Child and Adolescent Development
Topic : Child Development : Helicopter parenting
Assessment : Policy Brief . 1500 words . APA format.
The following excerpt is taken from the sleeve cover of a book titled “A nation of
wimps: The high cost of invasive parenting” (2008) by Hara Marano. The topic,
‘helicopter parenting’ is the subject of this major assignment.
It used to be that after school kids would play in the street until their mothers hailed
them for supper, and unless a child was called into the principal’s office, parents and
teachers met only at organized conferences. Nowadays, parents are involved in every
aspect of their children’s lives—even going so far as using technology to monitor
what their kids eat for lunch at school and accompanying their grown children on job
interviews. What is going on? Hothouse parenting has hit the mainstream—with
disastrous effects. Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the lumps and bumps
out of life for their children, but the net effect of parental hyper-concern and scrutiny
is to make kids more fragile. When the real world isn’t the discomfort-free zone kids
are accustomed to, they break down in myriad ways. Why is it that those who want
only the best for their kids wind up bringing out the worst in them? There is a mental
health crisis on college campuses these days, with alarming numbers of students who
are engaging in self-destructive behaviors like binge drinking and cutting or who are
disconnecting through depression. A nation of wimps is the first book to connect the
dots between over-parenting and the social crisis of the young. Psychology expert
Hara Marano reveals how parental over-involvement hinders a child’s development
socially, emotionally, and neurologically. Children become over-reactive to stress
because they were never free to discover what makes them happy in the first place.
Through countless hours of painstaking research and interviews, Marano focuses on
the genesis of this crisis and then turns to what we can do about it in this thoughtprovoking
and groundbreaking book.
The topic of this assignment is ‘over parenting’ and the effect that this can have on
the experiences and development of children and young adults. Children’s
development occurs as a complex interaction between genes and experience. Through
maturation, new abilities become available.
The potential for development of these new abilities (that is, the potential range of
mastery) is influenced by
(i) a child’s genetic makeup whereby skills can develop up to a ‘genetic
ceiling’ ( Katie L)
(ii) the type and extent of experiences that children have access to, that help
children develop their skills to their potential limit. Given the importance
of providing children with a broad range of experiences as they develop,
many professionals and researchers, interested in child development, are
concerned by the growing trend in ‘helicopter parenting’.
‘Helicopter parents’ are parents who are overly involved in their children’s lives and
who often insulate children from negative experiences. For example, helicopter
parents will fight their children’s battles, solve their problems, ensure that their
children always ‘win’, encourage their children to blame others for problems, and set
unrealistic expectations for their children by telling them things like “you can be
anything they want to be” or “you can do anything you want if you try hard enough”.
By insulating children from negative experiences, helicopter parents provide a
restricted environment for children, adolescents, and young adults, with few
opportunities to explore and experience ‘the real world’, or develop autonomy or
coping mechanisms. As a result, many aspects of children/adolescents’ psychological
well-being can be affected.
There is a great deal of information on the web about ‘helicopter parenting’. In order
to orient you to the area we have provided links to some of these below – most of the
articles below are presented in a magazine format and are interesting and entertaining
but are probably not good sources of evidence for your assignment. These links are
provided to prompt your thinking about the problem (there is no need to view/read
them all). You are expected to find your own sources of quality evidence to inform
your policy brief.
• Helicopter parents (2 1⁄2 minute video)
• Helicopter parenting hurts kids
• Time Magazine: Can these parents be saved? (Please note the only way we can get
access to this article without you having to subscribe to TIME Magazine is
through ResearchGate. You might need to create an account in ResearchGate
to get access to the article which can only be viewed online (and not
• The Child Trap
• Baby boomers ruin parenting forever
• Here comes the chopper
• Submission details
1. Submission Word Document with Portfolio Presentation
2. Please label your final file: Major Policy Brief.
3. Policy Brief: Please summarize the effects of perfectionism and the factors that help
create a state of perfectionism in some adolescents and young adults. You will
then make recommendations about what can be done to address this issue.
This assignment will take the form of a Policy Brief. A Policy Brief draws on
current research and international best practice and aims to:
ü Stimulate informed debate about a particular issue/problem,
ü Convince readers of the urgency of the issue/problem, and
ü Convince readers of the need to take action based on recommendations
Your policy brief will be assessed on how well it satisfies these three criteria.
An example of a Policy Brief (You can use the example Policy Brief as a guide when
writing your own. The structure of a Policy Brief is essentially to:
. a) Outline a problem,
. b) Provide empirical evidence about a problem, and
. c) Set out a number of recommendations that can help address the problem.
The assignment will be written in APA format.
