“When am I being overprotective?”
There are parents who refuse to let their children on to the school bus, have sleepovers, play on the jungle gym, or go to the beach…ever. Compared to some people you may be under-protective. There are those that would look at your parenting style and judge you for being completely too lenient.
Nonetheless, the heart of the matter is how safe you keep your children and how happy you feel about yourself. The key is to remain vigilant and calm. Some of the symptoms of overprotective parenting are spending most moments with children in a state of mild panic, constantly expecting the worst-case scenario and emotional breakdown when the child disobeys.
“But I need to make sure my child is safe.”
You do need to know that your child is going to be safe. You also need to take care of yourself. Your family needs you to be healthy and happy. You can be protective and happy at the same time.
The label “overprotective” gets put on nervous people much more often then on calm people. If you are keeping an eye on your child and enjoying yourself at the park, making absolutely sure that your child is safe, you will be considered a good Mom or Dad. In the same scenario, if you are breathing heavily, anxious, and worrying for your child while watching them, ready to jump up at any moment, you may be labeled “overprotective”. Notice that the difference is in your attitude and not in how protected the child is.
“How am I supposed to stay calm? We’re talking about my child aren’t we?
No one is debating the importance of your child. You love them very much and their importance cannot be understated. Staying calm is doing your child a favor. Relaxing with them, while maintaining an attentive mind, is the secret to careful and loving parenting. Your focus is on the child as you remain calm and alert. This way you can spring into action the instant something goes wrong from a state of serenity, so you will have plenty of energy and a clear head to make good decisions without panic.
“But what if they are in danger?”
If you child is in danger you need to protect them. We must also understand how you perceive danger. A playground is a dangerous place and children do get hurt on them. Does that mean that we never go to them? Cars are dangerous, does that mean we never drive them? What risks are you willing to take with your children so that they can experience the full range of life’s offerings? As difficult as it is sometimes we take risks to more fully enjoy the experience we’re having on this planet. Here is where you must decide where to strike the balance.
“It’s my child. I’ll do with him/her as I please.”
That is absolutely true. You will. Do your best to allow your child to relax you. Stay focused on them and watch them grow into amazing people. And don’t worry too much about people labeling you as “overprotective” when you are looking out for the best interest of your child. Safety does come first. Just remember to stay calm in the face of adversity. If you are looking to have fun with your kids try this bug art activity.
Image Credits Wikimedia Commons