The word «hyper-care» has long ceased to be a narrow scientific term. Now it can be heard not only from psychologists, but also from people who are quite far from this area. And this is no coincidence: many experts consider overprotection to be one of the most obvious causes of personality problems in people of all ages.
So how to recognize hyper-custody and what to do if you notice its signs in yourself?
Top 5 Signs of Overprotection
Children, due to their age, often seem inconsistent to adults. However, everything is quite the opposite: the behavior of the younger generation is absolutely logical, even if neither the child nor his parents are aware of it. It can be said that all their ups and downs are a reflection of parental influence.
How to understand that caring for your child begins to cross the border, prevents him from developing and destroys independence? The top 5 first signs of overprotection will dispel all doubts and help you sort out the problem.
1. Parents do not allow the child to make efforts, do everything for him and help, even if the child did not ask for it. And, as mentioned above, the unpleasant consequences for the child are fully justified here. Why climb the hill yourself if your mom or dad can take you there? Or take the initiative to clean the house if the parents do a great job on their own?
2. Parents protect children from any shocks, insults, they are afraid of children’s anger, show excessive pity and indulgence. The child just hit his knee on the closet — and grandmothers, mom, dad and even aunts are already rushing to him from all over the apartment. He is completely exempt from any household work — he is even forbidden to make his own bed! The child will not be told about the death of his beloved grandfather either — he is still small and he will not understand anything.
3. Parents control the life of the child in all aspects, from study to personal interests and even hygiene. They indicate which toys to play and which not. Who to be friends with, and who to stay away from. What grades to get, and for which you can get a serious punishment. Of course, the opinion of the child, his abilities, talents and desires are not taken into account in these matters.
4. Parents worry too much and worry about their children if they are not around. Of course, worrying about children is normal. But the life of overprotective children is absurd enough. And it seems that modern technology only helps to strengthen the hyperprotectiveness of parents. Moms, dads and grandmothers supply the children with beacons, voice recorders, mini-cameras, applications for instant video communication. Relatives demand to report to them by calling every 10 minutes.
5. Parents completely solve all problems for the child. This is done not only because of pity for the child. Firstly, such mothers and fathers lack confidence in their children: they are convinced that the child himself will not be able to cope: he will get tired, do bad things. Secondly, such parents lack endurance. It’s easier for them to quickly decide everything on their own than to wait for the child’s independent actions.
Consequences of overprotection
It would seem that the desire of parents to provide their child with a carefree childhood by any means is not just justified, but even very noble. In addition, not all of the generation that became mothers and fathers today, themselves grew up in favorable conditions. And if grandparents who survived the horrors of wartime are alive, even more so. The desire to compensate for the stability of their children and grandchildren is natural and commendable. But do modern children, who live in relatively peaceful times, really need excessively hothouse conditions? What is the danger for the younger generation to live without knowing any sorrows and sorrows?
- learned helplessness: the inability to form one’s own will and opinion;
- low self-esteem and complexes;
- difficulties in communication and adaptation in society;
- lack of independence, inability to adapt to adult life;
- excessive timidity and isolation;
- a whole range of mental problems: from neurosis and increased anxiety to clinical depression;
- susceptibility to various addictions.
How to solve a problem
Often the cause of parental overprotection is the personal anxiety of mothers and fathers. Therefore, if you have already managed to get scared, having recognized most of the signs in yourself, and especially after reading about the consequences, there is good news: the situation is not hopeless.
Awareness of the problem is the first step towards solving it. If you find signs of overprotection in yourself, it’s time to eradicate them. You can do this in the following way:
- Allow children to make mistakes. Of course, the ability to learn from the mistakes of others is commendable. But people usually do not do without their own, and realizing them, we understand what is right for us personally;
- Take into account the interests, desires of the child and his opinion. This will kill two birds with one stone: the child will learn to think with his own head, and you will prove to him that you respect him and appreciate his decisions;
- Do not inspire the child that he is weak, weak-willed and does not know how. Naturally, no one will do this intentionally, but try to look after yourself. For example, by not allowing children to do housework or other «adult» tasks due to his inexperience, you show him that this is something difficult that he cannot handle on his own;
- Develop initiative in the baby, let him make a choice. This does not mean that you need to forget about discipline. As a parent, you can set boundaries, and the choice can be simple. For example, what would a child like to do in extracurricular time: go to the sports section or devote one’s strength to creativity;
- Encourage children’s independence with praise. Do not be afraid to spoil your child: healthy self-confidence has not hurt anyone yet;
- Get rid of the depreciating attitudes “I knew it!”, “I told you so!”, “You are messing around too much”, “Because of you, there are so many problems!” etc.;
- If necessary, contact a psychologist.
It is important to say that in any case, you should not shift the responsibility for your own anxiety onto the fragile shoulders of the child. Keep in mind that this is a small person who has both big victories ahead, as well as mistakes and falls, without which success is impossible. He or she is not a fragile greenhouse plant to be protected from all winds. Release your child. Of course, not completely, but only slightly loosening the grip — and in the future this will resonate with a huge plus for your child, yourself and your relationship.