Intrusive parents lead to overly self-critical children

Family|June 21st 2016

Intrusive parents are more likely to raise overly self-critical children, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) also found that such children were more likely to develop anxiety or depression.

The university’s psychology department conducted a five year study of children from ten different primary schools throughout the city-state. In the first year, parental intrusiveness was assessed. The seven year-old children were given a puzzle to solve within a certain time limit and the parents were told they could help when they believed it was necessary. The object of this was to see if the parents would get involved, regardless of their child’s ability level. Those who did were labelled ‘intrusive parents’.

During the next four years, the researchers conducted assessments of each child using reports from the parents and from the children themselves.

Unsurprisingly, the NUS team found that children whose parents were labelled intrusive were more likely to form the impression that what they did simply was not good enough.

Assistant professor Ryan Hong, the study’s lead author, said that this meant these children can “become afraid of making the slightest mistake and will blame himself or herself for not being ‘perfect’”.

Singapore has “a society that emphasises academic excellence” Hong explained, which can lead parents to place “unrealistically high expectations” on their children. Not only can “a sizeable segment of children … become fearful of making mistakes”, they can become “disinclined to admit failures and inadequacies”. These children are less likely to seek help when they really need it, he said.

Children should have “a conducive environment to learn” and part of this process “always involves making mistakes and learning from them”, Hong said. When parents start to intrude, they can “take away this conducive learning environment”.

Earlier this year, child development support group the Early Intervention Foundation published research which suggested that parents who frequently argue with each other can also have negative effects on their children’s lives and development.

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  1. Vincent McGovern says:

    100 per cent agree. I also believe that over intrusive parents quite often have either a personality disorder or undiagnosed condition. Brilliant excuse to disguise such on the pretext of helping children. I also believe that this type of parent is the one who causes most of the problems in family courts.

  2. Andy says:

    I have had experience of this..
    Ex father in law FXXKIN Twat caused all the issues for years..
    He thought he was the king pin of the family and no one was able to do anything if you didn’t consult the idiot.
    His interference in the divorce procedures cost me and the letters received and documentation was all written by him instead of his solicitor who quite frankly should of got a medal as I heard via my solicitor the even he had had enough of the idiot.My example is still on going with 2years since starting the divorce and no conclusive end to this.
    His daughter (hopefully soon to be my ex) as an outsider could never break free from his narcissist ways and she supported his belief. It was very clear to see and any one who gets involved as a new partner with my ex will soon find out…I was not so lucky,but in the future I will only have a memory of what happened then instead of still in that situation now.

    I have two daughters who live with the ex but his influence on them and like minded mother will erode any individuality they may have and this is what the scary part of this is all about…Good thing I was never a yes person but had my own opinion and he did not like that…
    So to sum it up it is very real but like a disease it creeps on you until such actions are witnessed and reactions are seen in the way either your partner acts and actions.

    The comments are your just like your mother or father are very true it does carry some truth that’s why if you look at your mother in law you will see your wife and so on…
    It is very frightening.

  3. JamesB says:

    We need to support young people and give them more independence away from manipulation and abuse as there is too much of that about. Que the Village people, Y.M.C.A. etc. Serious post.

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