London - Today's teenagers are often accused of being overly sensitive "snowflakes".
But mollycoddling from parents may be partly to blame, say researchers. Youngsters who have just flown the nest are far more likely to find life stressful if they have "helicopter" mothers and fathers, according to a study.
Those who said they had over-involved parents were more worried about the move into higher education, the survey of 335 students aged 16 to 22 found.
They also reported far greater anxiety over issues such as workload, money and self-image. The worriers often said they had "overprotective" parents who "babied" them, while the more optimistic said they had been allowed to make more of their own decisions when growing up.
The team at the University of Mississippi suggested controlling parents may leave children without some of the coping skills they need for adulthood.
Co-author Dr Carrie Smith said: "I think what this means for parents is understanding that their relationships with their children are important even when those children are leaving home. Over-involvement is associated with negative outcomes, but parenting that is autonomy-supportive, with kids feeling their parents support their choices, is associated with positive outcomes."
The study, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, found children of controlling parents were also more likely to feel guilty about surpassing them if they did well at university.
It concludes that "helicopter parenting" can contribute to "negative psychological outcomes… including increased depression, increased anxiety, reduced self-efficacy, and alienation from peers".Daily Mail