About this sample
About this sample
Words: 854 |
5 min read
Published: Dec 16, 2021
Words: 854|Pages: 2|5 min read
Rousseau and Scharf (2018) conducted an interdependence study of parental prevention/promotion focus and interpersonal/self-regret, looking specifically at why mothers and fathers use helicopter parenting and how parental characteristics can predict future helicopter parenting. This is an interesting and important topic, as it shines light on which parental characteristics predict helicopter parenting, a step further in helping researchers understand the psychology of familial relationships.
In line with the Regulatory Focus Theory, which focuses on prevention focus (using strategies to avoid loss) and promotion focus (increasing gains and accomplishments without considering losses), this study aimed to investigate how parental prevention/promotion focus and regret concurrently influence helicopter parenting
The authors’ sample consisted of 96 families of Jewish Israeli (individualistic cultural context) and Arab Israeli (collectivistic cultural context) nationality. The results were gathered using the principles of actor-partner interdependence model (APIM), which measured the influence of prevention/promotion focus and regret on helicopter parenting.
Respondents rated the intensity of their current regret on a Likert-type scale based on six of the most frequently regretted life domains; education, career, parenting, family, friends, and self. Prevention/promotion focus were measured by the Regulatory Focus Questionnaire, where participants provided their view based on the 11 items presented to them.
After collating the data, the authors discovered that, in agreement with their hypothesis, parents with higher levels of prevention focus were positively affiliated with helicopter parenting, in an effort to prevent their children from making mistakes. On the other hand, promotion focus was the only characteristic measured that wasn’t directly associated with helicopter parenting. This may be due to the fact that as a result of in comparison to positive emotions (related to promotion focus), negative emotions (related to prevention focus) have been found to having a more profound influence on behaviour more strongly than positive emotions (related to promotion focus), as they signal danger and threat; emotions that naturally stimulate survival instincts. In line with hypothesis two, the authors found that higher levels of interpersonal regret (regret that involves others as the main actors) is associated with reduced levels of paternal helicopter parenting. Meanwhile, mothers’ inclination towards being the kin keepers may explain concern for the wellbeing of others, even if they are aware of their own potential past mistakes. Maternal interpersonal regret, maternal prevention focus, and maternal promotion focus were (indirectly) associated with paternal helicopter parenting. These results can be explained as a result of spillover effects, where the emotions of one individual can influence the emotions of those around them. In this case, fathers who are engaged with negative mothers may purposefully change their behaviour to atone for their partner’s negativity. These partner effects were only found for fathers, suggesting that only mothers influence their partners involvement in the family, rather than the other way around.
In this study, culture and gender were controlled for, however did not significantly change the results, and therefore weren’t adopted into the final model.
This paper was extremely informative, further contributing to our understanding of helicopter parenting based on past literature. The study revealed that the maternal and paternal characteristics are directly associated with helicopter parenting. Parental prevention and promotion focus should be taken into account when discussing helicopter parenting, as past literature has suggested that cultural pressure to helicopter parent has increased exceptionally in recent years. This research can help parents identify their personal difficulties, find ways to ease them, which could consequently prevent spillover effects of parents’ problems to their partner, and reduce the harmful effects of helicopter parenting.
Nevertheless, there was clearly room for improvement in the ways the study was conducted. Most importantly, the small sample size and high standard error led to reduced statistical power. Additionally, the specific characteristics of the sample should be taken into account. The study predominantly consisted of participants from an Arab-Israeli middle-class socioeconomic background. Exploring the same hypotheses with families from a low socioeconomic background may have provided different results. For example, past literature on the topic has associated low socioeconomic background with lower levels of helicopter parenting, due to limited financial resources and less societal pressure to engage in helicopter parenting. Additionally, the sample only consisted of Israeli families, thus making it difficult to generalise to families in other sociocultural contexts.
Future research can focus on refining the conditions under which helicopter parenting occurs, and the characteristics that shape the tendency to helicopter parent. Future studies should also investigate the possibility that increased problems in young adults can foster parental use of helicopter parenting.
In summation, Rousseau and Scharf (2018) investigated why mothers and fathers use helicopter parenting, and the parental characteristics (prevention/promotion focus, interpersonal/self regret) which coincide to predict this parenting style. I have learned that there are many factors and experiences which can determine a parents characteristics, and thus the parenting styles they choose to engage in with their children. Helicopter parenting has been conveyed as detrimental for a young adult child’s adjustment, in particular leading to anxiety, depression, stress, reduced general well being, and lower self-efficacy. It is therefore pivotal that parents understand the implications of using inappropriate forms of involvement, control and problem solving in their offsprings life, even though their intentions may be pure.
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