Grace loves to write commentaries on psycho-cultural and sociocultural dynamics in their myriad forms.
Why Sheltering Children Prevents Them From Coping in the Real World
More and more studies have confirmed that children of overprotective parents are risk-averse, have difficulty making decisions, and lack the wherewithal to become successful in life.
Furthermore, children of overprotective (OP) parents cannot deal adequately with hardships and other frustrations of life. In other words, they have a very low tolerance for frustration and crumble at the first sign of it.
What Is Overprotective Parenting?
- Constant Supervision and Micromanagement
- Prevention of Taking Responsibility
- Excessive Catering and Over-Consoling
- Controlling of the Social Sphere
- Excessive Caution
- Creating Dependency
Protecting Versus Overprotecting Your Child
I remember when I was in eighth grade, there was a boy whose mother took him to school everyday. There was nothing wrong with the boy and he was an honor student. The other pupils in the class found it totally absurd and ludicrous that a mother would take her 13-year-old child to school.
He was constantly derided by the other children, and called a mama’s boy or worse. If his mother did not take him to school, his father did! Even the teachers disrespected him, calling him an infant. When the weather was bad, he stayed home from school.
This boy never participated in school events as many of them were unsupervised. His parents insisted upon being present at his every move. Of course, he never had any friends while in the eighth grade. The other children thought that he was too peculiar and babyish. Some of the other boys consistently bullied him to no end. Everywhere he went was with his parents. This is clearly abnormal for an early adolescent who should be forming some type of friendship and independence.
What Does Helicopter Parenting Mean?
Helicopter parents, cosseting parents, cosseters, bulldozer parents, or lawnmower parents are terms used to describe intrusive parents who are overly involved in their child’s progress in life, especially in education. According to expert Alicia Bradley, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and adjunct professor:
“This term is used a lot with adolescents or even adult children [and refers to] trying to always be involved in every aspect of that child’s life, not just in a supportive way, but in a controlling way. Many times this can be difficult for the child and end up causing stress or tension in the relationship.”
If helicopter parenting is detrimental to children, when and why did it evolve? Former dean of freshmen at Stanford University, Julie Lythcott-Haims, details the events spanning from the 1980s which contributed to the evolution and coining of the term “helicopter parents.” This decade was characterized by an increase in child abductions throughout the U.S. and included the abduction of Adam Walsh which gained national attention and pushed Congress to create the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 1984 later saw an increase in the popularity of the “playdate,” during which kids were no longer left unsupervised by parents. By 1990, child development researchers Foster Cline and Jim Fay formerly coined the term “helicopter parent.”
Actions, Intentions, and Traits of Overprotective Parents
Oftentimes, overprotective parents believe that they are doing the best thing for their children. Parents often shelter their kids from the “harsher,” “more difficult,” and “less desirable” aspects of childhood. According to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in which 190 children were examined for anxiety and co-concurring child behavior symptoms, “Maternal overprotective parenting was significantly higher in the group of children with behavior disorders . . . .” The study suggests that OP parenting styles negatively impact behavior in the long-run, despite the parents’ intention for their children to have the best life that can be offered.
Constant Supervision and Micromanagement
These children are often not free to indulge in unsupervised activities like other children. Their parents are of the school that the best activities are supervised ones. Parents who constantly micromanage deprive their children of free will and prevent them from becoming proactive adults.
Prevention of Taking Responsibility
OP children are not assigned household chores and other responsibilities because their parents contend that these are anathema to a carefree childhood. Children who are not given responsibilities, not asked to pitch in, and not self-reliant, fail to thrive in standards situations.
Excessive Catering and Over-Consoling
Children who are excessively catered to expect everything at the drop of a hat. Patience and resiliency is not something that is learned from over-indulgence. A study published by the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford Univerity found that coping with early life stress expanded regions of the brain that help control resiliency. For instance, a child who is consoled for receiving a bad mark on a paper does not benefit. Instead, the lesson should be character building and further prepare the child for the future. Rejection is a part of a life and offers a good opportunity to teach a child the power of bouncing back.
The Differences in Reported Stress Levels Across Generations
The American Psychological Association commissions an annual study termed Stress in America. 2015 data revealed that younger generations are experiencing more stress than older generations: “On average, Millennials and Gen Xers report higher levels of stress than Boomers and Matures . . . and have done so since 2012.”
Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., explains how secure and relaxed parenting styles help to keep cortisol levels low in children, reduce stress, and encourage the development of self-soothing techniques. Dr. Dewar adds that this style of sensitive, responsive parenting is thought to enhance problem-solving abilities, attention skills, and school readiness.
Controlling of Social Sphere
Parents who control their child’s social sphere hinder them from branching out on their own and developing essential social skills that will later serve them in the adult world. By worrying about the influences of other children, parenting styles, and lifestyles, sheltered children miss out on learning how to embrace and adapt to differences in opinions, preferences, and life choices. Underexposing a child makes them maladapted to the real world.
