Can “Overparenting” Lead Kids to Abuse Study Drugs?

Parenting is complicated and challenging. It’s hard to know how much to push and how much to pull back.

We all only want what’s best for our child. But in the high-pressure atmosphere of high school and college, many of us get a little too involved in our teenager’s life and “overparent.”

We’ve all heard of “helicopter” parents — but what does that really mean? How do we, as parents, stay involved in our son or daughter’s life but ensure that they’ll grow up to be independent? It’s an “elaborate system of pulling back, of giving support but also allowing your kids to make a mistake,” says Matthew Zito, a former high school principal. If you step in and manage everything in your teen’s life, how will they receive any other message except, “I can’t do this by myself?”

Watch this video featuring extended interviews from our film BREAKING POINTS, and hear educators and healthcare professionals talk about the dangers of “overparenting” and how it can potentially lead to the abuse of prescription stimulants:

To learn more about the negative effects of stress on students today, and the ways that many of them are coping by abusing stimulants, watch the trailer for our film BREAKING POINTS >>

The experience of trying, failing and trying again builds grit, which is essential for instilling resilience in young adults. Resilience leads to good mental health, and good mental health reduces the risk of drug use — not to mention allows kids to cope with the ups and downs that life will throw at them.

How do you foster independence in your child? How have you let your son or daughter fail? Share your experiences in the comments below. 

matthew zito

"Parents want to make sure their kids have lots of options, but they're doing that at the expense of having their kids learn to be independent."

Matthew Zito, Former High School Principal