Wanting to help your kids out in life is one thing, but sometimes being an overprotective parent is actually a bad thing. I get it, you don’t want your child to fail and you want them to be happy and healthy. I am not here to bash you, but to help you balance being an overprotective parent while still giving your child some freedom.
How do I know if I am an overprotective parent?
As parents, we all have some qualities that may make us overprotective, but some are more protective than others. There are several ways to tell if you are just a normal concerned parent or an overprotective parent.
- You try to solve all your child’s problems. Overprotective parents don’t want their children to fail, so if an issue arises, you solve it before the child has a chance to fail.
- You have frequent or constant contact with your child’s school and teachers. Instead of try to teach your child how to deal with issues on their own, you resort to calling the teachers or principal first thing. There are some issues that you may need to call the school, but if you find yourself calling the school almost daily, you may be a little overprotective.
- You do everything to make sure your child is a success. Children learn a lot from making mistakes, but if you find yourself doing homework or sneaking doing something, you might want to consider the possibility that you are an overprotective parent.
- You manage your child’s friendships. Sometimes you find yourself trying to keep your child away from a certain group of children, but children need to learn that not all people are genuine and it is better for them to learn this while they are in school instead of when they are out in the real world.
- You want to know everything that is going on with your child. Children need to be able to have privacy, and parents who want to know everything about their child’s life, no matter how old they are, are invading this privacy.
- You don’t make your child do chores. An overprotective parenting style results in parents catering to their children and not requiring much of them, meaning the child grows up without much responsibility.
- You discourage your child from taking any risks. Overprotective parents want to protect their child from any form of pain, physical, mental, or emotional and will do anything they can to make sure they don’t have to deal with this pain. Sometimes they will go so far as to discourage their child from taking risks and steer them towards the “safe” route.
- You fail to teach your child about the real world. The real world is a scary and mean place, so to protect their child from this, an overprotective parent will not teach their child about the real world and what can and most likely will happen.
I think I am an overprotective parent, is that bad?
Being an overprotective parent is not all bad. Trust me, I understand because I wanted to save my child from everything, but then I learned that letting your child fail is a good thing. I learned this the hard way though.
It started when my daughter was learning to walk. I didn’t want her to fall, so I would hold her hand. I found that even though I knew she could walk on her own, she wouldn’t walk without holding my hand. I had to learn to let go and if she fell, just help her back up. This may seem like something small, but this progressed as time went on. She learned how to run on her own. She even learned how to do a front flip with a little help, encouragement and some failure, at just 20 months old, with no formal classes.
I think there is a balance between being an overprotective parent and a “free-range” parent.
How do I achieve that balance?
Achieving a balance is easier than you think. You just have to find small ways to change how involved you are in your child’s life. Just a few examples of what you can do:
- Check your child’s homework, but tell them what they go wrong and make them fix it. If they need help, help them and explain it.
- Let your child fail once in awhile, it is good for them.
- Give your child some responsibility. Give them a chore, even something small such as sweeping the floor.
- Give your child some independence. Let them play in their room by themselves for a while or outside within earshot, but without you watching everything they are doing.
Taking even a few small steps to give your child the confidence to try new things and help you realize that even if your child fails it is OK!
Do you think you are an overprotective parent?