When a parent incessantly worries, tracks, or snoops on a child (via cellular devices, social media, or by reading private content such as written diaries), the child loses their sense of individuality and sense of self. The parent tries to pacify their fears by digging into their child’s private life rather than developing a healthy relationship founded on trust and open communication. Parents who worry about catastrophic events and bar their child from living life raise an adult who will be risk-averse later in life.
Overprotective parents are invasive in other ways. They solve problems for their children that the latter are often capable of solving themselves. They infantilize their children by making them feel incapable of charting their own course. In fact, these parents are making their children extremely dependent and infantilized past an appropriate age.
The overprotected child will likely not learn the skills needed to form their own identity and learn how to solve problems independently. They will not know how to use critical thinking skills to handle different life situations. Their frustration tolerance can be low and anxiety can be high.
— Alicia Bradley, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
How Overprotecting a Child Affects Them at School
Traits of an OP Child in School:
- Dependent on Teachers
- Labeled a Difficult Student
- Lacking in Maturity
- Sense of Entitlement
- Easy Target for Bullies
- Labeled Misfits
- Academically Ahead, Socially Behind
- Lacking in Knowledge of Age-Appropriate Life Situations
Dependent on Teachers
Teachers are not especially pleased with OP children. Teachers often have to assume quasi-parental roles with these kids, doing things such as tying their shoes and performing other tasks that they should be performing themselves. Many teachers voice utter dismay at the backwardness of overprotected children. These are the children who have poor or nonexistent social, emotional, and survival skills.
Labeled a Difficult Student
Furthermore, such children are often the most difficult pupils around. These children often expect teachers to mollycoddle them as their parents have done. They get quite a surprise when teachers treat them like their other students. Oftentimes, these children cannot adjust well to the school environment where some sort of independence is required.
Lacking in Maturity
Children of overprotective parents are often years behind in maturity in comparison to their more free-range peers. Teachers further remark that these kids are highly dependent and insist on being assisted as much as possible. Teachers do not have the time to individually assist each child as there are often many kids in the classroom setting. In other words, overprotected kids are quite problematic for teachers.
Sense of Entitlement
Because of their upbringing, sheltered kids have a sense of entitlement and feel they should have their way. They were not told by their parents that they are not the center of the universe and they must learn to cooperate with others. Because they have a high sense of specialness, they often become quite unhinged when situations are not in their favor.
Easy Target for Bullies
Many such children are often prey for school bullies because they did not develop the social and street savvy needed to survive the school environment. Bullies usually target children who are quite defenseless and extremely vulnerable. In other words, bullies do not attack children who possess self-confidence, social and street savvy, because they know it would be a losing battle. In a study of 197 kindergarteners published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, researchers concluded that:
“Relations between shyness and certain indices of maladjustment were stronger among children with mothers characterized by higher neuroticism, BIS sensitivity, and an overprotective parenting style . . . . “
What Is BIS Sensitivity?
BIS sensitivity or behavioral inhibition sensitivity helps to regulate aversive motives, during which a subject moves away from an undesirable stimulus. OP children of BIS-sensitive parents find it difficult to try new and different situations and they are often risk-aversive themselves. They tend not to be adventurous and are quite timorous regarding life situations.
OP children are often not respected by their peers because of their infantile mannerisms. Their peers consider them utter misfits. Such children do not have the bounce and competitiveness that children from free-range environments often possess. They are often needy and dependent at an age when gradual independence should occur.
Academically Ahead, Socially Behind
Oftentimes, OP children are years behind in development in comparison to their peers. Of course, when parents excessively infantilize their children, it makes them socially, emotionally, and psychological retarded. Even though these children earn high grades, they lack common sense. Other children sense this and these children are often targeted not only by bullies, but other stronger children.
Lacking in Knowledge of Age-Appropriate Life Situations
These kids are sheltered and not aware of age-appropriate life situations. An overprotected 13-year-old often acts as if he or she is several years younger than their actual chronological age. They are also overly dependent upon their parents as they were seldom, if ever, allowed to independently explore their social environment as other children do.
The Consequences of Treating Teenagers Like Children
Overprotected teenagers are often lost in comparison to their more free-range peers and tend to be:
- Outcasts and Pariahs
- Dependent and Risk-Adverse
While their free-range peers are free to explore adolescence in all its intricacies, the overprotected teenager is either kept under a severely tight rein or overly scheduled in activities of their parents’ choosing. They are treated more like children than like the burgeoning independent adults they are becoming.
These teenagers often have quaintly inappropriate curfews for their ages while other peers have more relaxed curfews. Many overprotected teenagers become resigned to their parental influence, just accepting it as their lot in life. Oftentimes, overprotected teenagers accept their overprotective environment as normal. Some are so infantilized and passive that they believe that they can do nothing about it.
Outcasts and Pariahs
Overprotected teenagers are more at a loss in the high school environment than their counterparts in either elementary and junior high school. These teenagers often have nonexistent or extremely poor social skills. This makes them outcasts and pariahs among their peers. Teachers furthermore find such teenagers distressing and disturbing to say the least. These teenagers are emotionally underdeveloped in many ways.
