Parents are often overprotective of their children. This can be a good thing. After all, we want to protect our kids from harm. But there’s a point where the level of protection becomes unhealthy, and it starts to interfere with normal childhood activities.
Overprotective parents are a breed in and of themselves. They do their best to shelter their children from the world, but sometimes that can backfire on them. In this article, we’ll explore what overprotective parents are and how they can learn to relax a little bit.
What Are Overprotective Parents?
Overprotective parents are a particular type of parent that goes overboard when it comes to the safety and security of their children. While the actions taken out of concern are admirable, they can end up harming the child in the long run if taken to extreme limits.
Such parents are hyper-vigilant about their children’s safety and health. They’re always concerned about their kids’ physical well-being, but they also tend to be overconcerned about how their children behave and interact with others.
Why Do Parents Become Overprotective?
A parent’s job is to protect their children from harm. However, some parents take this too far and become overprotective of their children. There are many reasons why parents become overprotective of their children, including:
- Fear of losing a child in a tragic accident or death;
- Fear that the world is a dangerous place;
- Fear that their children will be bullied or teased;
- Fear that their children will get into trouble; and
- Fear that their children will do something wrong or illegal.
Overprotective parents may also be motivated by guilt or shame, which can cause them to overcompensate by trying to control everything their child does. These parents may feel like they’re protecting their children from something terrible that could happen if they weren’t around to keep an eye on them 100% of the time.
Signs of Overprotective Parents
There is a fine line between being an overprotective parent and being paranoid. You don’t want to be the parent who never lets your child go anywhere or have fun, but you also don’t want to be the parent who doesn’t let your children enjoy life because of your fears.
If you’re worried that your overprotective tendencies are getting out of hand, some signs might help you identify them. Here are a few:
- You’re always worried about what could happen to your children, even if there’s no evidence it will.
- You tend to jump to conclusions about what could happen and what did happen with little evidence.
- You think every minor injury is a major one.
- You’re more concerned about possible risks than encouraging independence in your children.
- You’re constantly worried about your child’s safety.
- You hover while they do things like ride bikes or play sports.
- You don’t allow them to go anywhere without you or another adult present.
- You don’t let them make their own decisions about things like curfew and dating.
- You feel guilty letting your child spend time with friends or relatives who don’t live under your roof.
What Are the Effects of Overprotective Parents on Their Children?
Overprotective parents can stunt their children’s growth, preventing them from developing the skills they need to succeed as adults: This can lead to several negative consequences, including:
- Loss of independence and self-confidence.
Children overprotected by their parents will have a more challenging time learning how to make decisions and solve problems on their own as they grow older. This is because they don’t have much experience making decisions independently or dealing with problems without help from others.
- Lack of self-motivation.
Children who aren’t allowed to take risks or fail may not develop an internal sense of motivation that helps them take the initiative when there’s no one around to tell them what to do or how to do it. This can make it more difficult for them later in life when they need to work independently to be successful in school and at work.
- Poor decision-making skills.
Overprotected children don’t get enough practice making decisions independently, so they may rely too heavily on other people’s opinions when making important choices about their lives later in life — such as whom to marry or what career path to follow (or not).
What Causes a Parent to Be Overprotective?
In some cases, overprotective parenting may react to being raised by a parent who is not very involved in the child’s life. The parent may have been absent due to substance abuse or mental health issues or because they could not care for themselves or their children due to physical or emotional problems. This can make them hyper-vigilant about their children’s safety, leading to an overbearing parenting style.
Another cause of overprotective parenting is the desire for control. Parents who have difficulty setting limits on their children may need to step in and make decisions to keep them safe — even if it goes against what the child wants or needs. Other parents may be trying to protect their children from a history of abuse or other trauma, and they want to ensure that their kids never experience anything like that.
Moreover, people may be overly protective because they have experienced loss in their lives or know someone who has died suddenly or unexpectedly. This can make them more aware of the fragility of life and our mortality, leading them to worry more when their children are involved in risky activities such as sports or driving cars.
Is Being an Overprotective Parent Good?
The answer is both yes and no.
Yes, because you want to protect your child from any harm or danger that may come their way. You want to keep them safe from anything that might hurt them or cause them problems.
No, because you also need to let them learn how to handle things independently and make mistakes along the way. They need to learn how to cope with problems on their own. If they don’t have this experience, they will never be able to handle difficult situations when they grow up and have children.
How to Not Be an Overprotective Parent?
There’s a fine line between being overprotective and not being overprotective enough. You want to protect your children from harm, but you also want them to grow up with a healthy sense of independence and confidence.
Here are some tips on how to avoid being too protective and what to do if you find yourself slipping into the habit of being overprotective, and how to strike the right balance:
- Understand Why You’re Overprotective
The first step in avoiding overprotecting your child is to understand why you feel the need to do so. It could be because you want to keep them safe from the outside world or because you’re struggling with your issues and need someone else to take care of them. Understanding why you’re doing something will help you stop doing it.
- Set Clear Boundaries.
Kids need boundaries to know what’s expected of them when it’s time for bed, when to eat dinner or leave the park. This helps them feel safe and in control and teaches them that there are consequences for their actions.
- Let Them Make Mistakes.
Children must learn that failure is sometimes okay — and even good for them. It helps them learn how to deal with challenges and how they can overcome them in the future. It also helps build confidence by showing them that they can solve problems if they put their minds to it. So don’t jump in every time your child gets frustrated or makes a mistake; instead, let them try again on their own until they succeed (or fail).
- Encourage Independence Early on.
Kids thrive on independence, but it isn’t always easy for parents who want their children close by 24/7! That said, encouraging independence as early as possible will help build self-confidence.
- Don’t Hover Over Every Decision.
Being too close to your kids can create a dependency on you, which means they won’t learn how to solve their problems or develop independence. Tell them you’re always there if they need help but should try before calling for help.
The issue of overprotective parents is still up for debate. Some will claim that they’re doing their children a favor, while others will say that this masks their fears and doesn’t help their kids in the long term. Still, there’s no doubt that an overprotective parent can do some severe damage. If you’re concerned about your methods as a parent, or if you suspect someone else is going too far, it might be worth seeking professional advice.
- Clarke, K., Cooper, P., & Creswell, C. (2013). The parental overprotection scale: Associations with child and parental anxiety. Journal of Affective Disorders, 151(2), 618–624. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2013.07.007