We have all been there: we begin to notice our child's development and wonder if we contributed to some of their habits and rituals. Whether "good" or "bad," we generally often analyze our parenting style and techniques. Are we being too pushy? Are we Helicopter Parents or are we too relaxed?
No matter what "type" of parent you may be (or perhaps are becoming), there are some solid signs to see if you're an over-protective one. It's natural to want to protect our young; however, it can cause ill effects in their growing minds. Often, we can even project our insecurities. Read below as we've collected 10 signs to tell if you're an over-protective parent. Recognizing is the first step, so there's always time to improve your parenting game.
Irritability comes with the territory when raising children. No matter the age, children are deciphering which emotions to express and how to express them appropriately. The older the child becomes the more often they will want to rebel against your orders and guidance. The more they resist, the bigger the sign is that you're overbearing and may want to either loosen up or back off just a tad. As long as your child is an honest and kind individual, they will want their independence. Their mood may lighten the more love and trust they're given.
Age permitting, take in how their close friends are acting when they come over. If you notice they're distant, they may be intimidated. Or, perhaps they have heard what it's "really like" around the house. Your parenting style is surely going to be discussed between close friends. No topic is off limits when it comes to children and adolescence individuals. What their friends express through language and body language can tell more than you expect. If you notice a difference, have an open conversation with your child. Remember: communication is key. No matter the age of your children.
If you notice that you tend to make your child's decisions for them more often than you would like, you may want to step back a tad. Children like to be independent. It's important to instill a sense of independence at a young age. Use your judgment when it comes to certain activities. But, it's important to trust your child with specific tasks and independent thought.
Children are far more creative and independent than some parents believe. Often, parents make decisions based on what they believe to be "best" for their children. If this is a habit you're guilty of participating in, check yourself before you make another decision for your child. No matter the age.
Anxiety is a part of life, no doubt. However, it's important to notice if your child's worries become overwhelming or frequent. If so, you may want to reevaluate how you parent your child/children. It may not be because of you; however, when parents become over-protective they often instill a constant worry in their children. The child may often feel unsafe or insecure. This (we hope) is not our goal as parents. We want to comfort them but allow them to understand not everything in life is easy nor pleasant. That's the reality. So, if you notice their concerns spiraling out of control, practice another parenting method.
Of course we want our children to feel safe around us to come to when they're frightened, or have questions or concerns. But, if they tend to gravitate towards you with every little issue, they need to learn how to tackle problems independently (issue permitting).
If you notice your child is coming to you more than often, you may be over-protective on some level. They need their parent for guidance. But, they should be able to solve some problems on their own- age depending.
The more over-protective the parent is (or is becoming), the more often the child may not feel comfortable in social setting. If your child is showing some signs of insecurity or clingy-ness when out and about, you may want to see how they perceive the world. Do they feel safe? Are you encouraging independence? Being an over-protective parent may not be the answer to this dilemma, of course. But, this is a quality that many children who have over-protective parents maintain.
As a parent, it is important to watch over our children. We want to ensure they're growing up well, with the most love, care, and affection that an individual can experience. In order to grow into a productive and kind member of society, it is our responsibility to guide them the best we can. But, when we bombard them with our emotions and energy, they do not have the ability to gain their own.
It's important to feel. Every individual deserves the ability to hold space for their emotions. If you, the parent, are having a hard time allowing your child to mentally and emotionally develop on their own terms, you may be too over-protective. We must let go and allow them to discover the world, age permitting.
We are not talking about religious views, cultural differences and specific morals and values you want to instill in your child and/or children that you believe in strongly. But, if there are certain activities you refuse to allow your child to partake in because of paranoia, you may be over-protective.
Of course, there are many things in this day and age that are highly inappropriate for children to enjoy. However, if there is something that you may be the only one not allowing your child in their age group do, think more about it. Is this something that could be allowed if you trust your child? Is this something that may benefit them more than hurt them? If so, you may want to reevaluate your choices.
Baby-see baby-do. And, baby grows into the adult that was conditioned a certain way. Have you ever heard yourself say, "Wow, I am my mother/father/parent!" Well, the apple often does not fall far from the tree. Especially when it comes to parenting styles. When we are young, we take in so much information at a very rapid rate. We often parent the same way we were parenting. Not always, of course. But very often.
So, if your parents were over-bearing or over-protective, you may naturally have the tendency to follow suit. Now, we're not saying this is always the case. But, you may pick up some similar parenting techniques that your parents did when you were growing up.
Again, anxiety is a part of life. It's often more a part of parenting. Parenting brings along an immense amount of responsibility that truly no one is ready for until it comes crashing into your life. We're being honest, here. So, keep track of your feelings and emotions, too. The more anxious we become, the more we often feel the need to control. We can not control another individual, including our children. It's incredibly difficult to accept that fact, especially when your toddler refuses to eat the second dinner you prepared since they refused to eat the first. But, if you are an incredibly anxious parent you may come across as over-protective.
Hold space for your feelings. And, if you notice your mental health making you more unhappy than happy in your day-to-day life, seek help. There are a lot of people in your position. You are not alone. And, you will survive this.