One of the biggest parenting flaws is trying to keep your kids sheltered. Overprotective parenting is, in a nutshell, understandable. We want the best for our kids and we want them to understand that certain things in life are really bad. We want them to follow a set of morals and stick to them, but we know that things in life don’t always go as planned.
In fact, the more we shelter our kids from the dangers in the life, the more curious they’ll be to explore it for themselves. Children are, after all, explorative types. They love to try different things, they love to put things in their mouth and they love to ask questions. The more you hide the answers from them, the more you put them at risk in the future.
We would go as far to say that overprotective parenting can actually stop your child from coping with real-world difficulties. Things can come as a shock to your kids when they grow older, and children with overprotective parents won’t be able to deal adequately with challenges in the future. Whether it be frustrations, anger or even a tolerance for certain things, they’ll struggle if they’re not exposed to it.
In other words, life is difficult and can be challenging, which is why you need to stop sheltering your kids. In this article, we’ll be giving you some advice on what overprotective parenting is and also explain a couple of practical ways to help you overcome those habits.
Signs of Overprotective Parenting
Here are a couple of common signs of overprotective parenting:
- You’re taking your kids to school every day, even when they’re in their teenage years.
- You always need to supervise and micromanage what they do.
- You never let your kids take responsibility.
- You spend far too much time catering to their needs.
- You control who they can and cannot make friends with.
- You’re far too cautious with everything they do.
- You’re making your children dependent on you.
If you experience any of these signs, then it’s a clear indication that you’re being far too overprotective.
Practical Ways to Teach Your Kids About Life
Of course, it’s understandable to experience some of these when your kids are still young, but it’s also important to teach them more about the world and how to cope for themselves. Here are some practical solutions to help teach your kids about life.
- Teach them about things they’re curious about – For instance, if your kids are coming to that age where they’re thinking about going out with friends and drinking, then you might want to look at drinking games for 2 to help them find how much alcohol they can tolerate and when they should stop, instead of their first experience being filled with chants and screams to drink more from their peers.
- Let your kids have some freedom – Let your kids be free. Let them go to school on their own if they’re confident, let them dress themselves and let them pick and choose what they want to eat.
- Say no to your kids – Don’t give your kids everything in the world. Let them realize that sometimes, they’re going to have to cope with being told “no”.
- Let your kids understand danger – There’s a unique TED talk from Gever Tulley that explains five dangerous things you should let your kids do. It sounds ludicrous if you’re a parent, but the idea is to introduce dangers in their life so they understand how to control them and avoid them in the future. Of course, you should always supervise your kids if you take this approach, but it’s a unique perspective that can help you become less of an overprotective parent.
- Let them find their identity – One of the worst things you can do as a parent is to give your kids no freedom in finding their own identity. Whether it’s with the type of clothes they enjoy, the friends they make or even their favourite type of music, don’t funnel your kids to enjoy the things that you tell them to. Let them find their own interests and create their own social identity.
If you’ve realized that you’re being an overprotective parent, then it might be a good idea to rethink how you approach your parenting and give your kids more room to breathe. If you’re constantly sheltering them, they’ll eventually get fed up and they won’t understand half of the things in life that they’re expected to understand when they’re older.