Parenting is hard and I’ve learned in my short one-year that there is no “right” way to do it. No matter what your parenting style, someone will have something to say about something you do. One thing I think many of us struggle with is being overprotective of our little ones. I think we can all agree they need the opportunity to grow, make mistakes and learn. There is also an element of letting go or losing control which I know I will struggle with as Aiden grows up. I am excited to introduce Zara Lewis who will discuss ways to shower your kids with love without being overprotective.
By Zara Lewis
It’s perfectly reasonable that parents don’t want their kids to experience any hardships in life. But, is such a thing really possible for any person in the world? There are various ways that you could raise your child so that they become strong and independent individuals who could face their problems properly. On the other hand, completely isolating them from anything that might cause them harm can have a completely opposite effect. In that respect, it’s important that you let your kids choose for themselves and fight their own battles. It will be enough just to have you as a support and their home as a loving place to go back to.
Fear of germs, dirt and the outdoors
For whatever reason, some modern parents fear that their children will get dirty while playing outdoors. Also, there’s the fear of them getting sick or hurt. Because of that, those parents feel most comfortable when their kids are constantly at home where they can keep an eye on them. While some may think that this behavior is protective and in the child’s best interest, the truth is quite different. Kids need to experience the outdoors as much as possible. There are many benefits to playing outside and even getting dirty. Basically, kids who are not allowed to experience this often develop higher sensitivity to germs later in life. Not to mention that their physical development won’t be as advanced compared to other kids who do play outside. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be present during their playtime though. Be protective just not overprotective.
Fear of catching a cold
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is protecting their child from catching a cold, which does them more harm than good. This means that overdressing your child, covering them with tons of blankets and making them really hot won’t automatically prevent a cold. On the contrary, sweating under all those layers will only create perfect conditions for a cold to develop. Also, children can’t feel comfortable in such a situation and the results may cause various skin issues. If you want your young child to be warm and comfortable, a cozy baby swaddle is more than enough. When it comes to toddlers and preschoolers, dress them the way you’d dress yourself. Also, you can always ask them about what feel most comfortable and warm to them.
Sparing kids from emotional pain
Let’s make things clear at once. There’s no way that you or anyone else could spare your child from all sources of emotional pain in life. Therefore, when you overprotect them when they’re little and even teenagers, not allowing them to deal with any pain, they won’t learn how to combat this problem when they’re adults. And you can’t hold their hands forever. Basically, not allowing your kids to have any contact with situations that might end up being hurtful for them will render the kids incapable to deal with any stressful and painful situation life throws at them when they’re grown up. What you should be doing is always being there for them to comfort them and offer them valuable advice on how they themselves can deal with a certain problem.
Being too involved in their choices
If you constantly pick interests and hobbies for your children, how do you expect them to grow as individuals? Some parents go as far as to even pick college majors for their kids. This is not a fair play and you’re basically making someone’s personal life disappear. Not to mention how extremely dependent kids can become on you. While not all choices will be great, remember that you should only offer your wisdom and guidance, not completely overtake their own personal role in life.
Some might say that there is a fine line between being protective and overprotective. But there isn’t. Listening to your child’s needs, being there for them, offering support and love, allowing them to experience the world around them, encouraging social contact, instilling responsibility and problem-solving skill are some of the essentials when it comes to true protectiveness. If you keep your child seemingly safe by never allowing them to have experiences of their own and constantly doing everything on their behalf, your over-protectiveness might end up costing your kids a lot in life.
What are some ways you have found helpful in letting go of being an overprotective parent? Please share in the comments!
If you liked this article, check out this post on swaddles and why we kept our newborn constantly swaddled.
Zara Lewis (Twitter: @ZaraELewis) is a mom, fitness & yoga enthusiast and a regular writer for High Style Life. She is devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life of her family and friends. She loves to share her parenting tips and is always open to learning some new skills, because for her parenthood is like going to school forever. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling and baking.