They are also called Helicopter parents because they tend to hover over their children too closely and are barely ever out of reach.While overprotecting parenting is most times done out of love and ‘best’ intentions, it tends to impact negatively on children’s behaviour in the long run.
Sometimes ,overprotective parents try to be involved in every aspect of their child’s life not just in a supportive way but in a controlling way which ends up causing stress or tension in their relationship with their child .
I did a research on average stress level by generations and found here that the American Psychological Association (APA) commissions an annual study termed “Stress in America“. The 2015 data revealed that the younger generation are experiencing more stress than the older generation, the 2020 report isn’t any better. It went ahead to explain how secure and relaxed parenting styles help to keep the cortisol levels low in children , reduces stress and encourages the development of self soothing techniques. It is thought to enhance problem solving abilities, attention skills and school readiness.
Although that research was done in America ,we can say same of us here in Nigeria if not worse , I mean Nigeria was speculated here to be the number 1 most stressed out country in the world .
It infuriates me whenever the older generation down talk on our generation that they call the “indomie” generation like they didn’t make it. They made adult-children living with the effects of overprotective parenting style. I am tired of hearing ” when I was your age I was…….” Can you stop pretending like you do not know that your parents let you live more than you let me ?
Guys do you ever listen to your parent’s story growing up and think they are too selfish for robbing you of your own experiences? Well to be fair that wasn’t the intention but what would be my story? that I was I indoors most of my life until it felt “safe” to let me out ,and I struggled a lot with getting the hang of how to live but I am here though? .💔💔 I wrote in a blog post where I said that I had just recently started living,that was how I felt,I was super restricted all my life and it didn’t feel like living.
Our generation is stressed because instead of letting you live and find yourself , you’re quickly compared to the neighbor’s child, there are a lot of set rules that must be followed to make “perfection”, there are a lot of ‘NOS’ to simple requests that make you take out a lot of time to think up a befitting lie every time you want to have your way.They want “perfection” made in a their little triangle- School- Home -Place of worship. There is a very popular saying that strict / overprotective parents make the sneakiest children and people who can lie on the spot. Check here.
WHAT OVERPROTECTIVE PARENTS DO
- Constant supervision and micromanagement
- They create Dependency
- They control the social sphere of their child
- Excessive caution
Overprotective parents tend to shelter their child from the “harsher”,”more difficult”, and “less desirable” aspects of childhood. I can tell you that I do not having any scar from childhood (well, I do appreciate this part.), neither did I have cause to sharpen my pencil as a child whenever my dad was home,I was dropped off at school every morning and dropped back at home after school literally through out my days in school.Overprotective parents love their child too much to let them feel the slightest pinch of life.
Constant supervision and micromanagement
The child is often not free to indulge in unsupervised activities like other children.Overprotective parents believe that the best activities are the supervised ones.No playing outside, no sleepovers,definitely no play dates or parties whatsoever.Parents who constantly micromanage deprive their child of freewill and prevent them from becoming proactive adults.
Overprotective parents solve problems for their child that the latter is capable of solving themselves.They infantilize their children making them feel incapable of charting their own course. Your parents will tell you ,” you know when I was your age I traveled from my village to the city to write my own exam” as you stand in front of their car watching them sharpen the pencil you would use to write the exam they dropped you off for thinking “but I can do all these myself though”. Overprotective parents make their child extremely dependent and infantized past an appropriate age.
The overprotected child will likely not learn how to solve problems independently.They will not know how to use critical thinking skills (which they might not own anyway) to handle life situations . Their frustration tolerance can be low and anxiety can be high.– Alicia Bradley, licensed clinical professional counselor.
Control of social sphere
Overprotective parents do not realize that controlling their child’s social sphere hinders them from branching out on their own and developing social skills that they would skills they would need in the adult world. While the overprotective parent constantly worries about the influence of other children, parenting styles and lifestyles, an overprotected child misses out on learning how to embrace and adjust to differences in opinions,preferences and life choices.This leaves them maladaptive to the real world.
Overprotective parents try to pacify their fears by snooping into their child’s private life instead of developing a healthy relationship found on trust and open communication. They incessantly worry and snoop on their child via social media , their phones and even personal diaries. This causes the child to loose their sense of individuality.Parents who worry a lot about catastrophic events bar their child from living, raising adults that are not prepared for the reality of life.
In the bid to protect their children and create perfection , overprotective parents end up creating adult -children. The teenagers raised by overprotective parents in comparison to their peers tend to be pariahs, very dependent and risk adverse.
While free-range teenagers are allowed to explore adolescence, the overprotected teenager is kept under tight rein or overly scheduled in activities of their parent’s choosing.Overtime , overprotected teenagers become resigned to parental influence and accept it as the lot of their life.
These teenagers are the most dependent and risk adverse teens because many of them had no freedom and time to indulge in unsupervised behaviours. Many of them become quite unhinged at the presentation with an opportunity to participate in independent activities.Teenagers like this are usually so eager to leave for the university or anywhere far from their parents and tend to be the wildest and easiest to influence.They tend to be academically forward and socially backward ,they are socially unrelatable and unable to make decisions .
P.S: Nobody is saying do not be protective of your child but know there should be a limit to it.
What Overprotective Parents should do instead
- Encourage trying- encourage your child to branch out and try new things, let them out of their comfort zone with friends , social activities and even academically.Acknowledge their independent achievement.
- Encourage contributions: Let them know you are a team, allow them to make age appropriate decisions. Rather than getting involved at the first sight of a challenge ,encourage them to communicate and analyse the situation.
- Build confidence -“You can do it honey”, , “oh ,you did great!” goes a long way. Give them tasks and let them learn new skills. Learning new skills increases confidence.
- Let them choose – Instead of doing everything for them, allow them to make decisions too. You want to get them something ,ask them what they would like . “So I was thinking of enrolling you for a course, what do you think ?”, ” I am getting you shoes ,what colour would you like?” By encouraging the power of choice ,you help them develop skills as an independent thinker which helps to build leadership skills.
Instead of helicoptering our kids, we should be strapping some parachutes on their backs made out of things like common sense , kindness and courage. Then we should teach them how to jump!