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Commentary: Parents need to find balance between support and control

Parental involvement in a teenager’s life plays a key role their high school experience.

To make it, parents can provide the essential support needed to get through things like different relationships or the SATs. To break it, parents may fall into the common trap of being controlling and too involved. This is also known as “helicopter parenting,” which is becoming a bigger issue involving parents and their teenagers in high school today.

One of the most common things teenagers are told in high school is that we are “being prepared for the real world.” Doesn’t this mean that we should be learning to make our own decisions? If a parent becomes too controlling, they take away their teenagers’ ability to use their own judgment. This can be discouraging and lead to anxiety for the student.

The University of Iowa’s “Guidebook on Controlling Parents” says that parents who micromanage their teenagers’ life can cause things such as poor self-esteem, depression and high levels of self-criticism. Although parents may feel like they are trying to help, they are only hurting their child more by calling all of the shots. It can also prevent their ability to establish healthy relationships with others. This seems like a relatively important skill to have in the “real world.”

However, a 2012 University of Texas study found that teens whose parents offered extensive financial and emotional support did better than those whose parents did not. The problem here is trying to find just the right balance between parents paying no attention to their teenager and pummeling them with strict rules. Parents should be able to recognize when they need to support their child and get involved to help them prepare for a life on their own.

But part of this preparation is also knowing when to back off and let their kid make some of their own decisions.

Emily Weber is a junior at Lancaster High School.

If a parent becomes too controlling, they take away their teenagers’ ability to use their own judgment.