Dependent and Risk-Averse
OP teenagers are the most dependent and risk-averse teens around. Because many of them had no freedom and time to indulge in unsupervised behavior, many of them become quite unhinged when presented with an opportunity to participate in independent behavior. Teenagers who are the wildest and the most rebellious at gatherings are usually the sheltered ones who were kept under a tight watch by their parents.
Overprotected Children Do Not Possess the Life Skills Needed for College
During the college years, many overprotected young adults find it extremely difficult and onerous to adjust to college or university life and are often:
- Socially Unrelatable
- Likely to Become Unhinged
- Incapable of Living Independently
- Unable to Make Decisions
Alicia Bradley, LCPC and adjunct psychology professor, explains:
“If [a young adult’s] sense of identity is not formed, they may not know how to make some important decisions when they are getting out on their own, such as what field they want to get into, how to manage having a job and being a high-functioning, independent adult.”
This applies especially if they elect to attend a school away from their parents’ domiciles.
Overprotected college students are often the bane of their more independent peers and roommates. The latter do not understand how the former is oftentimes quite immature and do not possess essential life/survival skills every adult should have.
Likely to Become Unhinged
Many overprotected teenagers are under such extreme restraints that at the first opportunity when they are away from their parents, they become totally unhinged and wild. Bradley adds:
“[OP children] may also hold some resentment towards the parent for not allowing them the ability to grow and develop like their peers. This can cause a strain in the relationship and that child may begin to push back and engage in some risky or undesirable behaviors.”
Incapable of Living Independently
These are the young adults who possess very little or no sort of life skills. They are often a horror to the more responsible roommate who was raised to be independent at an early age. Many OP children, once they reach college age, find it arduous to live on their own without their parents.
Unable to Make Decisions
These young adults are extremely dependent and are unaccustomed to independent behavior and decision making. According to an article on PsychologyToday.com titled, “The Effects of ‘Helicopter Parenting:'”
“College-aged students whose parents are overly involved in their academic lives, or whose parents created rigidly structured childhood environments, are more likely to experience anxiety and depression. They may also experience academic difficulties.”
Many of these students have parents who choose their school and their majors in the hopes that everything will be smooth for them. They also find it onerous to use independent judgment regarding their college courses and in everyday life, however, many of these overprotected students flunk out because they clearly do not possess the prerequisite independence to survive and thrive.
Traits of an Adult-Child
How Overprotected Children Are Hindered in the Workplace
In the work world, overprotected young adults fare even worse. The signs of an OP potential hire include:
- Parents Who Attend the Job Interview
- The Adult-Child Complex
- Lack of Independent Thinking
Supervisors and superiors are neither going to tolerate nor placate this infantilized adult. Many employers express dismal horror at incoming prospective employees whose overprotective parents come with them during interviews.
Parents Who Attend the Job Interview
This was never done before. It used to be when a prospective employee goes for a job interview, he or she went alone. Nowadays, there is a “new” style of parenting which the parent is very involved in even though that “child” is considered an adult in societal eyes.
The Adult-Child Complex
The OP child’s parents appear at their child’s job interview, informing the interviewer of how special their child is and the skills that can be contributed to the company. Of course, many interviewers are quite nonplussed at this. They figure, and rightly so, that something is quite amiss here. This adult-child is quite immature and would be bad news for the company. The prospect of this adult-child getting a job is now dismal to none.
Lack of Independent Thinking
If an adult-child is hired, they are going to be an immense burden on a modern corporate team. These adult-children make poor employees. They possess no concept of initiative nor independent thinking. They constantly want to be told what to do as befitting their familial environment. These employees are clearly not promotable. On the contrary, these employees are more likely to be fired or serially fired. Overprotected adult-children are more likely to be unemployable than their peers who were raised in a more independent environment.
Overprotected Children Tend to Struggle in Relationships
OP adult-children tend to wind up in defunct relationships, during which the following happens:
- (The OP Adult-Child) Is Extremely Passive
- Parental Involvement
- Imbalanced Dynamics
Regarding relationships, these adult-children are often extremely passive in any relationship they go into. Most of the relationships, whether it is platonic or romantic, do not last very long.
No person wants to compete with the omnipresence of a parent or parents regarding relationships. People often avoid relationships with such adult-children as the relationship can be called vampiric in more ways than one. These people are viewed as babies and no one wants to babysit an adult.
Many adult-children, because of their lack of savvy or social skills, enter into abusive relationships when their partner is the more dominant and/or parental partner. Even though this relationship is often abusive and unequal, these adult-children reluctantly remain in such relationships because they do not possess the means to dissolve it.
The Consequences of Overprotecting Children
Why OP Children Fail in School
In conclusion, overprotected children are slated for failure in school and in life. These children are so infantilized by their parents that they cannot survive the school environment. Teachers view the child as emotionally, socially, and psychologically backwards even though they can be academically prodigious.
