We’ve all met that mom before. You know the one – she plans out her child’s every action, down to what she will eat and who she will hang out with. While done with good intentions, this type of parenting robs children of valuable life lessons they need in order to be successful later in life. If you have ever secretly wondered whether you may be a bit overprotective, here are some signs to look for:
You Are Overly Cautious About Letting Your Child Take Risks
When your child wants to go down the “big boy” slide at the playground, do you tell him it’s too dangerous and point him towards the safer “baby” slide instead? Or when your daughter tells you she wants to try out for choir do you discourage her from doing so because you secretly know she isn’t a very good singer and you don’t want her to get her feelings hurt when she doesn’t make it? Overprotective parents often go to great lengths to protect their child from any type of physical or emotional harm. This is done out of love because they want to make sure their child always feels good, but the result is a child who grows up too scared to ever take risks because his parents have taught him not to. Learning how to deal with the pain of being hurt or disappointed is a life lesson that children learn through experience, so it is important to allow them to navigate through these things on their own.
You Do Everything You Can to Guarantee Your Child’s Success
Not everyone can be the best at everything they do so failure and disappointment are a part of everyday life, but overprotective parents go above and beyond to ensure that their child is always successful. They do such things as fight with school officials and sport coaches about their child’s progress, intervene in their children’s relationships with others, and even do their homework and school projects for them. They mean well, but shielding children from frustration and responsibility robs them of important life lessons they will need for coping later in life and does more harm than good.
You Manage Your Child’s Friendships
If you pick out your child’s friends for him, then you may be an overprotective parent. Overprotective parents tend to micromanage their child’s friendships, choosing who he can and cannot be friends with and dictating what sorts of activities he is allowed to do with his friends. It’s understandable to be concerned when your child takes up a less than desirable acquaintance but understanding the importance of choosing friends wisely is a lesson that children need to learn to figure out on their own. Learning this lesson through experience will help them make good decisions about their friends down the road, when you are no longer there to do it for them.
You Are in Constant Contact With Your Child’s School
If you have your child’s school principal on speed dial, then that’s not a good sign. Overprotective parents often spend a lot of time communicating with their child’s school, creating a big deal over even the smallest offense. If you are the parent that demands a retest for the test your child got a “C” on because it will ruin his GPA and you are willing to take it all the way to the school board to make sure it happens, then consider yourself overprotective.
You Solve All of Your Child’s Problems For Him
Seriously, all of his problems. If he conveniently forgets that he has a project due tomorrow, you stay up until 2 a.m. doing it for him. If he gets in trouble at school, you cover for him with his Dad so he won’t get grounded. If he is assigned chores to do at home but doesn’t do them, then you just do them for him. After all, kids will be kids. The problem with this parenting strategy is that the child isn’t being held responsible for his actions. Ever. And a child that is never held responsible for anything will never be responsible for anything, at least in his mind. Raising a child this way shields him from the reality of life, and when he gets out in the real world he is going to be faced with a lot of difficult situations that he has no idea how to handle, and won’t understand why anyone expects him to be held accountable for his actions.
We all love our children, and watching them stumble their way through life making decisions that you know are going to end badly for them and choosing friends that you know are going to hurt them in the end is hard. But allowing them to navigate their way through those experiences on their own is also healthy for them and they grow up to be a stronger person because of them. Love your children, always be there for them, and be supportive of them … but let them make their own mistakes and create their own path. They will be better off for it in the end.