It's been more than 30 years since Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford shouted, "No wire hangers!" at her daughter Christina, making "Mommie Dearest" shorthand for an overcontrolling mother.
And now the book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" has replaced that movie as the pop-culture ID for demanding moms. Seems like parents are still trying to find the balance between protecting and smothering their children.
We hear from a lot of young adults and teens who feel they are overcontrolled by "helicopter parents." A new study shows that when teens aren't allowed to take responsibility for everyday decisions or challenging situations, they're more likely to be depressed, to feel incompetent and to abuse prescription pain relievers. It's estimated that 8 percent to 10 percent of college kids take them for nonmedical purposes.
So, how do you keep your almost-adult kids safe without blunting their maturity or happiness?
Express your affection wholeheartedly. That fosters self-confidence and security. Love reduces kids' stress, boosts overall health and gives them confidence to take your advice and find their own way to handle life's challenges. Giving directives without affection can make a child feel that you're trying to control them. They will react negatively. (You'll find more advice in our book "YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens.")
Once you've made your point, back off: Don't be their BFF online. You can monitor younger kids' Internet exchanges, but once they're old enough to vote, you're done with that.
Now, have some fun with all that extra time.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.