Remember when they say that too much of something is bad? That also applies to parenting. In a new university study, over-controlling parents can cause lifelong mental damage of children.
In a study conducted by the University College London, children who had over-controlling moms or dads could experience strains in their personal relationships and difficulty coping with life's struggles later in life. On the other hand, those who had more caring and secured parents have better means of managing personal relationships.
In the study, the team followed over 5,000 men and women who were born in 1946. The participants who came in Wales, Scotland, or England were then assessed of their mental health through a series of questions. He survey was conducted in different ages: adolescence, thirties, forties, and around sixties. At this point in their lives, they may already exhibit recall bias, wherein those who were unhappy would have a higher possibility of saying their parents were controlling.
Participants were also asked to look back on their first 16 years of life and evaluate the kind of relationship they had with their parents around the same time.
They then found out that too much control may prevent the children from forming their own identity or learning from their mistakes. They may feel as if they have been deprived of their privacy because of the intrusion and develop a sense of over-dependence, which means they will have a hard time coping with their own problems when they grow up. In fact, the mental health damage can be severe that it almost feels like going through a grieving process.
Meanwhile, if the parents are more secure and caring, the children are also more likely to develop the same behavior and thus can find contentment and happiness easily in their life.
Both mothers and fathers can have the same impact when children reach the middle age, but as they grow much older, it's the father's parenting style that has the more influence.
The researchers want to make it clear the study is not an attack on parents but rather interventions should be applied on both parents.