The following sections should be included in your Policy Brief in the order
presented below: POLICY BRIEF
Title of your brief
Executive Summary (10%): The executive summary is the opening paragraph that
highlights the purpose and importance of your brief. You should provide an overview
of the issues to be covered in your brief, and the implications of these issues (you will
be shown how and where to find this information in your library database tutorial).
There is no ‘heading’ for the Executive Summary. This section is a little like an
Abstract in an essay or lab report.
Statement of issue: At the end of your executive summary, provide a statement of the
issue/problem being addressed in your policy brief. The statement comes immediately
after the executive summary, is brief (i.e., one or two sentences only) and is not
labelled with a title.
The body of the brief is then set out in four sections, each of which is headed with the
titles provided (see bolded and underlined headings below).
Why is this issue important? (15%) – The aim of this section is to alert the reader to
the seriousness of the problem and the potential implications of the problem. It is
intended to orient the reader rather than provide detailed information (the information
you provide here will be unpacked in detail in the following section, with appropriate
references). This section is a little like a brief Introduction section of an essay in
which you outline the main points to be covered in the body of the essay (in this case,
‘the body’ is the section titled ‘What does the research tell us?).
In this section, you:
1. Provide an overview of the developmental outcomes associated with over-parenting
(this will be unpacked in the next section).
2. Provide an overall explanation of how over-parenting might restrict the experiences
of children, and negatively impact children’s development (this will be
unpacked in the next section).
What does the research tell us? (50%)
This is the section of your policy brief that will receive the most scrutiny and attract
the most marks. In this section you will unpack the general statements made in the
previous section, (ensuring you reference your sources of information. Please do not
use secondary sources – you are expected to find the original sources of
information in this assignment). If you want to show changing trends over time, you
would need to find older sources of information and compare the data with more
recent sources (so in this case older sources of information would be necessary).
Otherwise you should try to restrict your sources to those that were published in
the last 10 years. This brief differs from the skeleton brief in that you have the
chance to explain the evidence (rather than simply list factors), so this section is like a
combination of all three sections of the Skeleton Policy Brief (impact,risk factors and
conceptualisation/linking/explanation). Higher marks are generally achieved through
better explanations of the research. Try to answer the following questions in this
1. What is the urgency of the problem? Provide evidence and explanation about the
importance and prevalence of this issue, and the developmental impact it has
on children/adolescents/young adults. In order to create a sense of urgency in
your reader, it is ideal that you provide some evidence about the prevalence
and impact of helicopter parenting (i.e., This is a big problem because it (i)
affects LOTS of people, and (ii) it has BAD consequences…)
i. Try to provide some evidence about prevalence. If you cannot find
information about prevalence (this can be difficult), provide evidence
that there is growing concern or that the issue is becoming more
prominent. You can do this by looking at evidence used by other
researchers (i.e., how to others demonstrate that helicopter parenting is
becoming more common?) or by demonstrating public concern (the
existence of media reports and blogs are evidence of public concern.
Note that the ‘evidence’ in these sources is not good quality and should
not be used, but the fact that the reports and blogs exist is evidence that
there is public concern over the issue).
ii. Identify the range of undesirable psychological and academic outcomes
associated with the issue.
2. How is the issue (i.e., helicopter parenting) related to the undesirable
psychological and academic outcomes? Provide evidence and explanation to
explain how helicopter parenting is linked to the undesirable outcomes.
3. Who is at risk of helicopter parenting? Provide evidence and explanation about
factors that might influence parents to engage in over-parenting of their
children. These risk factors are potentially modifiable and so could be
addressed in interventions to reduce the incidence of helicopter parenting.
These factors will therefore be the focus of your recommendations.
Note, the purpose of this section is to link the problem to causes; the causes can then
be considered in relation to possible solutions. So the purpose of this section of your
Policy Brief is to justify your recommendations. Please note that this section requires
you to provide:
i. EVIDENCE (i.e., empirical evidence which includes providing details of your
sources of evidence – no evidence/references = no marks), and
ii. EXPLANATION. It is not enough to provide a list of evidence; you must use the
evidence to link outcomes to helicopter parenting, and helicopter parenting
with modifiable risk factors in parents/society
– over parenting / parenting style / impact on health , children , young adult
/ age / race / marital status. (Kelly O)
– causes of over parenting / socio economic status / culture / parent
– recommendation for each parenting style
What are the implications of the research? (10%)
In this section you will summarise the research findings and the implications of overparenting
with a clear focus on the risk factors. This helps orient the reader to focus
on the modifiable factors that could be targeted for intervention, and anticipate the
nature of the recommendations that you will make to address the problem in the next
section. This section will be brief but powerful.
