​Are You an Overprotective Parent? 4 Ways to Let Go & Let Your Child Grow by Christine Kyriakakos Martin

2 years ago
​Are You an Overprotective Parent? 4 Ways to Let Go & Let Your Child Grow

Good parents want to be involved in their children’s lives, but for years educators and psychologists have been asking the question: How much parental involvement is too much? When does trying to help your children in school, sports and myriad other ways go too far, hurt their development and become over-protective?

Remember the explosive college admissions scandal in 2019 involving Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin? While most parents don’t cross that legal line, too much parental involvement can be harmful in a variety of ways, sometimes leading to children becoming ill-prepared for the challenges of adulthood. The consequences of being an overprotective parent is that your child will lack self-confidence to make decisions and take risks. They’ll lack the coping skills to get up when they fall down from a bad experience and try again.

Here are four ways for parents to stop being overprotective and promote more strength and independence in their children:

  • Stop teaching fear. While there are non-negotiables when it comes to teaching your child safety – for example, wearing a helmet when biking, no talking to strangers, no texting when driving – sometimes parents overprotect when they create too many boundaries, which in turn may teach children to live fearfully. When you don’t allow them to play outside much, you’re impeding their freedom. Play develops the imagination and self-confidence. Overprotective parents don’t want their children to fall down, and getting back up and brushing themselves off is a necessary component for healthy growth and development.
  • Don’t be their full-time problem-solver. Many parents want to take care of all of their children's problems and make things easier for them. At some point that needs to stop, because adult life is rife with adversity and unforeseen obstacles that we must learn to deal with independently. Teaching children problem-solving skills encourages them to be independent. Learning to resolve conflict on their own and work through problems builds resilience and teaches them how to handle adversity.
  • Teach responsibility. If you make their beds and clean their room, you’re doing them a great disservice. It’s about learning early lessons in responsibility. Doing these things for a prolonged time can debilitate your child and set them up for a lack of life skills as adults. Let your child take on reasonable responsibilities and let them feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Let them branch out. Sometimes parents develop a comfort zone with their child’s pursuits and restrict them when the child wants to expand. Let your child have some freedom to make some of their own decisions about their interests. Interests change, and the more varied experiences they have, the better for their ability to make decisions and adapt to different situations.

Parents are right to protect their children in a dangerous world, but having them grow up in a bubble hurts them and their ability to deal with the world as adults. The best thing you can do for your children is to find that balance between protecting them and teaching them to be strong and self-sufficient.

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Kids definitely need to learn to solve their own problems. We create more issues for them by micro managing! 😞
Mike Prochaska
Let them have wings and fly! I sad by kids are flying because they don’t need me as much but it so fun to watch them fly
Elisa Schmitz, 30Seconds
YES to all of this! Kids need to take responsibility for their own actions; their successes and failures. It's all part of learning to be a competent adult. Thank you for this wonderful post, Christine Kyriakakos Martin . Hope to learn more from you!
Dawn Taylor
Love this. Great advice. When our family was going through trauma I did tend to over-parent as I was in protective mode but soon I saw their strength and loosened the reigns.

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