Why Overprotective Parents Need to Take The Chill Pill
Parents care about their children infinitely.
Only someone who has a child will understand the amount of worry that can enter a parent’s mind. Although this worry is understandable, being a parent isn’t easy; it means you have to willingly accept that worry sometimes in order to let your child grow and be themselves.
An overprotective parent has trouble doing this, but what they don’t realize is that they are accomplishing the opposite of their goal in the long run.
Luckily, I grew up with parents who understood that I needed to get out of the house, play in the woods behind outside the bounds of our property, run around with other kids in the neighborhood, and yes, sometimes get in trouble. These are all things that help a child grow up into a functional, socially intelligent adult.
Parents who keep their children in the house all the time for their “own good,” actually keep them from developing skills they desperately need for the future.
Experts like Lenore Skenazy, author of the book Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children Without Going Nuts With Worry, understand why children need their space better than anyone else. She also wrote an article for the New York Sun after letting her nine-year-old child ride the New York Subway by himself. She was wrongfully dubbed the worst parent in the world, and she has her reasons for letting her son do things on his own.
Skenazy believes that what you do as a parent is reflected in your child’s personality, attitude, and the way he or she perceives everyday situations. For example, if you’re afraid of everything you child may or may not do when you aren’t watching them, they’ll approach everything with that same fear as well. This can influence the way they make friends, tackle simple tasks like riding a bike without training wheels, and even working in school. You have to let your kids work through things on their own if you want them to learn.
This doesn’t mean you should throw all caution to the wind;
it simply means that you don’t need to go through security detail every time your child leaves the house. If your kid wants to go out in the driveway and ride their bike, trust them to put their helmet on themselves. Of course, this is after you’ve explained the necessity for such a safety measure, you just don’t need to explain it every time or put the helmet on them yourself.
Allowing your children or child to do some things on their own builds confidence,
most importantly. This, in turn, builds self-esteem, which is obviously valuable all throughout a person’s life. You simply can’t achieve your goals in life if you approach every situation with too much caution. Life can mean taking risks, the trick is to know when to take them and when to hold back. It’s up to you as a parent to teach your children what risks are worth taking.
Experience teaches everything, but your child will never obtain the experience he or she needs if you’re constantly doing things for them, or if you’re keeping them in a metaphorical bubble. Protect your children by letting them, and your worry, go.