Look, there’s nothing wrong with caring for your child and making sure they are safe. In fact, that’s one of a parent’s fundamental responsibilities to guide them and let them experience a fulfilling childhood. It’s only natural that you’d want them far from danger, in a space where they can grow and give them the opportunities to explore.
However, there is a clear distinction between caring for their health and safety and being an overprotective parent, and while it may seem like there’s nothing wrong with taking extra caution, there are more factors at play. Sure, it could appear to be harmless at first, but over time the adverse effects will start to show, and it’ll be the reason behind the stagnation of their growth.
What Signals An “Overprotective” Parent?
Now, don’t get us wrong, you’re in the right for letting them stay inside the house and following social distancing protocols during this pandemic; that’s what all responsible parents should do. An overprotective parent is one that goes through all the extra steps to ensure that absolutely nothing goes wrong in their children’s life, wherein they see the simplest of mistakes as the worst-case scenario. They magnify every little problem and make a big deal about everything, so much so that it’s to the detriment of their child.
- Keeping Them From Harm: Normally, if your kid were to go out and ride their bicycle, you’d tell them to wear a helmet, put on their face mask, and only stay within the neighborhood. However, an overprotective parent would make them wear every bit of protection, watch their every single move, or outright stop them from riding a bike because of the potential danger. Here, we can see the difference in “keeping them from harm.” A typical parent would make sensible choices, while an overprotective parent would take everything to the extreme.
- Avoiding Failure: Another iffy situation that overprotective parents let their kids go through is the concept of “failure,” and because they’re afraid of failure hurting them, they go to every extreme possible to protect them. From an academic perspective, overprotective parents are more likely to enroll their kids into extensive tutoring, taking away any semblance of free time.
Why is Overprotective Moms Bad?
It all boils down to how overprotectiveness will affect their growth and development as a person. And, instead of giving them full freedom to experience everything life has to offer, they are shut-in and closed-off by everything you fear. Of course, some of those fears are for a good reason, but anything taken to the extreme is never healthy.
#1 Prevents Personal Growth
Number one, it will prevent any form of personal growth. A child that is coddled far too much during their early years and well into their formative teens will struggle to build their personality and find their identity. Overprotectiveness can lead to making them feel hollow and that their lives are solely decided by you.
- Children Learn From Mistakes: We all learn from our mistakes, and no matter how old we get, we’re always learning something new every day through experience. However, one of the most important lessons learned is from the mistakes and realizations we make at an early age, which is why overprotectiveness is not ideal. You’re essentially closing off your child’s source of wisdom and character, leaving them ill-equipped in the future. Sure, you could still develop their hard skills, but their soft-skills will suffer in the process.
- Frail and Dependent Personality: Overprotection leads to dependency, and instead of growing into a fully-aware, competent, and independent adult, they will instead develop a frail and dependent personality. Due to them growing up with the idea that their parents will always be there to cover for them, they won’t know how to respond when you’re unable to provide help. They will latch onto others and have trouble making decisions for themselves.
#2 Resentment and Bitterness
Number two, overprotective parenting could lead to resentment and bitterness. Yes, every child will go through a rebellious stage, and most kids will exhibit episodes of disobeying and deviating from your rules. However, the effects are more severe and apparent in kids who’ve been coddled too much, who tend to blame their parents for being overprotective as to why they experience problems in life.
- Low Self-Esteem: As a result of overprotection, your child will struggle to find something that is representative of their efforts, hard work, and something they can call their own. This causes low self-esteem and makes them feel helpless as if they were incapable of doing things by themselves and achieving goals. Of course, while we all go through experiences of being nervous and unsure, the level at which overprotective mothers causes leads to the destruction of self-confidence.
- Prone to Anxiety and Depression: When self-doubt lingers, and self-esteem is low, this increases their risk of anxiety and depression. And, because kids raised with overprotective parenting want to feel even the slightest bit of being independent, they’d think keeping these negative emotions to themselves and working them out on their own is the “right” thing to do. Needless to say, their resentment and bitterness is often a front for a more profound pain and suffering.
#3 Hinders Success in Life
Lastly, overprotective parenting considerably hinders the chances of success in their life. Yes, they can rise to the occasion and become successful in their own light, but they’re more likely to struggle where others don’t find it challenging. That’s because overprotection prevents someone from breaking out of their shell, stepping out of their comfort zone, and embracing the real world. There’s nothing wrong with teaching them bit by bit, but restricting everything can be a heavy burden to carry later on in life.
- Avoids Risk: We understand the significance of being a risk-taker and having an appropriate risk appetite to get somewhere in life. You can’t expect to make changes without tradeoffs and sacrifices because there’s always an underlying opportunity cost behind every significant decision. However, overprotection develops constant risk aversion, and they’ll be quick to avoid something before weighing the value of taking that risk.
- Lack of Discipline: Again, due to their over-reliance and dependence throughout their early years, overprotection tends to develop a lack of discipline. And because they’re unable to build self-discipline fully, when the going gets tough and knocks them down, it can be more challenging for them to get back up by themselves. Sure, this isn’t true in all cases. Some people can exhibit mental toughness regardless of their parenting technique, but we often see the latter wherein self-discipline is underdeveloped.
How Do You Change?
If you’re serious about changing and moving away from overprotective parenting, there are only two things you need to do; (1) be honest and (2) have faith and trust in your kids. Yes, you will have your doubts, and it’s perfectly normal to experience them, but don’t let them get the better of you. Acknowledge them but work through them. Soon enough, your kids will be more responsible, and you can tell them as well.
Secondly, you just have to trust them, they are your kids after all, and you know them better than anyone else. So, don’t be quick to judge that they’ll be unable to solve it their way, and redirect your focus on things you enjoy, like trying new cake recipes or reading a book.
Let Them Experience Life
There’s nothing wrong with protecting and caring for your child. You’re a parent, after all. However, learn to set your boundaries and don’t get too carried away. You’re children deserve to experience life, and you shouldn’t take that away from them.