Many of the overprotective parents that I’ve known don’t even know that there is such a word. In their eyes, they are nurturing, loving, caring and doing what is best for their children. It is really hard to get parents like these to understand that being over protective of their children is NOT good for their kids.
I read a book many years ago called Parents Who Love Too Much: How Good Parents Can Learn to Love More Wisely and Develop Children of Character by Jane Nelson and Cheryl Erwin. It discusses how it really is possible to love too much, and explain how smothering your children too much with your love and will not allow them to develop the character they need to have successful lives.
Below are 14 of the types of mothering you may be doing which may mean that you are loving TOO much.
- Over protection– Parents that over protect too much don’t allow children to make their own mistakes. Mistakes are a value that help build strength and skills and it is very hard for children who don’t learn this to go out into the big wide world later on.
- Rescuing-Always making sure that you are there for your child doesn’t allow them to develop responsibility. Bringing them their lunch when they forget, making missed payments for them are both examples of situations that are good ways for kids to learn responsibility.
- Permissiveness-Many parents that are very permissive, do so because they either are scared their children won’t like them if they say no, don’t want to stifle their creativity or maybe even grew up with more authority and are trying to give their children what they think they didn’t get.Kids that grow up with permissive parents however, learn no self control and also have a hard time developing concern for others.
- Excessive control-This is the opposite of permissiveness but, comes from over protection as well. Parents like these, often feel like they are the only ones who know what is best for their children and act accordingly.
- Giving in to whining, coaxing, crying & tantrums– Again, parents that think that their children are only happy when they get what they want.
- Making too many decisions for kids-Pretty much like the ones with excessive control. Make too many decisions for them and they can’t learn to make their own at all.
- Indulgence-If children are overindulged materially then they feel a sense of entitlement throughout their lives.
- Unreasonable expectations– When parents have these kind of expectations then children feel like they are only loved conditionally and not for who they are.
- Not expecting kids to contribute to family- Kids then think that everyone should serve them.
- Praising excessively-They can either develop a sense of narcissism or at times the opposite occurs. They know that they don’t deserve all that praise and don’t trust any praise at all.
- Fighting kids battles for them– Kids will always have the feeling that someone will step in for them when the going gets tough.
- Allowing kids to rule at home– Makes for very dysfunctional children
- Working long hours to provide material wealth– Kids never really end up appreciating what they have and always crave the love and attention a more present parent can be.
- Thinking that they know what career their child should follow– Kids will probably end up hating what the parent chose.
Many of these points above are done “in the name of love”
Parents need to give their children the courage to be imperfect. their emotions should not replace common sense and children need to learn to deal with disappointments. It is also important to learn that if you want something, you need to work hard to get it.
Suffering (even if it’s not physical suffering) builds strength, character and coping skills.
Materialism and loving too much
Unfortunately, many of the parents today love their children too much through materialism.They either don’t have a whole lot of time and try to compensate by buying their children too many things. Or they just can’t resist not giving the children what they want.
I was just in a store the other day and I heard a mother complaining to her child that she needs to have whatever she sees …then she showed me the item she was buying her child because she asked for it. Parents are just scared to say NO.
If you are a parent or a grandparent or another significant person in a child’s life and tend to overbuy for them, then know what you are teaching them by doing so:
- If you want something…then you can have it NOW
- Materialism will control your life as the lure of “things” is never ending.
- You don’t learn to evaluate commercials but, do whatever is suggested.
- You don’t learn to deal with disappointment.
If however, you teach your child that they can have only just so much and not always, then they are learning that….
- It’s OK to want. You don’t have to have whatever you want.
- They can deal with disappointment and they will survive.
- They can work towards a goal to save.
- Their parents will listen to them (hopefully) but, not indulge their every wish.
- They are capable of trying to earn what they want on their own.
Children need to learn to be responsible human beings. Unhealthy love has parents that are responsible FOR them.
This is not, as some over protective parents may feel, neglect. In the slightest.
Of course, the denial of their wants can be done in a nurturing, loving way and you should not go to the other extreme and deny the children everything. If you want to learn more about how to find solutions to these problems you can buy the book Parents Who Love Too Much or take it out of the library.
Just remember, that if you are not overprotective and learn to balance your love for your kids, then you will be giving them important life skills of resilience, patience. concern for others, problems solving and the ability to learn from mistakes.
You must think long range for this to work and by giving them reasonable limits, structure, and giving up on your guilt in not spoiling them, your children will thank you one day.