We’ve seen it happen in movies and cringe at the thought of being a controlling parent. But could you be doing it yourself? Being protective of your child is great as you’re making sure they’re getting the attention and direction they need to flourish in life. As we know though, too much of anything can be bad. In reality, parents can’t fully protect their kids 100% of the time from having bad experiences, making mistakes, or even failing.
Being overprotective of your child has the following downsides:
#1 Your child can’t practice autonomy in life
If you’re literally always there for your child, waiting to rescue them, chances are they will expect the same throughout their life. Even as they grow old, supposedly practicing autonomy in their own life, they will most probably rely on you to make big decisions or supply what they need. Providing for your child is necessary but allow them some space to do things on their own and face the consequences of those actions. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be raising a spoilt brat.
#2 They won’t know what to do in times of trouble
Protecting them all the time will make them feel as though they can’t be in trouble. And while they ought not to be, they should at least be able to hold themselves together in such challenging times. If they’re used to having someone else stand up for them when they’re stuck in a situation they’re supposed to solve alone, they will most likely lie or do anything just to get out of it—not actually solving the problem nor owning up to their shortcomings. That leaves no room for growth. Being used to having someone save them when things go wrong prevents the development of a sense of responsibility.
#3 They won’t be willing to take risks
When your child is used to having someone beside them as a safety net, taking risks on their own may just be too scary. They may try to avoid engaging with activities or making decisions with a higher possibility of failure.
#4 Or they may resort to dangerous behaviours
Kids who grow old being looked after by their parents all the time also have the tendency to rebel, especially if they feel like their freedom is at stake. Unlike those who feel scared to take risks, these kids will resort to dangerous behaviours that will make them feel free like drugs, alcohol, or too much partying. This is to show their parents that they can push boundaries without their parents’ control.
#5 You’re hindering them from having a sense of self
Sense of accountability, self-determination—these are crucial for a person to be able to understand their true self. If your child fails to exercise any or all of these because they feel someone is breathing down their necks all the time, they might have a hard time hearing their own inner voice and discovering who they really are. As they grow older and start to create their own path in life, they could get confused on deciding what they really want to do or who they’re supposed to spend time with. They may grow to be resentful of you when they should be seeking your guidance.
#6 They have a skewed view of the real world
Overprotective parents shield their kids from the real world, in some ways. When it comes to your child’s social life, you have to have a say. Same goes when they’re about to decide which interest they want to pursue: you meddle in their affairs to make sure they’re safe and doing the right thing. However, these prevent your child from developing life skills that will help them adapt to the world—the real, big, scary world out there—along with the people around them.