Overbearing “helicopter parents” who micromanage kids’ play can end up stunting their little ones’ emotional well-being, according to a new international study. Researchers in the U.S. and Switzerland observed more than 400 2-year-olds as they played and tidied up with their mothers, and then tracked those kids over the next eight years. Toddlers who were told what toy to play with or how to play with it by their moms were less able to regulate their emotions and impulses at 5 years old. By age 10, these kids were more likely than children without helicopter parents to be struggling academically and showing a poorer attitude at school. When a parent over-interferes and doesn’t let his or her child “experience a range of emotions and practice managing them, the child loses out on an important learning opportunity,” lead researcher Nicole Perry tells The Times(U.K.). Researchers suggest that hovering parents give their toddlers space to play independently and only intervene when a task becomes unmanageable.

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