Overprotection Hinders Natural Maturing
Created by Monica Sanadhay Updated on Feb 10, 2020
An interesting incident with my 5 year old child has got me thinking. It was at his friend’s birthday party. Since it was organised outdoors, he swiftly climbed the slides, sliding down with joy. Like an overprotective mother, I started guarding him against probable injuries. Soon, I observed that it was not just me, but mothers like me were equally concerned about their child’s safety.
Before we realised, one of the child had bumped his head on the side rod and was crying with pain. The mothers present there instantly took command of their own child and started counselling that it could have happened to them as well.
One of the children present there innocently said, “But it didn’t happen to me.”
Ignoring his innocent reaction, all became alarmed, including me. Maintaining a similar aggressive tone, I too stopped my son from going to the slide again and made him sit on a chair next to me. Obviously, upset with my domination my son uttered, “I wish there were parties without the mothers around!” I was taken aback at my son’s immediate and naive reaction.
While the parent in me justified my reaction to the whole incident, my son’s naïve comment made me think. Don’t we owe it to our child to protect them from any harm? Guard them against imminent obstacles? Teach them lessons to avoid danger?
Also read: How to engage children effectively
The How to List
- By constantly guarding, aren’t we becoming overprotective? While for parents this may be a part where they are nurturing their child, many a times it becomes irksome and frustrating for the child itself. To the extent where the child detests the constant monitoring by the parent. The dos and don’ts laid down by the parents sometimes becomes a hindrance to the child’s free thinking.
- For the first time I felt that it is not great for parents to spread the safety net too far. Your child may face few obstacles where he wouldn’t do without an adult’s help, but gradually he would learn a valuable lesson about how to react to a particular situation and take responsibility for his own actions.
- Life skills help a child grow. It prepares the child to take care of himself when the mother isn’t an arm’s reach away. When parents try to buffer children from negative experiences or minor hardships, they prevent children from learning the ways to deal with situations and hence make them more vulnerable.
- It is our job to protect our child from harm but constant monitoring makes it stressful for the child as well. Children eventually become depressed and suffer anxiety disorders that attributes to obsessed parents.
- When we sometimes let the child be himself, we open a channel of communication, allowing them to share incidents with us without fear of being censored. On the contrary, if we lay down too many rules, children tend to hid things and avoid being answerable.
And trust me there is no fun, not much enjoyment for our little ones in overprotective homes because of the parents’ constant drive to make everything perfect for them. This also results in preventing them from proper maturing and natural growth.
After that epiphany at the birthday party, I have taken certain corrective measures. To gain my son’s confidence back, I allow him to play in the sand whenever he wishes, but restricting it to once a day. Earlier, he would always hide it from me if he played in the sand and had to be washed.
This simple gesture of mine has reassured him and now every time he wishes to play in sand, he takes my permission assuring me that he would clean up nicely afterwards. How sincerely he keeps his words.
I wish I had realised this earlier. But I am glad I have now been able to improve trust and confidence between me and my son.
| Mar 15, 2016
very true.... this is what I get answer from my son... mumma why did you come so early from office today. I really felt bad. Now I give him complete liberty to play in rain... or give him big umbrella to go under the undersky and enjoy we go for walk with umbrella, I allow him to dirt his clothes... completely when he is in park and or home... but ensure he change his clothes before sleeping. or when he doesn't s'thing very wrong I just stop talking to him... just to tell him that I really didn't like it... he realizes and do things correctly.
| Mar 15, 2016
and, he is just turned 6 whn he doesn't things and behave nicely I award him with promised gift. Every year I plan his b'day party 2 months before we dicuss, buy things just of his own choise, make a list of his frinds.. as him to bring his friends parents no... so that we can call them.... What I am trying to say is when you do what child wants to do he automatically becomes your best friend and start sharing everythings... as child grows... many other issues crops up.