Other children avoid OP children because of their needy and dependent nature. They are often a target for bullies because of their lack of social skills and street smarts.
Why OP Children Struggle With Socializing
Overprotected teenagers do not possess the skills that other teenagers possess. They are often not capable of indulging in independent social activities which is necessary in their development. Many overprotected teenagers are given harsher and stricter curfews than their peers.
Oftentimes, the only non-school activities that OP teenagers indulge in are those mandated by their parents or supervised by adults. Many parents believe that the teenage years are highly vulnerable and it is best that their teenagers be supervised as much as possible in order “to stay out of trouble.”
Why OP Children Drop Out of College
During the college years, many OP children cannot reasonably adjust to the rigors of college life. This is especially true if they elect to attend school away from their parents’ domicile. Because the university is a more independent and unstructured environment than either grade school, junior high, and high school, the typical overprotected student cannot survive, thus they often flunk out.
Why Adult-Children Struggle in the Workplace
In the work world or the “real world,” OP children are quite abysmal failures. They often do not possess the skills necessary to thrive and survive in the workplace. They possess no or low self-confidence, no initiative, and a low tolerance for frustration and hardships which is often commonplace in the work environment.
Furthermore, the supervisor is not their parent but someone who expects them to contribute and pull their weight. Many of these children end up being terminated from their employment—not once but several times. More often they become quite unemployable.
Why Adult-Children Struggle With Relationships
Overprotected children fare worse in relationships where equality is required. They are often at the extreme passive end of relationships as they were raised that way by their parents. Oftentimes, because of their extreme lack of social skills and their passivity, they are drawn into relationships where their partner is more dominant than they are.
Even though these relationships are quite abusive and Svengali-like, they prefer to stay in the “safety” of such relationships than to develop a backbone and have a more fulfilling relationship.
The Importance of Raising Independent, Happy, Successful Children
Overprotected children end up to be failures in life in more ways than one, and OP parents are only damaging their children and either do not or refuse to acknowledge this. Many kids remain in their infantile state until it is quite too late to change! Learn to let go as a parent and let your children grow up. Let us raise our children to be fully functioning and independent adults!
Tips for Raising Independent Children
- Encourage Trying: Encourage your children to try new things, branch out, and get out of their comfort zone. Celebrate effort independent of outcome. If it’s trying a new sport or a new activity, celebrate the fact your child gave it a try.
- Encourage Contributions: Invite your children to be part of the team and encourage them to make age-appropriate contributions. Have them help with walking the dog, putting the dishes away, or helping a sibling get to school in the morning. Responsibilities help children learn the value of trust and teamwork.
- Encourage Problem Solving: Rather than getting involved at the first sign of conflict or challenge, let your child work it out themselves. Don’t always give the answers away. Encourage them to communicate and analyze the situation. What if they are forgetting their soccer shoes on the way to the game? Ask them what they can do to help themselves remember (e.g. leaving the shoes at the front door the night before).
- Build Confidence: By teaching your kids new tasks every week, you encourage them to develop their repertoire of skills. Learning new skills increases confidence and helps them to take those skills with them into adulthood.
- Let Them Choose: Rather than arranging everything for them, allow them to make decisions for themselves. For instance, ask them, “Red shoes or black shoes?” or “Orange juice or apple juice?” By encouraging the power of choice, you help them to develop skills as an independent thinker. Independent thinking is another means of helping your child to develop leadership skills.
- Average Stress Level by Generation
- Adult Children
- 6 Tips for Raising Independent Children
- Prefrontal Plasticity and Stress Inoculation-Induced Resilience
- Former Stanford Dean Says Overparenting Leads to Kids Being Unprepared for College
- Maternal Characteristics Linking Child Shyness to Psychosocial and School Adjustment . . .
- Overprotective Parenting and Child Anxiety
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Any tips on an adult-child where the damage has already been done to reach recovery?
Answer: Seek psychological or psychiatric help regarding the matter.
Question: Why don’t some parents let their children choose what makes them happy?
Answer: Some parents believe that because of their extensive years/experience that THEY know what is BEST for their children. In their purview, they want to protect their children from unseen mistakes/sorrows. They also don’t want their children to fail. They furthermore don’t want their children to experience any unneeded frustrations in life. They want their children to have it better than they(the parents) had it. However, in order for children to be happiest and to reach their furthest potential, children must do what makes them happy as long as it isn’t detrimental.
Question: How to report overprotective parents?
Answer: Unless the parents are physically, verbally, and/or emotional abusive, you really can’t report them. You have to truthfully state that your parents are doing the aforementioned things. Otherwise, discuss the matter with your parents, counselors, or an impartial relative.
© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on July 10, 2020:
You should discuss this matter w/an impartial relative or better yet, a school counselor. Your parents are doing you a great disservice. They are crippling your life skills.
tate on July 10, 2020:
I just wish there was a way to make my own parents understand that maybe they don’t know what’s best for me, and maybe what they are doing is wrong and doesn’t work. They always become too involved in all aspects of my life. I feel like I have no privacy. They don’t give me the ability to make mistakes. They take away anything that I could possibly do to make a bad decision.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on May 31, 2020:
Thank you for your commentary & suggestions. What you have stated is pure genius, thank you!
