Overinvolvement in kids’ lives can be detrimental to their emotional health. Parents are expected to be invested in their child’s lives yet can go too far beyond being supportive and instead become hovering.

Helicopter ParentingDue to some parents’ life experience, they think they know best. They don’t want their children to suffer, fail or experience any pain and want them to have everything they didn’t, yet those very challenges are what fosters growth and independence.

This is “helicopter parenting” as parents are “hovering overhead” and overseeing every aspect of their child’s life. This type of parent has a will to engineer everything from social aspects, educational achievement, career paths and life experiences to create a particular outcome for their child. When this overprotection occurs, it leaves no space for the child’s ability to experience things in their own way or to cultivate their own identity and sense of confidence in themselves. If a parent does everything for their child, the child doesn’t get a chance to learn to do anything on their own. The child is stifled, and they may not develop the competence to be able to solve their own problems. Overprotected children can become passive adults and have a lack of confidence in their abilities, causing them to not be able to assert themselves, instill boundaries, or believe in their own worthiness. They may lack independent and strategic thinking.

Some examples of this overprotection/overinvolvement can look like constant supervision, excessive caution, swooping in to “fix” your child’s problems, not allowing your kids to have their own opinions and beliefs, excessive indulgence, controlling their social experiences and navigating their college education and career paths. Kids who are overindulged materially can come to expect everything to go their way and cause them to not be able to adjust to disappointments.

Children need to learn self-reliance and patience. They need to feel rejections and failure in a stable, calm, supportive and loving environment to learn how to bounce back from disappointments in life and develop their identity. This can look like encouraging them to try to new things outside of their comfort zone, encouraging problem solving by letting kids work things out on their own, allowing them to make their own decisions and letting them deal with their own consequences without special treatment or intervening. We cannot protect children from everything, but we can cultivate the best environment for them to grow and become capable, happy adults.

If you have a question you would like to ask or a topic to be addressed in next month’s article, please email jenn@pinkertonpsychotherapy.com. If you would like to schedule an individual appointment, please contact us at 713.800.6999 or www.pinkertonpsychotherapy.com.

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