Children need to practice decision-making, but overprotected children are never permitted to make their own decisions in life.
As parents, we constantly worry about our children and want to protect them. While worrying is normal, sometimes being overly protective can cause our children more harm than good.
What is overprotective parenting?
Overprotective parents exhibit excessive guarding behaviour compared to their child’s developmental stage and the risk level in their environment. These parents are obsessive with their children’s physical safety, even though they generally live in a safe environment. Protection levels exceed the significantly lower level of actual risk. They are also concerned with safeguarding their children’s emotional health by assisting them in overcoming hurdles and cushioning the blows of daily life.
Why are some parents overprotective?
Parents are protective by nature. Parents adore and care for their children and wish for them to grow up to be healthy, happy, and prosperous. They desire to safeguard their children’s health and happiness by avoiding sicknesses, accidences, and failure. However, when a parent assists excessively, intervenes to save the day whenever something goes wrong or shields the child from the world’s negativity, they become overprotective parents.
What are the causes of excessive parental protectiveness?
- Parents who suffer from anxiety or panic disorder are more likely to engage in excessive parenting.
- Every generation exhibits some degree of overprotection. However, millennials are infamous for having overprotective parents. We live in an age when we are continuously inundated with information. Due to the widespread use of the internet and smartphones these days, parents are subjected to negative news more often than not, fuelling their worry and concern for the safety of their children.
- Parents of children who suffer from chronic sickness or physical disability frequently exhibit excessive protective and controlling behaviour. These parents, particularly moms, believe their children are more vulnerable or prone to harm and require further protection.
- Overprotection can occur in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters, such as the coronavirus pandemic, even more so if a parent develops Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Signs of an overly protective parent
Overprotective parenting manifests itself in a variety of ways. The following are some indicators of overprotective parenting.
- Naturally, no parent wishes to see their children fail. However, overprotective parents are incapable of allowing their children to face failure or disappointment. They swoop in to rescue their children whenever they meet the slightest obstacle.
- They clean their children’s rooms and tidy up after them.
- They pack their child’s school bag each night to ensure that nothing is forgotten.
- They complete their children’s homework or science projects to ensure they receive an A.
- They intervene to save their child from a failing grade or a bruised ego.
- They would go to any length to save their child from failing, including breaking the rules (or laws).
- Overprotective parents are constantly on the lookout for their children’s every move. As a result, they hover and exert control over their children’s behaviour and environment.
- They determine which extracurricular activities their child will participate in.
- They schedule their child’s daily activities and monitor all activities.
- They make all the child’s choices without letting them consider the alternatives for themselves.
- They rarely consider the child’s perspective or preferences.
- Overprotective parents are hypersensitive and frequently exaggerate their responses to everything involving their children.
Effects of overprotective parents
There are numerous reasons why parents should avoid being excessively protective.
- Overprotective parenting can have major psychological consequences. The most significant disadvantage is that it impairs a child’s growth and development into well-adjusted, self-sufficient individuals.
- Children of overly protective parents often suffer from anxiety.
- Children of overly protective parents often lack independent coping skills.
- Children accustomed to their parents making their plans and cleaning up their messes are unprepared to deal with whatever life throws at them. They easily crumble under the weight of minor and significant obstacles alike.
- Overprotectiveness fosters avoidance and prevents children from interacting in social situations, limiting prospects for friendship development and social skill development.
- Apart from having a higher prevalence of anxiety and sadness, overprotected children also have a weaker sense of self-worth and confidence in their capacity to tackle common difficulties.
- Parental overprotection has been linked to narcissism in young adulthood
How to stop over-protecting your child
To develop resilient children, parents must create a secure refuge for their children during times of stress and during times of calm. Establish boundaries while allowing for adaptability. Children can develop into capable, resilient, and socially responsive future generations only when they can interact effectively with the outside world.