Considerations for policy (15%)
In this section you will provide recommendations for policy and research that could
help us address problems associated with helicopter parenting. Aim to provide a
minimum of two recommendations. These can relate to changes in parenting
education, support etc., and future research in this area, but the recommendations
must be justified, explained, and able to be implemented. It is not enough to
recommend that ‘parents should be educated’. In order to be useful, your
recommendation needs to include ways of achieving this goal. If you want to suggest
parenting classes, you will need to (a) have shown previously that parents currently
lack this skill/knowledge, and (b) explain what parents should be taught, who should
be targeted, and how they can participate. Please note that we have allocated 15% of
the marks to this section. This means that we consider this section to be very
important. Your recommendations need to be thoughtful, practical, and justified,
given the evidence you have provided in your brief.
An approximate guide to word length for each section/subsection:
• An executive summary (at the very beginning – under your policy brief title) – 10%
of overall length
• Statement of the issue/problem being addressed (immediately after executive
statement – not labelled with a title) – one or two sentences only
• Subsections with headings:
• Why is this issue important? – 15% of overall length
• What does the research tell us? – 50% of overall length
• What are the implications of the research? – 10% of overall length
• Considerations for policy – 15% of overall length
• Avoid using any direct quotations (that is, express your points in your own
words). Quoting the words of others is not appropriate at this level of study.
When your marker reads a quote they think “This student does not understand
this point so has had to copy and paste it” and this is usually the case.
• Inappropriate use of quotes
– (i) interrupts the flow of ideas and writing,
– (ii) is often unintelligible because the importance of the quoted words are
usually not explained and the point is -not linked to the argument, and so
– (iii) significantly decreases the strength of the argument and the credibility
of the writer. Most quotes are used because the student is unable to paraphrase
and synthesise and your markers are aware of this. Our very strong
recommendation to you is not to use any quotes.
• Remember that an argument is a conclusion that is supported by evidence. Your
Policy Brief will have an overall argument, supported by smaller arguments, or
points, that build to your recommendations. Each minor argument, or point, will
be supported by evidence (references) and sound logical reasoning.
• Make sure that you acknowledge your sources of evidence. Acknowledging
your sources is very important because it increases your credibility as a writer
as you demonstrate that you are familiar with the related theories and/or
empirical evidence and understand the issue. Acknowledging your sources is
also important because it provides an opportunity for your reader to verify the
evidence you have provided, and this demonstrates your confidence in your
interpretation of the evidence. Providing the sources allows the reader to
evaluate the quality of the evidence you have selected, and therefore, the
strength of your claim. But most importantly, acknowledging your sources
acknowledges the ideas and contributions of researchers and writers who have
provided the evidence you cite. If you fail to cite your sources, your evidence
will be discounted (and therefore the section will attract no marks), and you risk
being charged with stealing the ideas of others – this is plagiarism and taken
very seriously )
4. Do not use your own opinion, personal anecdotes or emotive language. Do
not use newspapers or magazines as knowledgeable sources of evidence of
research because they (i) are secondary sources (i.e., they provide evidence
gained by others and frequently do not provide the sources of their evidence for
scrutiny), and (ii) have an agenda (so are often biased). Cite peer-reviewed
references (in academic journals) or references from reputable government
websites. When providing evidence about public concern, newspapers etc., can
When submitting the Policy Brief you will need to include:
v The Policy Brief submitted as a Portfolio Presentation – with
section/subsections as outlined above.
v References – at the end, and on a separate page, list all references you cite in
the Policy Brief, using APA format.
v A copy of your Policy Brief as a Word Document ,the word count is 1500
words. The word count includes all words from the beginning of the Policy
Brief (excluding the title) to the end of the considerations for policy section.
Included in the word count are all in-text citations.
v How many recommendations should I present in the “considerations for policy”
section? No less than two recommendations should be presented and the upper
limit is up to your discretion based on the research you have reviewed and the
word limit of the overall Policy Brief and the subsection on “considerations for
policy”. It is better to come up with fewer recommendations that are innovative
and well explained than to provide an extensive list of recommendations that are
not explained well.
v How old should my references be? It is best to search for articles/references
over the last decade from say, the year 2000 onwards. You need to be citing the
most contemporary research so your Policy Brief is informed by the latest
v Can I cite secondary sources? Please do not cite secondary sources. We would
prefer that you did not cite textbooks or references from articles you have read
because these are secondary sources and not ideal at the tertiary level. Please
source and cite the original article. You will be completing a library skills
training session as a part of your seminar sequence which will assist you in your
literature search for the assessment.
v How many references should I cite? A minimum of 5 references and up to 20
references would seem reasonable. Essentially you need as many sources as is
necessary to support the claims that you make. A better-informed document will
be more persuasive and so will probably receive more marks.
v What is the assessment guide for this assignment? Uploaded separately you
will find the assessment guide that is very similar to the rubric provided for the
Child and Adolescent Development