Parents who attempt to micro-manage every aspect of their kids’ activity and push their children to excel in studies and games, may find their children are prone to becoming highly self-critical or anxious and depressed.
When parents become intrusive in their children's lives, it may signal to the children that what they do is never good enough, said researchers behind a five-year study in Singapore.
The study found that children, whose parents acted intrusively — had high expectations of academic performance or overreacted when the child made a mistake — were at increased risk of being overly critical of themselves. The researchers also found that children who were highly self-critical had higher levels of anxiety or depression symptoms, although the study did not prove that parental pressure caused anxiety or depression.
As a result of having ‘hovering’ parents, children could become afraid of making the slightest mistake and will blame themselves for not being ‘perfect’. The researchers say that over time, such behavior, known as maladaptive perfectionism, may be detrimental to the child's well-being as it increases the risk of the child developing symptoms of depression, anxiety and even suicide in very serious cases.
The researchers said their findings indicated that in a society that emphasizes academic excellence, which is the situation in Singapore, parents may set unrealistically high expectations on their children. They added that children should be given a favorable environment to learn, and part of learning always involves making mistakes and learning from them. When parents become intrusive, they may take away this beneficial learning environment to the detriment of the child’s development.