Discover tips for being a protective parent without being overprotective. No one wants to be a helicopter parent!
It’s something that we will feel that we should do. It’s part of our biological function. Knowing how to look after your family is the badge of honor that you hang your life upon. It means that we are protective. But being a protective parent is both a blessing and a curse, not just for you, but for the child. When you have a child that you feel needs additional protection, there is that push and pull of making sure that they don’t get hurt either physically or emotionally, but this can also harm a child’s development. Whether you have a child that has a developmental issue or you feel that they are over-emotional, it can be easier to be protective rather than letting them figure out things for themselves. But how can we straddle the balance? How can we be a protective parent without being an overprotective one?
Know the Difference Between “Risk” and “Risky”
There is a big difference between the two. Risk is all about the probability of something being successful or failing. A fantastic example is riding a bike. When your child rides a bike they risk falling and hurting himself. But riding a bike during the night without a helmet is risky. The chaos theorist in you may very well go down the avenue of what could happen if you let your child ride on a bike in broad daylight and they get into an accident.
Before you know it, in your head, you’ve had to go through the courts with a car accident attorney, and your precious baby is scarred emotionally and physically for life! But the most important thing you have to remember is to eliminate risky behaviors but understand the risk. Riding a bike is something we’ve all learned how to do, but it’s about giving our children the skills to weigh up what is risk, and what is risky.
Giving Your Child Life Skills
If you feel you are an overprotective parent because of specific reasons, such as if your child lacks the comprehension to cross the road safely, why don’t you give them the skills? There comes a point when our children are old enough that we have to let them go by themselves to learn some aspects of life in terms of the mistakes that they make. But in terms of the things that we all learn, like crossing the road or riding a bike, if we are confident that our children have the skills, we can take a step back and relax.
There are so many different lessons that we all learn in life. But we have to give them the proper grounding to ensure that they are self-sufficient in the right ways. Giving our children independence gives them the skill of being competent. If our children feel they cannot do anything without us being there, they will come to rely on us.
You may find that there are relapses in behavior where they say they cannot do certain things that they would do fine before or want you to do it for them. And it’s about severing the tie. This is very difficult for us as parents and it can leave us upset but we’ve got to lengthen that invisible cord between us and the child.
Embracing Your Own Fears About the Situation
If you are worried that your child cannot cross the road by themselves you are reinforcing the fact that they think they cannot do it without you being there. While this is fine when our children are young, what happens when they are old enough to cross the road by themselves or their friends can do it? We have to embrace our own fears and understand if we are overthinking the situation.
Being overprotective can be because we are overthinking. It’s important for us to be honest about fear. We may tell our children why we are worried about them getting hurt and when children see their parents struggle this can help them to see that everybody has their own fears to deal with. But at the same time, we have to remember the importance of setting the right example. Our children will subconsciously become us through the behaviors we present.
If we are perennial stress-heads, this will become the baseline behavior for our children and this can make them scared over things that we may not consider to be scary at all. In fact, we may wonder why they’re worried about something so trivial. But this goes back to setting the right example. Once you start to realize that you are the template for your child’s behavior, this can be the wake-up call you need.
Being a protective parent is something that is built into us. We see animals being protective of their young because it’s their duty. But the difference between us and most animals is we have the emotional capacity to understand when we are being overprotective. Let’s make the most of this.