Camry on May 31, 2020:
Don’t be over protective and learn your kid how to play chess. A child who realizes that one does not always win but also loses, learns humility and respect for other people. I can recommend a very good and briliant book, that can bring you a lot of fun. It’s alll about chess. The rules of chess are very simple and children can learn them already from around the age of three. Not everyone can or wants to become a professional chess player but everyone can use chess for learning. For this purpous I can recommend a book (net-boss.org/chess-puzzles-for-kids-by-maksim-aksanov) with bunch of great exercises, which will help you and your kids to be better in this 🙂
Boris on March 25, 2020:
I kept living my life with guilt thinking it was all my fault. Considering that this is nearly 90% spot on I’m done with that. Thanks.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on March 08, 2020:
Speak to an impartial relative or friend about your parents. Arrange to have family counselling as your parents are toxic & are infantilizing you. Your parents are abusive. Your parents are sabotaging you. When you are able, get a job so you can move out & totally disassociate from your parents.
Lauren Rebecca on March 08, 2020:
My parents are making me miserable! I am 20 years old. I am currently a college student who has dealt with my parents for years. I feel like my parents don’t listen to me AT ALL. I have tried, time and time again, to have a talk with them, but have been shut down at every attempt to do so. Failing miserably. Oh, has it been rough. I have been able to make friends, but find it hard to create lasting and less “classroom” friendships. It is hard because when I do attempt to introduce or talk about my friends to my parents, they just right them off as a “bad influence” without getting to know them! If a friend invites me out, I’m given the third degree and a long run around as to why I can’t go. They try to cover it up by saying that they understand, while bashing the person. They same can be said when it comes to dating. I’m scared of someone I like meeting my parents because they put a lot of pressure on people especially when they/I are not at that stage and ready for all of the formalities that comes to meeting someone’s family. I find this ironic because they want me to be able to get married one day. I keep trying to gain my independence by trying to get a job and learning to drive, but they dismiss how I feel and make me feel silly for wanting something. I have lost great opportunities because of my parents’ inability to cooperate. (Example: My dad felt it was burdensome to take me to an interview and then proceeded to bash me to my mother about my birth condition, saying that would be the reason I wouldn’t get the job while I was waiting to leave, I didn’t get it.) There were other situations similar to this one where he would ignore me completely. I try so hard to live by their rules and expectations while I live at home, but it hurts me. I have little to no life skills. I’m unable to express myself because they get angry when I do. This shows up mu other relationships sometimes as well. Then attempt to make me feel bad when they excuse their need to get physical sometimes (my mom). It gets to the point where even when I think I’m doing the right thing for myself, they ALWAYS find a way to rain on my parade. I can’t do anything without asking them. If I did, it would have to fit their life schedule to even attempt to remember (ie. their plans) or acknowledge my own goals. I’m at a loss for what to do?
Patty Poet from Suffolk, VA on February 09, 2020:
This sounds like my family. Even today, I carry the fears that my parents pushed on me when I try to step out on my own and make my own decisions. My brother is 48 years old and my parents still try to steer him and how he raises his own son. Its tough to build your own self confidence when parents treat you as if you can’t make a good decision without them.
jules tea on December 07, 2019:
Retarded? Abysmal? Failure? Misfit? Outcast? Pariah? Slated to fail?
I get it: overprotecting kids is bad.Very bad. Undeniably true. But the author is really laying it on thick here with pathos laden language. Overprotected kids have to fight and struggle harder to prove themselves. From the tone of this article, you’d think that the sheltered child is one step below a psychopath: though nowhere near as cool.
Igor on October 18, 2019:
Based on most of the comments here it appears that the parents are greatly responsible for why their children have a hard time growing up.
Sylvia Davis on June 13, 2019:
I am a overprotective child. I am 23 now and everything that i read is exactly whats happening now to me!! Nobody has no idea how hard it isbto have an overprotective parent!!! Its not easy and life is soooo difficult for me because all i know is whats going on at home. I also can’t seem to do anything without askin my parents first. My relationships don’t last long at all, i had to dump couple of guys because im worried of what my parents will think of me having a boyfriend. I also hang around children and i got fired at a daycare because i was involving with kids like im a child. I got fired at a nursing home because the workplace seem to be much different than home or school. I am going through a lot! I am so far behind! I don’t even think like a 23 year old. Im glad i read this article..maybe i can talk to a counselor about this! So plz parents, dont be afraid to let your kids grow up!! I can teach other kids n parents about what im going through so that they can do better than me! Thanks.
kaleb on May 22, 2019:
YO! STOP BULLYING! ITS GONE ON LONG ENOUGH!
