professor in the NSU’s department of psychology, reports

The study was carried out in schools in Singapore where high academic performance is expected from children as also in other Asian countries such as China and Hong Kong.

In the study 263 children were asked to complete assignments involving puzzle-solving with help from their parent within a particular time limit. If a parent used intrusive parenting they were more likely to interfere or take control of the child’s puzzle. The test was carried out each year and the parenting and effects on the child over time were assessed.

Around 60% of the children developed a high level of self-critical tendencies and 78% showed alarming amounts of perfectionism after the five-year study. It was also noted that 59% of the children developed these traits around the same time in the study.

 “Our findings indicate that in a society that emphasizes academic excellence, which is the situation in Singapore, parents may set unrealistically high expectations on their children. Children should be given a conducive environment to learn, and part of the learning process involves making mistakes and learning from them. When parents become intrusive, they may take away such a learning environment,” said Hong.

Other studies have found the opposite effect for supportive parenting with children developing more positive life outcomes including increased happiness levels, higher incomes and better performances as an adult.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality.