A new study suggests that depression and anxiety symptoms in school-aged children halve when parenting styles match the child's personality.
But mismatches led to twice as many depression and anxiety symptoms, the research said.
"This study moves away from the one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, and gives specific advice to parents on how to mitigate their child's anxiety and depression," said Cara Kiff, lead author and psychology resident at the UW School of Medicine.
"We hear a lot about over-involved parents, like 'tiger moms' and 'helicopter parents'," said co-author Liliana Lengua, a UW psychology professor.
"It is parents' instinct to help and support their children in some way, but it's not always clear how to intervene in the best way. This research shows that parenting is a balance between stepping in and stepping out with guidance, support and structure based on cues from kids."
Lengua said the study shows how parents can use their child's personality and temperament to decide how much and what type of help to give.
For some kids, particularly those who have trouble regulating their emotions, more help is good.
But for kids who have pretty good self-control, too much parental control can lead to more anxiety and depression.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.