DrySeasons on May 07, 2019:
Sadly,wether one like it not, what is said mostly covers, what myown like has been / or goes through – because of how my parents were – NOT GOOD PARENTS ! The more Ithinkof in all ways things did go wrong – and how all of this hurt and destroyd my youth,young years and middle age – in different ways – I CANT BUT HATE THEM AND LOATH THEM !
When growing up – Ilived just for them – to please them – nomatter what. In the years I was supposed to be with friends,running around,and learning bout life,girls and having fun – they isolated me from them. And as i did notparticipate in the youth groups parties,dates, get togethers,and things – they letme forever be,and as I got obsolete I got always dumped as I must never has fitted in (wish I at that point in time,just partly started to sense – but not fully ).
My parents was to afraid for me hooking up on drugs – butin our tiny town,that was hardly great dealin the 1980s,andmost youth in that era in my area,was just into stealing beer, wine or some Vodka !
Later – i Was forever crushed byt their kind terror and need of controle – having been put down and all alreaddy when younger.
I fear – thier way of rising me, and all depressions that my isolation putme through – has created a Bordeline – and Its just yet more saddening. My current fear is – that asimin many ways not a full person – and Imyself has been growing upthis way, it will negatively impact my ownparenting ofmy daughter, though I try not to repeat my own parents mistakes with me,by trying thinking of things.
I feel wery angry, sad,empty and filld of all loss of the life others had but i never had – Its so unfair !
Nature Lover77 on April 24, 2019:
This article covers the subject very well. This sentence, “This boy never participated in school events as many of them were unsupervised” brings up additional issues. I think also that many overprotected kids don’t participate in school events because they’re afraid their parents will get overly involved in the event or get overly chummy with their sons or daughters friends because 1.) they’re possessive and are threatened by their child having friends so they want to muscle in on their kid’s friendship and/or 2.) the OP parents don’t have friends their own age.
I think #2, the parents not having friends their own age is often an elephant in the room. There is often a lot of embarrassing behavior associated with parents who never had friends of their own.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on March 27, 2019:
Also you are of legal age; however, in your current state, you aren’t equipped to take care of yourself. You need to seek counselling which will help you develop the skills to eventually move out & be on your own.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on March 27, 2019:
Both of you should seek psychological counselling. What your dad did was to cripple you- please seek counselling.
Shyla Wickens on March 27, 2019:
I am a 17 year old girl and I’ll be 18 in a few months. while growing up with my dad, i was very lonely and isolated as an only because my dad didn’t want me and allow me to make friends with kids growing up due to the fact that he attempted to protect me from bad people and influences. this backfired and caused me to lack basic social skills and i developed extreme social anxiety. I couldn’t go out, couldn’t make friends, I lived in a shell and I didn’t know what to do with myself. with me being 17, studying hard in school, working part time, having a car and only recently being able to overcome my anxiety and make friends, its hard for my Dad to adapt to. growing up, he picked and chose my friends. Whenever im out, he texts me and phones me every 30 minutes to see where I’m at. he uses a phone tracker to track me. now that I’ve been making friends as of recently, he has to set up an interview with my friend and the parents to make sure they’re a good fit for me. my Dad tells me I’m NOT allowed to move out at 18. he makes all my decisions for me and does everything for me because he doesn’t trust my ability to do things myself. this has caused me to sit back and think “where’s my dad? I need his help.” when accomplishing the simplest of tasks. I feel like a little kid that constantly needs her dad there to do everything for her. i am a great kid. I don’t drink or smoke, I work and study hard. but this has honestly killed my self esteem. I feel like I can’t do anything for myself. I feel like they don’t trust me. people are always like “just talk to your dad” well it doesn’t work that way. My dad has ALWAYS been in control of my life and no matter what I say, my opinion doesn’t matter. he doesn’t trust me to make friends and do things myself. I feel like I’m just going to stop seeing my friends as there’s really no point on trying anymore. I need help. I feel so miserable living at home and I wish I could just branch out and gain independence. I’m afraid that I won’t even know how to take care of myself when I hit the real world. what do I do? do you think if I just leave at my age of majority then that will damage our relationship?
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on March 23, 2019:
The whole family needs counselling, especially your mother.
Mark Thatum on March 23, 2019:
Hi! This article was extremely helpful, insightful, and relatable. I dealt with a lot of this growing up, and in many respects feeling the collateral effects of having been brought up this way by a controlling parent. Despite my having been brought up in a two-parent household, my mother was the one who kept a very tight leash on me, as my stepfather was often very detached. I had many conflicts with my parents, especially my mother, growing up and, thus, harbored many resentments towards her for a good chunk of my adolescence, and early 20s (I’m now 28).
She still attempts to be very controlling but I have learned to stave off many of her toxic behaviors. I no longer harbor any resentment and understand that we’re all different.
