Parenting is becoming more like a circus trick – parents are overloaded with so much information that they are unable to balance themselves on the tight rope of parenting ! One wrong step and you will fall 10 feet down! Why do parents overprotect their children, has anybody wondered why?Parents who overprotect their children are not monsters or aliens or controlling freaks! After all, only parents (not psychologists, Doctors or experts) would understand their children! I can think of few reasons why parents become so protective of their children.
Every day in the news, we hear of the various studies conducted by psychologist or experts or Doctors, what is the affect of so-and-so on the child. However, well-intentioned they are, they are always aimed at scaring parents. Doomed if you do it, doomed if you don’t! For example for years, parents were told that too much screen time is not good for children, and now few weeks ago, we all read or heard that the “experts” don’t think that screen time actually effects children negatively! There are so many contradictory reports, it is quite confusing which way should parents go!
Barely the baby has been born and the parents are told, “do this, then this will happen”, if you don’t do this your child won’t do this” , “you didn’t listen to me, so now your child isn’t normal”. Again, well-intentioned society of grandparents, uncles aunties, doctors,nurses etc. People don’t need to be perfect to be parents!
Parents also tend to become overprotective when they hear or read of incidents and accidents of other children. It is natural for parents to tell their children – who their best friends should be, where they should go with their friends etc.
Mothers are naturally overprotective
Mothers always tend to be more protective towards their children then fathers. It is the mother’s instinct to always protect her children.
Fear of Social Services
In this day and age where there so many laws and rules to protect children, Parents often fear the social services taking their child away from them. One example that I can cite here is that some parents believe in spanking there children in order to discipline them, but they fear social services knowing about it and therefore are unable to discipline their children. I do not advocate spanking children – please refer to my post on spanking children here.
If parents are unable to discipline their children they become spoilt – they will not understand the difference between right or wrong. Each parent has their own way of disciplining their children- this right is not being respected due to various child abuse incidents.
What is over protection?
I feel over protection is an objective term. It depends on the child or the circumstances. What is over protection for one child would not be over protection for the other ! Parents are in the best place to decide whether it is over protection or not.
Do you feel you are overprotecting your child?
If the answer is yes, then I would like to share some secrets with you on how to stop yourself from being overprotective,
Striking a balance
Whenever your child asks your permission to do things – don’t always say no. Give them a bit of freedom,depending on their age and ability, to explore things in their life. Don’t always stop them or scare them from exploring. If your 2 year old wants to run in the park, let them run even if there is a risk of them falling down and getting hurt. On the other hand, you cannot allow your child to run on the streets!
Trust your instincts
Your instinct will always guide you – what you are doing is correct or not. You understand your child better than anyone. You know what your child is capable of. Few times, I have had the instinct that something is not right and BAM, my child has been injured, luckily not seriously !
If something doesn’t feel right to you, then don’t let your child do it. Even if it is at the risk of getting yourself labelled as an overprotective parent .
It is very important for every human being to have faith in something or somebody. Have faith that God or universe or angels are always looking after your child. They will protect your child from anything bad or unpleasant.
Trust your child
You have to have faith in your parenting skills. You have already taught your child that he/she needs to wrap up in the cold weather otherwise they might fall sick. Now, have the faith that they will do so in the school when they are playing in the playground. Don’t worry unnecessarily at home or at work if they have done so or not. Trust your child to follow your advice. Even if they do not and fall sick, they will learn from that experience .
Give them some space
As children start growing up, give them some space. Mothers should especially do his. If you spend every waking moment with your child- you will start becoming more and more overprotective towards your child! Let the father of the child take them out without you for a couple of hours even though you(Mother) are the one who primarily looks after the child.
Overprotectiveness can have negative effects too
Remember that if you are protecting your child from every bad thing possible, it can have a lot of negative effects on the child like:
- Child won’t be able to solve smallest issues on her/his own
- Child might have problems in her/his relationships
- Child might be low in self-confidence as she/he has very rarely learnt from her/his own mistakes
- Child won’t think much of herself/himself so would be low in self-esteem too
All the above will affect his/her adult life too.
Parents have to decide what constitutes over protection for their children and what doesn’t depending on the age and ability of the child. I believe following your instinct is the best way to avoid over protection. Do you overprotect your children? Have you got any tips or suggestions to prevent overprotecting children? Please share via comment box below.