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'Benign Neglect' Is a Parenting Style That Makes Children More Confident, Experts Say — Here's How to Do It Right When practiced effectively, "benign neglect" can foster happiness and independence, paving the path for a child's long-term success.

By Amanda Breen Edited by Jessica Thomas

Key Takeaways

  • Over-controlling parenting styles, often labeled as "helicopter parenting," can hinder a child's ability to handle challenges and thrive in adulthood.
  • "Benign neglect" promotes independence and confidence in children, preparing them for professional and personal relationships.

Many people are familiar with the term "helicopter parenting," where parents become over-involved with their children's lives in an attempt to ensure their safety and success. However, over-controlling parents might be doing their kids more harm than good, depriving them of the ability to navigate challenges and professional environments as they enter adulthood, according to research from the American Psychological Association.

So, what's the alternative for parents who want to set children up for the best possible outcome? Enter "benign neglect" — a parenting style that nurtures independence in children. It's essentially "the opposite of 'helicopter parenting,'" as the "hands-off approach" gives kids "the space to identify, leverage and gain confidence in their strengths," Gigi Schweikert, who has more than 30 years of experience in early childhood education and is CEO of Lightbridge Academy, tells Entrepreneur.

Related: 4 Signs That Your Workplace Millennials Are Turning You Into a Helicopter Boss

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