I think some of us have been there. If you have the feeling that you have overly protective parents, this MyTake is for you. Not only will I mention a few things to remember about such parenting, but I will provide you with a few signs on protective parenting, as well as tips on how to deal with it; because trust me, it is not easy.
It is also important to keep in mind that parents will be protective no matter what, especially if you live at home. If that is the case for you, the unfortunate truth is that they have the right to act this way, because it is their house and their rules. There are things you can do to minimize it, however. All in all, this MyTake is for all you adults out there who still feel like they are living at home even after moving out.
First and most important thing to remember about overly protective parents: they care about you and love you.
Even if you do not see it, or their often bossy nature makes you want to run away and never look back, it is important to remember that all they want to do is protect you. If you forget this, you might want to rebel and do crazy things just to prove a point; that you are an adult. Just remember to keep this in mind and it will make everything a lot easier, trust me.
There is a big difference between abusive parents and overly protective parents, and you have it a lot better than you think.
Sure, there are a few "abusive" qualities in ANY overprotective relationship. Partners who prevent you from doing things can say they do so out of love as well, so it is important to spot the differences early. However, abusive parents will often physically hurt you, isolate you and manipulate you. Overly protective parents will (most of the time) have very good reasons to act the way they do, but they can come across as extreme and controlling. But parents who truly love you will never intend to hurt you.
However, I am not trying to glorify overly protective parents, because they can have a very negative impact on children`s lives, and there is plenty of scientific research to prove this. Here are some examples of signs of (negative) overly protective parenting:
1. They want to know everything about your life.
Overly protective parents will often demand or put pressure on you for telling them a lot of things or even everything about your life. Who do you spend time with? What do you do in your spare time? When do you go to bed? How often do you do homework? What happens in class? Who are your professors? Are you dating? Are examples of questions that some parents want to know about their child`s lives. Sure, it does not seem bad that they are curious about those things in your life. But it can get too much, and it should be up to the child to come and tell them detailed stuff about them.
2. They treat you like you are unable to see consequences or get out of them on your own.
Often, overly protective parents will try to keep you from all potential dangers in life. For example, if you get stuck in a situation, be it financial, social or romantic, overly protective parents will get heavily involved in your problems and get you out. As this seems kind and positive, it prevents the child from learning to deal with consequences properly on their own. The child should only ask for help if they need it.
3. They help you out in every aspect of life, because they are worried that you are unable to deal with it yourself.
This one is closely tied with #2 and is pretty self- explanatory.
4. You feel anxiety and heavy pressure to include them in all of your life decisions.
Did you start dating someone? Oh no... what will mom and dad think about this and that person? Do you want to get a new car? But will they accept the type of model and price of the car? I want to start going to the gym every day... what will they think of that? Will they think it is a waste of money?
Thoughts like these are very common amongst people who have overly protective parents. Every life decision must inlude mom and dad, because their approval is everything, and they already make you feel like you cannot make decisions on your own. This is very bad because the child loses confidence in making their own choices, and if they turn out to be good, the parents are the ones who deserve credit. Now you have to live with the fact that every good choice you make is because of them, and if you do not let them have impact on your choices, crap can go down. It is also important to remember that bad choices are a part of life, and very important for individual development and independency. Unless the child is planning to give up on life completely, spend all their money or waste their lives, direct parental involvement should not be necessary.
5. They have strong opinions and get involved in your romantic and social relationships.
If you start dating someone or get involved with new people, they will know really fast. They will ask you everything about them, but they are not afraid to give you their opinions on them, either. They will want to know who their family is, what their future goals are and their pasts. If they do not like them, they will let you know, and maybe put pressure on you to get rid of them. This behavior is not healthy either, because the child needs to find out for themselves who they want in their lives and who they do not want. If parents constantly feel the need to help the child out of a romantic or social situation, the child will become insecure and uncertain about who they actually want to be with. If the relationship (romantic or social) is abusive, makes the child cry or depressed, the parents have the right to interfere. But otherwise, at the end of the day, it is not their choice to make and should not interfere whatsoever.
How to deal with overly protective parents
I do not think it is possible to change your parents` ways of parenting. It is, however, possible to deal with it and learn how to minimize their impact on your life. Here are a few personal tips:
Talk to them. I know this point is difficult, especially if you suffer from anxiety and respect your parents (you are used to saying yes to everything they say). But, you have to remember that your health and well- being comes first, and they need to respect this. It helps a lot to sit down in a calm environment and calmly discuss how their involvement is affecting you.
Learn how to tell them less and less about your life, even if they ask. You are an adult, and you have a right to privacy. Your family members have no business in your dating life or social relationships if you do not wish to tell them.
Make decisions first, then tell them. If you are confident about something or someone, make the decision and tell them after. This teaches them to accept things as they are, and that you can make decisions without their approval or involvement. Also, if the choice turned out to be bad, you will learn to deal with it yourself. This will help you grow to be a confident, strong and independent individual.
Get used to standing your ground. If you feel your family getting to involved in your life and privacy, there is no shame in telling them that it gets too much. Get used to saying no and being strong when it comes to decision making. Your parents do not like what you are doing? Keep going! Trust yourself, and tell yourself that it is okay to make mistakes. Show strength, and they will grow confidence in you, too.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Do you have experience with overly protective parents? Do you maybe have some advice?