New Parenting Styles: Experts

Pros and Cons of Parenting Styles

Linda Murray, editor-in-chief of BabyCenter.com, and Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, join Dr. Phil, and he asks them for the pros and cons of being a helicopter and over-protective parent. 

"The helicopter parents, if you go to the absolute opposite extreme to life, what you've done is you're overprotecting to the point where you're in danger of, most importantly, robbing this kid of learning how to bounce back, be resilient and self-direct on his own," Michele says. "You're trying to raise that child to become an adult, and if you're always stepping in, that child becomes, really, kind of dependent." She adds that many kids nowadays are ill-prepared to handle life when they grow up. "The number one point where our kids are most likely to drop out, be depressed or suicidal is freshman year, end of the first semester of college. We've never seen it at that level, but if a child has coping skills before they leave home, that risk factor dramatically drops."

Linda adds, "The helicopter moms, their kids are probably safer. They are keeping a tight eye on them. They're also involved in their kids' lives. They know who their friends are, they know what's going on, their kids come to them when they have issues." She says that there is a downside for kids of parents who hover. "They don't learn how to make their own mistakes and learn from them. They don't get that sense of self-esteem from conquering things on their own."

[AD]Linda says there are positives and negatives to free-range parents as well. "The pro side is that the kids grow up making their own decisions, learning from their mistakes," she says. "The downside is those kids, in my neighborhood, get hurt more, and you sometimes don't always know what's going on in their lives. I think that if you go too far in that extreme, your kids may not feel that they can come to you when they have a problem."

"My experience has been that the most dysfunctional kids come from the extremes of parenting," Dr. Phil says.