Now my fear is regarding my two younger siblings, a brother of 19 and sister of 13. I fear my brother’s lot the most because he is at university. He was never as robust and as independently minded as I was, and fears going against my mom very much. He’s 19, stays at home as his college is not far, my mother, for all intents and purposes, forbids him to have many friends, leave the house for extended periods of time, doesn’t allow him to cook for himself, he has no college friends, and is being inculcated with the notion that his education should be his only friend. He called me two days ago and told me something that hurt and disturbed me very much in that he was forbidden to go to his cousin’s wedding in Michigan because of the distance (they live in Delaware…i currently reside in France), and due to issues our mom has with that side of the family as she and my stepfather have divorced.
My brother was very vexed and I felt very sad. And also, my brother is very emotionally handicapped as he acts, expresses, and carries himself much in the manner a 13 year old would. He tells me he wants to transfer to another 4 year institution that way he could reside in the dorms but I told him he knows our mother, who has expressed that she doesn’t want him to move away from home until he has his degree. And also, were or should he move, I know he would have a strenuous time as he has been kept from experiencing the real world. Often isolated and alone with my mom hovering over him.
Long story short, I don’t know what to do, and I want to help and am in dire need of advice as I know this is a ticking time bomb.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on March 05, 2019:
Jim, this is a dilemma. Your wife needs psychological counselling. She is crippling the daughter, making her immature as well as fearful. I suggest psychological counselling immediately!
Jim Avitable on March 05, 2019:
My wife does not allow our daughter to walk to school as she is afraid that someone will kidnap her. Also she does not trust our daughter to be alone at home after school as she is afraid she will go out with or invite boys.
Andrea on December 31, 2018:
I am honestly screwed as a person now because of the controlling hovering helicopter parent who has raised me as a 12 year old for 7 years I am 19 living with my parents I don’t know how to make a freaking phone call, don’t have a drivers license been working on that for a while. don’t know how to even really do college and now she wants me to get my license and go out in the world (basically kind of kicking me out soon) I have no idea how I am supposed to live I feel like I am 12.
Teacher on December 14, 2018:
This is spot on!! I’ve taught pre-K through 6th grade for over 30 years and there is a literal epidemic of these children. And the parents are absolutely clueless!! These parents are THE most defensive people, and really believe they’re the best parents. They actually look down on others and criticize THEM. This will be the reason I retire. These clueless parents and their dependent, draining, immature, anxiety ridden children. The parents take up more of my time, the children take up more of everyone’s time. There is them – and then there is the class. An absolute stick in the wheel of progress to everyone around them. These parents hurt everyone, not just their child.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on November 04, 2018:
Thank you for your response. There are ALWAYS two sides of the argument. I totally agree w/your premise. What you are mentioning is normal parent protection.
Angigi on November 04, 2018:
This reads like an opinion piece and a one sided one at best. Maybe it is more of a personal scorn with her own parents.
I remember admiring my friend for being such open parent and gave so much freedom to her kids. She wasn’t neglectful, She just believed that her kids should be allowed to fall and learn from their mistakes. After all, she turned out fine. Lofty idea. I couldn’t do it. I set bright line boundaries. I took a proactive but approach teach them time management, prioritization, decision making skills. I helped them choose friends. I teach them good study habits. I teach them values and long term thinking about what’s important in life. All the things author described as overprotection. But Kids don’t just turn 10 and magically know all these things. Adults are still learning all of that as evidenced by many business books teaching those skills in the market. What’s wrong with learning it younger and from your parents? My kids have many friends and are active in school with leadership positions. I see no issue with my overprotective style of parenting. We have great relationships and talk openly about all topics including sex and drugs.
My open parenting style friend’s kids did do what she wanted – experimented freely- but seem not to have learned from any of the falls. Instead they turned bitter for the lack of guidance and now blamed her for their failures in life. One lives with her and watches TV all day, refusing to work. One just had a miscarriage with a baby she didn’t want anyway, after being assaulted by her jail bound boyfriend, both high when police arrived.
Kids need boundaries. Over and over again I see the kids from the hands off parents not living up to their potential. One friend’s two kids got kicked out from Christian school for underage drinking, another for posting semi nude photos on IG underage. Both were very smart and talented in sports. They dropped out of sports now.
If over protection means 100% dictatorship and restriction of all school and sports activities, prohibition from leaving the house and all social interaction outside the home, then yes, that would be very harmful, but I wouldn’t characterize that as over protection but borderline unlawful detentment or child abuse. But that is not the sense I get from author’s description of overprotection.
Truth is, every child is different and there is no one formula for every kid. Some kids thrive with boundaries and some rebel. I disagree with author’s assertion that overprotection would always 100% lead to all those problems cited from her observation as a child many years ago.
Finally, most 13 year olds are dropped off by their parents to school at our middle school. No one picks on them. I don’t know what kind of school author went to.
CJ on October 15, 2018:
I am goin through this and im over 20 its not nice idk how to live true this
TJ on October 01, 2018:
I know and love children set up for this painful end. You cannot avoid the trials of childhood. They just come out later. My only solution is to not let it happen to my kids. I have fought battles against this method of parenting and endured judgement, but my kids are turning out perfectly, surpassing those that judged me. My children are a pleasure to have around and sustain their behavior without me. They are surpassing all the milestones and choose to behave out of their own free will, nurtured and disciplined with boundaries and rules.
