A new study from the National University of Singapore found that children of parents who interfered with or took over their performance of a task were more likely to be anxious or depressed.
Researchers set up a puzzle for children and one of their parents to solve together. Participants' puzzle solving was observed when the children were seven years old and again once a year for four years after.
Parents' behavior was recorded as "intrusive" if they told their child how to solve the puzzle or began solving it for them. Their children were more likely than others to display behaviors indicating self-criticism and perfectionism. Children with high self-criticism levels were in turn more likely to manifest anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Lead researcher Ryan Hong posits that, "When parents become intrusive in their children's lives, it may signal to the children that what they do is never good enough." He says intrusive parenting may also interfere with education because "part of learning always involves making mistakes and learning from them." Children who are not allowed to make mistakes are never allowed to learn in that way, either.