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Am I an overprotective parent? Have you asked yourself that question, fearing what the answer will be? If you have, chances are you might be one. While being overprotective does reflect your love, it can also have the opposite effect of what you intend.
Overprotective parents sometimes think they’re doing their children a favour by rearing them with a firm hand and a protective shield. The truth, however, is that this can have unhealthy consequences. The damage caused by overprotective parenting can be far-reaching if not realised soon enough!
Signs of Overprotective Parents: Are You Guilty?
1. You Guard Them Against Life’s Situations
Children who constantly live under their parent’s shield can never learn to face life’s challenges. They’re so used to mum and dad taking care of everything for them that they always look to their parents for answers. Parents, meanwhile, fail to realise that they’re not going to be by their children’s side forever. If you’re guilty of this, know that you’re only inhibiting your children’s ability to handle situations on their own.
2. You Make Their Decisions for Them
If parents constantly make decisions for their children, they’ll grow up too afraid to take risks when faced with any career or life-changing decision, and will lack essential life skills. If you want to have a say in everything that they do, they will never learn to find their own voice. Worse still, they’ll never be allowed an opinion on anything that really matters. They get so used to living in a safe corner that coming out of it is hard to do. As a result, low confidence and lack of self-esteem take hold, which doesn’t stand them in good stead in real-life situations.
3. You Create Too Many “Safe Zones”
Children need to go out into the world and live life a little. They need to make friends, take part in activities and even find love on their own to experience the true meaning of life. While parents do mean well by trying to create safe zones for their children, the effect overprotective parenting has is almost always the opposite. More likely, you’re just preventing them from leading happy and healthy lives in the long run.
4. You Shield Them from Harsh Realities
If you protect your children from the harsh realities of life, they won’t be emotionally capable of handling rejection or failure. A small word of discouragement from a colleague or superior could reduce them to size and plunge them into depression. When you help them develop a thicker skin, they’ll be able to work through disappointments more easily. Being emotionally strong will help them take on the world without being buried by the weight of expectation.
5. You Choose Their Friends
There’s a huge difference between knowing your child’s friends and choosing them yourself. It is not a parent’s job to choose who their child wants to be friends with. Even if you feel a friend is a bad influence, instead of telling your child to drop the friendship, first get to know them better. Then, if your opinion still doesn’t change, talk to your child and make them understand why they should distance themselves from that friend. Forcing your child to cut ties without giving any reason will only irritate and enrage them. Worse, just to rebel against you, they might even get closer to that friend – without you having any idea!
6. You Ask Too Many Questions
Yes, you should have a basic idea of what your kid does on a day to day basis. After all, an involved parent is a smart parent. But it’s a problem if you insist on knowing every little detail about their lives.Not only will your child resent you for it, they will get the feeling that you don’t trust them.
7. You Don’t Respect Their Privacy
You don’t like it when your kid keeps secrets from you, such as a locked drawer, or even something as simple as shutting the door to their room. Privacy is a human need, not a privilege. And just like every human, your child will have certain thoughts and feelings they will not want to share with anyone, not even you.
8. You Don’t Let Your Child Fail
Whether big or small, failure is painful. However, it is something all of us must face at some point in our lives. Shielding your child from failure is only going to ensure that they will not be able to deal with it when they grow up. For example, consider that your child has to submit a project tomorrow, and they haven’t bothered to even start on it. Instead of helping them or doing it for them, just remind them and walk away. If they still don’t do it, let them face the consequences. Rest assured, the next time they will be more responsible.
9. You Take Care of All Their Problems
It is one thing to help your kids and another thing to solve their problems. For instance, if your kid is struggling with a maths sum, let them try to figure out the answer instead of instantly showing them how to solve it. Kids feel a sense of accomplishment after they solve a problem all by themself. Problem solving also helps instil confidence and self-reliance for later life.
10. You Want to Accompany Them Everywhere
Do you always want to accompany your child each time he or she leaves home? If leaving your kids in the company of family members and other trusted adults does not make you feel comfortable, you are an overprotective parent. Even though we live in a dangerous world, you should refrain from doing this as you are only making your kid dependent on you.
If you’ve answered yes to most of the points above, it’s time to rethink your parenting logic. After all, you don’t want to inadvertently end up driving a wedge between yourself and your children, do you?
Discipline is important but there should be room for them to grow. Now that you know what an overprotective parent is and how that can hamper children’s development, you can make changes to the way you raise your darlings.