Every parent wants the best for their children. However, sometimes you make the mistake of overprotecting them. How does being overprotective affect children’s development? Here are three ideas that can help you avoid it.
Can you think, for a moment, of the first time you held your child in your arms? An event like that marks the beginning of new stages for each parent, as well as the acquisition of new responsibilities. Although it is essential to worry about what children learn, feel and how they develop at each stage, it is important not to fall into the danger of overprotection, because it prevents the development of children.
Protection vs. overprotection
First of all, it is essential to understand the difference between protection and over protection. According to the Royal Spanish Academy, the first definition of the term “protect” is “protect, favor, defend”. It is a human attribute that we develop as parents. For example, when we see that our children are heading into a dangerous area or that they are at risk of physical, psychological or emotional harm, we want to do everything in our power to help them avoid that. However, at the same time, we can fall into the error of about protecting them , which does not allow them to grow and develop skills that would prepare them for life.
The prefix “over” indicates that something is overdone. So how do we understand what this means for our children? Below I describe some of the main ways that overprotection prevents its development. This information can be useful to you to reflect on the parental decisions you make, and how you can focus your actions towards their full growth as individuals.
It deprives them of the opportunity to make decisions
If you are a parent who takes responsibility for every consequence that could happen to your child from being alone or in a certain situation, you could be overprotective. In temporal matters, which do not indicate deep physical, moral and emotional risks, we must allow our children to experience what happens when they decide to do the opposite of what has been asked. For example, if you’ve repeatedly warned your toddler to be careful and hold your hand when descending the steps or else he might fall, and he doesn’t, then you should let him see what happens. If he is a teenager and you have already imposed consequences for being irresponsible in studies, for example, you must be consistent with those consequences and allow him to learn from these lessons. Sometimes we make the mistake of justifying these actions by taking all the blame, when in reality we need to let them experience the immediate consequences. Do not forget that it is important that they reflect on the fact, and explain why there are rules and precautions that they must observe.
It affects the concept they have of themselves
A person’s self-esteem is essential, and in order to motivate your child to develop personal worth, you must protect him rather than overprotect him. This means that you may avoid making comments that make him feel overwhelmed by the impoverished decisions he has made. When your child has done something wrong, make sure you have time to talk about it (when ready, or by inviting him to speak) and reflect on how he could do something different. It often happens that when our children make mistakes, the essential part for them to feel the desire to change lies not only in having a second chance, but in how their parents react. You will have a better chance of influencing and protecting your child if you share with him the positive aspects you have seen in him and help him understand how he can use them to make wise decisions.
Limits the ability to solve problems
Overprotective parents make almost every decision in favor of their children, particularly when conflicts arise that could directly affect one of them. Although they believe that they favor their children, in reality they harm them, because once they are out of the parental or maternal presence they lack the necessary skills to solve their problems in school or in the community. You can avoid this by intervening as a guide (in any way possible) to help your child resolve their conflicts. If you can develop a good relationship of trust, they will likely come to you for advice in the future.
Understanding that overprotection affects our children is critical. There is a tiny limit between overprotection and permissiveness, and as parents we can fall into the error of affecting the development of our children by being at one of these extremes. However, it is possible to find the proper balance by doing your best to properly protect your child, beginning with home teaching. In this regard, Dr. Terry Brazelton, a pediatrician, has said that when the family is strengthened the community, consequently, is also strengthened. To the extent that parents support their children (instead of overprotecting them) and provide them with the education they need, they will be able to establish affective bonds with them; This leads to success in many individual and collective ways. Finally, the following link will allow you to understand how to help them trust themselves when making the right decisions from a young age.