PhotoYou know what helicopter parenting is -- it's when parents hovers over their children. It hasn't had the most favorable reviews. Parenting critics have claimed it is an enabling style of parenting that doesn't let children feel consequences or learn by their own decisions.

Helicopter parents now have a place where they can engage in that style of parenting and not feel the wrath of criticism. Some experts think that it might be very beneficial if the child that you’re parenting has four legs. Rejoice overprotective parents -- a new study says this style of parenting could be what's right for your pet.

UC Berkeley and California State University, East Bay did a survey and assessed nurturing styles of over 1,000 people who had to pick if they were dog lovers, cat lovers, both or neither.

The study was published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science and the researchers discovered that the more neurotic the study participants were, the more they gave attention and affection to their animals, and that’s not such a bad thing.

"The fact that higher levels of neuroticism are associated with affection and anxious attachment suggests that people who score higher on that dimension may have high levels of affection and dependence on their pets, which may be a good thing for pets," says co-author Mikel Delgado, a doctoral candidate in psychology at UC Berkeley.

Other studies

There have been other studies that have looked at how people are attached to their pets, but this is the first one in the U.S. that focuses on the human attachment theory, which looks at the bond between parents and children or between partners who have a romantic relationship and categorizes pet owners' personality types -- you know, dog person or cat person.

The survey was done via an online questionnaire and it was based on human as well as animal attachment assessments including five human characteristics --   openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

Pet owners were also rated according to the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale, which measures affection for pets, and the Pet Attachment Questionnaire, which gauges “anxious attachment” and “avoidant attachment.”

The conclusion is that people who had a higher score of anxious attachment tend to need more reassurance from their love interest. They tended to fall into the younger category and said cats were their pets of choice.

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