Are you a helicopter parent?
If you’re overly involved in every aspect of your child’s life, that might be the case.
Being overprotective usually comes from a place of love. However, sometimes, it can do more harm than good.
In fact, it can hinder them in several ways. Children of helicopter parents are more likely to struggle with everything from social situations to academia and even working life.
In this article, we’ll explain what these struggles are and how overprotective parents often contribute to them.
Problems Overprotective Parents Unknowingly Give Their Children
What’s intended as supportive, loving behavior can sometimes be detrimental to a child’s well-being and success.
Overprotective parents can foster anxiety in their children.
If a parent is always fussing over their child, closely monitoring them and even doing things for them, the child will become more anxious. When faced with challenges, they may feel as though they’re less capable of doing them on their own.
Letting a child experience small amounts of stress can be good for them. If children are exposed to acute or playful stress while they’re growing up, real stress will be less of a problem later on.
They’ll be able to navigate stressful or scary situations more easily. On the other hand, if they haven’t been prepared, they’ll be more likely to freeze up and feel overwhelmed.
As a child gets older, these psychological issues can manifest as a lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem or even depression. It’s important that parents and family members understand how to support a loved one who’s struggling with these issues.
Wrapping your children up in cotton wool may protect them in the short term, but when they leave the nest, they could start to have health problems.
Studies show that children of overprotective parents experience more health problems in adulthood. This is because they haven’t learned to take care of themselves properly.
If you’re always reminding your child to take their medication, telling them to get enough sleep, and cooking their meals for them, they won’t know how to do those things without you.
A Sense of Entitlement
Your child may be the most important thing in your world. That’s not wrong, and it’s fine to tell your child that they’re special. However, if you go overboard, you could foster a sense of entitlement as they get older.
If they’re used to having everything done for them, they’ll feel as though it ought to be that way in adult life, too.
People with a sense of entitlement are less likely to follow rules because they don’t feel that they have to. They think that the rules don’t apply to them, or that they’re unfairly imposed on them.
This sense of entitlement could grow into arrogance, which is an extremely negative trait to have. Not only will this make it difficult for them to form relationships, but it could also result in them pushing back on you later in life.
A Lack of Self Control
If you regulate everything your child does, they won’t learn to regulate themselves.
This applies to everything from diet to studies. They won’t be able to keep a good work/life balance, and as a result, they’ll have difficulty motivating themselves to reach their goals.
Poor Time Management
Overprotective parents are more likely to put restrictions on their children’s time. There’s more structure, with each activity having its own set schedule.
Good time management is essential for raising a child, since you’re always having to manage mealtimes, school, appointments, and extracurricular activities. However, there has to be a point where they start taking care of these things themselves.
If not, they’ll struggle to keep track of their own time as they grow up. This can spill over into all areas of life.
Children who have more freedom with their spare time grow to have better executive function, which means they have the mental skills that enable them to get things done.
Inability to Solve Problems on Their Own
As a parent, it can be painful to see your child go through problems in life.
Whether they’ve fallen out with a friend, gotten into trouble with a teacher at school or struggled with an assignment, your first instinct might be to jump in there and fix everything for them.
You can’t solve all your child’s problems for them. There will be times in their life when you aren’t there to help, and if they’re incapable to function in that situation, you’ve done them a disservice.
It’s better to let children work through things on their own sometimes, even if it means watching them struggle. When they grow up, they’ll be more independent, have better problem-solving skills, and be better-equipped to tackle anything life throws at them.
Poor Family Relationships
Overprotective parents can damage the relationships they have with their children.
If a child feels as though they’re being smothered or restricted too much, they may begin to get frustrated. They may even start to resent their parents and start to fight back against their authority.
Don’t suffocate your child. If you’re too overbearing, they may start to act out as a result.
All of the above effects will hinder a child’s academic performance.
An overprotected child won’t have the coping skills that they need to thrive in school life. They’ll lack discipline and ambition, crumble under pressure, and rebel in the face of authority.
Take the Pressure Off
Parenting is incredibly stressful and is filled with endless challenges. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
You can’t control everything in your child’s life. Besides, if you try to, you could create more problems for the both of you.
Instead, learn to relax a little. If you stop worrying about every little thing, both you and your family will benefit from a less stressful environment.
We understand that it’s easier said than done, but we’re here to help. To learn more, see our tips for how to slow life as you get older.