Micromanaging Parents Do More Harm Than Good

Written by: Britan Dietsch and Brooklyn Fondaw

As students enter high school, the expectations placed on them are significantly raised. This is in an attempt to prepare them for situations in the ‘real world’, which they will be entering as adults in just a couple of years. However, there has been a rise in recent years of parents who continue to manage their children’s lives as they become young adults: contacting teachers on their behalf, demanding answers for any assignment not yet put in the gradebook, managing their schedules, etc. There is significant evidence indicating that this type of micromanagement on a high school student’s life will end up doing them more harm than good in the long term.

A study conducted in 2010 by psychology professor Neil Montgomery on 300 college freshmen showed that their parents’ micromanagement led to them being more close-minded, vulnerable, stressed and self-conscious than their peers who had been given an appropriate level of space. It is very unlikely that this overcontrol began for these students when they entered college—it accumulated over the years, including in high school.

Parents who perform too many tasks on behalf of their student prevent them from developing important real-world skills. Students who don’t get the experience of managing their own schedules, advocating for themselves and accepting the consequences of their mistakes are more likely to suffer when someday their parents aren’t around to manage them.

While some level of management and involvement in a child’s life is important even as they get older, parents may need to step back sometimes and wonder, “Am I doing too much for my teenage student? Are they capable of forming this skill on their own?” Doing so will ensure that their student enters real-world situations, such as college and the workforce, adequately prepared, and likely thankful to their parents for allowing them to develop the skills they need.