This whole culture of pushing off the lessons of childhood to appear to be a nicer parent is revolting. What happens when these kids hit the real world? They will be lambs for the slaughter.
Removing children from the processes of life robs them of the products. An untempered sword shatters. How do you convince a parent that difficulty is good? That the mess is more constructive than their perfection? That temporary conflict is actually better while the consequences of mistakes are small rather than putting those lessons off until the consequences are far more damaging in adulthood.
Who came up with this horrible model for parenthood? It is so unwise…
It is all about the results. I will endure whatever it takes to keep my children out of this strange infantilization culture. My gift to them is when they spread their wings they will fly.
My heart still aches for those who simply have no foresight.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on September 11, 2018:
You have made an eloquent response to the hub, thank you for responding.
Lisa on September 11, 2018:
There are several issues with this piece. First, it places all the blame on the parents, dismissing the responsibility that children have for their own lives. Second, it makes illogical sweeping claims and leaps about the development of children, deeming them failures from the outset. On what terms? Third, it inaccurately implies that parenting style is the sole factor in the success of children. Often, many children grow to realize that they have to take responsibility for their own lives, and they have a CHOICE on how they want to live. It’s counterproductive to just sit there and complain about how their parents were overprotective.
What this article fails to account for is that many children, who lived with this ‘overprotective parenting style,’ have grown up to become fully functioning members of society, as opposed to the incompetent burdens that this article paints them out to be. They can work. They can contribute. They have GRIT to get through the bad stuff.
Moreover, social teasing and bullying are just natural phenomena. It’s possible for them to learn to cope. They can disabuse themselves of the notion that the world is a rosy place full of rainbows and butterflies from an early age. Yet this article depicts such children as incapable of dealing with the real world. On the contrary, they can get a clearer look at the true nature of certain social interactions, enhancing their alertness as they get older.
Further, it is understandable that parents want to ensure the safety of their kids, since they bear the primary role in taking care of their well-being. It’s costly financially to raise children, so it’s conceivable thay parents would take more precautionary measures in caring for them. Enough shaming already. Let parents choose how they want to parent. After all, they were the ones who gave life to their children.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on August 29, 2018:
Have a mature discussion w/your dad. Delineate your concerns.
Lucine Rawiya from S- on July 13, 2018:
My parents are paranoid to the extreme. I’m never allowed to even hang out with my friends (without one of them tagging along) and I’m 17 in a month. I realised there’s no arguing with them so now when I want to do something I just do it behind their backs or without permission. I’m going to have to move out just to be able to get a job. It’s completely ridiculous and it’s preventing me from developing basic life skills. Hopefully I can get out of this situation when I am 18.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on July 01, 2018:
In this case, your father isn’t being overprotective. He is simply looking out for you. Your father cares, he isn’t being overprotective.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on June 29, 2018:
Keep telling them that they are psychologically, even psychically undermining their daughter by their remarks. Recommend counsellng for the entire family.
Alan on June 29, 2018:
I’m trying to help a couple break this habit. They are having a hard time because their daughter is an adult now.
Their protection takes the form of reminders. “Don’t forget to take the car to the DMV… pay your bills… your boyfriend doesn’t respect you…”
They’re afraid of her being hurt. Especially by other men. I’m trying to help them equip her. I think their reminders are telling her “You can’t handle it… we’re responsible for you…”
Liisabjork on June 25, 2018:
My fiances son is 13 and is being raised just like this. It came down to now that his mother said he is not allowed here at his father’s house anymore because the son feels awkward and uncomfortable because of me. (I maintained my ground and most likely he felt intimidated by me) which is not my problem. I had a responsibility to have the boys best interest. But I was seen as crazy and stern. The mother allows him to sleep with her still. She dressed him and cuts his food. I get sick thinking about it. But needless to say I did all I could to stand by my morals . Like I said the son does not visit his father anymore. But, I feel and know the son was trying to get his way and constantly went home telling his mom how he doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. He was trying to manipulate his way to see only his father in some way or form. Also to get attention at home from his mother. He had a motive . we had told him to keep our life business out of his mother’s ears. But he chose to go back home to his mother’s and tell her things by exaggerating . I see it that he is old enough to know how to choose his words and what to say to try to have an outcome in his favor. After the last incident I had enough! His actions had consequences. We were not going to drop everything and take time out of day to fall for his schemes. His father told him that he chose this . He CHOSE to be not allowed here. So that his father would have to drive all over creation so he can be with him. I put my foot down and refused to fall into the boys agenda because he wasn’t getting his way here and. Because he didn’t he coddled by his father anymore and he wasnt waited on anymore or babied. The boy chose to disclose and act the way he did when he went back home to his mother’s. The information he disclosed to his mom was utterly disrespectful to me . His exaggerated stories and fantasiful tantrums was the last straw. Sometimes the only thing you can do is give tough love and difficulty stand up for ethics. This kid is doomed but at least I can say to myself I alw